I saw Superman Returns on opening weekend and I thought it was pretty freaking great. I actually had no desire to see the movie until I saw what a giant cock-up an X-Men movie was without Bryan Singer directing. That sparked my curiosity in Superman. What could Singer do with the character that would make me care? Surely, it wouldn’t be just a big videogame battle like Ratner had done with X3.
And it wasn’t. Though there wasn’t much plot or story to the film, Superman Returns showed quite a bit of character development. With some nice, big-deal action sequences to satisfy our thirst for a superhero blockbuster, the rest of the movie moves along through short vignettes — Superman spying on Lois’s new life; Lex bilking an old woman out of her millions; Lois carelessly dragging her child along on a investigation. Singer unfolds the scenes at a nice pace so we’re neither barraged with visual information nor bored with the stories.
But mostly, Superman Returns just looks incredible where X-Men 3 looked incredibly silly. Superman looks like Superman (which is to say, Christopher Reeve) while Beast looked like a Smurf. I usually draw the line at movies over 100 minutes long but even after two and a half hours, I was wishing Superman would continue.