Superman was the first big blockbuster comic book hero to be turned into a movie turning Christopher Reeves from a virtual unknown to a cultural icon over four films. Although before the franchise led to other comics leaping to the big screen asides from a Supergirl spin-off, it crumbled under its own weight (but I have to admit I did enjoy the Richard Pryor starring third installment). In the nineties the same happened to the second biggest hero Batman. But by the late nineties thanks to the success The X-Men and Spiderman, there was a boom of comic book heroes that was so big even the unknown heroes got their own movie. Within the boom, even the Batman franchise got retooled before Superman made another appearance on the big screen.
That’s not that the movie hasn’t been in the works all that time. The resurrection of Superman started way back in 1998 which even had a director (Tim Burton) and a hero (Nicholas Cage). But those don’t mean much without a script, two of Kevin Smith’s were turned down. McG was in and out as a director while Josh Hartnett and Brendan Fraser were both considered for wearing the tights while Johnny Depp auditioned for both Jor-El and Lex Luthor. Eventually Brain Singer who helmed the first two X-Men films stabilized the production signing on to direct as well as writing a draft which, unlike Smith’s, was not based on anything from the comic books and was tied into the first two Superman movies.
Singer brought in Kevin Spacey who he previously worked with on The Usual Suspects. Spacey in tuned suggested his Beyond the Sea co-star Kate Bosworth to play reporter Lois Lane who does much better than the annoying chick currently player her on Smallville. But the biggest piece of course was casting the Man of Steel and almost every name twenty something actor expressed interest but Singer decided to do the same the original movie did and cast an unknown and you really couldn’t get more unknown that Brandon Routh who may be best know for showing up in a Christina Aguilera video as well as MTV’s Undressed series.
So almost ten years in the making and nineteen years after the last installment, Superman Returns. Not only does he return to the silver screen he has returned to Earth after a five year absence while he searched for the reminisce of his home planet Krypton. Back on his adopted planet, in true Superman fashion, no one puts two and two together realizing that Superman left Metropolis at the same time Clark Kent took a sabbatical from the Daily Planet to “travel the world.” A few thing have happened in the five years including Lois Lane has a five year old son (and it doesn’t take a math major to see that the kid was conceived while Superman was still around), and Lex Luthor has been released from prison after his fifth appeal was overturned when Superman didn’t take the stand.
It doesn’t take long for some things to get back to normal as Luthor is quick to round up his henchmen for his latest idea for world domination, although if you figure out his plan before he spells ii out to Lane in the second act, you are smarter than me. There in lies a problem in that I had absolutely no clue what Lex was up to and it brought down the first act that was already slow to start with. Thing get better when you figure out what is going on although there are still some spacing issues throughout the film. And having the third largest budget ever, some of the CGI is not up to par and they could have thrown in some more money to get Bosworth a better wig.
Superman Returns gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.