Superman Returns

Cover Art/Menu: 5/10
It’s not fair to expect much more than our hero bold and flying bravely over Metropolis, but darn it, why do I? This cover doesn’t do the movie justice, that’s for sure. It’s kind of boring, and the composition of Superman and the Daily Planet globe thing is like a big dump smack dab in the middle with lots of wasted space for more interesting images. Even a simple close up of the S would be better than this busy unattractive look they have chosen.

The menus are pretty much just as bland, functional, but nothing to get excited about.

Features: 8/10

  • Making Superman From Script To Screen – Director Bryan Singer isn’t your typical Hollywood stuffy director type. He’s like a kid with endless energy who happens to have millions of dollars at his disposal to make the movies he wants to make. This extra follows the entire process of getting the movie made from before the studio even hired Singer. It’s entertaining and shows so much of the movie making process you will want to go back and watch the whole movie again. This is a commitment, a couple of hours, so be prepared. It’s worth it. I hate to say it, but it made me appreciate the movie more than I did originally.
  • Designing Superman From Art To Costume Design To Set Construction – Who knew so much would have to go into designing a pair of blue tights and a cape? The costume designer shows us all the different versions of the suit, how they are made by hand, and how they have to give Mr. Superhero actor a bit of padding to fill out the more muscular expectations of the whole look.
  • The Joy Of Lex Behind The Scenes With Kevin Spacey – Kevin Spacey worked with Bryan Singer on Usual Suspects back in the day, so he pretty much trusts the director enough to go hog wild with his campy bad guy persona when it comes to Lex. You can see glimpses of a Hollywood movie making veteran during certain takes when Spacey makes suggestions in that “Trust me, I’m an actor” kind of way..but it’s Spacey, so it’s cool.
  • How The Filmmakers Recreated Superman’s Father Using Marlon Brando Featurette – This is a short film that shows the process of how they took an old clip of Brando and changed some of the dialogue and then changed the movement of his mouth through movie/computer magic so they could fit him into the latest episode of Superman’s saga. It’s a bit creepy, but interesting.
  • 10 Deleted Scenes – Nothing in these deleted scenes really would have made the movie better or changed the story, so it’s best they end up in this section of the DVD 🙂

The Movie: 8/10
Superman has been gone for a while and the world has all but given up on him. Even Lois Lane has written him off and moved on. This is a good beginning. I really dig the idea that we are walking into the story when everyone has already experienced Superman and knows what he can do. There’s no big discovery or “who’s that?” kind of thing to get past. So, where did he go? Apparently scientists discovered that part of his home planet might still exist and he had to go see if it was true. Why he thought a few rocks and some dust would make him feel better about the destruction of his entire race and home planet, I’m not sure, but this is a story about a man who is bullet proof, flies, and can see through stuff with is x-ray vision. So, we have to give the story some latitude.

It would be an understatement to say this movie has some action. We are talking ACTION folks. From battling a crashing jet liner to surviving a sinking ship in stormy seas, this guy must be some kind of man of steel 🙂 Even though the action thing is the heart of any super hero story, I think I would like a bit less peril/saving and more substance.

That being said, watching the spectacles that make up this movie is a lot of fun and really does recapture the spirit of the original Superman movies I fell in love with when I was a kid. I see them now and they look a bit corny, yea, but it’s the over top, comic book thing that makes them so entertaining and memorable. Superman Returns isn’t a classic, not like the originals, at least not to me. It’s big and bold and full of amazing things to look at with oohs and aahhs and lots of things to smile about. It’s just got a few things that make it not the whole package.

When Superman has his run in with Lex the Lug Luther it’s not a storybook kind of thing. It’s got a bit too much grit for me. I mean, yea, Lex has been in prison for a while, but to turn him into a two bit thug is kind of cheap.

There are other moments when I either felt like there was a touch too much sentimentality mixed with some manufactured anti-sentimentality. I’m sure that’s clear. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it didn’t consistently capture my imagination, or my heart, or my mind. It was more like certain things caught my attention, and then I was waiting for something else to interest me on some level. Between the swooping and flying and saving, I was hoping for more about the man and less about his thing for Lois Lane.

Speaking of the fair Lane, she’s ok. I’m not sure I am a fan of Ms. Bosworth, just yet. She’s a tiny bit too romantic for me, or something. She has that puppy dog eye look about her, which would be fine, but she’s supposed to be this modern day strong woman type gal. Her partner, Cyclops, isn’t very interesting either. He serves the purpose of being the alternative “normal” guy who takes the place of Superman in Lois’s life, but he’s too generic even for a stand by kind of character. The kid is great, a little too sappy occasionally, but hell, it’s Superman, we have to have some sap here and there. And what about the super guy himself? I like the guy who played the big S. He’s got that certain upstanding kind of quality about him, but not in a corny way. His voice is resounding and strong along with his presence, which works in the comic book world of Superman. In fact, he’s my favorite part of the movie, with his quiet calm way of dealing with everything from bank robbers to lost loves and maniacal bad guys.

Overall I would say this is a great Superman flick to enjoy for what it is. I won’t compare it to other super hero movies, but it’s not ranked in my favorites list. Maybe in time it will grow on me more, like some other movies have. Maybe when that happens I’ll update this review:)

Value: 6/10
This is a big movie packaged with some great extras, however, whenever a DVD hits the $20 mark I get fidgety. By the way, no I don’t think that a 2 disc set automatically makes it worthy of bumping up the price. There’s a certain something that compels me to spend more money on DVD’s, but I can’t explain what it is. Superman Returns just doesn’t have it. I would like to see it for around $15 or less, but oh my, with Christmas coming, that ain’t gonna happen. If you plan to watch this movie many many times, and I’m sure some of you will, it’s probably worth the 20 dollar price tag. If you want it in your Superman collection, you are most likely willing to pay whatever they want to charge ya. If you just want to see a pretty cool action movie with one of America’s most beloved superheroes, rent it, pop some corn, and enjoy.

Overall Score 8/10