After being summarily fired as soon as he completed work on Superman (1978), Richard Donner left behind 75-80% of Superman II (1980) in the can. The footage was re-tooled and augmented by new footage from replacement director Richard Lester, who delivered an entertaining sequel to Donner's original, but a disappointing one nonetheless, mainly due to his conventional direction and obvious lack of passion towards the material.
Almost 30 years later, Warner Bros. and producer/editor Michael Thau tracked down Donner's original footage, and with Donner's input and supervision, reconstructed Donner's original vision for Superman II. The result is a vast improvement over the theatrically released version, which restores the tone and quality Donner established with the original. Mostly gone is the campy humor, the sloppy dialogue, and the dated feel of the Richard Lester version. What we now have is a movie that is faster, subtler, more powerful, and technically better. The major plus, of course, is the restored Marlon Brando footage, the terrific opening, and a better ending,
For fans of Superman, his mythology, and the first film, this is a treasure trove.
Text © Ahmed Khalifa. 2016.