4 Movie Novelizations That Revealed Mind-Boggling Things About The Film
I didn't care much for the first attempt to reboot Superman, and to judge by the critics I'm not alone. It's not Brandon Routh's fault, he does pretty well with what he's given as far as playing Clark Kent goes. Certainly Kevin Spacey made for an excellent Lex Luthor, and Kate Bosworth is fine as Lois Lane even though it makes her relationship with Supes look a little pedophilic (Kate Bosworth would have been just 18 at the time Superman supposedly left Earth). In the end though, the story is more or less ridiculous even for a character that is kind of one-sided and ridiculous to begin with.
Writing the novelization fell to Marv Wolfman, who is a legend in comic book writing if not prose. He penned Crisis on Infinite Earths as well as creating the third Robin, Nova, and Blade. He's not shabby, and while his novel adaptation of his own Crisis was a little lacking he actually managed to make Superman Returns into a pretty good story by adding one good touch and removing one bad one.
In the movie, it was Earth scientists that discover the remains of Krypton far out across the galaxy. However, the novel makes it clear that it was Luthor's planting of false information in the press regarding possible survivors that was the catalyst for Superman leaving Earth in order to investigate. Think about it, would the Man of Steel really abandon the people he had sworn to protect for five full years for any other reason than he may be able to save some of his homeworld kin? No, he would have stayed and fought.
Meanwhile, Lois Lane goes off and has a child, and in the movie all genetics is thrown to the wind by making him half-Kryptonian. It's not as ham stupid as turning back time by spinning the planet backwards, but man is it up there.
Which is why Wolfman left it out of the novel entirely. It's possible that the studio didn't tell him about it in order to protect their "shocking twist." Whatever the reason, it makes the story infinitely better because Superman becomes an even more tragic figure. You can't beat him physically. When you start shooting scenes where he lifts an entire continent of kryptonite then you've lost all ability for us to worry about his physical well-being.
Instead, Luthor did what he always does best, outthink Superman. Even though his plan doesn't work out, he still costs his enemy the love of his life. I'm starting to think Wolfman should have written the movie instead.