Monday, June 17, 2013

Superman II (1980/2006) (Richard Donner Cut)

Director: Richard Donner

Starring: Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Sarah Douglas, Margo Kidder, Jack O'Halloran, Valeri Perrine, Susannah York, Clifton James, E.G. Marshall, Marc McClure, Terence Stamp, John Ratzenberger, Shane Rimmer

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The three outlaws from Krypton descend to Earth to confront the Man of Steel in a cosmic battle for world supremacy.

Plot: Picking up where "Superman: The Movie" left off, three criminals from the planet Krypton are released from the Phantom Zone by a nuclear explosion in space. They descend upon Earth where they could finally rule. Superman, meanwhile, is in love with Lois Lane, who finds out who he really is. Lex Luthor escapes from prison and is determined to destroy Superman by joining forces with the three criminals.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? This version? Yes.

 After Watching the theatrical cut of SUPERMAN II (1980) directed by Donner's replacement, Richard Lester, I wanted to see Richard Donner's version while it was still fresh in my mind.  Donner shot a large portion of the sequel in conjunction with SUPERMAN (1978).  For whatever reason the producers didn't like Donner or wanted a different picture so they brought Richard Lester to finish the picture which is the only version we've seen until 2006 when Warner Bros. threw the geek community a major bone and reconstructed with Donner his vision (or as close as possible) of what he wanted the film to be before it was taken from him.

It's great.  It's a marked improvement over the Lester picture but not without its flaws.  Much of the camp and silliness has been removed (YAY!), several things are explained (Brando is back and his addition is crucial to the understanding of Superman giving up his powers so he can be with Lois) and even though it's only a few minutes shorter than the theatrical version, it's a much tighter and enjoyable story and film.  The trucker gag at the end doesn't make sense as Superman set everything back to normal but it's still a funny bit.  Especially his gesture when he says he's been lifting weights.  Could he have been more dorky?  Loved it.  Probably my favorite addition to this cut (besides the Brando explanation of why that thing has to happen the way it did) is the Niagra Falls Lois scene with the gun.  It's soooooo much better than the theatrical cut with the fire.  It's a brilliant reveal.  The other one was good but this one is fantastic.  And the funny thing is, this scene was an audition scene and was never intended to be in the finished product (the scene was but not the filmed audition).  Great stuff. I highly encourage everyone to see this version.  Watch the other one, too, because it makes for a fascinating look at how different movies can be depending on who's behind the camera. 

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