In honor of DC's release of Jonah Hex this weekend (review posted asap on Saturday), I thought it would be cool to look at one of the worst super hero movies ever...that also had the best super hero scene in it...ever! That's right, it's Superman Returns and it's horrible, except for one part!
On paper, this Brian Singer movie has all kinds of potential. Echoing the classic Donner movies, and picking up the story where Superman 2 left off, was, in theory, a great idea. However, Singer takes Superman and turns him into so mopey, whiny emo guy...and we all know that, while Superman's a huge boy scout, he's no wimp. The basic story is that, after Superman regains his powers at the end of part 2, he left Earth to 'find himself', and how, 5 years later he's returned...hence the title! He returns to find that Lois Lane has moved on with her life, she has a new boyfriend and a son and has even taken a stand against Superman! This depresses Superman, who wants Lois to love him, but doesn't want to ruin her life...after all, he's Superman and he belongs to the world, not to one person.
The trouble with the story is that way too much time is spent on the drama between Lois and Clark and there's not nearly enough Superman stuff!!! Superman should be fighting super villains, not pining after his sweetheart, that's a nice side story, but the main story needs to be conflict between hero and villain...are you listening DC??
Now, as bad as this movie is, and overall it's just the worst, the opening airplane sequence may be the best super hero sequence ever on film!! As a newly revamped space shuttle is preparing to launch from the back of a modified 747, something goes wrong and the plane won't detach before orbital launch, endangering the reporters who are along for the story on the 747...with Lois Lane among them, natch!
When mild mannered Clark Kent sees the breaking news story on TV, he immediately launches into action as Superman, starting the greatest Superman sequence EVER!!! Superman flies into orbit, lifts the shuttle into space and then still manages to save the plane before it crashes to earth!
This is the perfect super hero sequence, from the beginning when mission control identifies a 'bogey moving in...fast', through the use of Superman's heat vision, right through the rescue of the plane and the cheering crowds (including 2 Jimmy Olsens hugging each other), this is the perfect super hero sequence EVER. And, if you don't believe me, then rent this movie, watch the airplane sequence and then walk away, don't let the rest of this movie ruin this amazing scene!
There are two rating for Superman Returns, 2 out of 4 for the movie, 4 out of 4 for the airplane sequence! That's right, I can't tell you how many times I've watched that scene, if I see Superman Returns on cable, I'll set it into the DVR, just to watch the airplane sequence! In fact, I watched it twice this morning before I came to work...it's just that damned good, from the originality of the sequence right through to the echoes of the helicopter rescue in the first Superman movie, it's just a perfect scene, and it makes the rental price totally worth it!
Superman Returns (Two-Disc Special Edition)