* * * BEWARE...THERE WILL BE SPOILERS * * *
I wanted to start off with a nice intro paragraph like I normally do. This time talking about how I was looking forward to this moment being a fan of Bryan Singer's work and being a Norwalk alum. Or talking about how I grew up with Superman beginning with the Superfriends days to the eventual movies. No, the best way to start it off is simply...Wow.
When I saw BJ at the Iowa premiere of "Superman Returns", I was thinking to myself there is no way this kid can pull off this role, I don't care who the director is. He's skinny, has bushy eyebrows, no real presence to him, almost nerdy. Well he channeled all that into the Clark Kent side and had Clark down perfectly. Nervous speech and all.
BJ's Superman was incredibly awesome. He brought some emotional vulnerability to the character that had never really been tapped into before. You could see in his Superman the effect that living with humans and then eventually living without them had had on him. You would think that a rookie shouldn't be able to be that believable in his first blockbuster role. Not since, well, Christopher Reeve, has someone done it so well.
I had mentioned that it was key that the chemistry between him and Lois be there and it was. As a matter of fact, the reason the love triangle between her, BJ and Cyclops works so well is because of the chemistry between Kate Bosworth and BJ. You can see how conflicted Lois is having to decide between the life she took on when Superman left and the life she may want now that he's back. Furthermore, BJ does an excellent job displaying the anguish Superman has to deal with knowing life on earth has moved on without him.
Singer is the king of subtleties when it comes to his superhero flicks. Here, it's the classic poses he recreates that really work. Superman's pose from his first appearance in Action Comics with the car and the Atlas pose with the Daily Planet globe. Then he slips in the shot with Lois' boy showing a glimpse of the trademark Superman single curl after we have already realized that's his son.
Speaking of his son, that's one of the minor tings I will nitpick. Isn't everything about Superman super? So how could a regular human woman withstand him conceiving a child? I think you follow me.
My biggest struggle with this flick was if Superman was gone five years, Clark Kent was gone five years. Superman doesn't even try to be slick about it. He reveals himself to the world again on the exact same day Clark makes his re-appearance. No one makes the connection? Cyclops eludes to it then it's quickly dismissed. And Lois, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, doesn't pick up on this?
As far as villains go, as expected, Kevin Spacey is the perfect Lex Luthor. Right on par with Gene Hackman's portrayal; however, even a little more sinister. He's still real anal about real estate scams which seems rather simplistic for a criminal mastermind. I wouldn't mind seeing him back again, but they really need a villain that can physically go head-to-head with Superman. If they bring in Doomsday for the sequel, all other superhero movies can pretty much hang it up.
The special effects are where this movie blows everything else away. Superman's sonic boom flying owns. His scene with the airplane now parallels the famous Golden Gate Bridge scene from "X3". Viewing it all on IMax helped to give it all the justice it deserves. There's so much visual stimulation throughout that you almost overlook the 2 1/2 hour run-time.
I knew this movie would be better than expected. I just didn't expect it to be THAT much better. Singer has made arguably his best movie yet. They've made almost the best Superman movie yet. And BJ has gained my respect by proving his acting chops earned him this role. We may not need Superman, but we definitely needed a movie like this.
My rating: A