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Routh a surprisingly super man

 by Jamise Lidell
 published on Thursday, July 6, 2006

Superman Returns is rated PG-13 and runs 154 minutes. The film opened nationwide last week./issues/arts/697085
Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Superman Returns is rated PG-13 and runs 154 minutes. The film opened nationwide last week.
 

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You've seen one caped-crusader sequel you've seen them all, right?

Join the club, if you are among the hordes of folks who weren't necessarily excited about yet another Superman adventure.

But Superman Returns is quite an engaging adventure. If you can manage to sit through the exhaustively boring opening credits and the first few minutes of the film, which is filled with obligatory character introductions, it will be worth the wait.

Brandon Routh (rhymes with South) is so perfect as Superman/Clark Kent, he sometimes looks like the valiant comic book character. A solid actor at only 27 years old, it seems that Iowa-born Routh will fly the Superman franchise torch for years to come.

A fan of the superhero since he was a kid, Routh is part of a delightful cast in Superman Returns which includes Kevin Spacey as the treacherous Lex Luther; the talented Parker Posey (Best In Show, A Mighty Wind, The House of Yes) who serves the diabolical Luther as his girlfriend Kitty Kowalski; and Kate Bosworth (Bee Season, Win A Date With Tad Hamilton) as Lois Lane, the love of Clark Kent's life.

While Superman was off finding his roots on his home planet, Krypton, Lane found another love, Richard White (James Marsden of X-Men: the Last Stand), head of the Daily Planet's International Desk. Lois and Richard are blissfully, lavishly living in sin with an adorable little boy.

Some of the basic concepts of this film are puzzling. One minute director Bryan Singer (X-Men, X-2) is showing Superman in the same light as Jesus, sent by his father Jor-El (Marlon Brando). In Returns they play old footage of Jor-El reminding his son why he was sent down to earth to be a savior to the common folk.

"Even though you've been raised as a human being you're not one of them. They can be a great people, Kal-El, when they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you... my only son," said Jor-El.

But in the next frame, Superman is cape deep in an emotional love affair with a woman who loves him but now is committed to another. Interestingly, in most films you want the two main characters to unite, but in this movie, Marsten plays Lois' man with such a sincere, even tone, that deep down you'll be routing for Superman to leave Lois and White alone and quit trying to be a home wrecker.

Spacey plays "bad" very well. He doesn't overplay the GQ sharp dressing Lex Luther character but represents mean, evil and bad with just the right amount of venom. As in the original Superman movie, Luther is up to another colossal real estate scheme whose latest plot to create a new land mass would drown most of the US and leave the survivors clamoring to live on Luther's new land mass. It will only take millions of lives to for Luthers' plot to succeed. But as Lex would say, "Is that all?"

While it is always great to see her on the big screen, the talented "Indie Queen" Posey's skills are not even remotely tapped or showcased in this role, but she takes what little she gets, fabulous outfits and tiny one liners, and she makes Kitty PPPUUUURRRRFECT.

In an ideal world, Superman Returns could have left at least 20 minutes of film on the editing floor. But "brevity" is a bad word in Hollywood. Regardless, this film has great action, love and an adorable kid.

It's all so...Super.

Reach the reporter at jamiselidell@asu.edu.



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