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A while back Screen Junkies used their Honest Trailers platform to see which DC franchise their viewers wanted to see further ripped apart. Pitting individual trailers to 1989's Batman and 1978's Superman: The Movie against each other, the video with the higher view count would lead to another Honest Trailer for either Batman Begins or Superman Returns. Now, a winner has been declared, and the Man of Steel is victorious, as you'll see in the Honest Trailer below.
Of course, this victory is a dubious honor, seeing as the alternative offered by Screen Junkies was Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. But here we are, tearing into Bryan Singer's "ho-boo-quel" that was released only one short year after Nolan blew the doors off of the Caped Crusader's origins. This fact has us wondering, is the claim that Superman Returns is nothing short of "balls to the walls boredom" accurate in the long run, or is it merely a side effect of comparing the film to its more action oriented DC predecessor? Well, let's look at the facts as they're presented.
Superman Returns has a plot that focuses on the return of Superman, after spending years in space trying to confirm the demise of Krypton. After returning, we learn that he inadvertently caused Lex Luthor to be released from prison, ultimately allowing him to fulfill his dastardly plan of wooing a widow only to inherit her money. The big showdown in the film would be between Superman and Luthor, as the evil millionaire was trying to create his own private continent to literally end all continents. Our hero flies said continent into space, and is revealed to be a horrible person who wipes the minds of people that bear his accidental children, as Lois Lane's son is revealed to be a super-baby. Cue the credits, and dashed hopes for a follow-up.
Reading through that summary to Superman Returns, it's easy to see where Screen Junkies seems to find the film as one, gigantic bore. Superman's powers really don't come into play all that much in the film's overall conflict, with a more political / ethical dilemma at play with Lex Luthor's new continent. That's not to say that a Superman film can't be made without some sort of super powered menace at the heart of it. It certainly worked in Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie, as the Man of Steel fought to stop Lex Luthor from... creating his own private landmass. Ok, the dialogue call backs we could kind of forgive, but recycling the same villainous plot? That's just not right.
Ultimately, Superman Returns is indeed a bit of a bore when you focus on how it's nothing more than a half-baked remake of Superman: The Movie, only with a couple franchise references and better special effects to distance it from the original film. Still, if we were to pick between the boredom of Superman Returns and the jumbled mess of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, we'll pick Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight any day of the week. Is it a cop out? Totally. But can you really blame us?