Superman 2 (1980)
Director(s): Richard Lester (official) Richard Donner (originally)
Stars: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Terrance Stamp
I know I'm picking an obvious one here, but for the sake of those who haven't seen it, let me explain the plot.
Superman inadvertently frees three super criminals from Krpton from their flat prison called the Phantom Zone. They come to Earth (led by the wonderfully evil General Zod) and decide to take over it. While this is going on, Lois finds out the Clark Kent is really Superman. They fall in love, Supes takes her to his crib, and they knock super boots.He then fucks it all up by turning mortal, where he's easy pickens for truck driver assholes. Zod and company look for Supes, Supes fights them, and of course the sequels aren't called General Zod 3: The Wrath of Mute Guy, so you know the Man of Steel beats them. He then wipes out Lois' memory and things are back to normal.
I'm doing this a little differently because I recently learned of another cut of Superman 2. The "new" version is actually the footage that Richard Donner directed before getting fired. Only 30% of Donner's footage made it to the actual theatrical release, so it was fascinating to see what a 95% Donner helmed Superman 2 looked like.
So with that I present to you...
Six Things I Liked AND Disliked About Richard Donner's Version of Superman 2
1. No Paris sequence. I've always hated it anyways, and felt Donner's version sets a better tone and gives it a better flow with the first film.
2. More focus on General Zod and gang. Zod is one of my all time favorite bad guys. From his almost bored expression he wears throughout the film, to the many times he yells "KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!" he is what a true villain is suppose to be. No wisecracks, no pandering to his gang, just straight up badass.
3. I did NOT like the fact that they took almost all the humor out of it. I understand taking goofy shit like the sight gags during the Metropolis fight (wigs coming off, guy in phone booth won't stop talking despite hurricane like winds), but took all the comical elements out of Non, the mute previously childlike member of Zod's group. Sure he looks menacing, but now he has no personality. Might as well be called Generic Henchman #12.
Oh, but let's add in a fucking toilet scene when Lex and Tessmacher goes to the Fortress of Solitude. Yes, toilets flushing and all. I'm surprised they didn't talk about how hard the toilet paper was. Guess we now know Superman shits. Thanks Donner.
4. Marlon Brando's giant scary head. All over the damn place. It's horrific, and am shocked when Lois didn't run screaming. I thought he was going to eat Clark at least three times. The horror...the horror.
5. They took out the Mount Rushmore scene. I'll underline that....THEY TOOK OUT THE FUCKING MOUNT RUSHMORE SCENE! They put in some stupid scene of the Washington monument going down. Whoop-dee shit. At least my favorite sequence in the film, the Metropolis fight, looks great.
6. The ending was a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I liked how Clark kisses an upset Lois and her memory is blanked out. Now she doesn't have to suffer knowing she can't be with Clark. On the other hand, between the first shoot and the reshoots, Margot Kidder must have discovered meth because she is looking rough. It's upsetting because of how pretty she looks throughout Donner's cut.
As soon as I saw Perry White's toothpaste slowly come out of the tube, I knew Superman was gonna do a rerun. What I mean is is that Superman flies around the Earth moving back time once again. Sure, Lois doesn't know who he is anymore, but now the very villains he killed are back alive (albeit in the Phantom Zone again). How does that shit make any sense!?
Overall, I liked both films. The Lester one will always be my favorite super hero film, but Donner's version clears up a lot of plot holes and makes the film seem more serious. I'm sure somebody's does a fan edit where they put the best of both together...and I'd probably watch that too.