Superman Returns Missing Something: Reeve

Creepiest movie of the year.

Hostel, Wolf Creek, Saw II, III, whatever one they are up to now? No, try Superman Returns.

No Kate Bosworth’s acting is not that bad. As Lois Lane, she is significantly there to do a passable job. It’s Brandon Rouths pitch perfect imitation of Christopher Reeve that sent chills through my spine when we caught the flick on DVD this past Saturday.

Like Marlon Brando, whose archived voice and face from the first two Superman movies are in the film, it seems as if they brought Reeve back from the dead.

Routh not only looks eerily like Reeves but talks and has his mannerisms down pat. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but it is an interesting direction the producers decided to take. I’m sure that Routh’s status as an unknown actor doesn’t help this at all. If Nick Cage, as had been rumored, were Superman it’s a different film entirely.

All of us have fond memories of Christopher Reeve. He will always be Superman to a generation obsessed with pop cultute but does this movie do itself a disservice by not bringing anything original to the role of Superman? Routh’s performance is so dead on that even when he adds his own touches it stands out sorely. For example, Routh flies with closed fists not open palms, C pointed out. However, I was left to wonder  if that was an overly conscious decision on the producers part.

Kevin Spacey meanwhile went the opposite direction. His Lex Luthor is darker and angier than Gene Hackman’s. He’s less clown more maniac. Anyone who saw Spacey’s Hickey in the Iceman Cometh knows what I’m talking about. Interesting for Spacey, who most likely took the role to support his day job as creative director at the Old Vic Theater in London.

Despite the eeriness, Superman Returns is a relatively good popcorn movie and well worth a spot in your Netflix que. But it seems more like a missed opportunity and JC really wishes the film took more chances. Why saddle Routh with the unenviable task of following Reeve to begin with? An all digital Superman would have been a much more interesting return.

JC

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