"My son, remember, you have great power."
Brandon Routh showcases tremendous physical strength as Superman. However, emotionally he's in turmoil. His true love has turned her back on him. Superman Returns, at its core, deals with the complex relationship between Lois Lane and Superman.
The movie starts off with some text and later the initial credits begin. That sequence alone is enough to get the fans salivating. When Supes does return, he quickly gets back to normal life. He went away and saw for himself that his entire civilization is, indeed, wiped out and yet Singer just puts that behind and goes on with the movie. That was very jarring.
Clark takes his job as the mild-mannered reporter at The Daily Planet. In one scene, it is uncanny how Routh channels Reeve when he has a chat with Lois as they're leaving The Daily Planet. Kate Bosworth, however, looks too young to play Lois Lane convincingly. This is more a fault of casting than acting. It is also hard to believe that Lois would write what she did write--that seemed out of character for her.
The best acting in the movie is done by, surprise, Kevin Spacey. He enjoys the role of Lex Luthor. The utter indifference he shows to human suffering and death is chilling. He is insane.
The VFX in this movie are spectacular and one wishes there were a lot more. Routh, on many occasions, looks regal as Superman. That likely is the result of his graceful movements in flight. Bryan Singer has fully embraced the image of Superman as a savior. From Greek mythology to Moses and Jesus, there are many easily recognizable religious references sprinkled throughout the movie.
Two things that really bugged me. One, Supes was dropping a lot of eaves. Two, the scene between Supes and Luthor. I was actually surprised at how my stomach churned during that whole encounter. Those were, by far, the harshest moments of any Superman movie. Though, I think, that was the intended effect.
John Ottman, the music composer, got a tough job. He had to go up against the perfect score of the first movie by John Williams. Ottman only manages two memorable pieces: the 777 scene and the first meeting of Supes and Lois.
Superman Returns is a multimillion dollar love letter to the first two movies in the saga. There are earlier scenes and lines that have been reused in this movie. They do play well within the context, it's just that we've seen and heard them before. This leads to an odd criticism of the movie: At two-and-a-half hours, it feels too short!
But make no mistake, Singer has left an indelible mark on the Superman mythology. He provides an overall beautiful plot and will, thus, forever be remembered as the guy who-
What are you waiting for? Watch the movie and find out.