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In 1978 Richard Donner made the world believe that a man could fly. In 2013, Zack Snyder makes you believe that maybe Superman Returns was not so bad. THERE! I SAID IT! Superman Returns is still a horrible movie, I will always stand by that fact, but good lord Zack Snyder is making it hard for me to decide which one is worse! Yes Henry Cavill looks like Superman a lot more then the emo Superman done by Brandon Routh, but this man failed to make Superman his role in this remake. And dare I say it... Routh may have acted more like Superman in Superman Returns. The incoming review will include fanboy ramblings. Profanity will be used, and I have been drinking at the time I wrote this. You have been warned.

The story begins with the well known fate of Krypton: the planet is doomed, and Jor-El sends his only son Kal-El to Earth, where he will grow up to be the Man of Tomorrow. Apparently that was not enough. General Zod wants the Codex (a Kyptonian McGuffin) because he feels he can save the planet. Jor-El calls Zod a mad man, Jor-El sends the Codex to Earth because Zod is a bastard, and Zod gets pissed before getting banished to the Phantom Zone. And of course Krypton gets destroyed. Now the Zod story is familiar to anyone who saw Superman II, so that is fine; but why in the hell did we need a scene where Jor-El is riding on some winged creature like he was in f**king Avatar, and why the monkey f**k did they include the ***** about how Kryptonians now reproduce via genetic engineering as opposed to natural child birth? Anyway Zod breaks free and wants to start a new Krypton on Earth, and he will destroy all life on Earth to do so.

The first problem with this movie is the tone; it is dark and bleak, defiantly a Nolan influence. Which is great for a character like Batman, but this is Superman! The beacon of hope and moral compass for the DC universe! He is the polar opposite of Batman! Batman bases his super hero career on his enemies fearing him; Superman’s super hero MO is public trust. People trust him because he is Superman. And there is no trust at all between the people and Superman. Okay naturally there are going to be people freaked out by a flying guy in a cape who can bench press a semi truck, but save enough people from a few bank robbers or some kind of disaster that are all too common in Metropolis and you are going to get public support. Hell the Donner movie nailed it when Superman sat down and did an interview with Lois! An open dialogue and public trust with the people! In this movie they fear him like a rogue nation! Bruce Timm shows the proper difference in tone with the two animated series he did for Warner Brothers, and it was reflected in the animation. Batman: The Animated Series was very dark and gothic, much like the character.

While the Superman animated series was much brighter; the sun was out; and oh yeah he works out in the open and not the shadows.

But instead of trying to show the proper tone for this Superman movie, they instead opted to cut and paste from the Nolan Batman franchise.

The second big problem with this movie, they REALLY screwed over the Kent Family. For those who do not know, John and Martha Kent are the Kansas couple who found and raised young Kal-El as their own child. They were the ones who taught him their Mid-West values and morals that have guided Superman thought out his days as a crime fighter and defender of Earth. In other words, they are the reason that Superman is who he is. In this movie they play second banana to Jor-El who becomes the main driving force in Clark’s mission and moralistic template. As such the Kent’s get the shaft, including a HORRIBLE scene where a young Clark Kent is arguing with his father over whether he should have saved a school bus that fell into a river. He asks “Should I have just let them die?” Pa Kent actually says “Maybe.” This was one of the first major red flags I had when I first started watching trailers for this movie. Since we have established that it was the Kent’s who are responsible for Clark being the boy-scout he is, Pa Kent would NEVER say something like this! Instead in this movie it is the consciousness of Jor-El that gives Superman his direction and even has a costume waiting for him. Which makes me wonder how the hell he would know his son’s measurements; all before I start missing Marlon Brando. In addition, Superman views himself as an Earthling first! To have his dead alien father play a bigger role in his character development then the Kents, reflects that this director has no concept of who this character is. And why in the hell does Pa Kent have to die in a damn twister and Clark feels guilty about not being able to save him! He is Superman, NOT SPIDER-MAN! Speaking of which, why in the hell did they portray Clark as a nerd in high school and being picked on? CLARK PLAYED SPORTS! The guy was a straight A student yes, but liked to played football too! Once again, HE IS NOT SPIDER-MAN!

In addition to the issues above, this movie tries to cram WAY too much into this movie! It tries to retell Superman’s origin, show his childhood, have him wander the nation as he makes his way north, brood, finally get to the abandoned space ship frozen in the Arctic, learn his true origins, THEN he has to fight Zod all the while earning the trust of Earth’s people. And that is not including side plots and characters like Lois Lane and Perry White, Lois’ initial story on Superman, and then the leak of said story via the internet. The film feels like it is going too fast, and for a 2 and a half hour movie that is saying something. If you are going to have this much in your movie either trim out some stuff, simplify the script, or make the movie longer by maybe twenty minutes. I feel here they tried to take a page out of the Batman Begins playbook and go with a main villain who they could tie into the character’s origin story. But if they were going to do that, why choose Zod? Not only has Zod had his go in the movies, but in this movie he brings in all the eugenics ***** they made up, and a lot of other bullsh!t the writers pulled out of their ass. The movie suffers greatly from these issues, and that is sad since this could have been avoided since Superman has an EXCELLENT rogue’s gallery! If they wanted a character that is tied to Krypton, then they should have gone with Brainiac. Have him be an AI program on Krypton who leaves the planet before it blows to fulfill his programming to record and store all knowledge. Mention he destroys planets after he catalogs the data, give him an android body and a robot army and you have a main villain. And it makes the story far less convoluted (by comic book standards at least). But if you want to go another way you still have lots of other great villains to choose like Parasite, Metallo, or Solomon Grundy. Each could easily be fit into a 2 and a half hour movie and been done better than Zod!

To top this movie off you have other gripes like… why the hell do they not call him Superman until the third act of the damn movie? Why is the Clark Kent alter ego established at the very end? Why the f**k do they have Lois to track down Superman to Smallville and find out his secret identity before he even makes his official debut to the world! What the hell?!?!? And oh yeah…

WARNING: "WTF Snyder Spoilers" spoilers below

Way to f**k up the mythos Snyder! And while some people say the film goes all Michael Bay at the end of the film for the third act, I have to disagree. All the gripes I have with Bay (see my Pain and Gain review) Bay at least has a talent for putting together 3rd act action sequences that are interesting. Even in the Transformers movies which I hate! This movie failed to excite me in that regard. So Snyder fails at storytelling and doing the only thing that Michael Bay actually does pretty well. And this is very disappointing since he did a great job with his adaptation of 300, and I hear a lot of people really liked his Watchmen movie.

What is most disappointing is that this is the movie that Warner Brothers wanted to use to kick off a Justice League movie in the same mold as The Avengers. Problem is, instead of Iron Man we got yet another botched DC hero on the big screen. And if this does make a butt load of cash, then any future Justice League movie will more then likely be of similar poor quality.

This is a bad movie. No two ways about it. If you are a Superman fan and want to watch a live action movie, I say revisit the first two Donner movies. But all hope is not lost. Marvel may rule the silver screen with their live action adaptations, but DC rules the animated worlds of both TV and movies. The Bruce Timm animated series for the WB and the Justice League cartoons that aired on Cartoon Network are awesome and are available on DVD. Either that or you have direct to DVD animated features like Superman/Batman Apocalypse, Superman/Batman Public Enemies, or Superman: Doomsday which are far superior as Superman stories and far more entertaining than this movie!