Watching this unloved child in quick succession to the 1½ Donner movies it pays tribute to proves a fortuitous move. In essence, a big budget, well-made fanfic, it is actually highly enjoyable in the frame of mimicry (especially in performance) and deviation. Witness the intersection of peril and realism as Superman attempts to prevent a plane from crashing into the ground: its nose collapses under the competing pressures. Such an image could prove a suitable metaphor for Bryan Singer’s will to personal homage and the studio/audience demand for blockbuster thrills. Certainly the picture suffers as its scope becomes larger (and Bible-pretentious), while the love
triangle square at its heart provokes interest but not the intended Casablanca-style emotional investment.
Nevertheless, I will say this: audiences didn’t take to this film because it is a complex work that doesn’t really offer the simplistic good vs evil struggle we’re all insidiously attuned to. It deals with an icon and its associated meanings, its relation to the individual and to society, and how these meanings change over time. While I still regret Singer’s absence from completing what might have been an incredible X-Men trilogy, his dream project is very much underrated. I will know later tonight whether it is the best Superman film to date.