Superman [Christopher Reeve] grows up on Earth. Lex Luthor [Gene Hackman] precipitates an earthquake in California, to drop it in the sea and increase real estate prices further inland. Lois Lane [Margot Kidder] dies in the earthquake, but Superman saves her by travelling back in time.
Lois Lane discovers Superman's secret identity, so he decides to become human and shed his powers. Not a good move, as Zod et al are on their way.
The silly one, with Richard Pryor turning Superman evil.
Awful: the trailer had a better plot than the film!
Superman [Brandon Routh] has been away for 5 years, trying to find if anything of Krypton survived. It didn't. Now he's back, and on his very first day he has to save Lois Lane [Kate Bosworth] and others from a jointly crashing shuttle and 777. This is because Lex Luthor [Kevin Spacey] has discovered the Fortress of Solitude, and is experimenting with the crystals. He discovers how to grow the crystals into a new continent, which he seeds with Kryptonite so that Superman can't stop him...
This is a return to form, as the camp silliness of some of the earlier movies is removed. Routh is a fine Superman/Clark Kent (he does a good Christopher Reeve impersonation of both facets of the role) in a toned-down cape, and Spacey is a great Lex Luthor. The plot is the usual one: of Lex Luthor being evil, and of the use of Kryptonite to level the playing field. The special effects are excellent: the crashing 777 (from which Lois emerges without a scratch on her!), the sinking ship (okay, so she has some scratches this time), the crystal island. But it is too slow between the action scenes, with long lingering shots of nothing much, and Bosworth is too anaemic as Lois Lane. And it has the usual problem that how much Superman's powers are affected by Kryptonite depends completely on the plot demands, not on anything remotely approaching logic.
reviewed 29 December 2008