Notes on *Superman Returns*

Superman seems to be on many genre-fans’ minds these days, especially with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice to be released in theaters 2+ weeks from now. Plus, an actor that previously played the Man of Steel, Brandon Routh, can be seen nowadays as an armored version of Ray Palmer, aka The Atom, in DC’s “Legends of Tomorrow” series. So, when I remembered that I had some notes from back when I saw Routh in Superman Returns (2006), I thought I may as well share them now….

Superman ReturnsGeneral

Overall, good and a nice ‘return’ for the franchise, but not what I’d hoped for. Decent casting, though the only one that really stands out is Spacey as Luthor. Bosworth as Lane was OK, but not great. Routh as Clark/Supes was pretty good, though he could stand to bulk up a bit more.

Somehow, I never got the thrill that I got with the first two Reeve films, though. But, the old music certainly helped get me close.

[I will add here that, as I recall, the plot was OK — fairly typical for such genre fare –, but it could/should have been much better. I can’t really remember any themes or moral lessons, unfortunately. No, wait,… I do remember somewhat of a messianic theme. I may need to watch it again.]

The Ship

Did Clark return in that crystal-ship (if that’s what it was), or did it somehow follow him? Was it the original ship, somehow restored? Is that how he managed to travel for several years… in space… w/o food or water… away from the yellow sun?  I hope so, because that needs explaining.

The Action

What was the timing for the climactic events? Lois picked up her son at 3:15pm, then enough time elapsed in which she didn’t show (presumably at the Daily Planet offices) for Perry et al. to be worried. And it was still daylight when Superman fell from the sky into the park. I can accept that the next scenes (i.e., crowds outside the hospital, Lois et al. at the Planet) took place the next day, but it seems like a LOT happened before that.

Let’s assume that Lex’s mansion was no more than 15 minutes away from Jason’s school, so they got there by 3:30pm. Let’s also assume that it is mid-summer and it doesn’t get dark until about 8pm. And, let’s then assume that it got dark very soon after Superman fell. (Btw, how did he manage to fall back into Metropolis, after flying into the outer atmosphere w/ the Earth rotating below him?) That gives roughly 4 1/2 hours for EVERYTHING to happen!

And that brings up another point. Based on Lex’s maps (who made those, anyway?), the center of the new landmass would be many, many miles off the coast. Yet, they seemed to get where they were going fairly quickly. It COULD have taken hours, but then there wouldn’t have been any daylight left for the rest of the crystal growth, resulting dangers & rescues in Metropolis, Superman finding and getting beaten by Luthor, Lois & others finding Superman, Superman returning and “excising” the crystal growth, etc.

Incidentally, where did that sliver of kryptonite come from that the doctor removed? Was it leftover from the shard he was stabbed with, and he still managed to recharge enough that he could lift/push that mass of crystal even with the kryptonite in him?! Or, did the sliver grow into him as he was pushing the crystal mass out of orbit?

Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor

Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor

The Kid

How old is Jason White? Superman must have left Earth before Lois was showing — say, within 3 months of conception, so she gave birth roughly 6 months later. He was gone about 5 years, but let’s say anywhere from 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 years. This makes Jason 5 years at the oldest and 4 years at the youngest. Yet, to my eyes, he looks at least 7.

Also, if Jason’s last name is really ‘White’, does that mean Richard legally adopted him, even though he and Lois aren’t married? I suppose Lois could have given Jason the name at birth, but that would mean she and Richard were already dating pretty seriously….

So, perhaps it wasn’t as bad as some have made it out to be in the nearly 10 years since it came out. But, the film was definitely a “mixed bag”. As usual, several of my observations/complaints could have been avoided or resolved with a bit more attention to detail on the part of the writers and director.

Next time you watch Superman Returns, keep a few of these things in mind, and then let me know if you had the same questions and/or if you thought of a good way to explain any of it. Cheers!

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