Superman 5-Film Collection UHD Review

3.5 Stars For the Die Hard Fan
Superman 5-Film Collection Screenshot

For many, Christopher Reeve is the one and only Superman, and Warner has included all of his films in their Superman 5-Film Collection boxed set.

Superman (1978)
Released: 15 Dec 1978
Rated: PG
Runtime: 143 min
Director: Richard Donner
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi
Cast: Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Ned Beatty
Writer(s): Jerry Siegel (character created by: Superman), Joe Shuster (character created by: Superman), Mario Puzo (story), Mario Puzo (screenplay), David Newman (screenplay), Leslie Newman (screenplay), Robert Benton (screenplay)
Plot: An alien orphan is sent from his dying planet to Earth, where he grows up to become his adoptive home's first and greatest superhero.
IMDB rating: 7.3
MetaScore: 80

Disc Information
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 2.0 DD, French 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: PG
Run Time:
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: 5 2-disc UHD keepcases with outer sleeve
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 05/09/2023
MSRP: $134.99

The Production: 3.5/5

The Christopher Reeve series of Superman movies had the potential to be much more successful than they eventually were, with each film moving farther and farther away from what the first film’s director, Richard Donner, had intended – an overall sense of verisimilitude. Warner’s Superman 5-Film Collection boxed set contains all four of Reeve’s films (including both cuts of Superman II).

Superman: The Movie
Superman II
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
Superman III
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

Video: 4/5

3D Rating: NA

The overall video quality of the Superman films included in this set are actually very good, but are more of a victim to their source material. The first two films were shot with lots of diffusion and smoke, which has never translated well to home video. The third film suffers from heavy optical effects and inconsistent use of filters. The fourth is a victim of a cheap production with even cheaper visual effects.

Audio: 3.5/5

Each film in this set has been remixed in Dolby Atmos to varying degrees at the expense of including a theatrical 5.1 mix, which has been replaced by a theatrical stereo surround m ix in DTS-HD MA 2.0 (the exception being Superman IV, which never had a 5.1 mix to begin with).

Special Features: 3/5

Nothing new has been created for this set, but Warner has included the commentary track for each film on its respective UHD disc. Also included is the 2011 Blu-ray for each film that was created for the previous Superman Motion Picture Anthology release. Amazon is offering an exclusive limited steelbook edition which also includes a collectible booklet, certificate of authenticity, and a comic book (that edition has not been reviewed). For a complete list of Special Features, check the review of each individual film.

Superman: The Movie
Superman II
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
Superman III
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

Digital Copy: The five film set includes a code to redeem digital copies of all five films included in this set in UHD on Movies Anywhere.

Overall: 3.5/5

The Superman movies in this set can be a bit of an acquired taste, with each film getting significantly worse. I assume the audience for this set is the die-hard fan or completist.

Todd Erwin has been a reviewer at Home Theater Forum since 2008. His love of movies began as a young child, first showing Super 8 movies in his backyard during the summer to friends and neighbors at age 10. He also received his first movie camera that year, a hand-crank Wollensak 8mm with three fixed lenses. In 1980, he graduated to "talkies" with his award-winning short The Ape-Man, followed by the cult favorite The Adventures of Terrific Man two years later. Other films include Myth or Fact: The Talbert Terror and Warren's Revenge (which is currently being restored). In addition to movie reviews, Todd has written many articles for Home Theater Forum centering mostly on streaming as well as an occasional hardware review, is the host of his own video podcast Streaming News & Views on YouTube and is a frequent guest on the Home Theater United podcast.

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Lord Dalek

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A load of missed opportunites and flat out screw-ups with this set. Embarassing.
 

Noel Aguirre

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Todd took hours to view and review them for us. You don't have a few minutes to skim/read them?
NO I don’t- Is that a problem? I want to know specifically the issues Lord has.
Todd discusses many issues that the Sakinds caused but I want to know specifically what Lord thinks is wrong with the set besides the first film’s lack of 7 track audio
 

Lord Dalek

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Please summarize Lord the issues so that I my be spared reading all 4 (5!) reviews. Thanks!

- New transfer of S:TM reported by an "insider" not present

- 5.1 70mm mix on previous S:TM UHD removed for a vastly inferior 2.0.

- Richard Donner II is largely upscaled making its myriad of technical deficiencies more apparent.

- Superman II has pitch issues (which may have always been there)

- Superman IV has a weird Atmos remix with incorrect music cues.

That's about it.
 

Sam Favate

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My copy arrived today. It’s an odd shaped box, with lots of wasted space. I get that the steelbooks can’t bump up against one another, but this is wider than it needs to be. I’m still hanging on to my Ultimate Collection DVD tin box set (most of which I replaced with Blu-rays).

Why can we never get a comprehensive box set? One that would include all the extras from prior releases, the first film’s three-hour cut, and so on?
 

Todd Erwin

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Why can we never get a comprehensive box set? One that would include all the extras from prior releases, the first film’s three-hour cut, and so on?
I still have my DVD-18 of Superman: The Movie that includes the rather exhaustive Marc McClure-hosted documentary.
 

Dave H

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- New transfer of S:TM reported by an "insider" not present

- 5.1 70mm mix on previous S:TM UHD removed for a vastly inferior 2.0.

- Richard Donner II is largely upscaled making its myriad of technical deficiencies more apparent.

- Superman II has pitch issues (which may have always been there)

- Superman IV has a weird Atmos remix with incorrect music cues.

That's about it.

Some of the screencaps of II I've seen seem to show some noticeable jaundice coloring on skintones. But II overall still looks like a nice improvement over the BD. The "insider" also claims he was told the more experienced colorist worked on III and IV, but not II which is rather puzzling if true.
 

Lord Dalek

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Some of the screencaps of II I've seen seem to show some noticeable jaundice coloring on skintones. But II overall still looks like a nice improvement over the BD. The "insider" also claims he was told the more experienced colorist worked on III and IV, but not II which is rather puzzling if true.
Yeah I saw those. Caps-a-holic's colors are usually downsampled so I wouldn't say they're 100% accurate to HDR10.
 

Dave H

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Yeah I saw those. Caps-a-holic's colors are usually downsampled so I wouldn't say they're 100% accurate to HDR10.

Agreed, but for image texture, detail, and color they are usually pretty good. The color issues were also noted by viewers of the disc on other forums.

I do think watching with your own eyes on your own set-up is what matters though.

Since I already own the 2018 disc, I just cannot justify the cost of the set especially since I'm mostly just interested in two films. $90 is a lot for that. Maybe by Black Friday it drops, or they get released individually at some point.
 

Rob W

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Why can we never get a comprehensive box set? One that would include all the extras from prior releases, the first film’s three-hour cut, and so on?

For what it's worth, the three-hour cut ( which I despise ) is available with the Movies Anywhere file of the film included in the set.

And if you have the blu-ray of that cut, there is a fifth steelbook in the steelbook box which you could store it in. It's labelled "Superman Collectibles" but only contains a comic book and some cards. Only problem is there's no spindle for the disc.
 
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Sam Posten

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Please summarize Lord the issues so that I my be spared reading all 4 (5!) reviews. Thanks!
I say this as a moderator and not as a reviewer:
Reviewers are not here to dance for you or to spoon feed you. You can either accept that or not. Comments like this are rude no matter how you slice it. Get over yourself.
 

Noel Aguirre

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- New transfer of S:TM reported by an "insider" not present

- 5.1 70mm mix on previous S:TM UHD removed for a vastly inferior 2.0.

- Richard Donner II is largely upscaled making its myriad of technical deficiencies more apparent.

- Superman II has pitch issues (which may have always been there)

- Superman IV has a weird Atmos remix with incorrect music cues.

That's about it.
Thanks Lord much appreciated!
Sounds disastrous especially if the S:TM transfer is inferior.
 

Noel Aguirre

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I say this as a moderator and not as a reviewer:
Reviewers are not here to dance for you or to spoon feed you. You can either accept that or not. Comments like this are rude no matter how you slice it. Get over yourself.
You misread my question to a member (who gave a one sentence summation of his take on all 5 discs) and not to a reviewer . The member was very nice and provided the details as we’ve talked before. .
And talk about rude at least I say please and thank you.
Next.
 

Sam Posten

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You misread my question to a member (who gave a one sentence summation of his take on all 5 discs) and not to a reviewer . The member was very nice and provided the details as we’ve talked before. .
And talk about rude at least I say please and thank you.
Next.
Regardless of whom you were replying to you took the time to post in a thread about this topic to disparage the reviews. You aren’t worming out on a technicality
 

Sam Favate

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I really hope Superman Returns doesn’t get lost. It’s obviously not included in this release, despite being a direct continuation of the Donner films. It deserves its own 4k release, and a steelbook too!
 

JoshZ

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I really hope Superman Returns doesn’t get lost. It’s obviously not included in this release, despite being a direct continuation of the Donner films. It deserves its own 4k release, and a steelbook too!

I don't know what benefit Returns would have in 4K. The movie was shot in 1080p HDCAM, with a deliberately soft, filtered look attempting (and failing, IMO) to replicate the gauzy style of the original's photography. HDR wouldn't do anything for it either, as the movie was graded with flat contrast, elevated black levels, and drab colors.

It's a very ugly movie, forever limited by the poor decisions Bryan Singer made when making it.
 

Dave H

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I don't know what benefit Returns would have in 4K. The movie was shot in 1080p HDCAM, with a deliberately soft, filtered look attempting (and failing, IMO) to replicate the gauzy style of the original's photography. HDR wouldn't do anything for it either, as the movie was graded with flat contrast, elevated black levels, and drab colors.

It's a very ugly movie, forever limited by the poor decisions Bryan Singer made when making it.
Yeah. I've not revisited the BD in ages (might have to soon now I think about it) but I recall reading the encoding was pretty rough on it.
 

JoshZ

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Yeah. I've not revisited the BD in ages (might have to soon now I think about it) but I recall reading the encoding was pretty rough on it.

I do remember it having some pretty serious color banding. I'm sure that could be improved. But does that merit an upconverted 4K release, or would a new Blu-ray suffice?
 
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