Okay, yes, the film really looks great. It really feels like a real sequel to the Superman films of my childhood, rather than the cheap imitation some franchise updates end up being. Shame the story was so very dull.
The cast all looked good and played the parts well. Kevin Spacey even made a few unusual acting decisions, as the trailer was keen to push, which made for an interesting watch. Routh’s transition between Clarke and Superman was note-perfect, and he really does remind one of Christopher Reeve. The look of the piece was nicely consistent with the originals. I thought perhaps they were going to make things more physically realistic, but no, anything and anyone Superman lifts still seems to get support braces shoved through their entire length and be able to resist gravity, which has its charm. Special effects were stunning to watch, especially on the iMax screen. The few 3-D scenes weren’t great – things too often looked like they were in a pop-up book, quick cuts ended up making everything blurry and (perhaps it’s my eyes) anything that came too close to the foreground ended up ghosting – but the sheer scale of the iMax screen really enhanced the experience. Technically, it was a great production.
The trouble was that the story was such guff. That’s why I never liked Superman. He’s so powerful that you can’t hurt him without kryptonite, so they have to focus on romance. So here, we have Lex Luthor hatching an extremely rubbish plot to use technology from Superman’s home planet in order to raise a new continent from the seabed, which will plunge most of North America under water. Why? Well, real estate is valuable, y’know. Coincidentally at exactly the same time, Superman returns from his journey to see whether his planet has REALLY been blown up, and discovers Lois Lane is now married and has a child. And is unusually cold to Clarke and brutal to Superman. But does Lois still love him? Will she betray her wife? Will Superman be caught as he flies around being a dodgy stalker, using his super-hearing and x-ray vision to spy on Lois? Who’s the father of that child REALLY?
Yeah. Uninspiring stuff. The most exciting action pieces are when a shockwave causes carnage in Metropolis, and when a boat is teetering on a newly-risen plinth of rock (also the best scene 3D-wise). But this was balanced by endless solemn scenes of superficial angst and a lot of dud scenes of Luthor’s Paris Hilton-inspired girlfriend having pangs of conscience when she finds out her boyfriend is going to kill millions. The ending is very disappointing, on a much smaller scale than expected, and when it started to drag on with a totally unnecessary ‘Is Superman Dead???’ plot and the small boy behind me loudly informed his father, ‘Daddy, I REALLY want to go home now’, I couldn’t help but sympathise.
And as for the romance…it got some warm chuckles from me, but in the end was formulaic and left me indifferent.
I’ll leave you with this: