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Sensitive Superman Returns By: Debbie Schlussel
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, June 28, 2006

So Lois Lane is a single mother . . . and a slut. That's the most disturbing part of "Superman Returns," heavily marketed to kids and in theaters tonight.

Or is that "Lois and Her Feelings," co-starring Supe? That's what this dull, 2-hour 33-minute long latest rendition in the Superman series seemed like.

A better version would have been more relevant. It's great that new Superman Brandon Routh saluted America's troops as "the real Super Heroes," a tie-in with Warner Brothers Pictures' effort to send a million plus postcards of support to troops overseas.

But put your money where your mouth is. In World War II, Superman's comic book inventors had him fighting the Nazis. Today, they won't dare show him fighting contemporary Nazis--Islamofascists. Lex Luthor working with Al-Qaeda terrorists, with both evil forces getting defeated--that would have been dynamic and exciting, a great plot. But, unfortunately, too politically incorrect, current, and exciting for the Hollywood culturatti.

"Superman Returns" is Really "PC Superman"

Some have asked whether Superman is still relevant post-9/11. He would be . . . if he was fighting the post-9/11 enemy and being a man while doing so.

Instead, we got a dumbed down, girlie-man version of Superman in "Superman Returns." Like every sensitive, slacker metrosexual, Supe's gone off for five years to "discover himself." In the meantime, the dullest Lois Lane ever has a child out of wedlock. Nice message to send to your kids who will be begging to see this. No smoking lectures by Superman and plugs for tofu sandwiches got a lot of play though. Script-writers were more concerned with that kind of health than the splendid problems single motherhood brings.

In what is more reminiscent of a Maury Povich "Who's the Daddy?" show than a Superman plot, Lois apparently slept around and thinks the cutesy kid--very annoying and distracting in the film--is her fiance's child, not that of the other guy she was simultaneously sleeping with--the Man of Steel.

Hard to still call him that, because in this film he's far less muscular. Even the formerly bright red of his cape is now a muted, dingy brownish-burgundy. All masculinity is toned down, in favor of the testosterone of career woman Lois, who doesn't believe in marriage. Too busy riding the space shuttle.

This Lois Lane Was Better Than This One.

That hardly makes her spectacular. Kate Bosworth has nothing on Margot Kidder (aside from her far-left wackoism) or even Terry Hatcher. Their renditions of Ms. Lane were far superior. Bosworth's is as ho-hum as the lady at the supermarket looking for her Clairol fix. The only thing that seems apropos is Lane's Pulitzer Prize for her "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman." It's the work of unethical journalism--a "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" by a jilted lover against her boyfriend.

In the real world's Daily Planet a/k/a The New York Times, the "Pulitzer-level" stuff is "Why Al-Qaeda is Less Dangerous to the World Than President Bush."

And by the way, there's no Internet in this movie--a glaring absence when Lois' editor is lecturing about what sells newspapers. Uh, nothing sells newspapers these days. They're in rapid decline.

There are no memorable lines like the ones Margot Kidder's Lois uttered to Christopher Reeve's Supe: "You've got me? Who's got you?"

More like, who's got this movie?

This Superman Was Better Than This One.

With a $300 million budget, Warner Brothers must have a hit with this film. There's so much marketing hype and so many product tie-ins, it will be hard for it to fail. And with newcomer Brandon Routh's spot on impersonation of Christopher Reeve playing Clark Kent/Supe, he's not as difficult to adjust to as Bosworth's Lois. His imitation invites the comparison, and he doesn't live up to it. Christopher Reeve can smile from the grave that he died undefeated champion of Superman portrayals.

"Supe Returns" writers also paid too much attention to the accuracy of minute and unimportant details, such as the fact that Kryptonite was found in Addis Ababa. But who cares about those things?

Is that more important than the messages projected to America's kids--especially girls who may want to emulate Lois Lane? And is it more important than an exciting, believable, and relevant plot? Hardly.

Still, aside from it's dullness and the poor examples it sets for kids, "Superman Returns" is a fun, escapist film.

But nothing to write home--or even, Krypton--about.

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Visit Debbie Schlussel's website at DebbieSchlussel.com. She can be reached at writedebbie@gmail.com.

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