The long awaited, much anticipated return of the last son of Krypton has finally arrived in theaters nationwide...and I can safely say that it was well worth the wait!
It has been 29 years since the man of steel last appeared on the silver screen in the dismal misadventure; "Superman IV; The Quest for Peace"(1987), a film that ended the original Superman feature film franchise, leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of fans everywhere.
The first series of films, produced by the Salkinds and directed by the gifted Richard Donner who actually only helmed the first two films before leaving in a dispute with the producers of the films over creative differences marked the beginning of the end.
Now flash forward to 2006; new cast, new crew, new direction, and an exciting rebirth of a film franchise. Director Bryan Singer (X-Men 1 & 2 ) left the promising third and final installment of his successful "X-Men" series to helm the return of Superman, a surprising move that shocked the execs at 20th Century Fox.
When the film starts it's as if you have been magically transported to the summer of 1978 again, and you almost expect Christopher Reeve to soar across the screen once again. The thunderous all too familiar John Williams score fills the auditorium as the recognizable translucent opening credits appear on screen. This new film is in actuality a continuation on the original film series just with different actors all of whom deliver fine, effective performances. The film stars academy award winner Kevin Spacey(American Beauty) as the diabolical Lex Luthor, Kate Bosworth(Blue Crush)as reporter Lois Lane, and newcomer Brandon Routh as bumbling reporter Clark Kent/Superman. The cast also includes Frank Langella (Dracula) as chief editor of the Daily Planet, Perry White and James Marsters (X-Men) as Lois's love interest Johnathan White.
The story penned by screenwriters Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris centers on a Metropolis, a world that has moved on without the presence of the man of steel for some five years. When Superman finally returns he does so in dramatic fashion saving a 777 airliner and a shuttle prototype with astronauts and presscorp members on board and yes ... who else but Lois Lane herself, the love of Superman's life, or at least she used to be.
Lois Lane has moved on with her life, she's engaged to Perry White's nephew Johnathan(Marsters) a department head at the Planet, and most surprisingly of all, she's now a mother as well...and a Pulitzer prize winner!
Needless to say that our hero spends most of the film playing catch up. Another shocking turn of events has a recently freed Lex Luthor up to mischief once again. Kevin Spacey turns in a darker more devious performance as Superman's arch enemy as compared to academy award winner Gene Hackman's(Unforgiven)portrayal in the original films. The new film is a little long as expected but it flows fast with action and drama, the effects are top notch and very effective, something that they were still working the kinks out when the first film was released in 1978.
The late Marlon Brando also makes a surprising cameo as Jor-El, Superman's father, in the film due to the magic of archival film footage and recordings from the original movie. I only had a few reservations, mainly with the suit, there is no "S" symbol on the cape as per tradition, this was sacrificed due to the difficulty of animating it (Superman's cape is digitally animated throughout the film). Superman at times in the film is depicted as a bit "Christ" like even mimicking the crucifixion pose at one point. At times the film takes a more violent turn moreso than the original series.
All in all the film is a tastefully done, faithful to the original and is a visual treat for the entire family. Keep your eyes open for some special cameos by actress Noel Neil who played the original Lois Lane on the 1950s television series which starred George Reeves and Jack Larson who portrayed the original Jimmy Olsen.
If you love comics and comic characters and even if your not a Superman fan check this movie out for you will believe a man can fly once more. The film was dedicated to the late Christopher Reeve and his wife Diane.