Why The World Doesn’t Need Superman Returns

 

You have to feel sorry for Ross Webster and Lex Luthor.  Webster, having spent billions building up Webster Corp,  was clever enough (with the aid of an ace computer hacker employee who had been trying to swindle him) to manipulate the weather, try and kill Superman, and build a computer so big and powerful it had to be kept in the Grand Canyon.  In turn, Luthor must have spent a lot of time and money building a Nuclear Man to take over the world and kill Superman, not to mention all that boning up on science and putting up with his spanner of a nephew.

Yet as far as Bryan Singer is concerned, they both may as well have not bothered.

With Superman Returns, Bryan Singer decided to make a film that directly followed the feel of the Richard Donner Superman movies. He refused to acknowledge that Superman 3 and existed. While this is probably fair enough, you really can’t have it both ways. By Singer’s logic, George Lucas could very well make another prequel trilogy and just hope that everyone ignores the ones he already made.

Superman Returns should have been a good film, however there is just so much that is wrong with it. So much that it is hard to work out where to begin. At the beginning I suppose.

“I wonder what Lois is doing now?”

The main change that is immedietly apparent is that Superman is now the world’s biggest idiot. After defeating General Zod in Superman 2, he finds out from some astronomers that Krypton hasn’t quite been destroyed , so he decides to go and have a look at it. When he gets there it is all blown up (you know, as we saw happen and as his Dad told him in the first film) – so he “returns” and everyone has forgotten about him, mainly due to a Lois Lane (Pulitzer winning) article called “Why the world doesnt need Superman” – which is about as bitter and bitchy as it gets. Lois obviously doesnt handle rejection very well. I can only imagine that if you borrowed her fairy liquid and forgot to return it, she would a full page spread about you being Satan. Perhaps Superman should have skipped the kiss that made her forget everything, and gone with the quick wriggle on the back seat of a Ford Cortina that gives her a lobotomy.

So Clark Kent comes back to Metropolis, suitcase in hand, walks in to the Daily Planet and gets his old job back – as you do. Then on his first day he changes into Superman and saves a plane that is about to crash. At no point does anyone put two and two together. Lois Lane in particular should return her Pulitzer prize and go and work for the East Finchley Advertiser if she can’t connect the dots here.

“I had better make the most of this, I won’t get any more action for a while”

A big problem with Superman Returns is the fact that Superman has been away. The filmmakers seem to have got caught up with the idea of what would happen if there was a Superman and if he did go away for a prolonged period. The answer of course is “it wouldnt make a very interesting film”. Superman seems to spend the whole film stalking Lois Lane (as she now has a husband and a son) and doing very little else. Apart from one night of stretching his legs  foiling robberies and saving people from burning buildings, he spends the rest of his time watching Lois have a shower, so if you are a criminal you may as well go to town. In terms of character development, it makes it very hard to be on Superman’s side when he is behaving like a bitter love rival from Hollyoaks. Maybe he should try other women, you never know, they may have more to offer.

“Brilliant, eh?” *facepalm*

The laziness doesn’t stop there. Yes folks, Lex Luthor is the villian again and he is even more stupid than Superman. Lex has a plan people. Let’s all sit down and have a listen. The plan goes like this: Lex is going to steal some crystals from Superman’s Fortess of Solitude, combine then with Kryptonite and build a giant land mass made of sharp crystals to then sell off as real estate. For, as Lex Luthor’s dad said to him once, “Son, stocks may rise and fall, utilities and transportation systems may collapse. People are no damn good, but they will always need land and they’ll pay through the nose to get it! Remember, land”. It seems that Lex is no longer the greatest criminal mind, as his latest scheme seems to be the driblled ramblings of a lunatic. Take one uninhabitable rock that destroys half of a giant city, sit, wait for sale. Never mind about the fact that a) no one in their right mind would want to buy any of it, not even a tiny bit as a key ring, b) Ok, so Superman is weak and mortal as soon as he sets foot on the rock (due to the Kryptonite) – the army, police, navy and airforce are not. They could quite easily blow the whole thing to kingdom come.

As for Lois, the casting in this film is terrible. I am sure Kate Bosworth is a great actor, but for Lois Lane she is very wrong indeed. Too young, too wimpy, not believable in any way and wearing an ill-fitting brown wig. She is so badly mis-cast that it is highly distracting. Lois Lane has traditionally had spunk (not like that – though who I am to say) and hutzpah, as if she had just walked out of His Girl Friday. In this film she has all the get up and go of a dead tortoise and all the journalistic instinct of a live tortoise. She looks about as likely to grab a good scoop as an armless man at a pick and mix.

The rest of the cast are fine. Routh does a pretty good job as Superman, which is a shame as he has very few scenes as Superman and will never get to play him again. As Clark Kent he is mainly doing a Christopher Reeve impression. Again, this is probably the fault of Bryan Singer, and once again, his screen time is fairly limited. Kevin Spacey is a great choice for Luthor, but the evil scheme he is part of is so stupid that you cannot help but feel dismissive of his performance in hindsight.

The writers (and Singer) seemed far too distracted by the Donner films. A reference here, a musical cue there, a tribute this-a-way and a cameo that-a-way. They seem to forget that they are supposed to be telling an interesting story and possibly should include some sort of action or excitement. After all, one plane crash sequence in two hours and thirty four minutes is not exactly riveting.

As time has passed on Superman Returns, the world has bassically forgotten it (cue Lois Lane’s new piece) and it has been well and truly filed away as a five hundred million dollar mistake. In 2006 we were left wondering just where the whole saga could go from here. The answer was of course nowhere. The Hollywood Etch-a-sketch has been shaken and a reboot is on the way for 2012. Thank goodness.

The killer blow with Superman Returns (and something it can never recover from) is the fact that Lois Lane has a son by Superman. This immediately paints the entire franchise into a corner and kills it stone dead. Not only is Superman a wimp, but now he is also a Father for Justice campaigner. Well, at least he already has the Superman suit.

Originally posted 2012-02-02 19:22:54. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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