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Posted at 12:14 PM ET, 06/27/2006

Truth, Justice: The Bryan Singer Way

By Jen Chaney

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird ... it's a plane ... it's the movie vying for blockbuster status this July 4th weekend!

That's right, tomorrow Superman officially "Returns" in one of the most highly anticipated movies of the summer, not to mention one expensive motion picture. (The budget for this superhero saga is estimated at well over $200 million, before factoring in marketing costs and money spent while the film floundered in development hell for almost 10 years).

But is the film worth your $9 or $10? I'd say yes generally, as long as you keep expectations low and prepare for a long sit. At over 2.5 hours, "Superman Returns" makes for a long flight with the guy in tights.

Speaking of the guy, Brandon Routh does a credible job of taking over as the Man of Steel. He has a handsome, trustworthy face and, when the movie allows him to, he plays the role with the same earnest, yet subtle wink-wink irony that Christopher Reeve brought to the role nearly 30 years ago.

My main complaint about former "X-Men" director Bryan Singer's flick is that it never quite reaches a climax. Though there are some exciting scenes -- including a how-American-can-you-get? moment where Superman makes a heroic rescue in the middle of a major league baseball game -- I always felt like I was waiting to get to the meat of the movie. At the same time, there was something wonderfully nostalgic about reconnecting with Clark Kent and the gang; the '70s-style opening titles even got me a little misty.

So let's put this in terms we can all understand:

--Could "Superman" beat up the X-Men as portrayed in "X-Men: The Last Stand"? Yes. For all its flaws, "Superman Returns" is a much better movie than Brett Ratner's debacle.

--Could "Superman" beat up "Spider-Man"? No way. Both "Spiderman" movies, especially No. 2, are the gold standard of modern comic book movies. So far, in my eyes, nothing has touched them.

--Lastly, to repeat the queston raised in "Stand By Me," could Superman beat up Mighty Mouse? Duh. Of course he could. Mighty Mouse is a cartoon. Superman is a real guy.

By Jen Chaney  | June 27, 2006; 12:14 PM ET
Categories:  Movies  
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I just saw the sneak preview of "Superman Returns" Tuesday night, and I (admitedly a life-long Superman fan) and my teen-aged loved it!

Yes, the movie is long, but that is because it is operatic in its lyrical use of human ur-legends and ambitiouly scaled to enkindle within the mind and spirit the epics upon which the Superman mythos was based, from "Gilgamesh" to "Le Morte D'Arthur" to "Out of the Silent Planet" to "Chronicles of Narnia" to "Lord of the Rings," not to mention the Torah, the Bible, and The Book of the Dead, and the Gnostic Gospels.

It is awe-inspiring in its epic numinous stature in a way to which the "Spidermans" can only aspire, and strangely, only Singer's second "X-men: United" and perhaps "Batman Begins" evoke within my own mind.

Don't let the professional grouches deter you: go see this fabulous movie!

Posted by: LyricalBard | June 28, 2006 2:00 AM | Report abuse

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