Trolling #25: Superman Returns RULES!

Superman Returns splash

When Bryan Singer announced that he was to release a Superman film in 2006, fans everywhere flipped. A new Superman film? What a wonderful idea! We hadn’t had a Superman film since the ultra-cheap and much-hated 1987 Cannon film Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Some were skeptical that an actor other than Christopher Reeve could play the role, but since he had died two years previous, the time had come to pass the torch. Enthusiasm was high, and newspapers everywhere were printing stories about Superman’s lasting cultural impact. The anticipated movie came complete with a similar continuity, the good old John Williams theme song, and a new actor who looked and sounded a lot like Reeve.

Then when the movie hit, enthusiasm died out almost immediately. It still made a lot of money ($200 million to date, according to Box Office Mojo), but fan reaction was warm at best. It wasn’t long before people started referring to Superman Returns as a bitter disappointment, and a legitimate stumble in the Superman movie canon. It would be seven years until another live-action Superman film would be made (and a sucky one at that; those previous appellations would perhaps be more appropriately applied to 2013’s Man of Steel).

Well, here at Trolling, we are here to destroy the beloved and venerate the loathed. And while other Superman films are often referred to as “the bad ones,” Superman Returns is usually held in very low esteem. Which is ridiculous. It’s at least the second or third best of the Superman movies. Indeed, let us postulate that Superman Returns RULES. Let’s look into why…

Superman Returns is way too long, and there are perhaps far too many moments of quiet brooding for its own good. Overall, it plays more like an impressive memorial statue than an actual film. But Superman Returns is maligned unjustly. The film is excellently constructed, feels great, and is great to look at. Plus it helps that John Williams’ iconic score is re-used for us to enjoy once again. SUP-er-MAN!

Until next week, let the hate mail flow.

Witney Seibold is the head film critic for Nerdist, and a contributor on the CraveOnline Film Channel, and co-host of The B-Movies Podcast. You can read his weekly articles Trolling, Free Film School and The Series Project, and follow him on “Twitter” at @WitneySeibold, where he is slowly losing his mind.