Superman II Remembered
After the gush-a-thon yesterday over Superman: The Movie. We come to Superman II. Now I know some people love this one, it does have General Zod and the Kryptonians causing damage and destruction while Superman has to figure out if being a superhero is worth sacrificing any potential relationship with Lois.
Before we get too far along, check out the trailer:
That, pretty much sums up the entire movie. As a kid I remember enjoying this one. But I don't have the distinct memories as I do of the first film. The only bit that really stands out is when Zod's minion Non tries to use his laser eyes on an already burnt snake. And then later I remember Non cuddling a police siren because he liked the lights. It all starts to sound rather silly as I write this. but if you asked me at 4 years old which one I liked better, I would simply say "Superman!" That is because Superman: The Movie and Superman II are essentially two halves of the same film. They were shot at the same time, from one big screenplay. It wasn't until after the release of the first film, the producers decided to replace original director Richard Donner with Richard Lester, someone they could control and easily sway creatively with dire consequences. The cast hated the change and protested loudly and it feels like the performances suffered for it. Now in order for this new director to get credit, he basically had to reshoot almost 70 percent of the already near completed movie!
When I look at this movie years later I can easily see what I liked most about it as a small kid. It's funnier for one thing. And there is tons more action. Which when I watch it as an is all pretty much why I DON'T like this movie. It's TOO funny for it's own good. I'm not one of those comic book purists that says "darker is better." I like humor! I'm a funny guy, but I don't like my humor to be insulting. No character is immune from being made into a joke. Superman, Lois Lane, Perry White, heck even Lex Luthor AND the Kryptonians are the butts of several groan inducing jokes.
Even during the climatic battle in Metropolis, we get guys getting blown around on roller skates, some dope in a phone booth that keeps talking oblivious to the destruction around him, even the cast looks like they're going to crack up at any time.
Now this one is also a bit of a home video anomaly. In 2006, Richard Donner was given the chance to reassemble the movie using the old footage he had shot. And the result is a bit of a mixed bag. Parts work, others don't. It is far more character focused and virtually all of the stupid parts of the movie are removed, including the idiotic scene where Superman throws his "S" which seems to little to no affect what so ever.
This new cut of the movie is far from perfect, but it's as close to good as it's going to get. All in all I do enjoy this one, even if it is a bit too silly at times. However, it is no where near as bad as the series became... but that is a story for tomorrow with Superman III! Be good till then, and thanks for reading!