Superman Returns

Rated 3.0

After a soul-searching getaway, the Man of Steel (Brandon Routh) leaps single-bound right back into his duties as full-time newspaper reporter and freelance savior of humanity. And what does he find? Not only does the love of his life, Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth), have a child and a fiancé, but she also has a Pulitzer Prize, for an essay called “Why the world doesn’t need Superman.” Bryan Singer’s highly anticipated and blithely inoffensive movie, written by himself, Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris, concedes that humanity’s having moved on is the unfortunate circumstance to which Superman returns. Not a bad concept, even if the movie stretches it a little thin. Worse, perhaps, Singer favors synthetic textures and the matte sheen of computerization—as evident in his actors as in his sets. At least for Supes’ rival, Lex Luthor, there’s Kevin Spacey, whose single gift, Singer knows, is arch cartoonishness. Underneath its mechanical safety and mild-manners, this movie does have some heart and some muscle. You’ll come to like having it around, even if you thought you’d already moved on.