Superman Week: Superman 2: The Richard Donner Cut


You may have been wondering why I said "this version of the film" at points in the Superman 2 review. Well that's because there are in fact 2 versions of this film. Overall they do tell the same story and the acting is the same. I wont go on into a full in depth review of it, just say why I feel it's the superior version . So lets take a look at Superman 2: The Richard Donner cut.

This scene was one Donner really wanted in the film, but only a screen test was filmed
resulting in a few minor appearance changes.

Let me say first that if you do view this version, you have to be a little forgiving and can't be too critical of some things. There are cases where there were bits of Lester's film used along side Donner's footage in order to make a complete story. There were also some things that Donner wanted in the film which he never got to shoot except for a screen test, which was used. If you can get past that and the points where you'll notice some minor inconsistencies such as change in a characters hair and Clark's glasses, you should be able to enjoy this film.


One of the things which I noticed from the start was the opening, it nicely tied both films together and that's the way it was meant to be as Superman 1 and 2 were shot at the same time. Once more attention was needed on Superman I to get it out to theaters in time, this film was put on the back burner. It was interesting to see where the villains were at the ending of the first film and the fact that the missile from the first film is what broke their prison makes so much more sense to me.


Another thing that I loved about this film was that almost all of the issues I and other people have with the theatrical release of Superman 2 are gone. The plot holes were addressed and the complications surrounding the issues caused when Donner was removed are all solved here. There are no more laser beams shooting out of fingers, and the plastic S on the costume is no longer a net.

Gene Hackman refused to return for re-shoots in support of Richard Donner and the scenes shot with Marlon Brando were scrapped entirely so they wouldn't have to re-shoot them, thus would have to pay Brando again. There were a ton of great scenes cut due to this, and they really added to the film. The Jor-el character alone added so much to the story of the film that its a shame they made the decision to cut it all to not pay Brando's fee. Thankfully all of these scenes were restored for this version of the film.


 

One of the biggest complaints I've heard from people is about the ending. People are baffled that they used the "flying backwards around the earth" trick twice. Well after watching the documentary on this cut, its made known that this was the planned ending for Superman 2. In a rush to finish the first film, they wanted the biggest special effect shot in that film, so they figured "we'll redo the ending when it comes time" but never got around to it. So the original planned ending for Donner's film is restored and still makes more sense than the memory erasing kiss.

If there was one thing Zod needed, it was a gun.
Overall This is the true sequel to Superman the movie in my eyes. It has the same feel and tone to it as the first film, and it doesn't leave you with a ton plot holes. For years all I had known about was the theatrically released version of Superman 2 and when I learned of and finally got a chance to see this film, I was shocked at how much better it was. Despite being a "Frankenstein" of a film, since there is some of the footage Lester filmed used to tie the story together, its a good look at what could have been.

Bottom Line: If you're a fan of the original Donner Superman film, check this one out. It's a far superior sequel to a great film, a much more satisfying movie to watch than what we got for a sequel.

Score: 9/10



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