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It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s The Missing “Superman Returns” Sequences!

by  in Movie News, TV News Comment
It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s The Missing “Superman Returns” Sequences!

We’ve presented some reviews of “Superman Returns” on CBR News (as part of our extensive coverage of the film), and as you’ve probably seen from reviews on other sites, the Man Of Steel has returned to critical acclaim. Fans have shown support for the movie, as evidenced by the strong opening day numbers (analyzed in depth here at CBR), but there’s also been some confusion as to the edits made to the film. For example, the trailers for “Superman Returns” featured more dialogue from Martha Kent than made it into the film, while also highlighting an elaborate sequence illustrating Supeman’s return to Krypton. So what didn’t make it into the film? We’ll likely never know about everything that Bryan Singer & Co planned for the film, nor will we likely see everything left on the cutting room floor, but we can examine some important moments that were cut from the theatrical release of the film. Consider this your SPOILER WARNING, as we will discuss some key moments from the film. We won’t be using the comic book or novel adaptations to compare to the film, so if there are interesting wrinkles in those stories, they won’t be addressed in this article.

Superman’s Return To Krypton


At last year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, director Bryan Singer wowed a packed room with five minutes from “Superman Returns,” including images of Superman (as portrayed by Brandon Routh) in a crystal vessel, decked out in gray Super-duds. We saw his crystalline ship pass through the remnants of Krypton in a stunning special effects sequence. Alas, it was not meant to be, at least when it comes to the theatrical version.


“I don’t desire to have exceedingly long movies,” exlained Singer at the June 9th Press Junket. “The first X-Men movie is something like 80 minutes. What happened was I had this cut and it was timed to sit with an audience, what I call a friends and family screening, and as I’m watching it I looked at certain things and felt certain things and one of those was really tough – it was the “Return To Krypton” sequence. A whole sequence in space. A very expensive, elaborate sequence, but in the context of this movie it just wasn’t necessary and it wasn’t important. It could live afterwards.”


It’s hard to argue with Singer’s reasoning, as the essence of the journey is conveyed in a short discussion between Clark and Martha Kent, and at 2.5 hours, the film is already quite full of beautiful sequences. Devoted Superman fans, or lovers of special effects, will no doubt drool over the sequences when they presumably surface on DVD and for now, fans can rewatch trailers to catch a glimpse of the sequence.

Superman’s Wallpaper Adventures


Over at the official “Superman Returns” website, fans can choose from a variety of wallpapers, including the second promotional poster. Look a bit deeper and you’ll see wallpapers depicting some referenced scenes. There’s a poster of Clark holding a shovel near the remains of his ship, presumably to hide it underground, as he later tells Martha he buried the ship away from prying eyes. It’d be an interesting sequence to see, considering that a few people in Smallville might have noticed the ship falling from the sky. The sequences in Smallville were short, but quite reflective and would no doubt offer even more insight into this version of Clark Kent/Superman. “He comes back to a new set of rules in the Superman universe,” explained co-writer Dan Harris last year during the “Superman Returns” set visit.


You’ll also find a wallpaper depicting young Clark Kent, as portrayed by Stephen Bender, holding one of the crystals that Lex would later use to violate Superman’s heritage. Visitors to bluetights.net may also have noticed Bender learning to fly in Video Journal #3, “Children Of The Corn.” Fans interested in seeing more of the Clark/Krypton scenes should also check out Video Journal #22. Considering the role of these crystals, and the parallels drawn between Clark’s childhood and that of young Jason, these scenes will definitely enhance viewing pleasure of the film if they surface on DVD.

Martha Kent And The Man In Her Life

In the world of the Superman films, Jonathan “Pa” Kent dies during Clark’s teen years, helping to inspire him to use his powers to prevent a similar tragedy. In the first film, we’re told that Kent family friend Ben Hubbard is helping to take care of Martha “Ma” Kent. Early in the film, we see Ben driving away from the Kent house and later he’s with Martha outside the hospital in Metropolis. But there was a lot more planned for Mr. Hubbard, played by James Karen, with his role as Martha’s boyfriend causing quite a stir on the Internet. No doubt that the scenes were trimmed out to streamline the film, but it’s interesting to note that one of the commercials features Ben asking Clark if he “flew in” that day. It’s not clear that Ben knows Clark’s secret, and it’s more likely that Martha told Ben that Clark flew back from his “trip.”

The trailers for “Superman Returns” also featured Martha telling Clark that, “Your father used to say you were put here for a reason” and that “The world can always use more good reporters,” with both those lines likely playing into Clark’s decision to return to Metropolis. In a nod to the original “Superman” film, Martha also says “Even you can’t stop the world from spinning,” no doubt counseling Clark in regards to the changes in the world.

We’ve also seen images of Clark looking at his old photos and the Superman uniform, as well as trying it on for the first time in years and looking in the mirror. It’s unclear quite where these images would have appeared in the film, but considering that Clark has his uniform when he returns to Metropolis, they would have likely been earlier in the film, or at least before the shuttle rescue.

That Darn Barn


At one point in the film, young Clark Kent falls into a barn on the Kent Farm and learns to fly. It’s a superb sequence, in terms of emotion and visual effects, and it seems that the Kent Barns might play a larger role on DVD. Warner Bros released an image of Clark reading Lois’ “Why The World Doesn’t Need Superman” article, showing that Clark was somewhat aware of Lois’ feelings before he returned to Metropolis. The inference is that Martha has been collecting papers for Clark during his time away and he’s likely used them to keep up on world events, similar to the sequence where he is flipping through news channels.

The Final Word


There’s no doubt that “Superman Returns” is a spectacular film for fans of all ages and the majority of reviews would seem to support that opinion. A 2 hour, 34 minute running time for a film is more than the standard (unless we’re discussing a Peter Jackson film) and Superman fans are lucky to have such an in depth film. We can only hope that more of Singer’s vision is shown on the eventual DVD version of “Superman Returns,” presumably scheduled to hit stores later this year.


Is the movie better or worse for these changes? As with any piece of art, it’s hard to say there’s a right answer, but we’d love to hear your thoughts on CBR’s TV/Film Forum, where you can find scores of Superman fans debating the film.


Stay tuned to CBR News for even more “Superman Returns” news, analysis and images, courtesy of our regular news team and Hannibal Tabu’s daily Comic Reel News Wrap.

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