Superman Returns (2006)

My obsessive compulsive need to make video reviews of every Superman movie ever made has driven me to Earth-127. Turns out they’re running eight years behind us. Still…could be worse. Next time, we visit the New 52.

9 thoughts on “Superman Returns (2006)”

      1. I wanted to wretch when I heard Brainiac’s voice in the trailer. And the clips I’ve seen of Lex made Hackman’s Luthor looked quiet and dignified.

  1. Great review, the two of you were tremendously entertaining and there’s nothing more appropriate in terms of a review for Superman Returns than an X-man and a Superman fan teaming up to talk about how crappy the film is. A film which didn’t ruin Superman but didn’t do it any favors and delivered a silver bullet into the previously invulnerable werewolf (Wolverine?) heart of the X-man franchise.

    So, bravo to both of you.

    I agree with the complaints and think Superman Returns is probably the most “fanfic-y” movie ever made. It’s not a complaint I make lightly since its the rare movie that doesn’t have some original content but the entire thing is an exercise in wasted potential. Bryan Singer wanted to write a direct sequel to a movie he didn’t make when, really, there was no reason he couldn’t have made his own Superman movie. It would have been better received and might have given a future for poor Cyclops (and God, Fox is a VINDICTIVE set of producers).

    The fanfic elements go further with the cheap emotional drama. Lois Lane is involved with a man who we’ll never see again, can never actually end up with, and is too nice to hate. Superman has a child is another lazy storytelling device beneath Bryan Singer. Couples have children in long-running franchises when you have NO other ideas. I’m not saying we needed Braniac but Singer could have done damn near anything and he gave us this shameless retread trying to be a love letter.

    It’s just….sad.

    And again, it gave us X-men 3 which DOUBLES the sin.

    1. Thanks, Charles. I’ll relay your comments to the relevant parties. The whole Cross-Fandom pile-on of Bryan Singer turned out to be a happy accident. She got into comics via back-issues from the “all-new, all-different” era, I got ’em via the Death and Return of Krypton’s favorite Last Son. The fact that one director would have such an impact on both of our favorite franchises almost seems like some cosmic entity’s idea of a sick practical joke. Maybe Metron’s. Maybe Uatu’s. Maybe both. Yeah, probably both. The both of ’em always gave me the creeps, to be honest.

      1. What is the greatest superman story arc?

        Also, have you read irredeemable? It’s superman goes bad with a twist (namely that the “hero” was always damaged mentally and snapped because he realized he would never be 100% adored)

        1. The “greatest”? Jesus – now there’s a question loaded with kryptonite bullets. And with 75 (and counting) years of comics to choose from, there really is something for everybody, so you’re better off just picking something at random than asking a cynical fanboy like me…but you asked. Please be aware that the following answer is entirely informed by 100%, Grade-A Fresh, certified personal bias.

          That said, I’m going to go with the “Death and Return” arc.

          As mentioned in the Superman/Doomsday review, it broke me out of the Gotham-centric myopia that continues to afflict many of my fellow Batman fans. Its scope covers the entire length and breadth of the DC Universe (circa 1993) and, once the first act concludes, Superman’s entire supporting cast get plenty of opportunities to shine during the darkest period of their lives. Then the Return begins, introducing a metric ton of modern Superman story staples, including villains who are still getting play today (after so many ’90s villains have been justly forgotten) and the characters who’d go on to form what I still call “Team Superman.”

          Best of all, the Brobdingnagian epic is available in an Omnibus Edition. Two of ’em, in fact, but you should ignore the 740-page one they released in 2007 (to coincide with the release of Superman/Doomsday) and get the 1100 page Omnibus they released last year (to coincide with Man of Steel). It’s still missing a few things, but it’s as close to a definitive collection as you can get without spending the rest of your life hunting through bargain bins.

          That arc also acts as a foundation for the next thirteen years worth of Super-books, and their story arcs, some of which were quite good in their own right. Like these honorable mentions:

          – “The Battle for/Fall of Metropolis” – the Big “Team Superman” Crossover Event of Summer, 1994. A desperate and dying Lex Luthor attempts to take the rest of Metropolis with him, via subterranean ballistic missiles…and partially succeeds, leaving most of the city a blasted ruin. This forced Superman to spend the rest of the year pulling clean-up and rebuilding duty in between his usual bad-guy punching…until things were unsatisfying resolved in the wake of “Zero Hour.”

          -“The Death of Clark Kent” – An old high school rival of Clark’s (that’d never been introduced before 1994 – gotta love those retcons), former-CIA agent, and current practicing supervillain deduces Clark’s secret identity, escapes prison, and attempts to kill all of Clark’s family and friends that he can catch.

          -“The Trial of Superman” – Abducted by an alien tribunal (called – surprise, surprise – “the Tribunal”) Superman’s condemned to death for one of his distant ancestor’s crimes. The Tribunal’s legal argument is shoddy as all seven hells, with a vague “sins of the father” element to it that’s quickly shoved into the background. But I ended up not caring, because Superman’s abduction forces every other Earthling with an “S” on their chest into space. Instead of a boring, legal drama or an alien prison movie, the “Trial” becomes a rollicking, space opera/road trip adventure – the kind of thing you usually find in Green Lantern’s books.

          And, no, I haven’t read Irredeemable…though I have read Waid’s Kingdom Come. Its Superman fucks off to the Fortress for ten years after “the people” decide to love him slightly less. Then he sets up a personal gulag in the ruins of Kansas, triggering an all-out superhuman war with a surprising-for-the-time amount of casualties on all sides. So there’s that.

          1. Iredeemable is somewhat interesting. It raises points about what would happen if the hero wasn’t really capable.

            For instance, the Plutonian just wanted to be adored and loved; even legitimate criticism annoyed him and one of the things that triggered his turn was the realization that he would never be totally adored. Ultimately it’s made clear that even though he may have had a rough past it doesn’t excuse what he’s done (he still had nice homes as well as bad, and most of the world did in fact love him.) It also deconstructs what would really happen if Superman jerked lois along like he did in the silver age (the girlfriend’s reaction is basically “what the fuck?”)

            I thought kingdom come was superman having a crisis of faith because the violent destructive methods seemed to be loved instead. Also, Superman does pull back from the brink.

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