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Here’s Everything Wrong With Superman Returns (in 6 Minutes)

superman returns

I have a confession: I think Warner Bros.’ previous attempt to revive the Man of Steel franchise, Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, gets a bum rap. Oh, sure, it had its problems — it’s overly reverential to 1978’s Superman and 1980’s Superman II, the kid subplot was weird and unnecessary, the story might’ve been better served by a fresh antagonist, etc. — but so did those first two films. (Despite Christopher Reeve’s endearingly earnest performance, much of Superman feels like you’re watching the driest of TV biographies, and Superman II is derailed by the romance storyline and Clark’s willingness to forsake his duty to Earth for the love of Lois. Don’t get me started on his new powers and throwable flypaper S emblem.)

But, hey, I found Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man virtually unwatchable, and I believe Mark Steven Johnson’s Daredevil is better (if maybe only a little) than most people give it credit for, so what do I know.

With that out of the way, I present CinemaSins’ latest video, “Everything Wrong With Superman Returns in 6 Minutes or Less.” Although some of the “movie sins” are tough to disagree with — Luthor’s scheme, that no one connects Clark’s five-year disappearance with Superman’s, the Man of Steel’s on-again, off-again kryptonite weakness — others are clearly nitpicky, and even downright odd. Take, for instance, that Pulitzer Prize winner Lois Lane doesn’t know there are no F’s in “catastrophic” is counted as a “sin”; both her horrible spelling and her desire for a Pulitzer are throwbacks to those first two films, which certainly falls under “overly reverential,” but a sin? (Whether she would’ve won the award for a single editorial is another matter.) However, that’s the way these types of videos go …

If you hated Superman Returns (which most people apparently did), you’ll likely find your opinion reaffirmed by this video — or maybe even discover new reasons to dislike it. Meanwhile, I’m going to go dust off my DVD …


  • JoeKoffee

    I agree with you, Kevin. I didn’t hate Superman Returns all that much, either. Most of it, in fact, except for the direction it took re: Lois & the son.

  • Alex W

    I agree as well that it wasn’t a TOTAL loss. It had great casting with the exceptions of Bosworth and the extreme misuse of Penn. It’s the only place you can go for Spacey as Luthor anyway. It’s also kinda sad that Parker Posey has been in two of the labelled worst comic movies of all time (other being Blade Trinity). I also agree with you on the Raimi Spider-Mans. I loved the first two when I was a kid but when I re-watched them more recently they really were horrible (not that I find ASM any better, though still holding out hope for the next one for some reason). Well that’s my random-ass divergent rant for the day.

    PS: Honest Trailers are better.

  • Hy Gearr

    Posey as the new “Tessmacher” was probably the only part I liked. That and some of Spacey’s Luthor moments.

  • gnarlk

    these “everything that’s wrong with” type videos are everything that’s wrong with the internet. keep sucking the fun out of everything, nerds…

  • Eric H.

    Parker Posey is also in Josie and the Pussycats – a movie so absolutely terrible it is amazingly awesome.

  • Martial_Bob

    I stopped reading after “I found Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man virtually unwatchable.”

  • Nick

    I actually enjoyed both Superman Returns and Daredevil. Raimi’s Spider-Man was alright, but I think Webb’s was better and more suited to today rather than Raimi’s! Raimi made a great 60’s Stan Lee Spider-Man, and I’d say Webb’s more modern version kind of ends up where Spidey is now-ish.

  • Cary Whitt

    If you really think Daredevil is better than Spiderman – then yep, you’re doing it all wrong.

  • Fury

    Daredevil is better than people give it credit for.

  • Hippielongstockings

    Seriously, now there are even more reasons to dislike this movie, which by teh way, was a complete waste. I feel really badly for the actor who had to play as Supes in this terribly written train wreck.

  • MasonTGanes

    Im a die hard 40 yr superman fan and i can find enjoyment in SUPERMAN IV, but i am fully aware at how bad a movie that is.
    SUPERMAN RETURNS is visually a well made film. But its so boring and pointless. I dont need guys punching eachother to like a movie- but this had no point.

  • James Peppe

    It was better than X3, still not that great. If you think about it Bryan singer ruined all the super hero movies that summer.

  • RY33

    Just start with Singer tied it directly to the end of “Superman 2″ and then completely ignored anything that happened in the first two movies?

  • RY

    Who the Hell wants a “Spidey is now” movie? The worst things Marvel has done with Spider-man have happened in the last twenty years.

  • gipsojo

    me too I feel so bad for him! when I watched the film, I actually started crying, just because I felt so bad for that actor. Afterwards I bought a present for him and sent it to his agent, just in hopes that I could stop crying for awhile and get it out of my brain! :/

  • Chris McFeely

    “Deer Mistur Donner,

    I hav mayde a fillum that is like ur fillums. I also used the musik 2. I hop that is OK.

    Little Bryan Singer

  • dmc

    Zero points for the unfunny douchebag awkwardly reading his script.Thank you however for the subtitles! I muted that moron after a minute or so.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    There are plenty of reasons to enjoy Superman Returns not the least of which was Routh was terrific in the role. The scene where he is renderd helpless by Kryptonite and beaten by thugs was very emotionally affecting. Perhaps it is best viewed as a standalone film (although I would have loved to see how Bryan Singer planned to go “Wrath of Khan” in the sequel like he said) as it’s a little difficult to imagine how the subject of his son could have been handled without angering vocal purist fanboys. The idea of him having a son is intruiging and certainly original (God forbid right?) but maybe that concept is a good unofficial ending to Donner’s Superman era.
    What I don’t understand is why so many feel that liking one version must always come at the expense of another version.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    That was incredibly well said. This stuff does indeed just suck the fun out of everything. Wait a few years and we’ll see one for Man of Steel.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    Yeah because no one can have a valid opinion who doesn’t agree with yours.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    The director’s cut is better in some ways. It limits the pace killing love story stuff for example. That opening action sequence was pretty solid too.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    Singer wasn’t involved with X-Men3 so what’s your point?

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    No point? So after years of Superman absent from the big screen his return is mirrored in the film and the idea that the world has moved on without him is explored is not something you picked up on? A reintroduction to the characters and the creation of New Krypton for future sequels? The themes of father and sons and passing on the best of yourself to the next generation…pointless? If you found it boring I certainly can not and will not argue that as everyone has their own tastes, but to attack it for not having a point doesn’t make a lot of sense.

  • MasonTGanes

    Other than lois tellng superman that she & the world had moved on… in what single scene was the “idea/concept” of Superman ever having been OR not being around for 5 yrs explored? How did the world move on? in what scene was this shown?? Jimmy telling us Supermans no show at Luthors Court hearing DOESNT show us how the world was affected by supermans absense.

  • MasonTGanes

    Heres whats wrong about the scene you discribed…. he gets his butt kicked due to the kryptonite all around him and then sabbed with it. THe jesus reference is warranted…..but there is NO redemption scene… he doesnt ever face LUTHOR again so the audience is cheated of the payoff…. to make matters worse…. there is an almost exact same JESUS type of fall 10 minutes later when he falls from space!!!
    This superman flew fast and lifted a few things. But otherwise he got his butt kicked all the time and struggled to do everything else….. and lets not get into the terrible casting of Lois, the gay speedo, the dumb kid, soooo many problmes with this film……

  • James Peppe

    He ruined it by leaving it to be ruined by Rattner. I don’t understand how you could abandon xmen to work on superman. That shows that he had absolutely no idea what was relevant to the culture at the time. Its another reason I don’t think he should not of been allowed back into the franchise.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    Luckily nothing is up to you. He produced X-Men First Class by the way so he’s even up now.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    He got sabbed huh? I guess I missed that part. The kid was good, Superman got his but kicked and struggled in the finale of the original film and no one bitched, the “speedo” was part of the costume for almost 75 years. What it sounds like is you have a problem with Superman. He does redeem himself. He allowed his crystals to fall into the wrong hands and lifts the new krypton that was created into space, safely away from Earth.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    “Absense?” Find spellcheck. As for your post how about the fact that Lois was awarded a Pulitzer for writing the article “The World Doesn’t Need a Superman”? That kind of sounds like society agreed with her. His whole relationship with her is symbolic of his relationship with society. He even says “you say the world doesn’t need a superman but everyday I hear people crying out for one”. Lois is the same. She says she has moved on but it is clear she still cares for and needs him. She even went and found a “new Superman”. Perry’s nephew is dark haired, handsome, heroic, decent, and even flies! Kal-el being gone and what the world was dealing with for five years is a theme of the movie, including Luthor going free for Superman stepping away. He is not human but struggles for mankind because he knows we need him, even when we turn our backs on him, move on without him and like to tear our heroes down (like when he is nearly beaten to death by a resentful and jealous Luthor and his like minded goons). This whole theme is explored further in the deleted scenes when he sees the impact of his ABSENCE while reading years worth of newspaper articles. That he has a son that has grown up without his biological father, raised in his absence, is a huge part of that theme. He is the manifestation of the complications of Kal-el’s absence. The kid is getting by, surviving like the world did while Kal-el was gone. Like the world he is frail, even sickly and like the boy the world is about to face a giant event (the boy develops powers, and Luthor plans include mass destruction). Both he and the world need Superman but don’t know it yet. With Superman’s return the world becomes stronger, more safe, fires extinguished, planes saved and Luthor dealt with. His son parallels those events and after his father returns to Earth he begins his new abilities starting with crushing a henchman with a piano. Like Lois and society his son needs him. He’s survived up to that point but as he comes into his powers he will need guidance. The world survived up to that point but because of threats like Luthor they need Supeman too. The story comes full circle with Lois’s article reflecting the fact that she, despite what she once though, needs him, her son needs him and the world, as the title of the article reads “Needs Superman”. As he flies off alone but aware of the impact he has on his adopted world, even if he doesn’t completely fit in in either persona, looks content that he has a purpose as a hero and a father. If that isn’t enough for you, ah who cares. I said my bit and either you get it, or you don’t.

  • MasonTGanes

    First off. Im a 40 yrold geek who cant spell worth a damn. So really are we going to point out spelling in a blog??
    Literally everything you said to defend this movie is what YOU took from it. NOT what was shown. Lois is a symbol of earth moving on??? are you for real? There was not one single scene that portrays earth as moving on or have ever being affected by superman having been. Take away a few sentinces of dialoge and this movie is literally just an ORIGIN film. Heck you have college age Superman & Lois trying to portray yrs of history together.
    The story coming full circle because Lois still has a thing for superman so she writes the world still needs superman? WHY DOES THE WORLD STILL NEED superman? Because he picked up a Kryptonite continent and then landed his ass in a hospitol? ( which everyone agrees was DUMB and anti climactic). And not one sinlge person has ever thought that the entire kid aspect was a good idea or interesting.
    Why cast Superman & Lois soo young. Stick them with a yrs of history storyline– then stick a kid into the mix? SINGER wanted to attract a youthful demographic but turned off the entire demo with an unrelatable and boring story.
    You can read into whatever this movie symbolicly means, but aside from the obvious JESUS ref ( twice) its just a LIFETIME movie chick flick with a fem Superman on a 100 million dallar buget.

  • MasonTGanes

    The trailers wer fantastic but 90% of that was due to Williams nostalgia music. I liked Routh but not for this story. He would have made more sense as a Superman who just became/ ORIGIN film.
    And Bosworth is terribly miscast even if this was an origin movie. She is just waaay too young to be a lead reporter for the daily planet. Shes like 24. Her ass would be in the rookie crowd not the front lines of anything.
    That plus she is DISCUSTINGLY too skinny.

  • MasonTGanes

    I guess the IDIOTS who find SPIDERMAN 1 & 2 unwatchable- never read a spiderman comic prior to 1987. Ramis spiderman is literally taken from the first 25 yrs of the comics. its PURE spiderman. ( ok the webshooters was a studio holdover idea from Cameron)
    THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN is ulitimate spiderman meshed with a NOLANIZING of the character.
    SUPERMAN RETURNS is a homoerotic LIFETIME movie on a 100 million dollar budget.

  • MasonTGanes

    Daredevil ( original cut) is still a very decent and faithful film. But its not in the league of SPIDERMAN 1 & 2

  • MasonTGanes

    yeah it wasnt his fault at all. I would have been with him coming back in a sequel without SINGER though

  • MasonTGanes

    I for one never liked his first 2 Xmen either. they were OK but too reimagined. And the lack of costumes still ticks me off to this day.
    WOLVERINE is a 5 foot hairy runt in a yellow masked costume!!! NOT a 6 foot hairless guy with long hair.

  • MasonTGanes

    Guess what– the basic outline for X3 was exactly the template that SINGER was going to film. It was tweaked for Ratner, but otherwise the major story stucture and elements were in place with the script prior to Ratner coming on board.
    SINGER still would have filmed Jean Grey in the woods working for Magneto.

  • MasonTGanes

    REEVES red underwear & ROUTHS speedo are two totaly different looking things. ROUTHS is gay because its sooo low. REEVES is more high up. the costumes next to one another are totaly different.
    Superman got his ass kicked after being sTabbed. He didnt ever have the upper hand with Luthor. The jeasus beating he got was a decent scene. But then they do the Jesus fall to earth thing again 10 minutes later. SUPERMAN throwing a giant continent into space is NOT what i call an exciting climactic ending where good triumphs over even and LUTHOR is foiled. Its just an ok 1 minute special effect scene.
    On endless levels this movie is bad.

  • James Peppe

    I could not agree more. It was great when First Class came out because it only contained 5 seconds wolverine. Thats really the only one thats about the xmen. The rest of the movies are about a shitty wolverine.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    You stopped mattering when you got all bent out of shape over “gayness of underwear”. Sorry I wasted time dealing with the likes of you.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    Who gives the f*ck how old you are? Look we get it. You didn’t understand the movie. You’re throwing a tantrum because you didn’t get it and there wasn’t enough punching for you. It’s okay. There’s the Man of Steel and it has lots of punching, a very uncomplicated set of emotions and motivations and is quite entertaining. You don’t speak for everyone either Mason, or maybe we should just call you Webster’s, as not everyone thought it was dumb or whatever psychotic rant you were on. We’ll just agree to disagree. After that CAPS tirade and your obvious advanced age I’m worried you won’t be around to keep posting your insights. It’s okay to check your posts by the way. I make errors too but I aspire to be more than a collection of barely coherent, incorrectly spelled words. Just try. The world could be a better place for trying to be more than what you have settled for.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    You are just full of all kinds of colorful comments. Note to self: no more skinny actresses because it makes Mason mad or sick or something,

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    Seek help. I liked Raimi’s Spidey by the way but people who didn’t are idiots are they?

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    Whoa! Mason knows Bryan Singer! If Uwe Boll was using the “same template” would the film have been weaker? Who cares what template he used? The movie sucked and Ratner’s stink was all over it.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    So what would have made it a bigger blockbuster is 1960s style yellow and blue spandex?

  • Lily

    what kind of homophobia…

  • Thomas Guiry

    the scene were superman was floating in space in almost a sleep like state with his head down and could hear all the cries for help from earth, that was cool.