Friday, June 7, 2013

FLASHBACK REVIEW: Superman Returns (2006)

FLASHBACK REVIEW:  Superman Returns (2006) ***

After years of on again, off again news of Warner Brothers trying to bring Superman back to the big screen, Brandon Routh was cast in the title role. Bryan Singer ("Jack the Giant Slayer," "X-Men," "The Usual Suspects") came in to direct. It's a difficult film to define in terms of its own entertainment value.

The plot concerns Superman's return (hence the title) after a five year absence to explore the possibility of the existence of Krypton remnants in space. This allows Lex Luthor to gain prominence again, and for Lois Lane to become resentful of his having abandoned her. Meanwhile, Luthor has developed a new plan to combat his arch -enemy and make him powerful. It all involves Kryptonite and real estate.

The plot elements of the film were deemed fairly dark (Superman is quite somber through a good deal of the film) and, to some, dull at the time of release. However, many reviews were actually positive and the film went on to gross nearly $400 million worldwide. Due to a combination of adherence to the film's connections, namely its indulgence of elements prominent in the Christopher Reeve films of the 1980's, some fans and critics felt that the film struggled to find its own reason for being. On the other hand, the visual effects, and individual performances were praised. Routh was seen as an earnest Superman and Spacey received good notices for his darker version of the Lex Luthor character. (Actually, his Luthor would have fit in fairly well with a continuation of the "Smallville" universe, had they hired Tom Welling in the lead role).

Overall, the film failed to win over enough fans, and the studio decided to scrap plans for a direct sequel starring Routh. A new reboot, directed by Zack Snyder ("300," "Watchmen"), starring Henry Cavill and featuring an all-star cast is to be released next week.

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