Thursday, February 04, 2021

A Kinder, Gentler Super-hero- DC Comics’ “Superman Returns” (2006)-A Film Review

A Kinder, Gentler Super-hero- DC Comics’ “Superman Returns” (2006)-A Film Review

DVD Review

By Laura Perkins   

Superman Returns, starring Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, the now disgraced sexual bandit Kevin Spacey, 2006

Die Superman, die. That may be an unkind start after babbling about a kinder, gentler Superman in the come-on headline for this film Superman Returns but that is that in the hardball world of film review. The world where one day you are king of the hill the next yesterday’s news fit for wrapping in newspaper used to dispose of the fish. Greg Green, the site manager here for the past few months, has been asking for just this kind of lead-in when he tagged me a while back for a review of another Superman so-called saga Batman versus Superman where the righteous Lex Luthor wasted the faster that a speeding bullet guy without rancor or regret. First of all I bitched out that I had to even do a silly film based on a male fantasy comic book series that I did not read as a young girl and yawned my way through with a bunch of screaming kids who only cared about the non-stop action to keep up their interests. Second of all because        
Greg Green persists against all reason, against all the evidence to the contrary including the numbers, in making his stable of writers without exception have to bow down to this super-hero noise over the past few months.   

But none of that, none of those reasons compare to the foolish feelings I have doing this review after I gave Superman a teary farewell and a hero’s funeral in that previous review only to have to recant here and say it was all a joke. I had grown women gnashing their teeth over that death, children committing mortal sins having lost their faith after their lord protector proved to be made of common clay, and grown men committing felony murders in a rage in revenge for the loss of their illusions. Only to find that Superman took a powder for five years doing some sordid spacewalk seeking his origins like any other geek. We won’t mention, mention in mixed company anyway, that nobody seemed very worried about the whereabouts of alter ego Clark Kent who disappeared at the same time as the man in blue and returned at the same time as well.

Did anybody miss this stup. No way. Old flame Lois Lane moved on, moved on fast and furious picking up a Pulitzer for her expose of the Superman legend/hoax, bore a young son of unknown parentage, and found a new paramour in the boss’ son. Even Jimmy Olsen has grown up a bit, moved on from incompetent copy boy to incompetent cub reporter. Superman/Clark get lost, leave Metropolis alone. Of course that is all fantasy since, as usual, the tootling town is menaced once again by the previously imprisoned Lex Luthor now free to muddy the waters-and seek revenge for the bad rap Superman laid on him making him do a nickel in the slammer.

More fantasy smashed. Lois once she sees the he-man, once he does one of those “leaps tall buildings in a single bound” routines has her heartstrings pulled to the breaking point. Forget the nice earthly deal with the boss’ son, forget that little cottage and nice lawn business. Meanwhile this scene is driving Superman crazy since he figured that Lois was his eternally so he makes a pact with the devil. Makes him work old Lex Luthor into a lather to get him to show his super-human skills once again in crushing the weasel.                        

That trick got played out when Lex and his henchmen grabbed Lois and the kid, a nice kid but kind of out of it from the drugs he was sucking in for his asthma. When things get crazy the kid comes through though saving Mom from one of Lex’s bad boy comrades. Showed he was the righteous son of Superman as it turned out just starting to get in harness with his super-human father side DNA skills. The merely human boyfriend, fiancé, whatever is strictly second fiddle now. Especially after Superman saves, ho hum, Metropolis yet again from a single criminal mind like Lex after Mr.Bad had decided to blow the place to kingdom come (which makes me wonder about the moral fitness of the citizens of the town to be saved). Sure there was an anxious moment, no, anxious second, when nasty Lex stabbed Superman with some off-market generic kryptonite but even the five year old kids didn’t stop munching their buttered popcorn over that little blip. Jesus what couldn’t Superman have had the good sense to pass away and leave what Sam Lowell calls a candid world alone. Better yet why doesn’t Greg Green get off the dime and have us review real films-for adults.       

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