DIAL B for BLOG
NEW ISSUE ARCHIVES BOARD FAQ LINKS CONTACT ADVERTISE
The Hollywood Reporter called Superman Returns: “A heartfelt Superman movie that plays to a broad audience thanks to an emotionally troubled Man of Steel.”

Newsweek said: "Next to Singer's champagne, most recent superhero adventure movies are barely sparkling cider."

Time magazine raved: “Superman Returns is beyond Super. It's superb."

But of course, these are all mainstream reviews, written by people who are drive-by comic books fans at best. I know what you’re thinking: What did DIAL B for BLOG think of the movie? Wait... let me get out my dial...

Oh no... OH NO! NO! NO!

I never expected THIS!

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s...

.
.

Greetings, asswipe! Long time no see. EVIL Robby Reed here, and, as promised, I am going to take this dreadful piece of crapola apart at the seams. You think what I .did to “Infinite Crisis” was bad? HA! That was just a warm-up.

To start off, it seems by the quotes listed above that the mainstream media really likes Superman Returns. The sad, clueless motherfuckers. Hey mainstream media -- chew on THIS delicious money quote from EVIL Robby Reed:

“Superman Returns is a boring, dull and depressing kid’s movie made by people who know nothing of kids, a Christ metaphor made by people who know nothing of Christ, and, ultimately, a Superman movie made by people who know nothing of Superman.”

That’s right asswipes... I HATED this movie! Does that upset your delicate little sensibilities? Too bad. And if it does, I suggest you stop reading NOW, because it’s only going to get worse as I take this motherfucker apart like a brain surgeon obliterating a cancerous tumor with a laser.

One word review: BORING. If I get TWO words, then it’s SUPER-BORING. If I get three? You guessed it, asswipe, SUPER FUCKING BORING. Yeah, that’s right, I said it. It may b e “only” 2 1/2 hours, but it just SEEMS like a week and a half. It’s boring. Did I mention it’s boring? Wait, let me make of movie of how boring it is, then REMAKE that exact same movie 28 years later and call it a “sequel” or an “homage.” Why would I want to waste my time and money doing that? Well, why not? That’s EXACTLY what the creators of this turgid piece of celluloid Sominex did!

Let’s get it right out in the open, for everyone to see: Despite the massive hype and publicity, Superman Returns isn’t a SEQUEL to the 1978 Christopher Reeve Superman movie -- it’s a REMAKE. And an exceedingly poor remake at that. You see, filmmakers, a sequel is .where the story picks up where it left off, and continues. A remake, on the other hand, is when you just do the exact same fucking movie all over again... but make it “better.” And actually, judging by THAT standard, Superman Returns isn’t EVEN a remake, since it represents no significant improvement over the 1978 Superman movie at all. In fact, it’s far, far worse. And an infinite number of times more boring.

In fact, Superman Returns is not just boring, it’s SO boring! Why? Well, if you’ve seen the commercial where Superman rescues a jet plane, and then gets bombarded by bullets, then you’ve seen virtually the ONLY action scenes in this entire fucked-up movie! Of course, you haven’t seen the “big finale” where Superman actually lifts a rock! But trust me, action-packed it ain’t. (We’ll get to that particular trainwreck in a moment.)

If there’s no action, there MUST be a great story with lots of great dialogue, right? As Luthor screams at Lois, “WRONG!” This is a movie portraying a world where people do not talk to each other. No one has any desire for real discussions or meaningful exchanges. No matter what! Life, love, birth, death... no matter WHAT happens, it doesn’t rate a conversation that lasts longer than a single fucking minute -- if that!

OK, let’s get down to business. Time to go scene by scene and take this thing apart. Wait! Let me get my scalpel! OK, ready to operate....

The opening credits are the exact same flying, glowing flashy letters first seen in the 1978 Superman movie. At first, this comes off as a pleasant homage to that film. Little did I know at the time that it was a sign that the .entire movie would simply be a carbon-copy quality remake.

The opening scene shows Lex Luthor at the deathbed of his elderly and wealthy new wife, played by TV’s Lois Lane, elderly Noel Neill (who is probably NOT wealthy in real life). Like most scenes in this movie, it goes on and on and on forever, and contains endless shots that serve no purpose whatsoever. Luthor’s character is wildly inconsistent in this film -- sometimes zany, sometimes murderous. In this scene, he comes off like a bad sitcom character.

It feels like Kevin Spacey is sleepwalking through his entire ridiculous role, a role he seems to have accepted just for the huge payday it would bring. It damn sure wasn’t because he thought this Luthor was a well-written character, because his dialogue -- at least the few lines that WEREN’T stolen directly from the 1978 movie -- is written at a fifth-grade level. Parker Posey as Luthor’s girlfriend is fun, but she's an obvious knock-off of Valerie Perrine's wonderful Miss Teschmacher character from 1978, and that works about as well as you’d expect it to. She blends into THIS grim and dark movie like a snowball in a coal chute.

Luthor and ditsy chick Posley, together with some Batman TV show-style thugs, rush off to Superman's abandoned Fortress of Solitude, where, standing in for Kal-El in the 1978 movie, Lex replays Marlon Brando’s taped message to his son. Another “homage.” Lex steals the Kryptonian crystals, planning to use them to create a new continent (another “homage”) which he will rule with Kryptonian technology and become hyper-rich. Yeah, right. Like Kevin Spacey needs the money!
.
Meanwhile, just as baby Kal-El’s ship crashed in Smallville in 1978, grown-up Kal-El’s ship crashes in Smallville in 2006. As explained by Plot .Device Superman, he left for five years to go into space, and see if there was anything left of his native planet, Krypton. He can fly into outer space without breathing, but still, he took a spaceship, which for some reason crashed upon landing.

Did I say for SOME reason? I meant that it crashed because they had to duplicate the original 1978 crash. THAT reason. Oh, and he's wearing an all-black super-suit (see photo of an edited scene on the right to get a good look at it -- we never really see it in the movie), again for no reason.

But why did Superman REALLY leave, plot-wise? What purpose does it serve for the “story,” such as it is? Basically, he left so Lois could have time to give birth to a baby boy -- out of wedlock -- who is now four years old. Lois Lane, an unwed mother? Living with another man? And that man is Perry White’s son, played with dewey eyes and broken heart by James Marsden, who also played Cyclops .in th X-Men movies?? That's Lois Lane?

Not my Lois Lane! Who the hell came up with THAT idea? Is she Angelina Jolie now? Whatever. No one in the movie seems to care a bit about Lois having a bastard child.

Oh, you think I’m being harsh? You don’t think it’s all THAT bad? Well, my spoiler alerted little ass-wipe friend, what if I tell you that the bastard kid is actually SUPERMAN’s son! That’s right, the kid was apparently conceived in Superman II. Remember that tryst Supes and Lois had in the Fortress, when Superman gave up his powers temporarily?

So now we have a super-powered, super child running around the Superman movi e mythos. A Super Son! Bob Haney would be so proud! All these years we’ve been laughing at the old Super-Sons series of stories from World’s Finest and the more recent “Elseworlds 80-page Giant” (seen below), and now it turns out that they were the basis for the plot of Superman Returns! Does director Bryan Singer know that the old Bob Haney Super Son stories from World’s Finest have been ridiculed by comic fans for DECADES? Someone should have told him.
.
Anyway -- before Superman returns, CLARK also returns... to no particular fanfare. Clark’s comeback is hardly noticed. Clark is background furniture in this movie. And although no one suspects Clark is Superman -- except in a "believable" scene where Lois and her new man DO suspect, but then almost immediately think, “How fucking .stupid of us to even think that!” Real ace reporters they are.

I know full well that no one is supposed to notice the similiarities, but come fucking on! Superman and Clark have both been away for exactly the same amount of time, they both reappear the same WEEK, and they, as always, LOOK exactly the same. But no, it can’t be. Why? Ummm... because the movie says so. That’s why! And .don’t ask me again, asswipe!

It seems that only pleasingly doofy Jimmy Olsen, played here strictly for laughs by Sam Huntington, cares at ALL that Clark is back. Lois and Perry White sure don’t.

And by the way, Frank Langella as Perry White turns in the ONLY really great acting job in the movie. Much credit goes to veteran stage and screen actor Langella, who alone in this film has the gravitas and experience necessary to convert a scant few lines of dialogue into a real character. Although almost every scene he’s in is simply a remake of Jackie Cooper’s Perry White scenes in the original (more “homage”), Langella pulls them off beautifully.

In the 1978 Superman movie, I loved the scene where Clark is confounded by a half-open phone booth, then rips open his shirt to reveal his world famous big red “S” symbol. In yet another “homage,” that scene is duplicated here -- but this time, believe it or not, the big “S” reveal is completely ruined because the “S” symbol is actually OUT OF THE FRAME by the time Clark’s shirt comes off! WHAT THE .FUCK!?!??! Totally inexcusable.

Did anyone actually take the trouble to WATCH this movie before it was released?! Or did they think putting the "S" on his belt buckle would make up for this criminally mis-shot scene?
.
By the way, Brandon Routh is a servicable Superman, although in many scenes his smooth young face looks as though it’s made out of plastic. Is he a good actor? Who the fuck knows. It’s hard to tell from this movie. Inexplicably, he barely speaks during the entire thing!

The next “homage” in the film, which is to say the next SCENE, has Superman rescuing Lois from a damaged jet plane. Just like he rescued her from that helicopter in 1978. The 2006 jet rescue is one of the VERY few bright spots in Superman Returns. The effects look great, Superman looks great, and it really IS action packed... all three minutes of it.

Also great is a scene where a gattling-gun is fired at Superman, point blank. This provided another good minute, including a fun shot of a single bullet bouncing off Superman’s eyeball. I also liked the Action cover homage scene, although holy fuck, ANOTHER homage!

.
These few minutes of scenes were exciting, expertly crafted and fun -- but they were so brief, they only increased my horror at how boring the movie’s OTHER 140 endless minutes were. Anyway, back to the “story.” Luthor creates his new continent -- is it a wonderous new visual treat manufactured by the latest digital .technology? Fuck no!

It’s basically a spray-painted black rock, an enormous version of Superman’s 1978 fortress. And just as in 1978, an earthquake creates many “jobs for Superman.” He flies a lot, uses his heat vision to vaporize falling glass, and puts out a fire with his super-breath. Yay! Another three whole minutes of good footage! Then boo! back to the boredom... no wait! A new wrinkle! Not just boring now, but ... SADISTIC!

Lois is played by gorgeous Kate Bosworth, who is a superfine smoldering sexpot. She is! Unfortunately, Lois Lane isn't. Margot Kidder, intelligent, engaging and sexy -- but not too sexy -- fit the part much better. In fact, most of this movie is terribly cast. Bosworth comes off as a supermodel stuck in print journalism when in real life she'd be an anchorwoman on CNN.

Anyway, Lois and her Super-Son are held captive by Lex, and Super-Son is forced to witness one of Luthor’s thugs throwing his mommy across the room like a rag doll. In agony, she crawls across the floor trying to escape. The thug looks for a weapon. First he sees a knife, then decides a big rock paperweight would be better. More painful and brutal, I suppose. Nice! A real family film.

Super Son sees all this and gets upset, so he throws a grand piano at the thug. The thug is killed. That’s right, KILLED. For no reason, of course. So, right at the start of his young s uperhero career, we have “Super Son, Super Murderer!” A true Silver Age baby.

But sadly, this is the MODERN age, and this is a movie (supposedly) rated PG, (supposedly) for kids. Or, alternately, for parents who don’t mind their kids seeing children their own age being kidnapped, abused, almost drowned, put in horrific danger, and then they murder someone to get out of it. A great life lesson for little Johnny!
.
As I said, Luthor’s new continent, situated in the sea near Metropolis, is laced with Kryptonite. Or at least it's supposed to be. But again, so what? Kryptonite only affects Superman sometimes, right? Right? RIGHT? So Superman flies to the bleak, dull Kryptonite continent, lands, and ...
.
.
listens to Luthor drone on and on before he finally, finally, FINALLY realizes he is weakening. Duh!

Next, Luthor drops his zany comedy persona and becomes a sadistic killer. How will kids handle this sudden, swift change? Well, who cares. Not the people who made this dreadful movie. They know nothing of kids.

Luthor viciously kicks the shit out of the powerless Superman, and as he does, Lex asks Supes, with great disdain, “Didn’t your father ever teach you to look before you leap?” Bravo, Lex! I was wondering the very same thing.

Supes is too busy being kicked in the teeth to answer Luthor, but what if he HAD given him a truthful answer? That answer, if the beaten Superman had had the strength to GIVE it, would have been...
.
Next we are treated to a lovely little scene where Superman is mercilessly beaten up by thugs right out of the Batman TV series. I kept looking for their names to be written on their chests, like the Joker used to have henchmen labeled “comedy” and shit like that.

Advancing the poorly-handled “Superman is Christ” theme, the super-beating scene on Luthor’s desolate new continent plays like a low-rent version of the punishment Jesus endured in Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ.” Superman is .kicked repeatedly and brutally in the face and stomach, punched numerous times, and has his head forcibly held underwater. All with no resistance.

Finally, Luthor stabs Superman with a shard of pure Kryptonite. He staggers and collapses, manages to stand up, but then falls limply off a high cliff, dropping like a rock into the icy water below. Strangely, for some reason, drowning makes this new Superman recall Marlon Brando’s deranged and pseudo-meaningful outtakes from 1978. They make almost no sense, but whatever. He’s drowning.

The drowning Superman is rescued by Lois, the Super Son and Cyclops. But surprisingly, Superman tells them, deadpan fashion, “I have to go back.” OK, maybe he DOES have to go .back... but the entire new continent is Kryptonite-laced! Would it absolutely KILL him to wear a lead suit or something? Actually, it might kill him NOT to!

But it’s really not necessary, because the Kryptonite continent only seems to affect him on alternate Tuesdays. When talking with Lex, it drained his powers and nearly killed him. But lifting the whole thing and hurling it into space.... THAT has almost no effect, except it IS grimace-inducing. So Superman returns to the new continent, severs its foundations with his heat vision, then lifts the ENTIRE thing out of the sea and hurls it into space.

When he’s DONE, the Kryptonite suddenly affects him again, and, in another oh-so subtle “Superman as Christ” scene, Supes spreads out his arms, posing as though affixed to a cross, then falls to earth. Luckily he doesn’t hit anyone, because he lands with quite a huge bang.

Guess he was so concerned with getting rid of the new continent, he forgot to worry about where he’d hit when he fell to earth. So what. What’s the worst that could happen, he could kill somebody? So what. His super-kid’s already a murderer, and HE’s barely out of diapers!

After a brief and embarrassingly costumeless stay in the hospital, Superman recovers. The first thing he does? Fly to Lois’ house -- not talk to Lois, but to give the Marlon Brando “father becomes the son, and the son becomes the father” speech to his sleeping Super Son.

As he flies off, never even thinking of stopping to chat with the mother of his child, Lois runs out of the house, and as a total afterthought, Superman deigns to converse momentarily with her. Do they discuss future plans? Their half-human, half-alien baby? Hey asswipe, haven't you been paying attention? Of course not! THEY DON'T TALK IN THIS MOVIE! Lois and Superman don’t even take a few minutes to talk -- now or ever. No matter what. NOTHING will make these two have a conversation of any length. Maybe they’re telepathic?

As they part, Lois asks wistfully, “Will we see you?”

Superman replies “I’m always around,” and zooms off to fly over the world, just as he did in the ending of the original Superman movie.
.
At the end, a big “To Be Continued” banner don't REALLY fill the screen, but it really should, since this is obviously the opening movie in a projected three-movie series. I guess part two will feature Superman and Lois on Maury Povich taking a paternity test, with the crowd booing Superman for abandoning Lois, and poor Kal screaming back at them “Don’t judge me! You don’t know me!” as I flip the channel.

.Like I said at the beginning, Superman Returns is a kid’s movie made by people who know nothing of kids -- or if they DO, they think kids enjoy being placed in terrible danger, watching their mothers getting beaten up, and killing people.

Superman Returns is a Christ metaphor made by people who know nothing of Christ -- or if they DO, they think Christ was someone whose mission was to get beaten up and executed for no particular reason. They seem totally unaware that Christ's pain represented God's punishment for mankind's sins, and that his resurrection was not a tacked-on "happy ending" to an otherwise grim story -- it was, for believers, the salvation of humanity.

And finally, perhaps worst of all, Superman Returns is a Superman movie made by people who know nothing of Superman -- or if they DO, they think Superman is a sad, lonely, depressed alien who inspires no one and is quite stupid, both in the use of his powers, and in his total disregard for quaint “human customs” such as marriage, responsibility for fathering a child, and occasionally having an intelligent conversation. The best part of Superman Returns? Seeing the couldn’t-be-better trailer for “Spider-Man 3,” which comes out next summer. How sad is THAT?

This Superman movie is not super, nor is it superb. The only “super” qualitiy it has, in the opinion of me -- Evil Robby Reed, the creator of the blog and author of this review -- is super boredom. This "quality" made seeing the movie a super waste of my time and several years of the filmmakers' lives, as well as my ticket money and over $200 million of the filmmakers' money -- leaving us all with one desperate, last hope...
.

THE END!
NEXT ON DIAL B FOR BLOG

.


POST YOUR COMMENTS BELOW!