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Todd Erwin

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Superman II makes its UHD debut, released as part of Warner’s Superman 5-Film Collection.



Superman II (1980)



Released: 19 Jun 1981
Rated: PG
Runtime: 127 min




Director: Richard Lester, Richard Donner
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi



Cast: Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder
Writer(s): Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Mario Puzo



Plot: Superman agrees to sacrifice his powers to start a relationship with Lois Lane, unaware that three Kryptonian criminals he inadvertently released are conquering Earth.



IMDB rating: 6.8
MetaScore: 83





Disc Information



Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR



Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby...

Continue reading...
 
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Tino

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@Todd Erwin

You wrote;

“Superman II picks up almost exactly where its predecessor left off, as one of the nuclear missiles that Superman redirected off into space detonates, releasing the three Kryptonian criminals”

I think perhaps you’ve mixed up the two versions of Superman II . That description is from The Donner Cut, not the theatrical release of Superman II in which the criminals were released by the explosion of the nuclear weapon from the Eiffel Tower.
 

albert_m2

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I watched the Donner cut once years ago and while interesting, that version still looked liked an unfinished product. To me, that should always have been an extra released on theatrical release sets. It really annoys me that I still can't just buy Superman 2 on blu ray (outside of a one of the bigger sets with 3 and 4 which I have no interest in).
 

JC Riesenbeck

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I watched the Donner cut once years ago and while interesting, that version still looked liked an unfinished product. To me, that should always have been an extra released on theatrical release sets. It really annoys me that I still can't just buy Superman 2 on blu ray (outside of a one of the bigger sets with 3 and 4 which I have no interest in).
I had the same problem finding a blu ray of the original cut being sold as a separate entity for years and only solved the problem by buying a box set from Hamilton Books on the cheap. I've never understood this fascination with the Donner Cut. I watched it once and found it to be pretty much an incomplete, disjointed mess.
 

Lord Dalek

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If there is a case study for how awful the Salkinds were to work for and how little Ilya and Pierre seem to be aware of hat years after the fact, Superman II is it.
 

Todd Erwin

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@Todd Erwin

You wrote;

“Superman II picks up almost exactly where its predecessor left off, as one of the nuclear missiles that Superman redirected off into space detonates, releasing the three Kryptonian criminals”

I think perhaps you’ve mixed up the two versions of Superman II . That description is from The Donner Cut, not the theatrical release of Superman II in which the criminals were released by the explosion of the nuclear weapon from the Eiffel Tower.
Summary has been corrected.
 

Tino

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Summary has been corrected.
You’re welcome. ;)

With all the various versions of different films out there it’s easy to get them mixed up sometimes.

I remember having a discussion with a member here who swore scenes from the roadshow version of Its A Mad Mad Mad World were in the theatrical version.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I liked II more than I as a kid, I totally get that. I didn’t have the attention span to appreciate Donner’s pacing, particularly in the Smallville sequence, but the zippy pace and cartoonish tone of Lester’s sequel (along with superpowered heroes and villains facing off) was a perfect match for my younger sensibilities. Objectively, seen through adult eyes, it’s not as good of a film as it could have been, but it’s hard for me to see it as anything other than I did when I was young. It’s grandfathered into my favorites list :)
 

Sam Favate

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I’ve always enjoyed the second movie, even though I can see the problems with it now. But as a kid, you really respond to moments of triumph, like the famous “step outside” line. One scene like that elevates the entire film in the eyes of a young viewer. I still love that scene, but it’s not enough to save the whole movie and it’s shifting tone.

Nevertheless, it’s a certifiable classic compared to III and IV.
 

WillG

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If there is a case study for how awful the Salkinds were to work for and how little Ilya and Pierre seem to be aware of hat years after the fact, Superman II is it.

To be slightly fair here, Donner wasn’t entirely without fault in the the whole mess. For one, Donner was known to some extent for taking his time in shooting. There was a story where on an exterior shot he kept the whole shoot idle for half a day waiting for the cloud formations he liked. Then when the movie came out and was a smash, the Salkinds had a more forgiving attitude but Donner bad mouthed them to the press anyway and then Donner issued an ultimatum to the Salkinds that either Spengler was out or he was. Now certainly a lot of the things said about the Salkinds practices were true, but it’s not impossible to see certain things from their point of view. Margot Kidder also claimed she was essentially written out of SIII for speaking out against the Salkinds, but we don’t know for sure that it’s true. SII essentially finalized the intimate relationship between Clark and Lois, so it wasn’t out of school to put Lois on the back burner to focus on the relationship between Clark and Lana Lang
 

Christian D66

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This film should be put in some perspective since sequels were usually considered bad and unsuccessful at this time but this set box office records and it was the first time audiences got to see a real epic comic book fight over a cityscape. I was about 14 and an actual paper boy and hundreds of other paper boys and girls were all (cleverly) invited to a free screening before the film opened at a theater. I have never seen an audience response like that to this day. And I saw STAR WARS and JAWS and others in the theater. I was actually shocked and amused by the non-stop cheering and the literal standing and clapping. The audience was so far ahead of me that when Clark Kent shows up at the diner again at the end, the Jimmy Olsen crowd raised the roof and it took me a second to figure out why. They even cheered when Superman brought the flag back. It was the most patriotic audience I ever witnessed. I wish Lester had been there, he might have seen what Superman meant to kids -- his worst instinct is to slip in random humor because he doesn't trust the material, which destroys SUPERMAN III. The film is imperfect and badly edited (I think Donner's version of the White House attack by Zod is an AWESOME action sequence cut to nothing in the Lester version) but what works works like gangbusters so it's still my favorite of the series.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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As a little kid, the first Superman movie was almost boring to me - it probably didn’t help that I saw it from my parents’ taped-off-TV copy of the three hour TV cut that has tons of unnecessary footage (poor Otis must spend 45 minutes walking around Metropolis at one point), plus commercials, so it seemed to go on forever. But that almost worked in the character’s favor, because it felt “real life” - it made me accept that Superman wasn’t a movie character but a real person who could do phenomenal things. So then seeing Superman II at the same age - compared to the TV cut of the first film, it MOVED. And because I was already 110% sold on Superman being real, everything that happened to him in the second film felt life or death to me. I really only bother revisiting these films when I can put myself in that same headspace and enjoy them with the unwavering belief of a child - I love these movies so much I don’t want to watch them if I’m just in a mood to look for faults. For many, many years, II was my favorite.

I wish Lester had been there, he might have seen what Superman meant to kids -- his worst instinct is to slip in random humor because he doesn't trust the material

This I agree with, but I think it’s also true that the Salkinds didn’t trust it either. It was a money machine for them, nothing more, nothing less. Not everything Richard Donner did was perfect, but Donner had the instincts to trust the material and understood that the audience wanted to believe, and he respected both the material and the audience in a way that Lester doesn’t. But I sort of understand and forgive Lester because the people that hired him thought it was all a joke, so why should he feel differently?
 

Christian D66

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As a little kid, the first Superman movie was almost boring to me - it probably didn’t help that I saw it from my parents’ taped-off-TV copy of the three hour TV cut that has tons of unnecessary footage (poor Otis must spend 45 minutes walking around Metropolis at one point), plus commercials, so it seemed to go on forever. But that almost worked in the character’s favor, because it felt “real life” - it made me accept that Superman wasn’t a movie character but a real person who could do phenomenal things. So then seeing Superman II at the same age - compared to the TV cut of the first film, it MOVED. And because I was already 110% sold on Superman being real, everything that happened to him in the second film felt life or death to me. I really only bother revisiting these films when I can put myself in that same headspace and enjoy them with the unwavering belief of a child - I love these movies so much I don’t want to watch them if I’m just in a mood to look for faults. For many, many years, II was my favorite.



This I agree with, but I think it’s also true that the Salkinds didn’t trust it either. It was a money machine for them, nothing more, nothing less. Not everything Richard Donner did was perfect, but Donner had the instincts to trust the material and understood that the audience wanted to believe, and he respected both the material and the audience in a way that Lester doesn’t. But I sort of understand and forgive Lester because the people that hired him thought it was all a joke, so why should he feel differently?
I think Reeve took it seriously and wasn't happy with Lester's take over Donner's sincerity (neither was Hackman). I find the first half of SUPERMAN almost perfect and right when Otis is introduced I tune out of the film. I still think Hackman is a terrible Lex Luthor but used to much better effect as a side accomplice in SII.

Lester was not a hack man (sorry) by any means so his cynicism nor the Salkinds (who deserve the blame) didn't belong on screen. SUPERMAN III is just awful and no nostalgia can redeem that scene with Pryor skiing off the building to the street. I remember when SIII opened and I was next door watching another film and I stepped in to see the audience cheer Superman putting out a fire then heard nothing from next door the rest of the film. That poster of Superman carrying Pryor was such a letdown after SII. Pryor could have been fine but in a different part. The stuff with Reeve as bad Superman is so good it could have saved the film.
 

Josh Steinberg

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It was really something as a kid seeing Superman III, because my parents were pretty strict about not watching age-inappropriate stuff with me early on, so I had no idea who Richard Pryor was, no mechanism to understand why Superman wasn’t the star of his own movie. As an adult obviously I’m bringing more up the table on that front, but it’s an odd paring. For all of its many, many faults, at least Superman was the star of Superman IV.
 

Dave H

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As a kid (who saw Superman II and III in the theater), I loved II. It was my favorite movie behind Star Wars and Empire at that time. The first movie I would watch on VHS (I'm guessing it aired on HBO and Showtime which we had at that time), but I was slightly bored with it - mostly the second half. When I became an adult, I started liking it much better realized it was a better movie than II. Superman III was a big disappointment to me as it felt too silly and lacked too many things. As an adult, I can appreciate III a little more now even though I don't place it with the first two movies. IV never worked for me.
 

Robert Saccone

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Superman was spectacle that had to be seen in a theater which I was fortunate to have been able to do when it was originally released. Seeing it on tv later on ABC was nice but there it was no comparison to the theater experience in 70mm. So grateful that experience can be recreated (mostly) at home.
 

ScottRE

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Superman II floored me as a kid and I still love it. For all of the bashing RIchard Lester gets and regardless of all the hosannah's for Donner, a lot of the reshot stuff in the theatrical cut just works better. Lois comes off as a lunatic in the opening Donner cut with the bulging eyes and the elbowing of Clark (it also is an ill fit with everything before and after). The relationship is more nuanced and realistic in the theatrical. The performances are more confident and mature. And the Eiffel Tower sequence is great! "I believe this is your floor." "Oh thank Gahd!"

The only part of the theatrical I roll my eyes at is the goofy humor during the "super villains using their super breath" scene. Okay the kid's games at the climax of the theatrical are a little weird but they work because we know straightforward fisticuffs already got Superman nowhere. And the amnesia kiss to relieve Lois of her grief and heartbreak is in keeping with all the other powers Superman has (and the performances are stellar). How is it worse than turning back time???

I get that the only reason they moved the "turning back time" scene to the first film was to give it an ending, it works better there. Superman just lost the woman he loved, so in his utter despair, he went against the rules and changed recent history (only insofar as it applies to Lois). You don't get the feeling he'd have done it otherwise, but he was shattered. Nothing in Superman II carries that weight. In the Donner Cut he reversed time for "reasons." It's pointless and makes the entire previous two hours meaningless. Not to mention beating up the trucker for something he didn't do because Superman never lost his powers...

I know Richard Donner refused to get over it, but really the best thing to happen to Superman II was his getting bounced. I absolutely love his first Superman and the Lethal Weapon movies. But Superman II is a better film because of all the changes. It's not perfect and some of the stuff cut should have been retained, but for the most part, it's a solid sequel and a great continuation and conclusion to the story.

I'm sure that someone somewhere has made an edit of the two and made a truly fantastic version of the second film.
 

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