Poorly Written Review of “Superman Returns”

Yesterday afternoon, Alicia and I went to see Superman Returns at the theater. My reviews inevitably contain spoilers, so you have been forewarned if that makes a difference to you.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from SR, and I only knew about plot elements seen within the spoilers–I hadn’t read any plot stories or rumors online at all for this movie. Superman, after being gone for some time, returns to Earth to find that Lex Luthor is up to old tricks trying to strike it rich, and like his plan in the classic 1978 Superman movie, Luthor is after land. It isn’t California this time; rather, using the power of Superman’s crystals combined with kryptonite, Luthor seeks to create a new continent in the Atlantic Ocean, which would eventually overtake North America. And of course, mighty Superman cannot allow this to happen.

While Superman was gone, however, life moved on. Lois Lane gave birth to a child and became engaged to Richard Perry (played by “Cyclops” James Marsden of X-Men fame). “Clark, Richard. Richard, Clark,” went the introduction of Clark Kent with Richard, which made Alicia & I chuckle (Richard Clark is my name).

And the world at large moved on, apparently showing Lois that the world doesn’t really need Superman, and she is being awarded the Pulitzer for her work, “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman.” And in her first personal meeting with Superman after he returns, she tells him that the world does not need a savior.

Oh how often that is thought. This is where SR shines. Superman, the only son of Kryptonian Jor-El, is sent to Earth to be a light to humanity, to guide us and to be an example, perhaps even to save us from ourselves. Sound familiar? All fiction has elements of truth in it, and quite often, elements of Truth show up as well. This is one of those times.

Two-thousand years ago, God sent His only Son to Earth. He became a man that He might relate to us intimately, that He might be the greatest example of how to live life.

Both Superman and Jesus Christ recognized that mankind can not save itself. But there is a striking difference. Superman spent his time on what we could call temporal incidents. Jesus spent His time on the eternal. While Superman rescues men falling from buildings or runaway cars, Jesus spent His time opening wide the mysteries of the Old Testament, revealing to us our Creator in a way that we never could have known before.

I’m not sure how accurate this is, but in the movie Superman died, if for ever so brief a moment. Presumably a few days later, he is back at 100%, imparting his wisdom to another (I’ll be nice and not say who). But what did Superman die for? Superman may have been a savior, but in his world, the second you die, what Superman did or didn’t do no longer mattered. Nothing was done that would last.

Jesus died that we might live. And He rose again that we might not fear death. And no matter how often this is touched on in fiction–in The Lord of the Rings (Gandalf’s “death,” descent into “Hell,” and his return in glory), in The Chronicles of Narnia (Aslan’s death for one boy in a bargain with a witch and his subsequent resurrection based upon a technicality of the ruling magic of the world), and now in SR–no matter how often, it is always distorted so that Christ is robbed of His glory. The stories almost mock the true account of Christ by mirroring so many of the details, reminding me a lot of the savior-myths that arose after Christ came (which many people ignorantly claim came before Christianity and inspired it, ignoring the fact that the Old Testament prophesied exactly what Christ needed to do, without the need of ideas from mythology).

The world does need a savior. If all it gets is a Kryptonian, this world is still doomed. The soul of man is still condemned. No amount of belief in Superman would truly save anyone in Metropolis, Gotham, Smallville, or anyplace else. Superman isn’t even a unique savior in his own world, for Supergirl and Superboy exist as well (though not within the story of SR). Isn’t it wonderful that a true “Superman” did come at one point, and He came as one of us. Fully God, fully man, He is the unique God-man, a title which no one else in history could ever rightly claim. And if it ever did come down to putting my faith in one who is God and one who is “super,” it would not be a difficult choice. (In fact, depending on just what the Beast is like, the world may one day face such a choice.)

Aside from all that, a few comments on the movie.

  • Superman was apparently gone for five years because astronomers discovered what they thought were the remains of Krypton, Superman’s homeworld. Superman left to see if there were any other survivors. Despite being a pretty noticeable fact throughout the movie, the writers seemed to have forgotten Superman’s powers come from our yellow sun. Assuming he could leave our solar system to go find another planet many, many light years away, there is no way he would survive in space once a certain distance was between he and the sun. He would have died in space, never to return. Plus, Superman cannot travel faster than the speed of light, and the nearest star, let alone planets or remains thereof, is 23 lightyears away! Okay, I’m an idiot. I thought the thing Superman returned with looked familiar. I mistook it for an asteroid, but in fact, it was the ship used to originally send him to Earth from Krypton. Apparently, it still functioned, and he used it to travel to space and back. It using Kryptonian technology, any matter of distance or life support is pretty much moot. I can’t believe I missed this, but thanks to my wife for pointing it out to me!
  • The graphics visual effects were great, and the music was awesome. I’m glad they were able to keep John William’s score from the original movies.
  • Lois’ son should have played a larger part in the story, and if you see the movie, you’ll understand what I mean by this.
  • I don’t think it matters how much heart he had, his proximity to an island-sized chunk of kryptonite should have rendered him powerless a lot quicker than it did, and there is no way he could have listed such an island.
  • And what about Lex Luthor? He’s a lot smarter than Gilligan and his shipmates were in a similar situation! We’re just going to leave him on that island?

And I’m done. I should have wrote this yesterday with everything still fresh in my mind, and I admit I’m not the best at movie reviews. I don’t write them often enough to get the style better. If you go to movies, then I recommend SR. The action violence isn’t too bad, though I have heard some recount how children in the theater cried when Superman was beat down (these are the same children, presumably, being raised without any reverence of the Lord’s tortorous death, let alone any passion at all regarding it). There were few profanities, but none of the “biggies.” There was no sexual content, no drug or alcohol use, and smoking was portrayed negatively. The world created in the movie, as is typical, existed as if religion was non-existent, save for a few nuns showing up in a crowd. In such a world, it is no wonder that an Kryptonian in tights is lauded as a savior.

I also point out that the world awaits a god from “out there.” The gods came down in Genesis 6. They appeared throughout the Old Testament. Certain Christians were mistaken for Greco-Roman gods in Acts. And today scientists await the day contact is made with another world, with aliens more advanced than we that could guide us through our technological puberty, so to speak. The Star Trek mythos (especially in the original series) often proposed that the gods of old were aliens from other planets. Isn’t that interesting?

8 thoughts on “Poorly Written Review of “Superman Returns”

  1. Senior says:

    “Lois’ son should have played a larger part in the story, and if you see the movie, you’ll understand what I mean by this.”

    I’m sure that is saved for the next installment.

  2. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Oh I’m sure.

    On another note, Spiderman 3 had a trailer at the beginning of Superman Returns. It’s shaping up quite nicely, I must admit.

    Though I am far more excited of the impending Transformers non-cartoon movie.

  3. Senior says:

    Yes, I noted the Spiderman 3 trailer. Looks great! But almost a year away….

    Transformers??? I’m sorry I don’t share any of your interest there! :)

  4. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    I’m guessing you saw Superman Returns then? What’d you think?

  5. Senior says:

    It was pretty good. But not nearly as good as hyped. There were a few scenes that seemed to be lifted straight out of the first Christopher Reeves Superman.

    The plot was weak. Superman’s cape wasn’t red. What’s his name is no Christopher Reeve. Would of been better to get someone different rather than someone who looked so much like Reeve.

    I enjoyed it, but it’s probably only two stars on a four star scale.

  6. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    I have heard several say it was as good or better than the first two of Reeve’s movies, and I have heard that Routh was as good or better than Reeve. I wouldn’t go that far, but I enjoyed his performance. And his appearance fit. He looked like Superman should look.

    Also, the cape isn’t red. So? The blue on his suit isn’t as vibrant either. It’s because Superman is no longer America’s hero; he’s international. It’s “truth, justice… all that stuff,” as Perry White said in the movie.

    As for some of the scenes, the only one I know of which was right out of the original was the ending where he flies up and passes in view of the camera. But it was done in homage to the original and makes sense as such. The movie dedication, which appeared shortly thereafter, was to Christopher Reeve and his wife.

  7. Senior says:

    “Also, the cape isn’t red. So? The blue on his suit isn’t as vibrant either.”

    I liked it red with the vibrant blue. Just a personal preference.

    I didn’t like the Jimmy Olson actor. Perry White was boring. We get a brief glimpse of Ma Kent outside the hospital when Superman is in the hospital, but then forget all about her (better to have left her forgotten after the opening).

    The more I think about the movie, the worse it gets!!! LOL!

    Superman’s return to earth closely parallels his original arrival. Then there is the nighttime flight with Lois. A discussion of the x-ray vision and that lead stops it is done differently than the first film, but covers the same ground.

    Interview with Lois on the rooftop…..

    I really feel that the only purpose of this film is to set the stage for the next one.

  8. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Perhaps, but the first X-Men movie really only set the stage for the sequel; it spent much more time introducing the characters, explaining mutants, etc. than anything else.

    I liked the actor who played Jimmy Olson. May not have been in line with the character, but his portrayal was fun I thought. You are right about White being boring, though I thought the touch of having Mrs. Kent visiting the hospital was somewhat important, as it showed part of the problem with having two identities. Superman is injured, but his own mother can’t even visit without revealing he is Clark Kent.

    And you are right, there were more parallels with the first than I had noticed.

    I also disliked that Superman shows up at Lois’ house and starts spying on them. If he’s supposed to be one of the “goodiest” superheroes out there, are we to think that kind of spying is a good thing? (Though he could just be mirroring the actions of the current American government…)

    I may be the only one to have noticed this, but the first time we see Superman use his laser vision, when he’s separating the shuttle from the plane, it is shown in close-up, and it looked more to me like he was shooting flames out of his nostrils. Until the wide angle was shown, I was a bit confused about just what happening!

    I wonder if we’ll see any of the funky powers in the sequel that Christopher Reeve’s Superman used at the end of his first sequel while fighing the trio of Kryptonian criminals: teleportation, decoys, expanding “S” things, lazers from the hands, etc. (As if Supes wasn’t powerful enough without all that stuff too.)

    I liked James Marsden better as Cyclops than as Richard Perry. His five-ten minutes in X-Men 3 were such a rip off to the character.

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