Superman Returns Review II

July 13th, 2006 | Posted in General

Last night I went to see “Superman Returns” again with a good friend, this time at the local Imax, where 20 minutes of the footage was in 3-D.

First off, I have mixed feelings about the 3-D moments in the film. In some respects the depth of field made the 3-D scenes even more dynamic. The plane crash scene was especially cool in 3-D, as were parts of the half-ship rescue. Maybe it was just me, but the scenes seemed darker, and the focus was fuzzy enough to make the action harder to follow. Those are probably necessary evils with the technology, but I still think I would prefer to see the film with clear focus as opposed to having zany 3-D effects in my face. Finally, the 3-D glasses are not a good look for me. Still, I would recommend seeing the movie at the Imax in 3-D if it’s playing near you, as long as it’s not your first viewing of the film.

After the second viewing, most of my previous review I still stand behind, except for two things. I’ve changed my mind a bit concerning the performances of Brandon Routh and Kevin Spacey. In my review of a few days ago I said Routh did not play Superman with much emotional range, and that he made him a bit too stoic. After the second viewing, I have to say he added plenty of emotion to the role, he just did it more subtly than Christopher Reeve did. You really got the sense that he was an alien in this film (and not just from his hair). He projected the lonely and isolated soul that Superman truly is, alone on a planet of aliens whom he has sworn to protect, even though he is not one of them. His Clark Kent was also good, with the awkwardness not too over-the-top but there none-the-less. Maybe when he fights his evil self in a later sequel, he can really let loose….. nah, Hollywood can’t really be that stupid TWICE, can they? Don’t answer than. Regardless, I hope Routh stays in the role for several sequels as I think he’ll only get more comfortable, and perhaps he’ll stop the Chris Reeve impersonation and start bring more of himself to the role. Please, no Nuclear Man.

Kevin Spacey also had a few more menacing moments than I saw the first time around. He was still missing that scene where he drove it home, but I could see Singer and Spacey trying for the menace between the flippant, smart ass dialogue in a few places. Maybe I am so used to Spacey hitting home runs that when he only hits a stand up double I’m left feeling cheated. He’s a victim of his own brilliance, then.

I also noticed that, when the CGI Superman was on-screen, they beefed him up a bit over the real Brandon Routh. Witness the scene where he floats in space over the earth, listening to the world (despite the lack of atmosphere to carry the sound waves, but that’s for the super-geeks to gnash their teeth about) and the camera rotates around him. That’s CGI Superman, until the cape flutters over the camera, then on the other side of the cape it’s the real Brandon Routh’s head and ear. He looks really big in that scene, both in the arms and lats. He looks like Superman. That might be an early special effects scene, as it was one of the first images we saw in the teasers. Regardless, I still think Routh looked the part much more convincingly than I thought he would from the early stills. He’s got some time to beef up before the next role.

The movie won’t be in Imax theaters in 3-D for long, so if you liked the movie and want to catch it again, don’t wait too long.


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