Superman II: The Donner Cut (1980 Movie)

220px-supermaniiricharddonnercutI guess that directors and studios having tiffs isn’t a new thing. While Zack Snyder and Warner Brothers parted ways with the recent DC Extended Universe movie franchise, Supes has experienced this kind of panty-twisting before. Hence this version of Superman II.

Most of the differences are in timing and tone. You can tell that this and the first Superman movie were meant to be a two-part story. That wasn’t evident from the theatrical release. In this, the missile that frees Zod and Co was the missile Lex Luthor launched, not a hydrogen bomb in Paris. In fact, that whole terrorist scene was cut from this version, or technically I guess, it was never filmed. Another difference was in how Lois realized Superman and Clark Kent were the same. Her life threatening stunt was different too. She throws herself out of a window on the 30th Floor of the Daily Planet instead of jumping into the river at Niagra Falls.

However, I found one of the biggest changes to be the inclusion of Jor-El as the brain at the Fortress of Solitude.

spacedad

Marlon Brando played Jor-El.  This riff on that never fails to amuse me. This is from Mega Mind, an animated movie I plan on reviewing in the future.

I guess there were money/rights issues with Brando and his ego, so the theatrical release cut everything with him out and replaced most of his dialogue with Supe’s mom. If you ever read much of the comics, the scanned brain of Jor-El tended to be an arrogant ass-hat. Well, that was true here for sure. He was a pompous, arrogant control freak who would have been a horrible father. He basically kicks Supes in the yarbos when he returns asking for his powers back. It was down right unpleasant to watch. Him sacrificing himself to give back Kal-El his powers didn’t move me at all like I’m guessing it was supposed to. It made me feel glad that the jerk was going to be gone!

Finally, the ending. In the theatrical release Clark super-kisses Lois so she forgets he’s Superman. In THIS version he flies around the world and turns back time, just like in the first movie. It made me roll my eyes so hard but in many senses it simply tied the first and second movie together even tighter, like it was originally supposed to be.

Overall, I actually enjoyed the theatrical version better. I thought the story flowed better, the lack of Jor-El the ass-hat was a huge plus and while super-kissing is stupid, turning back time AGAIN is even stupider (and if you think stupider isn’t a word, you’re stupider!).  I’d only recommend this movie if you’re a huge Superman movie buff. Or if you want to see Superman grovel before his over-bearing father.

 

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13 thoughts on “Superman II: The Donner Cut (1980 Movie)

  1. salonimore1702 says:

    I never cared much for Superman but reading your review makes me want to watch the films. Random question: who is your favourite superhero?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ola G says:

    Glad you’re enjoying it so much! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. bormgans says:

    Megamind was fantastic! Looking forward to your review!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t seen this version. In fact the Superman films were on so often on UK TV-once or twice a year, that I stopped watching them! It’s been years since I saw any of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such an odd cinematic world we live in when we get to have theatrical and director cuts… If anything, I just see them as ways to make money, especially when the director’s cut is released on dvd/bluray for everyone to purchase. I won’t complain since I want to know what they dared exclude/include, especially if the only reason for it was length or studio-interventions that go against the director’s vision.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. oh that is an interesting difference to have it be Luther’s missiles. Can’t say I’m sorry to not see Jor-el be an asshat. I’m very glad the theatrical cut didn’t make him turn back time again- as daft as superkissing is, recycling the worst plot point in the first film would have been a bad idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. […] versions of Superman II. The Theatrical Cut and the (released recently on disc & digital) fired Director’s Cut. I surprised myself by favoring the Theatrical Edition over the Director’s […]

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