Believe it or not, I had goose-bumps for the first five minutes of the film. It wasn't just the use of the classic credit-format at the beginning, or the moderized flight from Krypton to Earth through space, it was also John Williams classic score that did it.
Alas, with such a big and spectacular movie, there were a few tiny (and a couple of big) problems I had with it. Don't get me wrong, I loved the movie, but when a block gets busted, it may be a spectacular sight, but it won't always be satisfying.
I have to agree with pretty much everyone that Brandon Routh was an excellent choice for Clark/Superman, although I don't like the "he's the spitting image of Christopher Reeve" rhetoric; it's just not fair to Brandon.
Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane... not quite as convincing. She always looked elegant, but seemed to be trying too hard to pull off film-noir toughness. She wasn't exactly a believable mother, either. Am I the only one who saw the occassional blonde-roots in her hair? Kate's performance goes to prove that Erica Durance is a far superior Lois Lane.
Lex Luthor. Some people have said that Kevin Spacey's portrayal was more Kevin Spacey than Lex Luthor, but take a look at how Gene Hackman portrayed the character in the original films. Lex was a mad genius in search of the ultimate land-grab, yet with a bitting sense of humor and coldness toward anything that got in his way. In Superman he didn't care that Miss Testmakker's mother lived in New Jersey where one of the bombs he lauched was going to hit, and in Superman Returns he didn't care that Kitty had problems with the idea of killing billions of people. Besides, how can you beat Lex saying "Lois Lane" with a toothbrush in his mouth? Too funny.
Several weeks ago, I leafed through the first 100 pages of the movie's novelization, which featured some small elements missing from the film. Did you know Ma Kent was dating and she and her paramour were moving out of Smallville? (btw, I loved the old pictures of Glenn Ford and Eva Marie Saint on the mantle in the Kent house.) She also told Clark that "the world could use a few more good reporters," a line that was used in the trailers, but cut out of the movie. Why?? Jimmy's "Clark saw llamas" line in the bar sounds really dumb taken out of the context that "Clark" had been sending his friends postcards while he was off seeing the world. In one of those postcards (written by Ma Kent while her son was off searching for Krypton) Clark tells Jimmy about the Great Tibettan Llama Rodeo, or something of that nature, and Jimmy is excited to hear more when Clark finally returns to the Daily Planet.
Director Bryan Singer created a film that was loaded with already iconic images from the comics. Catching the plane in the ballpark (Wow!), the "12 year-old with a phone-camera" shots, and pretty much every-other frame you can think of had already been featured in the comics. Heck, a good portion of the dialogue had been taken from the first Superman movies! As much as I liked it, there seemed to be a sense of unoriginality to the film, as if Singer was trying to do a Superman version of Sin City.
And here I come to the biggest problem I have with the film, or what I like to call "The Son of Superman" storyline. Don't get me wrong, it works very well in the story, and Jason's powers manifest themselves at the appropriate dramatic moment, but does anyone else see the huge plot-hole? If this film is suppose to follow the first two Superman movies, then why doesn't Lois know that Clark is really Superman? Go back to Superman II where Lois figures out Clark's real identity, they fall in love, they go to the Fortress of Solitute where he has his powers stripped before going to bed with Lois.
Major Problem Number One: Clark has no powers when he knocks-up Lois.
Major Problem Number Two: Clark knocks-up Lois, not Superman!
Possible Problem Number One: Apparently Clark's "Kiss of Forgetfulness" at the end of Superman II didn't work quite as well as it should have. According to this new movie, Lois remembers sleeping with Superman, but not the fact that Clark is really Superman. How "galacticly stupid" (archaic Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman reference) is this woman, anyways?
You got to feel sorry for James Marsden's character, Richard White. A likeable guy, a better father to Jason than Lois is a mother, and a fantastic role-model, but despite all the heroic things he does to save his family, he gets one-up'd by Jason's real father, Superman. How can he beat that?
In the end, I give Superman Returns, an amazing movie despite its annoying flaws, a B+.