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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Dec 2014

Superman fails to impress this time

Mishty Varma, Hindustan Times   July 01, 2006
First Published: 19:37 IST(14/9/2007) | Last Updated: 22:18 IST(14/9/2007)

Superman Returns
Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: Brandon Routh, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, James Marsden, Frank Langella
Rating: **

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Despite the excitement of seeing the first Superman film in two decades, there is this question: Superman returns, but from where? The very first frame gives the answer that six years ago, Superman disappeared from earth to investigate remains of his home-planet, Krypton. He comes back and resumes his identity as Clark Kent, reporter with the Daily Planet newspaper, in the city of Metropolis.

Unfortunately, things have changed hugely as the Man of Steel discovers when he sees his lady-love Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) in a steady relationship, and with a young son.

While Superman gets back to his groove– rescuing burning aeroplanes, rescuing Lois Lane and taking her for a romantic flight, foiling bank robberies, and similar; Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) and his henchmen manage to locate Superman’s Fortress of Solitude (a secret cavern in the Arctic tundra which is the repository of Kryptonian knowledge and technology).

A skilful use of old footage shows Marlon Brando (from Superman II) as Jor-El, who teaches the power of crystals to Luthor. Using this Kryptonian technology, Luthor plans to seed entire continents on earth, destroying pre-existing landmasses in the process. This is the time for a sense of déja-vu, as it seems that from Superman I to Superman Returns, Lex Luthor remains a Real Estate salesman. Quite naturally, Superman saves the day and the planet.

The film tries to deliver but loses sense and purpose far too many times. It is too long and drags in parts. In fact, a better name for the film would be Superman Romances, for that is all the Man of Steel actively does (the five-second frame where they show Superman fighting crime in European, Middle-Eastern and Asian countries really does not count!). Then Lois whispers something to an unconscious Superman, lying in a hospital room, and a short while later he regains consciousness and flies off?

There are logical and continuity goofs all throughout the film. Check out Jimmy Olsen’s bowtie – a throwback to the comic-book character that was created in the 1940s. Take note how perfectly coiffed Lois’s hair is despite the fact that she has been flung about from wall to wall in a burning aeroplane. Don’t even try to wander what kind of mother would take her son knowingly into a dangerous place. Logic has clearly left the planet.

Despite these, Brandon Routh looks gorgeous, particularly as geeky Clark Kent but the fact remains that at times, a block of granite just may act better than him. Superman’s hairstyle – while matching Christopher Reeve’s – is really bad, and let’s not even discuss those blue tights. Must a saviour of the world be so sartorially challenged?

Well, no wonder Routh has become the gay community’s number one icon! Kate Bosworth is a convincing Lois Lane well and Frank Langella is good as the Daily Planet’s editor Perry White. However, Kevin Spacey, oozing style and charisma from the first scene to his last completely steals the show. His one-liners are priceless, such as “Gods are selfish beings who fly around in little red capes and don’t share power with mankind. I want to share power, but I want my cut.”

All in all, wait for the CD; this film does not warrant a trip to a cinema.

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