Thursday, June 08, 2006

MovieWatch: "Superman Returns"

"Superman Returns"
Director: Bryan Singer
Fien Print Rating (Out of 100): 68
In a Nutshell: While not quite the bracing franchise reinvigoration delivered by "Batman Begins" last summer, "Superman Returns" is a solidly entertaining film that should safely give the Man of Steel new theatrical life. I was surprised how much I liked Brandon Routh, whose resemblance to Christopher Reeve is almost shocking at times and he carries the film with his easy humor and confidence. He was a good find by director Bryan Singer. Kate Bosworth, never meant to be a brunette, is much less interesting as Lois Lane. While I liked Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor just fine, the character is too often an afterthough due to some massive edits that still were unable to make the movie shorter than 150+ minutes. In the final cut, Singer seems wisely to have concentrated on the emotional difficulties of Superman's return to Metropolis, but the result is a lack of interest in Luthor's wacky and unwieldy real estate scheming. The cuts to Luthor's plot are evidence in the minimal screentime for moll Parker Posey and, even more notably, Kal Penn's high billing in the film despite the fact that his henchman has no more than one or two lines. The effects are often superior and this is one of the first times I've ever been able to watch a digitally shot feature without thinking how much better it would have looked shot on film. Extra points for the shivers produced by the careful use of John Williams' score. After the screening, they gave us a demonstration of the IMAX 3-D presentation and in addition to making my eyes and head ache, it was very impressive. [Oh and the Fien Print rating on this one may be a smidge low, but my ratings system is shot anyway.]

An actual full review won't be up on Zap2it until Wednesday, June 28 and I've intentionally cut this short to avoid incurring the wrath of Warner Bros.


  1. Anonymous4:10 PM

    Did you get the sense that Singer has a pretty firm "director's cut" of this movie, or did he just film too much stuff?

  2. At the press day today, Singer made it clear that *this* is the director's cut of the movie. He said not to expect an extended director's cut DVD or anything, even suggesting that the excised Return to Krypton 5-minute sequence that everybody's talking about online may not be included as a deleted scene on the DVD.

    I just want all of Kal Penn's dialogue to be restored for the DVD.

  3. Anonymous11:42 PM

    Wow. That's... I know he's said in the past that the budget issues have been exaggerated, but if you're going to film a two and a half hour movie, it seems like you owe the planet an extended director's cut -- if only to justify the time and money you spent filming that extra 45 minutes worth of footage.

    Given how constrained the X movies have been, just based on how stupid the folks at Fox can be, I'd have thought he be eager to "super-size" this film.

    Of course, maybe the longer version just didn't work, and he had to keep cutting till he had something that made sense. Something very similar happened when they were editing "Project Greenlight presents: The Battle of Shaker Heights."

  4. Anonymous7:17 PM

    Apropos of your full review on, I thought you might be amused by Pauline Kael's first impressions of Donner's gambit with the Man of Steel: "Donner doesn’t draw us in and hold on to us; we’re with him only in brief patches—a few seconds each. The plotting is so hit or miss that the movie never seems to get started." Read the rest of her review here: