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  Superman Returns Review  

Superman returns after a five-year journey to the remains of Krypton to find Lois Lane is now a mother and engaged to be married. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor is out of jail and hell bent on revenge against the man of steel with yet another real estate scheme that threatens to kill billions...

Bryan Singer is undoubtedly living every fanboy's dream at the moment. First he has the opportunity to bring the X-men to the silver screen in two of the major films of recent years, and now he's been given the chance to breathe new life into the Superman franchise.

However unlike Singer's vision of the X-men, where he effectively had free reign, he was obviously aware that his take on Superman would be heavily compared with the Richard Donner Superman movies. Because of this Singer seems to have gone into homage overdrive! From the adoption of John Williams' original 1978 theme music, a voice-over by Marlon Brando from the original, and an opening credits sequence borrowed almost entirely from Donner's films, Singer takes every opportunity to make a nod to the movie predecessors. Lex Luthor's real estate scheme seems to have been lifted almost directly from the 1978 movie, and he even goes so far as to sum up the plot of the Donner movies using Lex Luthor's train set! Singer even managed to sneak in a few passing references to the better known comic covers from years gone by, such as the 1938 Action Comics #1 cover when he is seen lowering a truck to the ground.

As for the actors, Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor steals the movie by far. Darker than Gene Hackman's portrayal, Spacey brings to life a Lex Luthor you can believe might actually beat Superman, whilst interspersing him with just enough dark humour.

But Kate Bosworth's Lois Lane is harder to accept. Bosworth doesn't bring the same determined worldly attitude to the reporter that Margot Kidder managed in the same role. And the storyline involving her son seems tacked on at the last minute, adding little to the movie as a whole. Hopefully the questions raised will be addressed in the sequel.

But finally, saving the best for last, we have new comer Brandon Routh as the Man of Steel himself. At times it is easy to forget that you aren't watching Christopher Reeve back in the title role, so similar are both their physical appearance and characterisation when playing Clark Kent. But Routh also brings a sadder side to the Superman character, a man that has lost not only his home planet, but now also Lois Lane after his five year absence. The superman mantle is in safe hands.

Overall this is a thoroughly enjoyable, if long, film for all the family. Well worth seeing and the start of what will hopefully be a return to strength for the Superman movie series.

Review by Paul