Still entertaining at moments but the behind the scenes drama in the directing department, and conflicts in the creative direction of the film kept this sequel from being all it could have been.
“Superman II” starts where the first left off as Clark Kent and Lois Lane evolve in their relationship to the point where he relinquishes his super powers to marry her. While this is going on; three Kyrptonians from the prequel of the original film have been freed and are taking over Metropolis.
“Superman II” can be also known as the ‘tale to two visions’ with many different directorial tones present in the final cut of the movie. Originally this film was directed by Richard Donner whose vision for ‘Superman II’ had a deeper sense of the characters and their motives similar to the exceptionally entertaining first film.
Donner’s vision also boasted a darker tone, and several vigorous action-packed scenes throughout to continue the continuity of the Superman story. Richard Donner was fired by producers with an estimated 75% of the movie already completed, and then came in director Richard Lester to complete the project. While this move may have been the studios only option, the result was nothing but a hindrance to the flow of the film and its tone.
This is where Lester’s vision came into play blending the script with several cheesy comedic attempts and a severe lightening of the overall mood of the story. It reminded me of the first “Batman” film in 1989 and how the tone of the franchise had changed by the time George Clooney was rocking the cape in 1997’s “Batman & Robin” although not nearly as drastically of course. By that time the “Batman” franchise was a joke. “Superman II” seemed to follow suit between the first and second films. What had started as a serious movie was turned close to a comic-book spoof in my opinion.
Overall I did enjoy the film for the most part although seeing it now I am certain I enjoyed it much more when I was a kid and I can see why. After watching the first “Superman” then this second, it seemed like typical sequel attempting to ride the success of its clearly superior predecessor. But only is segments, because of the differences in tone this script showed throughout. It was a passable script but felt very uneven it was it wanted to be.
The villains are more a laughing stock then what I can see Richard Donner having in his version. The two director visions are clearly present despite the actor re-shoots and dialogue changes made between directors. The scenes don’t blend well in my opinion; one will attempt to portray dramatic action then the next will have awkward and ignorant humor. I feel like the film is a decent watch but could have been done much better.
Cast performances were not a problem, all delivered the fun-filled performances they gave in the first but the dialogue at times was too dumb to match the dramatic sequences they worked around. The sub-plot of Superman losing his powers was intriguing but the angle of the film was relatively left undeveloped thus unfulfilled seeming like only a time-filler.
The entire ending seemed as anti-climactic as one could be for such a big-budget project. Richard Donner has already released his version of “Superman II” by filling the the pieces of the script together with outtakes and other forms of material and I look forward to seeing the differences. It will be interesting to see how the two finished pieces will compare and contrast with one another. “Superman II” was not a horrible comic-book film but it was too unorganized in what its message and tone wanted to be and you can clearly see the result onscreen.