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Superman Returns


Stars: Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, Parker Posey, Frank Langella, James Marsden, Eva Marie Saint

Director: Bryan Singer

One is tempted to say: new faces, same old Superman. Slam-bang action, very serious (apart from Spacey's semi-joky villain), sensational (and graceful) flying scenes, stirring music, ponderous romantic scenes - and back-achingly long.

Routh and Bosworth are fine as Superman/Clark Kent and Lois Lane (to his dismay she's now partnered up with a young son - ah, the plot beckons), although you're surprised to find a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter asking how many 'f's there are in catastrophe (a joke??). But there's one uncanny moment towards the start when Routh (as Clark) smiles and looks just like Christopher Reeve.

The God and Jesus analogy is pushed a bit hard here - 'You say the world doesn't need a saviour,' says Routh. 'But every day I hear people crying out for one' - but kids will enjoy the action stuff and spiffy sets, even if they have to pay at least one visit to the loo.

No one, however, will appreciate the way that the film drags on (and on) at the very end.

Fans of the characters will need to know (if they don't already) that Noel Neill, creator of Lois Lane in a Forties serial, and now 84, plays (and very well too) the wealthy, dying dowager who bestows all her worldly goods to Spacey's Lex Luthor at the beginning. A new franchise dawns.

David Quinlan

USA 2006. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
154 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 06 Jul 2006