Donner Cut: Superman’s return is anticlimactic.
The Donner cut of Superman II makes Superman getting his powers back anticlimactic. In the theatrical cut we don’t know if Superman is going to get his powers back (okay, we “know” he will get his powers back) and until he does there is the building of tension in the movie. By not seeing Superman getting his powers back the film then focuses on Zod and his minions attacking Lois, Jimmy & Perry White at the Daily Planet.
There is still considerable tension in those scenes because we are unsure what what will happen. Superman flying to Metropolis and telling Zod to “care to step outside” is a moment of triumph that resolves the tension. It is actually one of my favorite scenes in the movie. But in the Donner cut we see an elaborate and long scene of Superman getting his powers back and then his return to Metropolis where for the first time in the film, Superman finally confronts Zod at the window. Ever since we saw the arrival of Zod and his fellow Kryptonians on Earth, paired with Superman giving up his powers at the same time, this very confrontation is the climax this movie is building toward. So if we watch Superman get his powers back it makes this initial confrontation with Zod very anticlimactic and takes all the joy and triumph out of that moment.
Another important moment removed by the Donner Cut is when Lois figures out Clark Kent is Superman! In the scene in Donner Cut, which is from an audition scene, Lois violently shoots Clark to prove he is Superman. The scene is very jarring and violent and unexpected and doesn’t seem to fit in the tone of the movie. It also doesn’t fit with Lois’ character. What if she was wrong!?
In the theatrical cut we see Clark stumble and fall and lose his glasses into the fire place. When he no longer can hide from Lois the fact that he is Superman we get to witness some of Christopher Reeve’s best acting! Sure, there is some similar acting in the Donner Cut, however, it is of my opinion the reveal of Clark Kent as Superman is done much better in the theatrical cut.
Just with the simple act of removing his glasses, standing more erect and lowering his voice, we see Clark Kent transform himself into the persona of Superman before our very eyes without having to don the suit! This moment is also sadly absent from the Donner Cut.
I know there are many fans that feel the Donner Cut is superior to the Theatrical Cut…I guess I am not one of them.
Let’s face it. Christopher Reeve left pretty big boots to…and cape..to fill. We now have two movies under our belts with Henry Cavill as Superman so comparisons will be inevitable. I have begun to throw such comparisons away and stopped using the words “better” in my vocabulary when asked to compare the two men (or any actors who have played superheroes) because such comparisons end up being biased and subjective to the point of being futile and unnecessary. Why the need to compare? I can enjoy what each actor brings to the role in the specific movie and story being told.
I understand that many 20 & 30 somethings grew-up with Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of the Last Son of Krypton and given his tragic accident and untimely death makes him and his donning of the big S on his chest as something sacred. However, time does march on, and while I can revere Christopher Reeve as well as the next guy, I think ultimately comparisons fail because it isn’t comparing apples to apples but apples to oranges despite the comparison being between the same characters, albeit, the way two different actors portray the character.
The reasons I feel comparisons are unfair and unwarranted are due to the fact that the makers of these new movies are taking a different approach to the character. They are putting Superman in more real world settings and circumstances. So this Superman, while interested in doing the ultimate good, also faces real problems such as not everyone will love him and like him, he cannot save all and there may be political, physical and social repercussions to his actions. This Superman isn’t the happy boy-scout Reeve’s Superman was. That is not a criticism on either portrayal but a justification why comparisons between the two portrayals are not fair comparisons because each are different.
Recently on Facebook someone made the claim that Reeve’s Superman was the most powerful live action portrayal of the character. To me that was just silly because there were times, due to the special effects of the day, Reeve’s Superman was not able to be shown doing what many of us expect Superman to do. The special effects of the day were pretty ground breaking and they still hold up today.
But when the premise of the OP states that Reeve’s Superman was the most powerful, special effects of the era do come into play, for the makers of the 1978 movie were not able to show or demonstrate the premise that Reeve’s Superman was the most powerful. The premise of the OP calls for comparison and they only way to compare the relative powers of each live action Superman is to judge them by the special effects used to demonstrate the power. Today’s advanced special effects are unlimited and Cavill’s Superman can be shown doing all we expect Superman to do. This makes comparing the two moot and just plain silly.
If I am going to compare Cavill I will compare his to George Reeves. George Reeves from the 50s TV show was not all smiles. His Superman and Clark were pretty tough! Cavill is from that same mold!
In the end Superman will always be my favorite superhero and instead of comparisons I will just sit back and enjoy every incarnation of the character.
The other day I wrote my expectations for the new Godzilla movie. Next up are my expectations for the next Superman movie, Man of Steel, and then next week will be my expectations for Star Trek Into Darkness. I think this will be a new theme. It will be interesting to write of my expectations prior to a movie’s release and then compare that with my actual review.
I am a big Superman fan and I own all of the Donner films on DVD, the animated series, the George Reeves 50s TV show and Lois & Clark. I even liked Superman Returns. Ok, I agree it needed more action but all-in-all it wasn’t too bad. Superman saving the airplane was the best part of the movie.
I actually wanted Brandon Routh to be Superman once again. However, once I learned they had cast Henry Cavill as Superman I was happy with the choice. I think this is the first buff Superman we will be getting. No offense to the other actors playing the role but people like Christopher Reeve and the aforementioned Brandon Routh were way too skinny. I actually was happy that this movie would be a fresh start and not connected to the Christopher Reeve Superman movies.
Well, I had mixed feelings actually. I didn’t mind saying goodbye to those movie and that specific continuity. Even though I own Superman III & IV I will admit they aren’t that good. What I had mixed feelings about was having another origin movie. Sure, Superman’s origins had not been told on the big screen in over 30 years but that wasn’t the problem. We have had so many origin movies over the last few years. Batman, Green Lantern, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, 2 Spider-Man origins, Captain America and on and on. I just didn’t want to sit through another origin story!! However, from all the trailers I have seen it looks like it will actually be a very good origin story. I hope we see a lot of Superman and don’t have to wait more than half the movie before we see the man in the blue suit.
Speaking of the new Superman suit..I freaking love it!! I think it is a brilliant design. I know that there are some fans that do not like it, but I think it looks great. Best suit ever. Many complain about the colors, a very deep blue rather than the a more light sky-blue color of Reeve’s suit. The biggest complaint has been the lack of the outer-underwear from previous incarnations of the suit. However many new designs, Batman for instance, have been going in that direction and I think this design looks fine without them. I love the deep rich colors and the extra-large cape. The only thing I do not like is the yellow in the “S” on his chest, it looks dull and dirty.
My only concern was with the involvement of Christopher Nolan. Now I do not mind a more realistic take on the Man of Steel, I just don’t want them to go as dark and gritty as his Batman trilogy. Superman is a bright character. Some have complained that he is a Super Boy Scout. To some degree he is. Superman Returns depicted him as a Christ-like figure. However, from the trailer I think we will get the best of both worlds. We will see a young Clark Kent struggling with who he is, but I think we will also get a movie with a lot of action an adventure.
I am also glad we have the return of General Zod, first scene in Superman II. It would have been so easy for them to use Lex Luthor once again as the villain but I think he has been used way too often. If this movie is to be a reboot and a fresh start then I am glad they have gone a different route in this aspect. I have not really cared for the depiction of Lois Lane on film so far. Kate Bosworth was pretty good in Superman Returns. She was a cute and spunky and feisty Lois. I also liked Erica Durance as Lois in the long running TV series Smallville. I am very intrigued with Amy Adams as Lois. I think she is pretty and a fine actress and I look forward to her portrayal. For those that complain Amy Adams has strawberry blond hair in this movie may have forgotten that in the 1950s Adventure of Superman TV series Noel Neill also had red hair.
In closing I have high expectations on this movie. From what I have seen from the trailers I think we are going to get an excellent Superman movie!
In Hollywood and with the general public sequels get a bad rap. It is often stated that sequels are not as good as the original. I would certainly agree there are times when the original is superior to the sequel but there are times when the sequel surpasses the original. Below is a list of my favorite sequels, movies that I actually enjoy better than the original. Below the list I will make a few comments about some of them.
Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa
Toy Story 2
Star Trek: First Contact
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Back To The Future Part III
Jurassic Park III
Lethal Weapon 2
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The Dark Knight
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Mothra Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
I didn’t include Back to the Future Part II on the list because, even though it is pretty good and I enjoy it, I don’t think it is as good as either the original or Part III. I included The Dark Knight because it really is a good film even though I do like the original a little better. I also included the last Rocky movie, which was technically Rocky VI. I really like that movie it captured so many things that made the original an Academy Award Winning film. I even included some Godzilla movies. While I think the 1954 original is excellent there are also many other very good movies in the Franchise, so I included just a few. I could have included more!