Well, here we go…
I’ve been in touch with a few folks who saw SUPERMAN RETURNS at a recent screening; all of them are reliable/established sources with good Geek sense & tastes.
I’ll go ahead and say it, as I know someone else will do so in Talkback: “Exactly what does a Geek taste like?”
The people I’ve (personally) heard from thus far were remarkably consistent in their assessment of this movie: SUPERMAN RETURNS is good, even very good, but not "great".
This being said, there are other reviews out there…HERE and HERE (about 1/2 way down), for example, that say SR is better-than-good.
Also, you can read the Boston Herald’s write-up (calling the film “smart" and “magisterial”) HERE, or the Hollywood Elsewhere mention (“There's an airborne action sequence in particular that delivered, for me, the greatest sensory thrill I've ever experienced from a mainstream movie in my life”) HERE.
With all of this in mind, here’s Sponge Man’s review for AICN, which pretty-much encapsulates what I’ve been hearing so far…
MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD
Last night I saw Superman Returns (final print, with the same opening credits as the original and the same last shot, only with Brandon Routh looking at the audience at the end). First of all, let me just give you my opinion about some comic book adaptations, so your readers can have an idea of my taste.
LOVE: Superman I (and Richard Donner's scenes in Superman II), X Men 2, Batman Begins, Spider-Man 2 HATE: X Men 3, Daredevil, all Batman movies (but BB).
Second of all, no spoilers ahead (although there's a big big big plot twist..).
And third, I'm not going to get into the story because I don't have time and I think people should just see the movie as "fresh" as possible.
So, with all that said, here are my three cents on SR:
Remember that scene in Superman where Christopher Reeve had that chain with kryptonite around his neck and he couldn't get rid of it? Well, Bryan Singer has a chain with Superman The Movie attached around his neck and he can't liberate himself from it. I'm not saying the movie is a remake of Richard Donner's (although it goes beyond an homage). But Singer's respect for the original is a very heavy weight for it.
SR never reaches the emotional levels of Donner's film, nor its very underrated sense of humor.
The pacing is a bit off.
Kevin Spacey's is underused.
The Superman/Lois Lane night flight is unnecessary.
And its best moments are the ones that remind us of the first movie.
BUT... it's a very good action-romance-adventure-soap opera movie, that should satisfy almost all kind of audiences (but MTV-influenced teenagers... it's too slow for them), and it ends up being very emotional (the last 20 minutes, pure drama, are absolutely brilliant).
Not that many action scenes (the plane-shuttle rescue is just incredible): but I think that's good, since I can't stand useless directors (Ratner, Cohen and company) that add senseless noisy action with no purpose whatsoever.
And the actors are quite good: Brandon Routh is better as Superman than as Clark Kent (he tries too hard being Christopher Reeve instead of Clark Kent). Kate Bosworth is excellent as Lane (she doesn't try to imitate Margot Kidder at all), Parker Posey seems bored to death (I missed terribly Valerie Perrine and Ned Betaty as Luthor's sidekicks), and Spacey needed more screen time and a final face off with Superman... that never happens.
And what to say about John Williams' music? SR would nothing without it.
By the way, the movie is dedicated to Christopher and Dana Reeve.
So, very good, but not brilliant.