Let me start out by saying this: you won't be disappointed. It is very much a throwback to the original 1978 movie, from the spacious blue font of the credits to the title theme to Brandon Routh channeling the spirit of Christopher Reeve. That said, you also won't fall in love with it at first. There seems to be a lot happening right from the get-go so a true connection with the characters is not established. This is most certainly due in part to the fact that a chunk of footage was left on the cutting room floor concerning Superman's trip to Krypton. Those that are worried about the time lost from the cut footage need not: the movie still clocks in at 157 minutes, and after about a half hour into the film you start caring more and more for the players involved.
As I said, Brandon Routh really does seem to be a spitting image of Christopher Reeve. Make no mistake, he is Superman. Director Bryan Singer said from the get-go that he wanted a no-name actor to portray Superman so that he seems to leap out of our collective unconscious; Routh does this and then some. He looks the part and speaks the part perfectly (in a conversation with one of the editors of this page we both agreed that 'Superman would talk like that'). Before I saw the film one of my reservations was that Routh and Bosworth seem to be too young to play the part of a Superman that has been gone for 5 years after "Superman II" and a Lois Lane that has a 5-year-old kid. However, their age did not detract at all from the story that was being told and both performed wonderfully. I also loved Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, but for all the talk of the character of Lex taking a darker turn in this movie he still seemed to be a continuation of Gene Hackman's Lex.
My final criticism is that the overall plot was somewhat simplistic (no spoilers here, don't worry), though the subplots and themes concerning how Superman fits into the modern world are not.
It may seem that this review is full of criticisms, but I can't tell you much about how cool this movie is without giving something away! You will be surprised by the events of this movie, and it will remind you of how cool Superman is. He performs more feats of bravery and strength around the world and in Metropolis than you will be able to follow (you'll have to play the scenes in slow motion when the DVD comes out to catalogue all the things he actually does in this movie). You will also see just how bulletproof Superman really is (this scene will blow your minds). "Superman Returns" will appeal to all audiences, but will have a special place in the hearts of those that have been waiting since "Superman II" was released in 1980 for a good Superman movie. Welcome back Superman, hopefully you're here to stay.