Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Superman 2: The Richard Donner Cut

Superman 2: The Richard Donner Cut; fantasy, USA / UK, 1980 / 2006; D: Richard Donner, S: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp, Gene Hackman, Sarah Douglas, Jackie Cooper

When Lois Lane discovers his true identity, Superman decides to relinquish his superpowers and become an ordinary human. However, he did that is a bad timing, since just then three super villains from Krypton - Zod, Ursa and Non - arrive in America and decide to take over the world. Gaining back his powers, Superman battles and defeats the villains.

There is little doubt that "Superman II" is an apex of comic-book adaptations and the best live action film featuring the eponymous iconic superhero, yet the question remains: which version? Namely, due to certain disagreements with Salkind producers, the original director of the 1st film, Richard Donner, was replaced with Richard Lester, who completed the film. 26 years after the premiere, Donner managed to reassemble his director's cut from scratch, which shed new perspective on "Superman II": for one, it seems that it wasn't Lester who diverted the storyline towards more comedy, but Donner himself, since there are several fresh and lively comic moments here. For other, just as Zod asks Luthor "Why would we need you? We already have what we want", so does the viewers pose the question: was it necessary to bring Lester into the project when Donner already completed 80% of the film?

This edition shows a film that is practically the same as the 1980 edition, except for a few staggering differences. Among others, Donner's cut shines thanks to the appearance of Marlon Brando: the scene where he puts his arm on Superman's shoulders and brings his powers back is simply pure magic. The pace also seems to be slower, as Donner allows the editing to take more time to linger. However, his edition has two serious flaws in common sense: the first one is when Lois jumps out of the window of the Daily Planet, trying to lure Clark into revealing his identity as Superman and save her. However, Clark runs off superfast to the street, and uses his laser beam - in public - to open a roof on a building, which softens her fall. That nobody would notice a man in suit using laser beams, at broad daylight, in the middle of the rush hour in town, is just plain ridiculous. Lester's cut handled this situation with far more sense, without trampling on common sense and basic logic of the viewers. The other is the ending: here, Superman again uses his flying around Earth to cause the time to go backwards, and thus travels back in time, before Lois discovered his identity. However, this way, the villains are also revived and could again free themselves and attack Earth, whereas the sequence where Clark goes to "settle the score" with the trucker in the snack bar is a jarring continuity error: since the trucker never assaulted him and Lois now that Superman travelled back in time, it seems as if Clark beats up the trucker without any real reason, which makes no sense. Donner was there first - but Lester just gave a tiny bit more logic to the storyline, and his version is thus just a little bit better, among others thanks to more funny scenes, whose lack here is sensed.


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