It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's a "Superman Returns" Tomatometer!

by | June 20, 2006 | Comments

Yes indeed, "Superman Returns" has enough reviews by approved critics (six, and all Fresh) to have an Official Tomatometer — and what a Tomatometer, at 100%. Even the Unofficial Tomatometer, counting all sneak reviews and unapproved critics, remains strong at 95% with 21 opinions counted.

Shall we start with the trades? The Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt says that Bryan Singer‘s "Superman" injects enough emotional depth to resonate, while using advances in CGI technology to his advantage, and to great effect:

"Director Bryan Singer positions this new film as a sequel to Donner’s film, and his Superman — played with winning fortitude by newcomer Brandon Routh — is less a Man of Steel than a Man of Heart."

"The oh-wow technical wizardry behind ‘Superman Returns’ accomplishes two things: It makes you appreciate the huge advances in visual effects since 1978 but also appreciate the considerable accomplishments of Donner’s team back in the day."

Will "Superman" soar through the skies in victory?

Variety‘s Todd McCarthy applauds the dramatic weight of the film, which could have easily been misplayed into cheesiness and camp:

"Despite its acute awareness of what’s come before, "Superman Returns" is never self-consciously hip, ironic, post-modern or camp. To the contrary, it’s quite sincere, with an artistic elegance and a genuine emotional investment in the material."

McCarthy goes on to compare the story and its characters to those of a tragic opera:

"There are dramatic passages where, in another context, one could easily imagine any of the three leading characters breaking out into arias of regret, confession, desire or intent."

The remaining four print and online Tomatometer-approved critics concur in their positive critiques, agreeing that Singer’s "Superman" has a heartstring-pulling resonance in its themes of loneliness and longing.

Newsweek‘s David Ansen gives a particularly glowing review:

"[Superman Returns] infuses its action with poetry, soars as a love story filled with epic yearnings, thwarted desires and breathtaking imagery: Lois, spied on with her lover’s X-ray vision, ascending in a skyscraper’s elevator; Superman, zapped with kryptonite, descending silently and helplessly through space."

"(If Jean Cocteau had directed $200 million action movies, they might have looked a little like this.)"

Emanuel Levy‘s critique offers the rare mixed-Fresh bag, as he rates "Superman Returns" a flawed but entertaining B-grade, due to what he considers sub-par performances and Singer’s lack of a cohesive vision:

"As he showed in the first two segments of ‘X-Men,’ Singer is an intelligent and skillful director in the technical department, but he is not as strong in narrative, characterization, and most important of all, endowing a big, necessarily episodic movie like ‘Superman Returns’ with a unified and coherent vision."

"The movie never overcomes a major narrative problem, that is, there are no significant differences between Superman’s dual identity in looks or conduct."

"Though displaying his customary blend of humor and cynicism, Spacey gives a flat, one-dimensional performance."

For more Official Tomatometer reviews, click here.

Don’t forget, while there are only six Tomatometer-approved reviews for "Superman Returns" (contributing to the Official Tomatometer), the Unofficial Tomatometer, currently at 95%, combines all reviews (with a total of 21 articles with ratings, including sneak movie reviews and Dave Poland’s controversial lone negative rating!).