It's been almost 20 years since director Richard Donner dazzled audiences with Superman: The Movie, and turned Christopher Reeve into a super-celebrity.

In the sequels that followed, a franchise quickly devolved, becoming preposterous and forgettable. But Superman was too popular to stay buried forever, and it's clear that Bryan Singer, the director of the first two X-Men films, was excited to bring him back. At long last, the Man of Steel is stealing scenes again.

Can Brandon Routh live up to the standard set by Christopher Reeve?

Is Kate Bosworth a lovable Lois Lane?

How does Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor compare to the one played by Gene Hackman?

Was it a mistake for Singer to leave the X-Men franchise, which was going so well until he handed it over to Bret Ratner?

Christian film critics do not agree on the answers to these questions. But almost all of them are excited about interpreting Superman Returns as a sort of allegory about Christ.

Peter T. Chattaway (Christianity Today Movies), giving the film two-and-a-half stars (out of four), writes, "[T]here is no denying that Singer has pulled out all the stops in his bid to make the biggest, loudest summer blockbuster possible—and he sprinkles the movie with welcome grace notes of visual beauty and comic absurdity."

He also says we shouldn't "make too much" of the film as Christian allegory. "The Superman movies have never shown anyone actually following Superman's inspiring lead; if anything, they have shown people waiting passively for Superman to rescue them. What's more, the Superman of the movies has shown a remarkable tendency to shrug off his responsibilities—first abandoning his powers (and thus the safety of the world) so he could sleep with Lois in Superman II, ...

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