Superman Returns (Two-Disc Special Edition) (2006)

Actors: Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, James Marsden, Parker Posey
Directors: Bryan Singer
AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Number of discs:
Run Time:
154 minutes

DVD Features:

  • "Requiem for Krypton: Making Superman Returns": a comprehensive 3-hour documentary including:
    -Secret Origins and First Issues: Crystallizing Superman
    -The Crystal Method: Designing Superman
    -An Affinity for Beachfront Property: Shooting Superman (Superman on the Farm, Superman in the City, Superman in Peril)
    -The Joy of Lex: Menacing Superman
    -He's Always Around: Wrapping Superman
    -Resurrecting Jor-El
  • Deleted scenes: The Date, Family Photos, Crash Landing/X-Ray Vision, Old Newspapers, Are You Two Dating?, Martinis and Wigs, I'm Always Right, Jimmy the Lush, Language Barrier, Crystal Feet, New Krypton
  • Easter egg: "Wrong!"
  • Theatrical and video game trailers


Superman returns after an absence of five years in which he went off in search of his home planet of Krypton.

Even though he literally stopped the world from spinning in the 1978 Superman movie directed by Richard Donner and starring Christopher Reeve, Superman couldn't do so this time and the world has moved on in his extended absence: Lois Lane has a new boyfriend and a kid (!) whilst boy reporter Jimmy Olson has turned into a sullen drunk. One thing that hasn't changed though is Lex Luthor, who hatched up yet another hair-brained (sic, pun intended) scheme involving property and Kryptonite.

Upon repeat viewings the flaws in Superman Returns, director Bryan (X-Men) Singer's melancholy "sequel" to the old 1978 movie become more apparent. Also, the film's giant scope is diminished on the small screen. While it is more introspective and emotional than the 1978 film and the effects have been improved enormously, Superman Returns comes up short in the casting department. Kate Bosworth seems mean-spirited and petty at times; while not quite such a looker, original Lois Lane Margot Kidder had more of the spunk that the role required. New Superman Brandon Routh may look the part and may be actually better-looking than Reeve, but he is too stiff in the role and never seems to be having fun like Reeve did.

Despite this, the new film still remains quite the achievement: an intelligent and above-average blockbuster that seeks to engage the heart rather than dazzle the eye with state-of-the-art special effects. Ironically the film might appeal more to women viewers than their male counterparts (although Routh's pretty boy looks may have a lot to do with that).

THE DISCS: The two-disc version has nearly three hours of documentaries on the making of the film. While it is quite long, it however never really conveys the complexity and scope of working on a modern Hollywood blockbuster like Peter Jackson's so-called production diaries did on the King Kong DVD. What is interesting to note though is how director Bryan Singer gradually becomes more relaxed in the presence of the documentary's crew as the production progresses - one scene even chronicles a prank one film crew member pulls on a fellow co-worker with the aid of the director.

Sadly we aren't allowed any glimpses of the various attempts at filming a big screen Superman movie over the past decade or so ? at one stage Tim Burton was set to direct Nicolas Cage and even Kevin Smith wrote a screenplay for a project titled Superman Lives! But those attempts will probably supply enough material for a documentary of its own day! (It should provide a fascinating ? although probably disturbing ? insight into how the Hollywood mind works. Rumor has it that Kevin Smith for instance quit after producer Jon Peters wanted to change Superman's costume to a black one without any cape and insisted on a scene in which Superman must battle a polar bear!

The documentaries also offers little insight into earlier drafts of the screenplay. In the Marv Wolfman novelisation - obviously based on an early draft of the screenplay ? there is an extended opening sequence in which the Man of Steel visits and explores his dead home world in a space ship. It is also implied that Luthor somehow manufactured the ?evidence? that Krypton still exists that sent Superman off on his five year long quest. A plot twist involving the parentage of a certain character also comes at a late stage of the creative process behind the screenplay.

Also included are about fifteen minutes worth of deleted scenes, none of them dealing with any of the above plot points though. The scenes aren't bad - but one can understand why they have been omitted. One in which Clark Kent discovers his elderly mother is dating a neighbor could have been left in though.


RECOMMENDATION: This two-disc version is the preferred version of the film to check out.



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