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‘Superman Returns’ aims to fly high

In this edition of the “Critic's Corner,” “Today” movie critic Gene Shalit says Routh is amazing, but questions the thrill for young viewers.
/ Source: TODAY

Almost three decades after the first Christopher Reeve production, Superman returns in a new movie now open in theaters all over the country. “Today” movie critic Gene Shalit says “Superman Returns” aims to fly high.

“Superman,” with Christopher Reeve, a terrific cast and John Williams’s music, was a smash success in 1978 and again in 1980, but two following versions crashed. Now, almost exactly 25 years after his last success, “Superman Returns.” With the heroic Chris Reeve so sadly gone, Brandon Routh suits up as the man of steel, and he’s well-suited.

But the script is not a good fit. Kevin Spacey’s Lex Luthor is a pallid villain whose imagination-for-evil is so paltry that his wickedness is more ho-hum than gung-ho. Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) is now a mom, so romance is out: there’s no more spooning for Supe. But he’s still amazing — impervious to speeding bullets ... rushing to mid-air rescues ... a master of disguise just by putting on eyeglasses. Is Superman passé, gone the way of the telephone booth? Or will new young viewers thrill to his high-flying action? Only box-office results will determine if Superman still has the power to reap many happy returns.