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10 Overlooked Positives Of Superman Returns

Brandon Routh > Henry Cavill.

In the decade since its release in 2006, it€™s become pretty fashionable to pile hate on Superman Returns. When the movie comes up during film discussions, you€™ll likely be inundated with complaints about Superman€™s fear of throwing a punch, the lack of original ideas, and the fact that it's way too long for a popcorn movie. However, despite these easy-to-criticise flaws, there are a lot of things that Superman Returns actually got right. With Bryan Singer of the X-Men franchise at the helm, and his eye for a casting decision and mastery of action sequences in full effect, it€™s hard to deny that Superman Returns is far better than it could have been in other hands. It certainly ended up as less of a hot mess than Tim Burton and Kevin Smith€™s previous attempts at getting a post-Christopher-Reeve Superman movie made, that's for damn sure. And, on top of that, Superman Returns is much more enjoyable than what Warner Bros, Zack Snyder and Henry Cavill served up afterwards with Man Of Steel. Here€™s why€

10. Superman Is A True Hero, Not A Modern Moody One

The year before Superman Returns reached our screens, Batman Begins came out. The two DC Comics movies took totally different approaches, with the dark-and-gritty of Christopher Nolan€™s vision becoming Hollywood€™s favourite template in the years that followed. Because of this, Bryan Singer€™s light and colourful approach tends to be given a short shrift. But Superman is a character that suits a brighter colour palette instead of blacks and greys, and a more righteous sense of heroism in place of that tortured vigilante shtick that Nolan does so well. Singer knew this, and opted to portray his version of Kal-El as a hero of the light persuasion, who didn€™t save the world by punching people in the face or sulking in the shadows. Instead, Superman Returns offered up a hero with a bright costume lifted straight from the Christopher Reeve era and a penchant for non-violent rescues. Unlike the brooding and neck-snapping of Henry Cavill, Brandon Routh€™s version of Superman felt like a true adaptation of the comic book character and a suitable hero for viewers of all ages. If they€™d made Batman V Superman with the 2006 actors in the roles, the contrast between DC€™s two biggest heroes - played by Routh and Christian Bale - would€™ve been massive. But then, that€™s exactly how it should be, rather than trying to co-opt Supes into the modern, moody style just because that's what works for Batman.
Contributor
Contributor

Film & TV journo. Quite tall.