And does he ever!
I drove nine hours to see Superman Returns. More honestly, I drove nine hours to a south-east beach town for a week, to relax and vacation. But, the beach has a huge multi-plex cinema just a few blocks from where I'm staying. So, I knew well in advance that this week will be catch-up time for movies with stadium-seating, hot, buttered popcorn and over-sized and over-priced sodas.
Oh! And Goobers! My favorite movie snack. But, I digress.
Superman Returns has almost everything I hoped it would have: A promising young star who seems to have connected with the Superman and Kent characters well, and who will be able to carry the franchise in future sequels; special effects so incredible that they make it seem almost normal to watch a guy fly unaided into space, lift airplanes and have bullets bounce off his chest; and a Metropolis that is darker, more brooding than in previous Superman titles. Singer does a wonderful job making Supes more human...an early scene where Clark has a beer with Jimmy Olsen is priceless. Seeing the Big Boy Scout hoist a Bud to his lips as he ponders his future was one of my favorite shots.
Despite producers saying there is no parallel to a Christ-figure in the movie, it seemed to me there clearly is. There is much talk in the flick about Supes being sent to save mankind by example and serve as our leader, and lots of Christian imagery. Supes hears the individual cries of thousands as he hovers in space above the earth, and a scene where he is beaten by his enemies seemed eerily similar to one or two scenes in The Passion Of The Christ. And finally, when Supes saves the planet while taking what might be his final breath, his arms extend into a crucifixion-style pose. I loved the imagery, and thought it added greatly to the mythology.
The acting is above par, save for Kate Bosworth. She seemed way too young to be as accomplished a person and journalist as Lois is supposed to be. Overall, though, Superman Returns in a big, big way! See it in the theater. ***1/2