Superman Returns, when all is said and done, was an amazing movie. It was pretty much everything I expected it to be. A hero like Superman has to have more than the typical origins and hero stops villain battle. Sure, it should include that because it is a superhero movie and that's what it does, but there has to be more to it. Superman had actual themes it carried out.
First off, the movie depicts how inspirational Superman is. How powerful he is. The effects helped out a lot in this department, something the original movies lacked. When we see Superman saving the plane, it looks almost believable. It's like we're there, and we react the way the people in Metropolis do - this is Superman, and he's back. Having Superman fight a villain is hard to do because he's so strong and fast there aren't many on his level. So instead of the Luthor/Supes moment being the big showdown, we get Superman lifting the entire island made from Kryptonian technology. He pushes his limits, and he's in real pain. I loved all that, it's exactly what I wanted to see from him.
As for that Luthor/Superman confrontation, it was enjoyable. Brief considering the length of the movie, but it worked well. I liked Lex Luthor, he's basically the living embodiment of the argument against needed a savior. And maybe he's right, as long as we can possess the fire of the gods, we can do things for ourselves. His plot for using Kryptonian technology was pretty cool, as was comparing it to past civilizations. But, man is corrupt and we abuse each other, as Luthor showed, so he wasn't exactly right. Kevin Spacey's Luthor was fun, and he had dimension.
That brings me to the actors. Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor was my favorite performance. He was a good counter to Superman's straight-laced and moral center. Superman questions his role in the world, as Luthor was ready to claim what he deserved. Brandon Routh was a good Superman. He was a good Clark, too. They seemed like two different characters. Kate Bosworth didn't do a whole lot for me. I liked her plot with Superman, but her presence wasn't that strong. James Marsden's character was enjoyable. I expected them to make us hate him, but he was a genuinely good guy. Loved Sam Huntington's Jimmy Olsen, though, he was awesome! Frank Langella as Perry White and the woman who played Martha Kent were also enjoyable.
Then there's Jason. He was a cute kid, and I liked him. I didn't suspect that he was Superman's son until Luthor pointed it out. When they first revealed it, I thought it was a bad idea. Superman having an illegitimate child? But by the end of the movie, I accepted it. I GOT it. Superman was gone for five years because he was searching for what was left of Krypton, he was searching for hope, but he didn't find it. Finding out that Jason is his son gave him hope and allowed him to pass down the legacy Jor-El passed to him.
So there you have it. Taken on its own, it was a fantastic movie. Hope, power, wonder, the idea of mankind having a savior, it's all in there. And it's all done well. Bryan Singer knew what he was doing. I liked all the eye candy, hearing the old Superman theme, and the fact that the movie was 2 and a half hours long really helped it. It wasn't in a rush to get from scene to scene, and with the whole "superhero summer blockbuster" mentality, that was refreshing.
I would give it four and a half stars! But wait, I'm a fan and a comic book collector, I can't just give it that much praise. Hm, tune in next time as I let my other nature come in and attack the movie with brutal honesty.