Five years have gone by since the man of steel buggered off home after astronomers spotted the remains of Krypton. Returning to a frosty reception from the people of Metropolis it seems the world has moved on and unfortunately Lois Lane is no exception. Still look on the bright side, there’s nothing like a megalomaniacal mischief maker trying to take over the world (again) to take your mind off things is there? So there we have it. Twenty years in the making with script after script, director after director and writer after writer attached to a project that has seen more green and red lights than Las Vegas at Christmas its finally arrived. Warner Brothers’ teasing the world with the prospect of the daddy of all superheroes returning to the big screen has been nigh-on abusive but it’s here now. Well it’s about frigging time!
In an age of comic book adaptations where the likes of Elektra and Catwoman get the big screen treatment, there is of course an abundance of reasons behind the delay of everybody’s favourite alien’s flight back to Earth. There was only one explanation: the studio was being very, very careful with the cinematic hot potato. Keep it too similar to the original and it becomes almost a remake, change too much and subject millions of dollars worth of film to the barrage of whinging fans. They (almost) understandably took their time but was it all worth it in the end?
Too right it was! Choosing to follow the riskier "sequel" path than starting the franchise from scratch as Batman Begins did, any doubts will be gone faster than a speeding bullet. That famous John Williams score is back in all its glory and so is the good old title sequence from the first two superflicks. Taking place after Superman 2 and brushing the third and fourth farcical shite-fests under the carpet, Singer proves himself very respectful of Supes’ first couple of outings as well as the source material by chucking in the odd fanboy reference for those that are observant enough to spot them. A CGI-ed Marlon Brando is back as Superman Senior Jor-El while newcomer Routh flawlessly fills the tights of the late, great Christopher Reeve, nailing the character from the bumbling clumsiness of Clark Kent to the shitkicking powerhouse of Kal-El. It’s a flawless reimaging right down to the quiff.
Kate Bosworth’s Lois Lane on the other hand seems a smidge redundant as the headstrong prize-winning reporter who can’t spell and has a habit of sticking her nose in where it’s not wanted. She’s hardly as feisty or as wise cracking as Margot Kidder was and merely remains as a static annoyance throughout, continually punishing the caped kryptonian saying how she doesn’t need him (shortly after proving that she does) and kicking him while he’s down by flaunting her relationship with Richard ‘nephew-of-Perry’ White and their nipper Jason. Lois’s relationship with Superman is barely touched upon in this instalment with any lovey-dovey stuff just rearing its head every twenty or so minutes just to remind us that there is a point to his return but luckily it never gets in the way of the action as we’re treated time and time again to some truly jaw-dropping stuff such as Superman’s battle with a plummeting jet as he attempts to out-fly its drop to earth to save the love of his life and her co-passengers- it’s a hugely important scene, depicting the difficulty associated with the trials and feats he undertakes while also showing that despite all his abilities he’s not perfect and despite coming from a distant galaxy he’s still human, more than that it proves why the character has acquired the majesty associated with which it’s become almost synonymous.
Taking on the role of bald billionaire bastard Lex Luthor, Kevin Spacey delivers the goods as we all new he would, chewing up every scene he’s in and proving himself more that a mere mortal pain in Superman’s arse, he’s played with a likeable cheekyness and a dash of pure evil portrayed in early on when he finishes off an elderly aristocrat’s autograph after she dies in the middle of signing over her estate to him. Still when Luthor’s big scheme involves nicking a Kryptonian crystal to make his own continent – it almost doesn’t seem a big enough situation to warrant a nearly three-hour film – almost. With so much going on, you’ll never be bored even if some of the ideas suggested seem half baked; they're hardly the film’s kryptonite, instead merely paving way to the inevitable follow-up (here’s hoping).
Superman has returned tougher, bigger and bolder than ever. Returns is a more than worthy homecoming for the man of steel but no matter how many galaxies you can fly around and no matter how many people you can save, underpants are still meant to go under the trousers...