Superman Returns Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
Staging a comeback is challenging, even for someone as heroic as Superman. Five years ago the superhero (Brandon Routh) disappeared after remnants of his home planet were discovered. Now he’s back on Earth and facing a civilization even more in need of his help. But despite the splashy front-page headlines and adoring public, saving the world isn’t always as rewarding as it appears. In fact, not everyone is glad he turned up.
Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth), for one, has moved on with her life. The intractable reporter now has a son, a live-in boyfriend (James Marsden) and a Pulitzer Prize for an article entitled, “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman.” Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey), recently released from prison, is also unhappy with the unexpected return. Having discovered Superman’s secret ice palace, he taps into the source of the alien hero’s extraordinary powers and plans to use them for his own purposes.
For the film’s director Bryan Singer, the challenge of Superman Returns was introducing new faces to well-known characters. Donning a pair of tights and the big red “S” might be intimidating but fortunately Brandon Routh, a relative unknown in the business, embodies both the strong, noble characteristics of the Man of Steel as well as the bumbling, awkward actions of reporter Clark Kent. While motherhood has done little to soften the tough-minded Lois, Kate Bosworth brings another dimension to the woman who is simultaneously angry and thrilled to see Superman. And even though Lex Luthor’s diabolical plot remains relatively undeveloped in comparison to the love story, Kevin Spacey manages to play his character with a nasty kind of glee.
Although Superman’s suit might be updated, his compassion for humankind is as old-fashioned as ever. However, for younger audiences, the film includes some graphic depictions of violence. While weakened from exposure to kryptonite, Superman is brutally beaten by Lex’s henchmen who also hold the caped crusader’s face under water and push him to the edge of a cliff. In an attempt to take the bullets for a pair of bank security officers, the superhero is repeatedly shot in the chest and also hit in the eye. When Lois tries to escape from Lex’s yacht, she is thrown to the ground, kicked and hit by one of her captors. The movie also includes the portrayal of other perilous situations, some sexual innuendo, discussion surrounding an illegitimate child and tobacco use (with an anti-smoking message).
Recent films have explored the dark side of classic superheroes, focusing on their foibles and faults. While this Kryptonian has emotional struggles and must face the consequences of his past actions, he doesn’t lose sight of his mission to help others. Some may consider this superhero too good to believe, but in an era of cynicism, narcissism and everyday road rage, society should be thankful he’s back.Starring Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey. Theatrical release June 27, 2006. Updated July 17, 2017
Rating & Content Info
Why is Superman Returns rated PG-13? Superman Returns is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some intense action violence.
While the script includes infrequent mild profanities and terms of deity, there are numerous depictions of action violence. A burning plane falls from the sky, slamming the passengers around inside. Earthquake-like tremors cause massive power outages and building damage. During a bank robbery, police officers are gunned down with a huge, high-powered automatic machine gun. Slow motion shots show a man repeatedly hit in the chest and in the eye with bullets, while other depictions include numerous gunshots, beatings, backstabbing and holding a man’s head under water. An out-of-control car careens through the downtown, hitting people and damaging property. Many people, including a female character, are threatened verbally as well as having their lives put in peril from drowning, falling from heights, kidnappings, and explosions. Characters steal items from a public building. A dog is shown eating another animal. Characters are shown drinking and an unhappy man goes to the bar for a drink. Smoking is portrayed although the film does contain a strong anti-smoking theme. Script includes the discussion of an illegitimate child and some sexual comments and innuendo.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
More parents' guide for Superman Returns after the break...
Superman Returns Parents' Guide
Superman’s father Jor-El tells him that humans can be a great people if they have someone to show them how. What noble characteristics does Superman embody that would improve society if they were embraced? What does he willingly sacrifice for the good of others?
Many recent films have depicted the dark side of superheroes. Is a “bad boy” character more appealing? Are these portrayals the result of changing societal values? Can a superhero be both good and appealing to the masses? What personal struggles does Superman face?
How does Superman treat women in comparison to Lex Luthor?
The most recent home video release of Superman Returns movie is November 27, 2006. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: Superman Triple Feature
Release Date: 13 November 2012
Related home video titles:
Like actor Brandon Routh, Christopher Reeve was also a virtual unknown when he was cast in the role of Superman in the 1978 film. Peter Parker is another superhero with a mild-mannered alter ego who uses his extraordinary powers to save the citizens of New York City in Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2.