Why Superman Sucks.
That said, Superman Returns sucked. There are many reasons for this, but I will only cover three today for the sake of brevity.
(1) Length - Unless we're talking about an international flight or open-heart surgery, 2.5 hours is entirely too long to sit still for anything.
(2) Casting - The casting miscues were numerous and egregious:
- Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor: Look, I like Kevin Spacey. Actually, that's a lie - I think he's smug and has an inflated sense of self-importance. Regardless, Gene Hackman's still alive, right? And he doesn't look so bad for his age either. So why not make him Lex Luthor again? I think he did a fine job the first two times around, and he's not a smug and self-important dick.
- Brandon Routh as Superman: Someone give me one good reason why Kiefer Sutherland wasn't cast in this role. The only reason I can think of is that it would have been too much of a stretch to imagine Jack Bauer being vulnerable to kryptonite.
- Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane: Superman is the baddest individual on earth. Kate Bosworth is a marginally attractive woman with no sex apeal. Seriously, Superman would go nuts over her? It's simply not believable.
- Kumar as Lex Luthor's most prominent silent crony: Look, I know brown people are generally cast in these roles because the brown skin makes them look more sinister. And as a brown person myself, I accept that. But make no mistake: Kumar is not a credible villain. In his only other major feature film, he made out with a giant bag of weed. He is destined to be typecast, and the type is decidedly not "evil villain."
(3) Premise - This isn't the movie's fault at all, but the premise behind Superman just doesn't make a lot of sense. It's not believable. I mean, with Spiderman, Peter Parker gets bitten by a genetically-modified spider, so he becomes a bit quicker and stronger than most humans and can shoot lines of spider web from his wrists. Makes perfect logical sense. With Batman, Bruce Wayne doesn't really have any superpowers at all - he's just an angst-ridden, post-modern, urban Ninja with superior technology. Again, makes sense to me. But with Superman - he's a space alien who flies despite the absence of any discernable wings, he can inexplicably shoot rays out of his eyes, and he's strong enough to move the planet earth. Yet his parents, from whom he presumably inherited these powers, couldn't escape their planet before it was destroyed. Why didn't they just push it to a safer part of the galaxy? I mean, clearly I'm willing to suspend reality in a superhero movie, but I cannot and will not forgive internal inconsitency. For instance, Superman claims at one point in the movie that he can hear everything - so why didn't he just hear Lex Luthor discuss his plans to take over the world and pre-emptively stop it? It would have saved me at least two hours.
UPDATE: One more thing that really bothers me - why can't anyone figure out that Superman and Clark Kent are the same person? I mean, I usually wear contacts to work. Sometimes - say, when I've too much to drink the night before - I wear glasses. When I do, at no point does anyone not recognize me. The most dramatic reaction I get is: "Decided to wear glasses today, huh? I told you ordering the vodka sampler at the Russia House on a Tuesday night was a bad idea..." So, considering that the only difference in facial appearance between Clark Kent and Superman is a pair of eyeglasses, why can't anyone figure out that Clark Kent is Superman? They were both away for the same length of time, they both appeared the same day, they look exactly the same... I just can't accept this. I'm sorry, I just can't.