pretty much the only difference was that the red in the cape was a little darker. bryan singer tries to walk the thin line between retaining the image of superman as portrayed by Reeve and trying to do something new and radical (and fun) with this amazing toy he has been handed. he just about manages to balance while leaning heavily towards the past serving up a version of superman which looks slightly better but retains the same core.
i don't know any more about superman than most people. i have watched the previous ones but don't remember much except for the one with the solar powered creature in IV(i know, worst superman ever. that being uses its nails to infect superman like some cat). i do remember some scenes with the clumsy, bumbling Reeve and the slightly hysterical lois lane(imdb tells me it was played by Margot Kidder). Bryan Singer in his role as guardian of the superhero temple probably told Brandon Routh to study tapes of Reeve and imitate him as best as he can. Kate Bosworth does look quite beautiful but i missed the wide eyed, surprised expression that Margot Kidder showed when meeting superman. kate makes that fantastic flight over the city seem like a bus ride. i guess it's cos lois has had a ride on superman before. the best character of course is lex luthor. kevin spacey brings extra wit and beautiful sarcasm to a character you know is a little crazy. other than that it is much of the same old, same old. there is a evil masterplan, it involves kryptonite and superman going down before coming back up.
the special effects i guess are really advanced and it was probably really hard work to make superman fly but i doubt that the older audience noticed anything different. it's come to the point where the effect really has to be something special for me to notice it. bryan remembers to showcase each one of superman's abilities just in case the younger crowd have not been taught enough by their parents. watching it in imax 3d however was a slightly different experience. i really liked the sound effects but was not too impressed with the 3d aspect. it maybe because there was no flying ice cream as in "my dear kuttichathan". the only other thing that bothered me was that metropolis seems stuck in the past. apart from the nifty product placements ( samsung, nikon and audi) there is nothing modern about metropolis. i am not a couture expert either but why is everyone dressed up like its the 80s. i bet that there was not a single pair of jeans in the entire movie and any superman worth his salt would've noticed the young lady he rescues from a runaway car is wearing an outfit that would be a better fit at the ascot or kentucky derby than an american city's downtown.
i saw this cool video on the net that showed how they reused marlon brando's face from the first movie. bryan could've as well done the same with the rest of the movie. he returns the toy to the showcase in the same pristine condition it was in before he took it out.