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Superman II (1980) Online

Superman II (1980) Online
Original Title :
Superman II
Genre :
Creative Work / Action / Adventure / Romance / Sci-Fi
Year :
Directror :
Richard Donner,Richard Lester
Cast :
Gene Hackman,Christopher Reeve,Marlon Brando
Writer :
Joe Shuster,Jerry Siegel
Budget :
Type :
Creative Work
Time :
1h 55min
Rating :
Superman II (1980) Online

Before Krypton exploded and Jor-El put his baby son, Kal-El, in a rocket ship to Earth, the benevolent ruler was forced to banish three irredeemable criminals to another dimension called The Phantom Zone. The trio's leader, General Zod, vowed revenge. Later, of course, Kal-El grew up to become Superman, Earth's mighty champion. A battle with the criminal mastermind, Lex Luthor, ends with Superman hurling a nuclear warhead into space where it explodes, but not harmlessly. Instead, it frees the Kryptonian threesome from their other-dimensional prison. They soon discover they have almost unlimited power (the same powers, in fact, as Superman), which they use to take over the Earth. Meanwhile, the intrepid reporter, Lois Lane, learns that her bumbling colleague, Clark Kent, is really Superman, a revelation that leads to him bringing her to his frozen Fortress of Solitude and renouncing his powers in order to make love to her. It is only when Superman and Lois return to civilization that ...
Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Hackman Gene Hackman - Lex Luthor (archive footage)
Christopher Reeve Christopher Reeve - Clark Kent / Kal-El / Superman (archive footage)
Marlon Brando Marlon Brando - Jor-El (archive footage)
Ned Beatty Ned Beatty - Otis (archive footage)
Jackie Cooper Jackie Cooper - Perry White (archive footage)
Sarah Douglas Sarah Douglas - Ursa (archive footage)
Margot Kidder Margot Kidder - Lois Lane (archive footage)
Jack O'Halloran Jack O'Halloran - Non (archive footage)
Valerie Perrine Valerie Perrine - Eve Teschmacher (archive footage)
Clifton James Clifton James - Sheriff (archive footage)
E.G. Marshall E.G. Marshall - The President (archive footage)
Marc McClure Marc McClure - Jimmy Olsen (archive footage)
Terence Stamp Terence Stamp - General Zod (archive footage)
John Ratzenberger John Ratzenberger - Controller #1 (archive footage)
Shane Rimmer Shane Rimmer - Controller #2 (archive footage)

Richard Donner had been approached about a possible Director's Cut of this film as early as 2001, however complex legal issues involving the cut footage, as well as reluctance on the part of Donner prevented any official restoration from taking place. All this changed with the production of Возвращение Супермена (2006), which lead to Warner Brothers resolving all outstanding legal disputes regarding footage from the first two Superman films. By that time, public demand lead Warner Brothers to commission a "Donner Cut" edited by Michael Thau, based on the original shooting script, without Donner's participation. After repeated urging by Thau, Donner eventually agreed to approve of scenes as Thau progressed in editing. Over time, the more Donner allowed himself to participate in the project, the more interest he took in restoring his original concept for the film, even going so far as to bring Screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz to the fold to insure story cohesion. The result is the closest film possible to Donner's and Mankiewicz's original vision for the film.

The actor playing Clark Kent yelling out to Lois Lane after she jumps out of the Daily Planet, is not Christopher Reeve. An uncredited actor was brought in to film the shot for the DVD release.

One major sequence that had to be omitted from the film was the "villains conquer the world" sequence, which depicted Zod, Ursa, and Non destroying national monuments and landmarks across the globe. As the original sequence was never shot, Michael Thau had considered using computer effects to augment existing footage to simulate the scenes, until Richard Donner vetoed the idea, not wanting the new computer effects to clash with those of the original film.

According to Editor Michael Thau, the film contains about two hundred new visual effects.

The green crystal Clark picks up in the Fortress of Solitude is a prop from Возвращение Супермена (2006). A shot of Michael Thau's hands was used for Clark picking up the green crystal.

This movie is Richard Donner's Director's Cut of Супермен 2 (1980). Donner was the original director, but was replaced by Richard Lester.

In shooting an emotional scene near the end of the film where Lois sheds tears while having a conversation with Superman on the roof of her apartment, Margot Kidder refused to have anything help her to cry, and sure enough, she was able to do it on her own.

The actress playing Lois Lane using the typewriter during the end scene is not Margot Kidder. The ending that was written, but never filmed, had Lois Lane die at the Fortress of Solitude, which in turn caused Superman to reverse time. The typewriter scene was shot in 2006, specifically for the restoration, and had an uncredited actress stand in for Lois.

In one of the beginning scenes of the Lester version of this movie, Clark Kent walks out in front of an oncoming taxi cab, denting the front of the cab. This scene was never used in the Donner Cut, but during the Metropolis battle, this taxi is seen, with the same cab driver in it.

The ending scene, in which Superman reverses time, was the original intended ending for this movie. But during production of Superman (1978), it was decided to use the ending for the first film instead. Richard Donner and Tom Mankiewicz planned to eventually create a new ending, but Donner was fired during production. When restoring this version, Donner was going to use the theatrical version's ending, so that it would not have the same ending as the first film. But Mankiewicz never liked the changed ending, in which Clark kissed Lois, so the original intended ending was used.

Most of the new scenes in this cut were shot during the production of Superman (1978). They had to be re-written and re-shot by Richard Lester because, under Director's Guild rules, he had to direct more than half the film to be credited. One exception to this, is the new alternate scene where Lois discovers Clark's true identity by shooting him. Richard Donner was never able to shoot this scene during principal photography. The take now used in this cut, was used as a screentest for Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder.

Though she holds a cigarette briefly in one scene, Lois Lane is never shown smoking in the Donner cut of the film.

This is the only Superman movie where the line "Up, up, and away" is said by one of the characters.

Kirk Alyn reprise his General Sam Lane role in SUPERMAN II and SUPERMAN II (The Richard Donner Cut).

After the President kneels to Zod, the scene switches to a car (presumably with Clark and Lois in it) as they drive through the snow and then up to the diner. The trumpet music playing is a jazzed up version of the track "The Planet Krypton" from John Williams' score from Superman (1978), a theme that you hear many times throughout the franchise.

User reviews



Richard Donner's cut of Superman II is not the definitive answer to "what if Donner had been allowed to finish Superman II?" It is not a stand alone, completed, film so much as it is an abstract representation of where he intended to go. Remember, we are dealing with a reconstruction of an incomplete 25 year-old film. It's a jig-saw puzzle with a few pieces missing, jimmy-rigged with whatever the filmmakers could use to complete it.

But if you can look past inherent flaws that comes with the circumstance – obvious dubbing issues, inconsistent special effects, glaring continuity errors, a recycled resolution, and lack of an original score – look past all of that, look to the underlying vision, and you'll see something special.

First and foremost, the return of Marlon Brando's scenes, a presence sorely missed in the theatrical cut of Superman II which allows the characters and story arcs that started in the first film to come full circle. At last nonsensical dialogue from the first film clicks into place – "the father becomes the son, the son becomes the father" – it gains a meaning in a touching exchange between Jor-El and Kal-El. In the Lester cut, Kal-El consults his mother in the fortress of solitude, and somehow it lacks the emotional punch that the exchange should have. Here, though, in the Donner Cut, Marlon Brando's voice rings with fatherly love, and across time and space the essence of the father reaches out to the son. A love that allows Jor-El to guide Kal-El even from his Kryptonian grave. And after 25 years it finally makes sense how Superman regains his powers after sacrificing them to live with Lois Lane.

Marlon Brando as Jor-El by itself makes the Donner Cut worth the price of the rental. I mean, how do you cut out Marlon Brando? Especially when his character is integral to not only the plot, but to the titular character's arc? Anyway, I particularly liked the restoration of how Lois initially suspects Clark's identity. A passive comment by Jimmy Olson makes her pause and ponder the paradox of Clark disappearing when Superman appears, and she draws a suit, hat, and glasses over a newsprint picture of the Man of Steel. In the Lester version, Lois' eventual revelation feels more chance driven, and even when they have direction it's as though they beat around the bush. It's anti-climactic, and lacks a fulfilling payoff.

In Donner's version, by contrast, the challenge is more direct. A one on one battle of wits with Lois fighting to conclusively prove that Clark is Superman, while he makes clever use of his powers to keep his identity hidden – early on Lois throws herself out a window. And instead of Superman flying to the rescue, Clark uses his super-breath to slow her descent, and his eye beam to unlatch a canopy to break her fall. She lands safely, and lo and behold Clark hasn't moved from the window 50 floors up. "Lois! What have you done?!" Point: Superman and Richard Donner.

The exchanges are just more fun in Donner's version – it's like a cat and mouse game that escalates until the eventual pay off in a scene that Donner, sadly, never shot. Reconstructed from screen tests, gaping with continuity errors, but it's remarkable the power that still underlines the moment when Clark is finally caught red handed, and removes his glasses. Subtly transforming from Kent to Superman right before our eyes – it finally feels like the pivotal moment it should be, and resonates more deeply because the previous scenes support and sustain it. I guess what I'm getting at is, once again, the arc feels more natural, more complete.

Gone are as many as the throw-away Naked-Gunesque sight gags as Michael Thau could afford to cut. And what a difference that makes to the overall tone of the movie. Of particular note: the battle over Metropolis that finally feels like the epic brawl it should be. Other than a few additions, the major difference between Lester and Donner's version lay in the editing. And yet I cheered every time Superman sent one of the villains flying through a building or a sign as though watching this sequence for the first time – I was thrilled when the villains created a powerful wind to stop the mob and the focus stayed on the destruction at hand – cars crashing into buildings and other cars – and not wigs and silly phone booth conversations. The villains are more threatening, more intimidating, and the battle appears more destructive now that their powers weren't used to generate jokes.

While I'm hesitant to say the humor in Donner's film is more sophisticated (the Donner cut does have toilet humor not present in the Lester cut), I will say Donner's jokes are better planned and executed. At least in his version most of them have proper build up and pay off.

Finally, the issue of complaints: were this another film under another set of circumstances, I would have room to complain. It does have flaws, yes. As mentioned above, the Richard Donner Cut of Superman II looks like a jigsaw puzzle that was finished with "whatever." Unlike Superman, Donner could not turn back time and finish shooting with the full resources he needed to do the job right. The disclaimer before the film clearly states it's a representation of the Donner concept. Nothing more.

Like I said, this is only a hint of what could have been. And that's more than we should reasonably have hoped to get.


Before you watch this DVD there is something very important that you must understand. Richard Donner never completed Superman II. And, since he never completed the film it was impossible to truly make a "Donner cut" per say. What this DVD (edited and produced by Michael Thau) shows us is what the film "may" have looked like. Once you understand that you will be able to enjoy the experience.

Why do I go through that explanation? Well...because from the complains I've heard and read it seems that people don't seem to understand that. So, that's why I felt it should be addressed.

Now, on to the review...

Donner was hired by the Salkinds in '76 or '77 to direct two Superman films at the same time. When time and money was running out the decision was made to stop production on Superman II and focus on the first one. By that point Donner had already completed about 80% of the film. When Superman became the biggest hit of 1978 the decision by the Salkinds was to fire Donner. He was replaced by Richard Lester (A Hard Day's Night) and Lester re-shot most of the film. Only about 30% of Donner's work remained.

After almost 30 years WB finally released Donner's version since most fans demanded to see it. And, on the DVD, Donner, thanks the fans which I felt was a nice touch.

The plot of the movie is the same as Lester's Superman II. General Zod and his goons escape the Phantom Zone. They arrive at Earth (or Planet Houston as they call it) and quickly take over. And, where's Superman? He made the mistake of giving up his powers to be with Lois Lane. So, will Superman recover his powers on time to save Earth from Zod? You will have to watch the film to find out.

Now, the question on everyone's mind is whether or not this version is truly better than Lester's take. The answer is yes! Why? Because Lester never really understood the material. Which is prove when you watch Superman III. Donner, on the other hand, truly understood the material. He understood that...YES...it's a comic book adaptation but it's still an art form. As silly as Superman may seem he understands that there is a wonderful story to tell. And, he understands that there is wonderful characters to develop and have an audience understand and fall in love with. When you watch this DVD that's what you'll see. A film directed by a man in love with the material. Not a film by a man who did it for the money. If you love Superman: The Movie then you'll love Richard Donner's version of Superman II. The ONLY flaw of this version is that it was never completed.


December 1978 and 'Superman The Movie' just premiered worldwide. It's that rare epic that's humorous and fun! It honors the legend and offers a refreshing take on our first encounter with a super flying hero. When the end credits cap with..."Next Year Superman II", it was met with thunderous cheers and applause.

'Superman The Movie' may not be perfect. But with so much heart and a quality 'tongue-in-cheek' approach that it made for perfect entertainment!

"Good news", the film makers say, "the best is yet to come with Part 2. Most of it's already in the can". That WAS good news!

Unfortunately, months later...Bad News strikes!

First: Director Richard Donner gets nixed!? Some of his scenes are to be replaced?!?

Then: Marlon Brando Is OUT!!

BRANDO?? THE LEGENDARY ACTOR ICON OF THE 50'S AND 70'S! "Financial Reasons"(?). But since he's already been paid his salary, his percentage of the gross for Part 2 is contractually guaranteed. His name attached to any movie at that time spells big bucks! And he's essential to the plot!! Go Figure!! But the producers didn't see it that way; a similar renege they attempted in their all-star opus "The Three..." and "Four Musketeers" in the early 70's.

So Brando's out! Brando sues! And Brando wins! He's reimbursed and he's upset!! (Wouldn't you be after receiving a couple of mil'?!)

Most of Donner's scenes are re-filmed. Without Donner, the heart of the saga is jettisoned. Several actors and crew members are understandably outraged. Even the very professional Christopher Reeve makes a negative statement that it's shameful the world will be deprived of a performance by an actor of Brando's stature.

SPOILERS: When "Superman II" was released in 1980/81, it got great reviews. For me; a was a mixed bag! The movie opens on Krypton...and Brando's absence becomes painfully obvious.

The music swells! But where's the rich textured motifs that composer John Williams had firmly established from Part 1 (less musicians = less money)? Themes get carelessly substituted. Even Otis' musical cue continues long after Ned Beatty's early exit. And where's that dramatic, epic feel. Proof positive?? Compare "Zod's Phantom Zone Release" in both the 'Theatrical' and 'Donner Cut' versions. There's no arguing the difference in dramatic impact.

And Margot Kidder! Her performance under Lester's direction is heartbreakingly noticeable. Under Donner's direction, she's spunky, energized, spontaneous. And beautiful! (Courtesy of Director of Photography Geoffrey Unsworth who's name is (finally) properly re-instated into the opening titles).

A Comic book continuation on a grand scale is forever lost!!

So...how does "The Donner Cut" cut it?? Depends on how much you know on Part II's troubled history and your level of enjoyment of the theatrical version.

For me...and I ain't apologizing! It's the most near satisfying movie I've seen this year. Almost like time traveling 25 years back and you're hoping the press made some sort of mistake about Brando not being in it; and Donner not directing the little bit left to film and;...and whatever!

So now Donner's version opens with an ominous score by John Williams, followed by a heartfelt tribute!

Then! And finally! The 1st voice you now hear is...Brando. You can't help feel that this is the way it should've always been!

An alternate universe that most lovers of Superman lore will embrace. The joy ride is in the number of alternate and extended scenes; and those crappier ones left out. Is this a definitive version? Of coarse not! Poor decisions canceled out any definitive version from ever existing a long time ago.

Non's unnecessary comic schtick is mercifully dusted. The evil Kryptonians are now leaner and meaner. Gone too, are the annoying comic spectator reactions to the battle of the titans.

Top billed Gene Hackman's limited screen time nearly doubles and you can't help wonder why they got cut to begin with. His stand-in double and silly voice-over one liners (by a mimic) are minimized. Ned Beatty and Valerie Perrine also get more screen time and I'm probably one of the few who appreciated the flushing pay-off.

What's baffling is why did all that great footage get originally scrapped?

The alternate Lois attempt (in the new opening scene) to reveal Clark's alter ego is a SCREAM!!! The film's resolution is more poignant, if illogical. The main thing is: it's different! Why repeat what already exists in the theatrical version when a Donner alternate is available that showcases his original intent. And Lois & Clark are back at their teeny, tiny desks along with all the other office riffraff and background mayhem, as opposed to Lester's (more accurately, the producers') cost-cutting version of Lois secluded into her own office.

The awe from 'Superman The Movie' is somehow recaptured. It's obvious from the DVD's documentaries and interviews that Donner loves working with actors. From the cast interviews; it's obvious the affection is mutual. On screen; it obviously shows!

Donner should be commended for his courage on revisiting this painful period in his past. This is a new and exciting vision with a whole different feel. Also, I doubt he could maintain a dry eye whenever Christopher Reeve was on screen.

This is a must see and a 1st in movie history! Never before has an internet campaign been so successful in making an impossible dream became possible.

The legacy of Christopher Reeve & Marlon Brando demands that their 'lost' footage be celebrated. Their solo scene where they 'connect' is worth the price of admission.

It's unavoidable that fan's opinions will split! Which version is better? You decide! I don't have the arrogance to state which is better. I can only say which version I enjoyed more.

And there's no way to conclude a 'Superman II' review without saluting Michael Thau.


This should have been the original Superman II! When you watch it, you finally understand what the hell Superman and his father have been saying all these years. It all makes sense now. Having grown up on Superman, I feel cheated!!! I had to wait until now to finally understand one of my favorite film series! It's just a crime!

Not only does Donner's film flow better and enlighten the viewer, it even makes those annoying villains have more purpose. Even as a kid, I thought they were ridiculous. They're still ridiculous in this film, but Donner links them more clearly to Superman's past, so you get pulled into the plot line more.

Watch this film and you'll see my point.


I, like many others have been waiting for this cut to come along. I got the DVD yesterday and expected a film with missing holes, missing scene title cards and un-easy editing due to the footage used.

What people forget is that Richard Lester's version was pretty hot in 1980 minus a bloke getting blown around while on the phone in the heat of a battle.

Well ... I was shocked, and I clapped at the end. Superman II now feels like a different film. The new scenes are very good (and just show what Chris Reeve could do - what a wonderful actor he really was), Marlon Brando scenes are superb to watch, new music cues - from Superman one, lots of new funny scenes, and new special effects that don't look out of date in what is supposed to be a 1980 film. Gene Hackman's part seems more fleshed out here than before - witness the Fortress of Solitude crystal scenes. lovely and funny.

This shows the power of DVD and show special it is. This cut simply could not have been made. You will find that some of the new edits jump from scene to scene in a flash - that because we already know the film from Richard Lester's version. Watch this like is was new and you would love it more. You, if you are a Superman fan, will fall in love with the new opening scene with a new look at the Phantom zone capture (new camera angles you see) and get this - new credit sequence up to the standard of the original supe adventure.

So it really like a fantastic new look at a old film. You could point out the faults in lines dubbed or the odd bit of tinkering even the ending but this really is a new Chris Reeve film you though could never have been made. Bonus.

Masterful piece of reimaging - Superman is back



Most movie fans know that Richard Donner began shooting Superman I&II simultaneously, and that he was fired after the first was completed to be replaced by Richard Lester. Lester re-shot most of Donner's footage, re-working scenes and dialogue and finishing the second film as well as time, budget, and his own talents allowed.Compared to the first, it was badly paced, choppily edited, and filled with horribly out of place attempts at comedy. Superman's showdown with Zod and his henchmen in downtown Metropolis was still (and in many ways, is still) the greatest superhero battle ever captured on film, but the rest of the film was weak and uneven in comparison. The result was an entertaining enough follow-up, but one was until now left to wonder what might have been had Donner had the opportunity to finish the film properly.

In an unprecedented move, Warner Bros. recently allowed Donner to re-master and edit all of his original Superman II footage. Most of the footage had survived, and some parts had to be filled in with segments from Donner's re-shoots and even a couple of full dress screen tests.

The result is, while a bit rough around a couple of edges, remarkable. The new version is paced much better, and gone are the more cringe-inducing moments from the theatrical cut (like Superman's amnesia kiss, or Clark's bumbling around like a buffoon and falling into a fireplace). More importantly, however, is the dramatic weight that some of the restored scenes add to the film. A wonderful father/son dynamic is revealed as Superman and Jor-el (Marlon Brando, appearing in previously unseen footage) find themselves at odds over the last son of Krypton's proper role on Earth. In the theatrical cut, when a de-powered Clark returns to the fortress of solitude in a quest to regain his powers, he finds the glowing green crystalline equivalent of a "Get Out of Jail Free" card. In The Donner Cut, Superman's powers are not restored without a price.

If you haven't seen The Donner Cut, you haven't seen Reeve's finest acting as the son of Jor El. We also get more Gene Hackman and the delightful Valerie Perrine.

The action scenes are as punchy as as ever, and again, campier comedic elements have been removed. The new ending will definitely divide audiences. I won't spoil it here, but it certainly is different, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it yet.

Here's hoping that in the future, the Man of Steel's cinematic exploits continue to be steered by class directors such as Richard Donner rather than hacks such as Sidney J. Furie or Richard Lester.


I've just seen this 'Richard Donner' cut of Superman II after getting the Christopher Reeve box set for Christmas. Its great. Really great. But heres the thing. There is material in the Richard Lester version that has been airing in the UK for years that i love and when you see the Donner cut its either edited out or the music is completely changed! The scenes i'am talking about are really around the Krypton villains. Their arrival on the moon and attack on the astronauts was one of the best sequences in the movie and the villains' theme by Ken Thorne (originally by John Williams) which plays over that sequence and whenever they are on screen was fantastic...the soundtrack is not in that sequence in the Donner cut!

Also, the hand wrestling scene between the farmer and Ursa in the coffee shop is gone! Please don't get me wrong, this version is superb and i guess it is as close to seeing what Richard Donner originally intended for the sequel before he was replaced with Richard Lester. Also the 'new' footage which i have never seen is really great, especially the opening sequence with Lois Lane throwing herself out of the Daily Planet office window in an attempt to get Superman to save her, as is the small new inclusions of the attack on the White House, making it a little longer and more violent was the right direction and you can clearly see where the makers of the X Men got their inspiration from in this sequence.

The final battle at Superman's address in the North Pole is slightly disappointing. More a battle of super minds than super powers.

However, this is really fascinating if you are a Superman fan and thankfully because of the box set i now have both versions. One is not better than the other, they are both flawed brilliance.


Superman 1 and 2 were intended by the director to be a unit, and were filmed concurrently, as Jackson's Lord of the Rings films were. This approach works. Originally, after most of Sup 2 was in the can, the producers got rid of Donner and the Brando footage to save money and broke up the thematic flow of the two films. They made Sup 2 into a cheap money-maker follow-on to 1 and ruined it in the process.

What the studio has done here is, nothing short of grand. They've essentially remade this film as it was intended to be. It flows seamlessly from Superman The Movie now. Richard Donner's great pride in his work is evident from his enthusiastic intro on the DVD.

The storyline is cohesive, the emotionally soaring (!) tone of the first film is maintained and heightened. Scenes that reflect the fabulous chemistry between Reeve and Kidder have been restored.

The extensive Marlin Brando footage, shot and intended for the Fortress of Solitude scenes, has been restored.

This film is well worth a watch, particular in conjunction with a re-look at Superman I first. Hats off to Warner Brothers for bringing Richard Donner's vision for it back to life!


Superman II was Superman Trouble. I will spare the sordid details as they can be read in my "Superman II" review on the Lester version boards. But let's just say that if you really want something bad enough, it can and might happen. Such is the case with this new, and most say, REAL version of Superman II. After many years, and even more letters, Warner Brothers finally financed a Donner recut of Superman II. But as has been stated before - the two films are both incomplete, and one will never actually see what Donner's version will ever really be. However, with this new cut, we as an audience can finally see what Donner had intended, and conceived.

"Superman II" begins with sparing no expense, or exposition. We see the action start right away, with such rumored scenes as Lois jumping out of the window, longer Lex Luthor prison scenes, and finally, the scenes with Marlon Brando which were long thought a rumor. Also seen are the full fortress finale, the full Donner interiors to the Daily Planet, and the screen tests for both Reeve and Kidder that were ingeniously edited together to create a scene in itself. These are great new scenes, with the soft Geoffrey Unsworth lighting, John Barry production design, and gorgeous Margot Kidder, and of course, Donner direction that give off the feel that the first film had. The print really shines, and the Donner footage is exactly what fans had hoped for.

The writing is better too, better dialog, better pacing, and no Lester humor. The Metroplois battle is harsher, the way Lois finds out Superman's identity is more clever (you can see why Margot was cast, her screen test inter-cut with Reeve's plays well as an actual scene) and the finale is pithy and in your face. It has been years and years coming, and I Feel we are now given the Superman II that we wanted.

There are a few quibbles. The editing. Michael Thau had some great ideas, but he jumps around every take it seems ever shot and never sticks with one. While it is great to see fresh new takes of favorite scenes, it is frustrating that some dialog has been lost, that was once seen on network television. The editing appears choppy in some scenes as well. We don't get a good enough look at some shots due to this. The Music. It is used rather effective in some scenes, better than the Theatrical version, and then in some scenes, it is not so effective. But these shouldn't really make a difference to the general audiences, only to the devotees like me who knew about this version years in advance.

Despite those small shortcomings, the film will grow on you. I have learned to accept the film, editing and musical differences for what they are: Donner's intention. Remember the Donner scenes presented theatrically were done so by Lester's crew, so everything in this film is how Donner would have done his version. An acquired taste of a new way to look at this classic film. It works. As many of us new it would. It really works.


I bought this on Blu-Ray along with the first Superman. I own the films on DVD and laserdisc - and I was pretty hyped to see the Donner cut. As I sit here now, I don't know why. It was terrible.

More serious? No - not really. The toilet flush in the Fortress of Solitude was 20 times worse than any comedy inserted in the other cut. The loooonnng recap of Superman 1 was unnecessary. When they did Wrath of Khan, they didn't first show pieces of the original Trek episode - they just went right on it. A couple of establishing shots were all that was needed. And the first film had it's little funny moments - all of Clark's slapstick, and the phone booth scene where it's not a phone booth. Classic.

Brando footage ... who cares. Brando frankly always struck me as more of an alcoholic at that point in his career. To be frank, when Jorel "appears" and "gives himself up" to give Superman his power back - it ruined it for me. He was dead long ago - but now he can walk up and touch Superman? How did he do that? In the original, there's the green crystal that begins to glow - and it hearkens to the first film - even as a kid I was able to imagine how it happened - and I was fine with it. To me this was VERY similar to George Lucas deciding to explain the "Force" in Episode I as "midichlorians." Seeing this in Superman II does not explain to me better how he got his power back - it makes it by having a completely illogical occurrence.

The scenes at Nigara in this version make next to no sense. The Lois shooting Superman scene had no drama to it. It wasn't poignant - or anything else. It was a lame plot device. Next you know, they are flying off to have dinner at the Fortress of solitude, where somehow there is chicken and champaign that is really good, but we have no idea where that came from. So earlier, we get that there must be a bathroom because Miss Tessmarker flushes, but then here I have to take it for granted that there is a kitchen to prepare food in. Then, they cut to Superman in post coitus. Then they cut immediately to him asking to lose his powers so he can be with her. Honestly, without the explanation for why the question is asked - it doesn't make sense. In fact, given the way Lois is presented in the film, talking about Superman and how once you've seen him in action, etc - it's very hard to believe that she would have asked him to do that. If I had never seen the theatrical, this whole seen would literally make no sense.

The big fight seen was a complete incoherent mess in the Donner cut. I actually suspect Lester simply shot the additions directly from the script - but for the Donner cut, because they were not Donner's shots - he cut them. This to me is a key issue - cutting shots because they are not yours as the sole reason doesn't make it good - if it leaves holes (which it does here), it makes it bad. Should have left in Lester's shots - and removing them simply shows the arrogance of Donner.

The original Lester work to me is the single greatest tale of the horror of giving up everything for your own desire - most directly, for a man giving up everything to be with a woman. Lois falls in love - Superman falls in love, but to be with her - and have children, he must become earthly. She says she wants it, but when she sees how he's not the same, she realizes that was not what she really wanted. All the while, some bad people are taking over the planet. At the end of Lester's version, there is a great shot of Superman returning the American flag to the White House - and he says to the President that he was sorry he had been away for a while - and that it won't happen again. In this version - it's gone. Instead - we just get the re-tread of reversing time, and then the non-sensical return to the diner to have it out.

Oh that's enough. This cut was self indulgent nonsense from a director who passed his prime a long time ago. Donner needs to hit the golf course with Lucas and stay away from making movies anymore.


Three villains (Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas and Jack O'Halloran) from the home planet of Krypton are coming to Earth. Which these powerful villains wants to rule the world. Clark Kent/Superman (Christopher Reeve) starts falling for Lois Lane (Margot Kidder). Which she slowly finds out that Superman is Clark Kent. But Lex Luthor (Two Time Oscar-Winner:Gene Hackman) escapes from prison. He tries to find any new weakness of Superman but Lex decides to team up with these villains are just as powerful as Superman. But these villains are three time more overpowering than Superman.

This review is for the Director's Cut, which it was originally directed by Richard Donner (Conspiracy Theory, The Goonies, Superman). Which the director was fired, when he was nearly done with the film by the producers. Which the producers made many changes for the budget of the movie, especially not hiring the late Oscar-Winner:Marlon Brando for certain key scenes (Which Donner already shot for the first picture but deleted it for using those scenes for the sequel). Which Brando was replaced by Susannah York in the Richard Lester (Superman 3, A Hard Day's Night, The Three Musketeers) version. In this new version, Donner removes all the footage shot by Lester in the original theatrical release by adding his as it was originally intended in the screenplay. The scenes with Brando are added back in, the Lois Lane character plots more designs to unmask Clark Kent as Superman and more.

DVD has an sharp anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) transfer and an digitally remastered-Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. DVD has an introduction by the director, an running commentary track by the director and creative consultant:Tom Mankiewicz, a featurette about restoring Donner's cut and deleted scenes. I actually enjoy Donner's cut more than Lester's. Still Lester's version isn't bad, since about 60 percent of Lester's cut was shot by Donner. The conclusion of both cuts are different. Donner's cut is actually more personal, it is very close to the first "Superman" film. Donner had a chance to credit as co-director before the theatrical release of "Superman 2" but he decline. He felt that the producers and Lester made many changes that they were silly , especially in certain key moments. Donner's cut is actually 12 minutes shorter that Lester's version. Actually it is a matter of personal taste, what version you like best. Judge it for yourself. Panavision. (**** 1/2 out of *****).


I find hard to believe this "film" has the highest rating on imdb, its even higher than the first movie! Dont get me wrong, its nice to see the never-seen footage but this looks more like a bunch of deleted scenes put back together rather than a MOVIE. There is a lot missing in the transition, the build-up is not there either, sequences are shown out of order, etc. which will make you go crazy if you haven't seen Lester's version. The ending is the worst part because it doesnt make any sense.

Bottom line, is enjoyable but not for a 7.7 by any means...


Nearly three decades after its original release, here is a radically new version of the near classic sequel Superman II. This version, headed up by its original director Richard Donner, presents the film the way it was originally intended. The question is does this version live up to both fans expectations and to the version originally released in 1980 by director Richard Lester? The answer is a definite yes.

The biggest change in this so version is the addition of 15 minutes of new footage featuring Marlon Brando as Superman's father Jor-El. Originally deleted and replaced with similar scenes with Susannah York as Superman's mother, these new scenes are radically different in tone. This is mostly due to the Deepings of the relationship between father and son that was seen in the Superman The Movie. The scene were Clark loses his powers is a great example of this. There is genuine tension in the scene between the two characters as the son rebels against the father.

But it is the other Brando scene that serves as the best example of this: the much awaited "re-powering" scene. Here the love of the father for his son is in seen in a way that is both dazzling and touching. It may also be the single best scene of the Superman franchise. The acting by both Reeve and Brando is amazing and it is a shame that the footage appears now after the death of both actors.

But this is just the icing on the cake. Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut is full of alternate/expanded scenes. Among these is the escape of the three Krypton villains (that is a vast improvement over the Lester version despite some bad CGI), Lois jumping out of a window at the Daily Planet after figuring out Clark is Superman, a humorous expansion of Luthor's prison escape, the scene where Lois forces Clark to reveal he's Superman (that is also an improvement over the Lester scene despite being a screen-test). Also here are improvements to the final third of the film: a much more serious battle over Metropolis, a dramatic and action-less confrontation at the Fortress of Solitude, the destruction of the Fortress at the hands of Superman and an alternate ending. Surprisingly I found this alternate ending, which was originally written for this film and used in the first instead, works surprisingly well here and is another improvement over the Lester version.

It is worth noting that there is a significant amount of Lester footage in this version (due to the fact Donner never had the chance to finish filming the entire movie). But even this footage, re-edited here, seems to also have been improved. Without a lot of the Lester campy humor the footage does not seem out of place.

But this film is not perfect of course. The films biggest flaws are in its new CGI effects, its sound, and its music. The new CGI shot don't really ever match the original footage and at times it is way too obvious (the scene where Non goes flying after Superman punches him during the Metropolis battle is a perfect example of this). It is surprising that the original effects out shine those of the original effects of nearly three decades ago.

The sound and music is also another issue. The voices don't always match due probably to the age of the recordings. The voices are sometimes different in scenes were dubbing never happened and it is at times obvious. The music, reused almost entirely from John Williams score to Superman The Movie, works very well. But there are times when it doesn't work and seems out of place. It's a shame that he wasn't brought back to re-score the film. But these problems are not enough to bring down the entire film.

Overall, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut is the definitive Superman film. When compared to Richard Lester's original version this film outshines and surpasses it. This film was meant to be, as it now is, the true successor to the classic Superman the Movie and it even surpasses it in terms of sheer quality. This is THE Superman film to see.


In this version Superman reverses time to make Lois forget that Clark Kent is Superman. He does the old fly around the world thing again to make time go backwards. So the scene where Lois and Clark go and get a bite to eat and the trucker beats up Clark with a sucker punch to the back of the head, yeah that scene. Clark goes back to the diner to beat the guy up, even though that first scene never takes place because of Supermans actions in reversing time. The trucker would have no idea why this guy wants to beat him up. So Richard Donner should have left the last scene out entirely. Talk about continuity!!! Other then that, the movie was in my opinion not as good as the Richard Lester version. I might be bias because I grew up watching that version. But if you want to see Superman II in a whole new way. You should pick up a copy and judge for yourself, you may like it.


I was eagerly anticipating the release of this version of Superman II. Having enjoyed I and II a great deal, I was intrigued by the possibility of a more 'epic' style to the second movie. The Richard Donner version has some interesting moments, and is probably worth watching if you're a big Superman fan but, overall I was disappointed by it and found it less satisfying then the original. Aside from having a disjointed feel to it, the dialog was actually more campy in many places, sometimes bordering on silly. The evolution of the Lois/Superman romance is less well-developed (one of the strengths of the original Superman II) and the ending was particularly unsatisfying. However, the Brando/Reeve scenes, almost by themselves, were worth the viewing (especially the second one), and it would have been nice if these scenes could have found their way into the original cut.


Superman II - The Richard Donner Cut should be a fan's dream come true. At long last, footage only seen in photos and scenes that only existed on the printed page would finally come to life. A director that was unable to complete his vision would have the opportunity to have his vision restored. It seems like a winning situation. And then you start watching this assembly of footage and you realize this "esoteric dream" is a very real nightmare of sloppiness and incompetence. While it's entirely possible that no movie could compete with the finished perfect version each of us has imagined over the years it really should have been a thrill to finally see this project. And it is only a very few times.

You know things are shaky when the very first bit of text on screen looks like home brew computer graphics. But then we start seeing new footage (alternates from Superman - The Movie for the trial) and that first bit of hesitation fades away. Hey, this is pretty neat! Things are alright for these few fleeting moments until we see footage from STM intermixed with new effects for this project, and it doesn't convince at all. And from this point on, it never ever lets up. It's probably not right to judge a movie because of bad visual effects, but when this is supposedly the direct follow up to a movie whose tag line was "You'll Believe A Man Can Fly" it's difficult to believe anything shown on screen here. The best effects in this are from the original productions.

Another issue with this re-cut. A lot of it just doesn't make sense. The only reason any of it really works is because we've all seen the theatrical version of Superman II, a movie that does make sense. Lester's Superman II fills in the holes of this assembly. Part of this could be because Donner didn't get to complete shooting, the other part could be because the makers of this project were intent on using as little Lester material as possible. What we end up with is an assembly of footage that makes Superman IV look airtight and coherent.

After viewing this, one gets the sense that while Lester was faithful and comfortable using Donner material, Michael Thau and his team were extremely disrespectful towards anything filmed by Lester. The best scenes in The Donner Cut are the ones lifted relatively intact from the released version of Superman II. That includes the moon sequence and the diner sequence, not ironically, both were filmed by Donner. But anything else from that movie filmed by Lester is re-edited in such a hasty fashion, that it now makes Lester seem like a ham fisted know nothing. While Lester honored the Donner material, Lester here is thrown under the bus.

So is there anything good in this release? Well Marlon Brando is in it, and that's neat to see. In fact watching any of the material shot by Donner is neat since it was all filmed at the same time as Superman - The Movie. But that only highlights the problems of this release. Any of the major scenes (really just Lois jumping and scenes with Marlon Brando) would have been better served as completed scenes in a deleted scenes section. Instead they are shoe horned into a nonsensical narrative with inferior performances (many alternate takes from familiar scenes are used) sloppy edits and bad decisions.

Watch the opening scene at the Daily Planet. Why are we looking at Jackie Cooper's back as he calls for Lois and Clark? At the end why do we have Lois walking into her dark apartment only to have that followed by Jackie Cooper walking into a dark bathroom turning the lights on? I was initially confused by this, because I expected to see Lois. The entire assembly is filled with questionable choices like this.

Battle scenes are a mess too, with no geography between cuts. It's just random action. Of course, the major action scenes were shot by Lester and his material is only used as a bridge to the next set of Donner outtakes or alternates. They should have used more of Lester's footage, but probably had too much pride to admit that.

The sloppiness extends to the military missile as well. As noted elsewhere, the missile shown in The Donner Cut bears the designation "XK 10" while we all know it's the "XK 101"! A blind man in STM knows that! The producers of this assembly, who tried so hard to honor the original film, dropped the ball less than five minutes in and that mistake is indicative of the quality of the entire production. For all the supposed care that was put into this, the final product has an air of shoddiness to it that is inescapable.

The entire affair would probably be easier to digest if Warner's didn't make this a separate release here in the states. As it is, we're expected to pay for what is essentially a bonus disc of deleted scenes with a "Play All" option. It's really only worth one viewing so that we can finally see the legendary cut scenes, but after that initial viewing, I expect that this will be an excellent magnet for dust and little else. I know after my experience of watching this, I had new respect for Lester's version. It's by no means perfect, but Lester realized the deficiencies that were in the script that stand out here in bold relief. He managed to make a movie that has entertained for many years and will continue to do so, while this new re-cut will most likely only be remembered as a footnote in that films history.


I just recently found out about Superman I & II originally being one long film. Then I found out about Richard Lester reshooting several scenes that were already shot. I like this version better because Richard Donner made it a little more serious and the way he wanted it to be. Richard Lester is a good director, but he made Superman II more of a comedy/romance. I like how they made the footage, which has to be about thirty years old, look so great like it was brand new. The only tragedy about the movie is that Christopher Reeve and Marlon Brando didn't live to see this film. Now when I see the expanded Superman, I always put this one on right after it. Finally, the true Superman II as it was supposed to be.


I grew up on the 'Superman II' theatrical version ("S2T") and as a kid, I loved it more than Part I since not only did it contain more Superman and three Superman-type villains, it started off with a bang – the best Clark Kent to Superman transformations and rescue scenes. Kids no longer had to impatiently wait for Superman to appear on screen, as in part I. Now as an adult, I can see how the mighty had fallen with S2T (See: my review.) I've always heard of the back-story on how they prematurely and unjustifiably fired the original's director, Richard Donner from part II. (It must have been a rarity back then to film two separate movies simultaneously, now it's common: 'Back to the Future' and 'Matrix' 2 & 3 for example.) Unfortunately, after finally seeing the Richard Donner Cut (or, "S2RD") I still can't fully recommend it. Gone, was the great Superman change scene, the entire Paris rescue, as was the wonderful recap of part I in S2T's opening. In fact, they all but wrote the words: "Previously on Superman…" in S2RD. The special effects weren't great in either Part I or S2T , but S2RD, they were mostly downright laughable – such as Lois falling from the Daily Planet window. I will admit, some new scenes worked and some they took out were welcomed departures, such as any scene in the "honeymoon suite." Overall, if you grew up on S2T as I did, and loved it as a child – not nitpicking as I do as an adult, you should absolutely see S2RD as it's almost a brand new childhood experience with dozens of new scenes. (Spoiler alert) Unfortunately, the worst change comes last: gone was also the weird amnesia kiss from S2T replaced with the exact same ending as 'I.' This is not only a lazy, unoriginal copout, it doesn't make sense on why Clark would go back to that diner, if those events never actually happened. And will he continue to "turn back time" for every confrontation?


Man I wanted to love this movie better than Lester's version because Donner's vision in the first Superman was so wonderful. I have to say though, Donner's Superman II is corny, has questionable visual effects, and some uncharacteristic bad acting from Christopher Reeve. The way Lois calls Clark Kent out as Superman is bad, bad, bad. Lester's version showing Clark's clumsiness by falling with his hand in the fireplace was more convincing and emotional. Donner's version basically plays Superman for a fool by falling for Lois' trap with the pistol threat. One of my favorite lines from Lester's version is completely excised from Donner's version: "General, would you care to step outside?" Good points, include the villains escaping from the Phantom Zone. These nice effects and longer shots were better than the "cartoon" exploding effect of the Phantom Zone in Lester's version. Also, the legendary Marlon Brando is resurrected from the grave by inclusion of his many more scenes. Nice to have one last look at the big guy Brando.


Dear Richard Donner,

Your version of Superman II is awful. And much like Superman III & IV, your Lethal Weapon 3 & 4 are unwatchable too.

I was very upset when I listened to the commentary with Dick Donner and Tom Mankiewicz (RIP). They're both arrogant, selfish babies who spend their time trashing everything that Richard Lester did instead of being grateful that the film's still watchable 30 years later. Who are they to tell me that there are rules for Superman? (Mankiewicz says only Superman kisses Lois, not Clark. Duh! Why do you think he took his glasses off at the end of Superman II when kissing Lois? Idiot.)

For all of the accusing of Lester inserting humor, how do you explain when Donner does it also and worse? (Toilet flushing at the Fortress of Solitude, Jewish remarks at Niagara Falls, bedwetting pointing from Otis, Lois' Superman nightie). His Daily Planet opening looks clumsy compared to the exciting Paris opening. Niagara Falls is more ambiguous and better than Lois' blanks. If Supe and Lois can have sex, why give up his powers? The extra Marlon Brando stuff is redundant (except for Supe getting his powers back scene). Worse yet, just to not use Lester's affectionate ending, he slaps the unfinished part 1 ending back on as if we're expected to understand and side with him. Sorry Dick. Lester = 1, Donner = 0. Everything that Lester touched is an improvement on what's offered here.

In the future, whenever I'm in the mood to watch Superman II, I'll stick with the better constructed theatrical version. You know, the one without the chip on its shoulder.
It's so easy

It's so easy

I've been a Superman fan since I was a little boy, and own all the movies. Superman II has always been my favorite because of the love story between Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane. I just watched this new Richard Donner Cut today, and for the most part I was impressed by some of the scenes that weren't in the original release which answered many of the untold questions. How did Clark get all his powers back was my biggest question...and this version answered it for me in this new release.

However, I found that I really had to watch this movie very closely as it seemed to jump around a lot. The totally new scene where Lois discovers Clarks real identity was appalling. How goofy can you get, and the goofs with Clarks hair and glasses...come one. At least if you're going to sell a movie...sell it right without these obvious goofs.

Too much was taken out of this movie. Some great additions as I mentioned, but more thought should have been put into this. I won't be discarding my original Superman II movie as I probably won't be watching the Richard Donner Cut again. Instead a new release should have been made with just the deleted scenes.

2 out of 10 is my vote.


So...we get so see added footage of Brando...interesting but not exactly Oscar worthy stuff. Susannah York was hardly a slouch. New scene where Lois finds out Clark is Superman is slightly unbelievable in that he doesn't notice that there are blanks coming out of the gun instead of real bullets. Real bullets would have penetrated his clothes and then bounced off him onto the floor but forget that...let's listen to Donner make fun of Lester's version that made more logical sense. The president talks of the Zod "defacing" the Washington monument when it was originally Mount Rushmore. Tweaking that scene made that line quite absurd. Superman's "freedom of the press" line sounded silly compared to "..Care to step outside" which was delivered better and had a fitting connection to Clark's earlier scene in the truck stop. Then there is the ending with the "turn back the world to go back in time" effect. It turned back everything in the whole movie and made you wonder where exactly the rocket aimed for Hackensack, N.J. ever went since it doesn't free Zod and company any more.


(This review also contains a very subtle potential spoiler for Superman Returns)

The Richard Donner version of Superman II cannot be considered a complete film in any way, shape or form. Obviously this is because Donner never was able to complete his vision of the film, and as a result this is a cobbled together mixture of Donner scenes, scenes shot by Richard Lester for the theatrical version of Superman II, and even a couple of screen tests edited together to recreate a key scene Donner never filmed.

I've heard some people -- including actors involved in the film -- call the Donner Cut superior to the original. I have to disagree. I liked it well enough, but I felt there was too much padding, from unnecessary toilet jokes (making moot the criticisms that Lester inserted too much inappropriate humor into his version -- it is Donner who gives us the spectacle of a flushing toilet in the Fortress of Solitude!) to some really slow character moments. The first 45 minutes are rather uneventful and could have used some trimming. Lester's Superman II feels more like a complete film, and has some action set pieces that add a level of excitement to the film that, after the initial novelty wears off, the Donner version admittedly lacks.

That's not to say the Donner Cut is a bad film. It has a lot to recommend it: more footage of the underrated Sarah Douglas as Ursa, for one thing, allowing a bit more character development. The relationship between Lois and Clark is established as becoming sexual a bit more clearly than in the Lester version; this may be a bit controversial, but it works.

The real joy in this film is seeing some pretty substantial scenes involving Christopher Reeve and Marlon Brando. There is a subplot about "the father becoming the son" which was all but eliminated from the Lester version. Here it's given full reign and plays out beautifully (in the process providing a strong tie to Superman Returns where the theme resurfaces). Of most note is the one and only scene filmed in which Brando and Reeve appeared in the studio together (the scene was later re-filmed by Lester with Susannah York instead of Brando.) Donner's version also makes more clear the fact that Jor-El had created an artificial intelligence program; Superman I and the Lester version of Superman II sort of gloss over this. In the Donner cut it's made more explicit, which is quite something considering this was filmed in 1978, long before A.I. became a buzzword.

The performances in this film are consistent with those of the first Superman film, which makes sense since they were shot at the same time. Margot Kidder, in particular, looks terrific (she never looked better, even in the simultaneously shot Superman I); reportedly she wasn't pleased when Richard Lester took over Superman II, and I think you can tell by comparing her performances for Donner with those for Lester.

The ending is a problem only if one desires to "decanonize" the Lester version of the film along with Superman III and IV. The fact the ending is virtually identical to the first Superman film might put some people off. But it is clearly stated on the DVD that Donner would have used a different ending for Superman II had he been allowed to complete the film. So once again we are simply reminded by this (and by Chris Reeve's hilariously changing hairstyles in the screen test footage used in lieu of Lester's Niagara Falls secret identity revelation scene) that the Richard Donner Cut of Superman II is not intended to be a replacement for the theatrical release -- which, despite many people disliking Lester's work, will remain the definitive version. Instead, it is a fascinating and highly recommended piece of "what if" experimentation which gives a fascinating look at how the production of a major film can result in widely diverging creative ideas.


Back in 1978, 'Superman' was a huge success and stands today as a generation defining film. The disputes between the father and son production team, the Salkinds, and director Richard Donner were no secret; filming the two original films back-to-back proved problematic. Following the triumph of the first film, Donner was sacked and the director's chair was handed over to Richard Lester for 'Superman II', who distorted Donner's original idea significantly, producing a camp and hugely flawed Superman sequel that started the franchise's fall to ridicule. 'Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut' is the film that should have been, superior in every way to Lester's theatrical version… until the last few minutes.

Richard Donner's name explodes emphatically onto the screen at the end of the opening credits, establishing Donner's authoritative mark on this film: the closest thing he can get to *his* original vision. It is an entirely different film to Lester's, which is to be expected. Donner had already recorded roughly 80% of the footage before he was fired, which Lester would have to rewrite and reshoot under the rules of the Director's Guild. Thus, everything ludicrous about 'Superman II' is gone: no more Kryptonians with finger pointing levitation beams or the power to erase memories with a kiss (even those giant Superman emblem "nets" are not present). Instead, the story is much more absorbing, the characters are therefore fleshed out incredibly and it truly is a much more enjoyable and worthwhile Superman film.

The character dynamics are of noteworthy interest. The three Kryptonian villains (Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas and Jack O'Halloran), for example, are much more integral to the plot and Gene Hackman develops much more in this edition as the evil genius Lex Luthor, supported wonderfully by Miss Teschmacher (Valerie Perrine). But dedicated to Christopher Reeves memory, this definitely is his greatest performance as the titular character. Reeves is ever charming as Clark Kent, yet the contrast between him and Superman is particularly mesmerising here, as Reeves is remarkably more powerful and captivating as the superhero. It really is a shame that general audiences may never see him play the character the way he did here: it is the definitive Superman portrayal.

Yet it is still a flawed film. An excusable downside to the cut is the often choppy editing, making some areas feel rushed, but as the film was never finalised, it is fair to allow this slide as an unfortunate product of circumstance. However, the ending is an utter disappointment. It is difficult to get over the way that the closing moments make the entire film inconsequential. Granted, studio interference played a part here, but Donner could have reached unprecedented heights with Superman in this new cut, should he have chosen to make the logical choice and evict this ending from his cut (disregarding continuity errors that may impose).

'The Richard Donner Cut' is overall undoubtedly the better movie, and yet still could have been even better with a more satisfactory finish.


The Richard Donner Cut of Superman II is a testament to many things: probably the most important is the power that consumers have over the makers of film. For 25 years fans of Superman, film, and Richard Donner have been demanding this film be made, and the studio was able to accommodate. It's a testament to the skill of Richard Donner, and his faith in himself and patience that he was able to return to this film and make it without any bitterness. It a testament to a little bit of movie magic that almost 30 years ago brought together an excellent cast, outstanding writers, and a director with vision to create a masterpiece of modern mythology. The Donner Cut is no standard Director's Cut, with a few added scenes and new special effects, it's an entirely almost new film, yet it fits right in with its sibling films of the old franchise. Every effort was made to make the film look like it was created by the same special effects team of the original film, any new CGI is reasonably well hidden, and rarely showing their modern origins. For a film made entirely out of three decade old film stock, that has been sitting neglected in vaults for years, this film is stunning in it's quality. Up to this point all "extended" versions of Superman II have come from various television edits, and the VHS (and Beta) recordings of these have been washed out and grainy, but this film could have been shot last summer it's in outstanding condition. The sound mix is equally impressive, with very little of the stock's age being shown. The acting is outstanding, Christopher Reeve has always given excellent performances, and we are treated to more than an hour of new-to-us acting that is Oscar quality, for a guy wearing tights who can fly, we accept the truth of his being without question. Of particular note here are the infamous scenes shot of Marlon Brando as Jor-El, perhaps more so than the first film, he seems to be more involved and caring for his son, and he portrays it with a heartbreaking pathos. And much more to the point, he gives the oft-quoted "Father becomes the Son" line an actual contextual meaning, so it doesn't sound like melodramatic fluff. All the greatness aside, this film does have it's flaws. The three that will take prominence are the re-use the "turn time backwards ending" from the first film (though it was originally scripted for this film), the sometimes obvious use of doubles for re shot scenes (look for a part where the costume changes for a few seconds), and the use of footage from screen tests to make a certain scene. This last one was arguably a necessity as it was never otherwise filmed, but it's somewhat disconcerting to see Reeve drop 30 pounds for two minutes then bulk up again. I suspect budget reasons prevented this, but given modern digital technology they could have presumably bulked him up digitally to create a greater continuity. Other than these minor nitpicks, it's a film that Superman fans young and old can enjoy for years to come.