Superman Returns

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: +2 1/2

Cast: Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, James Marsden, Frank Langella, Eva Marie Saint, Parker Posey, Sam Huntington, Kal Penn and Kevin Spacey. Sci Fi Action. Written by Michael Dougherty & Dan Harris. Directed by Bryan Singer

FILM SYNOPSIS: Following a mysterious absence of several years, the Man of Steel comes back to Earth only to discover that his beloved Lois has moved on with her life and Lex Luthor is once again doing dastardly deeds. This time Superman's nihilistic nemesis has found a way to form a new continent; its sudden evolution will destroy existing nations, killing billions of people. This is not a nice person.

PREVIEW REVIEW: After a couple of summers loaded with angst-ridden comic book vigilantes who spend the majority of screen time brooding over their super differences, finally a filmmaker returns to the more traditional superhero, one who knows himself and his purpose. Oh, he's tormented over the love of a good woman, but when push comes to shove, he realizes his duty. We come first. That's a positive as it reminds that we are to place others before us.

The young unknown Brandon Routh does a credible job as the more-powerful-than-a-locomotive guy. At times he's a reincarnation of Christopher Reeve, capturing the same put-upon buffoonery Mr. Reeve summoned for his Clark Kent. But Brandon Routh also adds his own charm and sensitivity to his character's secret identity. As for his Super alter ego, he is believable.

One bothersome area is Lois's unwed relationship to the supposed father of her child. Marriage is under several attacks in this stage of society's evolution, so it's troubling when the residents of Tinseltown continually dismiss its importance. Here their singlehood serves a thematic purpose. Lois is still in love with Superman and we all know that Superman wouldn't be hanging around a married woman, no matter how much he adored her. The film is therefore attempting to salute love and integrity. Alas, it does so with a contemporary perspective, one that places couples living together on the same moral level as those who have made the marriage commitment.

The action/adventure has a spiritual quality. At one point the confused Lois declares that the world doesnt need a savior. But Superman insightfully responds, I hear people crying out for one. Besides being an action figure, Superman becomes a metaphor. He is not only a savior of the world, but one willing to lay down his life for each and every one of us. That said, this savior is more New Age than biblically sound. As The Da Vinci Code tried to distort Christ's intent by implying he married and had a child, here too we have a savior more man than God, the film suggesting that Superman may have fathered a child.

Director Bryan Singer combines a provocative and action-packed storyline with a sensitive love story, artistically and technically giving us the best Superman movie to date. Superman Returns is filled with humor, drama, tense action, and seamless special effects. That said examine the content before deciding if this film is suitable for your family's viewing.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Warner Brothers

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: In anger one character utters a crude term. Played for laughs, it is suggested than one the villainesss little doggies ate another one.

Obscene Language: Two minor expletives, but I caught no harsh or profane language.

Profanity: None other than for Gods sake.

Violence: The film is jam packed with intense action; Superman saves the day, but we see car, train and airplane near crashes; Superman is shot in the eye at close range, the bullet seen in slow/mo hitting his eye, the bullet then bouncing off; a bad guy hits Lois and she is thrown around the room. Superman, without his powers, gets beaten up and nearly dies; several main characters nearly drown; most of the action is too intense for children. Blood: Very little.

Sex: There is one sexual innuendo and Lois now lives with a man outside marriage, raising a child out of wedlock.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Lois new love and Clark have a beer in a bar.

Other: Due to the violent nature of the story the film is unsuitable for little kids; our heroes are put in several perilous situations, with the lead getting brutally beaten after the villain stabs him with a shard of Kryptonite.

Running Time: 160 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Adults

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