Friday, June 01, 2007

Comic book extravaganza: #7: Superman 2

Staring: Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp, Jackie Cooper, Sarah Douglas, Jack O'Halloran
Director: Richard Lester (Richard Donner uncredited)

While there seems to b e some historical revisionism at work, the second Superman film made was actually received quite well in the box office. This was, however, before the Richard Pryor comedy vehicle - erm - I mean "Superman III" and the absolutely mind boggling "Superman IV"

Sure there are some flubs, flukes, and other problems with the plotting of the story, but that is to be expected. Richard Donner filmed half the movie before being replaced by Richard Lester. Almost the entire film was filmed almost 2 years before the rest was due to doubling up on filming with the first film was being made. Some of this brings about continuity gaffs. Some scenes “feel” weird whenever Gene Hackman is on screen because he refused to re-shoot any of his scenes when asked to come back to finish the production.

The story picks up with all the characters from the first film and deepens the relationship between Clark/Lois/Superman and finally reveals the fate of the Kryptonian criminals seen in the first film.

In some ways the story of the film is more tragic than any of the occurrences within the film because it had so much more potential. Last November an attempt at bringing a “Donner” cut was presented to the general audience. Many found it to be “superior” – albeit probably because “Donner” was the “Director” instead of Lester. To be honest I was disappointed. Not just because they actually had the gall to use test footage in the middle of the film but that the entire ending to the movie was made completely null and void because they reused the same tired “Superman can do anything” plot device that was used in the first film – then he goes and beats the crap out of someone who doesn’t even remember attacking Superman-as-Clark back before said plot device. Super-kiss implausible, but turning back time-okay?

Oh well. Aside from the “British accent” kid in the Texas town – some of the more “joke” sequences with the Zod and the other Kryptonian criminals (see “Planet Huston” – frying the snake) the film somehow stands better almost 30 years later than Superman Returns did.

*** ½ / *****

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