I caught the new Man of Steel yesterday. I’m relieved to report "Superman Returns" is excellent. I give it a thumbs up, an A.
The opening scene alone is worth the ticket price. I had seen part of that segment in previews, but the full sequence was more stunning than I expected. Credit the expert direction of Bryan Singer.
Brandon Routh (I don’t know who he is) plays Superman, and in his gestures and at least one line, he pays a fitting tribute to the late Christopher Reeve, who filled the super-role for an earlier generation.
One weird thing: The premise here is that Superman disappeared for five years on a star trek looking for his home planet, Krypton, and now he’s back. OK, so he’s been gone five years. Everyone must have noticed that Clark Kent also was gone five years. And yet no one puts two and two together. With Superman, of course, you toss such logic aside.
Superman again takes a pleasure flight over Metropolis with Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth). It was interesting to listen to the music here. I wondered, would we hear "Can You Read My Mind?" from the 1978 movie? Musical director John Ottman handles it nicely. Ottman also uses the "Superman" theme written by that Superman of Soundtracks, John Williams.
Kevin Spacey’s Lex Luthor is just as good as Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor, and Luthor’s role is wisely not camped up this time.
Nod to Glenn Ford. Eva Marie Saint plays Clark Kent’s earthly mother, Martha Kent, and it was heartening to see her fireplace mantle decorated with pictures that included Glenn Ford, who played Clark’s earthly father, Jonathan Kent, in the first Christopher Reeve "Superman" movie.
There’s a lot packed into "Superman Returns." It’s 2 hours and 38 minutes. It’s got great special effects, almost perfect pacing and a real human touch. It works.