Superman Returns: Loews Lincoln Square * New York City

I watched the 1976 Superman movie and its sequels, and I enjoyed them. Since then, I’ve cheered through years of Batman, Spiderman, X-Men, and more, always at the edge of my seat, always pumped at the end, never a thought of blue suits, red capes. But minutes into Superman Returns, Warner Bros’ 2006 version, directed by Bryan Singer (the crowd, packed like sardines, cheering from the first note of the theme song), I was bouncing in my chair, gasping, covering my eyes, and yelling at the screen. No superhero beats Superman and my euphoria lasted all the way to the end.

Brandon Routh plays the title role humbly, the way I remember Christopher Reeve playing it. I even noticed a resemblance in his profile. Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane, just unrecognizable enough under a mop of brown hair—a character, not a star—kept me from missing Margot Kidder. Kevin Spacey makes a great Lex Luther: acting chops and the landscaped face that brings Gene Hackman to mind. And Parker Posey, as Luther’s lady friend, Kitty Kowalski, only left me wishing she would show up more often in Hollywood blockbusters.

A few purists exited the theater disappointed, but that’s no surprise. To them I say, maybe the science of Krypton doesn’t follow this fiction, but it’s a pro-human, pro-earth story, after all. Superman’s empathy—a relavent reminder—crosses all borders. I pumped my fist and hummed the theme song all the way home, happy to have a good ol’ all American hero back in my life.