Superman Returns is a pretty self-explanatory title.
It's about Superman, and he is returning. To Metropolis. To Lois Lane. To our screens. Whatever he's returning to, you can be sure that returning is what he's doing.
But the film is a return, too. A return to how Supes was under the guidance of the late, great (and atheistic) Christopher Reeve. Compare and contrast, if you will, how Reeve managed to pull of bumbling, mild-mannered, uber-geek Clark Kent, whilst somehow managing to pull of handsome, rippling, suave Man Of Steel, with the way Dean Cain made a pretty good Superman, but was utterly shite at Kent.
Well, Brandon Routh almost performs the same Reevian miracle. Sure, his Kent isn't quite as good, and his Superman is a little less ... well ... super, but the job is better than Cain managed.
Combine this with Kevin Spacey out-Luthoring Gene Hackman (I'm serious), and the fact that the "message from Jor-El" actually is Marlon Brando - in scenes filmed for the original '78 release - and you've got a Superfan's dream.
But wait. The music. The titles. The way the opening credits "whoosh". They're all there! Mix these in and it's a Superfan's wet dream.
Alas - and you knew it wouldn't be all good news, right? - Kate Bosworth is no Margot Kidder. Nor is she Teri Hatcher.
Lois Lane is pretty much the only low point in the movie.
The effects are staggering. The story is great. The continuity with the previous films is near-flawless.
But the Jesus references got a little tiresome.
If it wasn't enough that Superman kept adopting the spread-armed pose (a la crucifixion) at every opportunity, we had him described by Lane as "a savior" and by Jor-El as "the light" which would guide humans in their path to be "a great people".
Still, it didn't kill the movie, it simply made for a few eye-rolling points.
Overall, a worthy addition to the Reeves set.
Doombreed rating: ****