Superman Returns Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jun 2006
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* 'Like JD Salinger or Hemingway before her, Jeannette Walls has the talent of knowing exactly how to let a story tell itself, crafted without self-pity or analysis or judgement' Independent on Sunday * 'A terrific story, grippingly told' Sunday Times * 'Funny and brilliantly written' Evening Herald * 'There isn't a shred of self-pity in this deeply compassionate book' Marie Claire
A tie-in to SUPERMAN RETURNS, the major action Superman movie from Warner Brothers in summer 2006 directed by Hollywood heavyweight Bryan Singer.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The book isn't perfect as it does digress meaninglessly on a few occassions and paints a picture of Clark Kent on two points, in particular that annoyed me (i.e. him drinking 8-9 consecutive pints of lager, and being arrogant about saving the shuttle, which are not akin to the Reeve/Routh character portrayed in the films), but overall it is pretty good.
but thats just my opinion! xoxoxxx gd reading to ya all!
The story itself also seems to do an injustice to Lois and Clark, making Lois uninterested in Clark and generally uninteresting. The book drags and has not filled me with confidence for the film. All in all a dissapointment.
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Like you see with novelizations sometimes, though, there are a few discreprencies between the film and the book, including a fairly major plot point towards the end which is done away with in the novel. When this happens, particularly in the case of such an important element, it's usually the case of the filmmakers adding something in too late for the novelist to include the change. You can't really fault Wolfman for it, but at the same time, it still makes the book a little less satisfying to read as an adaptation. Still, it's a fun book based on a fantastic movie, and I'm glad I gave Wolfman another chance.
The sequence depicting Superman exploring the remains of Krypton, excised from the film, is here in all its glory, and it's a nicely realized bit. With luck, we'll eventually get to see it in a future extended cut of the film.
A little awkward are the flashback scenes fleshing out Superman's parents' life on Krypton in the days before they rocketed their son to Earth. We see Lara negotiating her salary to work as an assistant to Jorel (before she fell in love with him), and, later, her painting and decorating baby Kal-El's bedroom. Those scenes were a little too mundane and Earthlike to me, not like a strange alien culture at all. And how in the world do you paint a bedroom made of crystal, anyway? While most of Mr. Wolfman's added background scenes were fine, these and a few others were a little off.
The novel adds a very interesting plot point showing clearly that it was Lex Luthor who tricked Superman into going on that five-year jaunt to explore the remains of Krypton. As described in the novelization, it was Earth's scientists who discovered the remains of Krypton, but it was Luthor who planted false information in the press that there was a chance that some life still existed on the planet's burned out remains. It was Luthor's false information that made Superman have to see for himself what was out there across the galaxy. That makes the tragedy of Superman losing Lois to Richard even more, well... tragic, as Superman leaving Earth for all that time was essentially needless. I don't know whether this plot point was originally slated for inclusion in the movie or whether it was a Wolfman addition to the novel, but I thought it was terrific and effective.
As pointed out by others, the movie's big revelation about Lois' son Jason is not in the novel, making me think it was a last-minute addition to the movie story and there wasn't time to add it to the novelization. Otherwise, it's kind of cheesy that the information was held back from book buyers. This plot difference makes the novel even more tragic than the movie, as the novel's story depicts a Lex Luthor who tricks Superman into leaving Lois Lane, who eventually goes off and has a child with someone else. In the movie, Superman will, at the very least, always share the "Jason" connection with Lois.
The rest of the novelization follows the movie pretty closely, with some odd exceptions (I'm thinking here of Jimmy Olsen's heavy drinking and public drunkenness in the book-- I'm not kidding!). In the end, though, those who enjoy reading the occasional movie novelization either before or after seeing the film in question will likely find favor with this pleasantly engaging book.
Here are my initial reactions: (WARNING! Spoilers ahead...)
1. I was surprised that Superman and Lex Luthor have so few scenes together - and that all of their time together was clumped in just a couple of chapters near the very end. I thought it was obvious that Luthor planted the fake story about Krypton still having life in an effort to divert Superman away from Earth.
2. There were a lot of pieces of dialogue that appear as direct quotes from the 1978 movie. This is not bad. In fact, it's a nice touch in a lot of ways but after a while I started wondering if the writers were afraid to create new "classic" lines instead reusing the old ones. I don't know how many of those lines will make it into the final release of the movie.
3. I expected some closure with Superman and Lois Lane but the story really only progresses their relationship a small bit. The stuff with Jason (where I think it's pretty obvious that he's really Superman's son) goes unresolved - though they hint at something that should be continued in the sequel. I'm referring here to the scene where Lois visits Superman in the hospital and tells him something private but we as an audience don't get to read what she tells him.
4. I was surprised at how little there was of Superman actually in action. Sure, there are a few great action scenes, but for the most part Superman/Clark Kent is a bystander, watching the story unfold. The story seems to be more of a soap opera about the world he lives in and not so much a character-driven piece.
With that being said, I'm looking very forward to the movie. I'm sure that the few action pieces described in the novel will look fantastic on the big screen. I know not to expect very much from the "love story" now. When Bryan Singer was making the movie he described it as a love story but after reading it, I found very little love in it. I would describe it as more of a story about Superman wanting to reclaim his life after going off on a mission to find where he fits in with the universe. I think my wife will be disappointed that it's not a love story when she sees it next month.
So overall I'd say it was a good story but not great. Nothing really surprising happened in the story for me but it felt great to return to that 1978 feeling. In a lot of ways the story felt like you just finished watching SUPERMAN 1 and 2 and then picked up with this. More than anything, this movie feels like it's setting up a lot of plot lines that will be resolved in the next movie.
I hope with future stories they take some chances and throw some surprises. This story feels like a transition piece - serving to bridge the old movies with the sequels that will come out in a few years.
Clark wrestles with whether or not he should leave his Superman identity behind, but when Lois and a plane of reporters are poised for disaster, he puts on the suit. He makes his triumphant return in time to battle Lex Luthor and fight to save the planet.
Although lacking in action and weak in the scientific explanation of Lex Luthor's evil plot, Superman fans will find in this novel welcome details about Superman's parents and his home planet that movies and the comic book did not provide. We also are treated to an in-depth look into the minds of Superman and the Daily Planet staff. And while many questions raised in the book are not clearly answered by the last page, readers will probably be willing to forgive the plot holes and look toward the next installment of the Man of Steel for resolution.
Reviewed by Joelle Charbonneau-Blanco
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