Just watched this DVD yesterday, and am still trying to get the geeky grin off my face. After 26 years, I've finally now seen the film I was hoping for as a boy, way back when the brutalized Richard Lester 'Superman II' was released - a movie that left me feeling as hollow and disappointed as if I'd been stood up by a girlfriend.
I tried not to raise my expectations too high for this restored cut, but in the end there is far more to love here than to complain about.
On the upside:
* Thank God for the return of Marlon Brando. The father-son relationship plays a crucial role here that was sorely missed in Lester's version.
* The restoration of Superman's lost powers is finally explained here, with a major sacrifice involved.
* There are no more finger beams; teleportation; giant, cellophane "S" symbols; amnesia kisses; or other random, pull-em-out-your-butt super powers that only showed how little Lester cared for his source material.
* Lois comes across as smarter and more likeable in this movie than she did in Lester's, and there's actually more chemistry here between her and S-man thanks to the revised scenes -- the romance is moving, rather than annoying. Her suspicions about Clark and how she deals with them are handled far better, plus she doesn't do that moronic elevator-climbing stunt that she did in Lester's Eiffel Tower terrorist sequence.
* There are more fun scenes featuring Lex and Miss Teschmacher - enjoy.
* The music is arranged properly and played at the right speed. And the opening credits look good.
On the downside:
* Yes, there are continuity flaws in the scenes that were originally shot as screen tests, but these are easily overlooked (Reeve's hair and his relative lack of bulk in some scenes, for instance). But the improved dramatic flow more than makes up for these.
* The time-travel trick at the end of the movie is overused, given that Donner's first film also featured this gimmick. Superman no longer has any second thoughts about messing with history, and this raises the issue that he now has the perfect solution to any problem he will ever face -- simply turn back the clock, change a couple of key events and you're sorted. Having said that, this scene works far better than Lester's ridiculous amnesia kiss. Especially if taken on its own merits, out of context of the first movie.
Overall, I finally feel like I have closure now after that almost-forgotten childhood let-down. Given my lifelong affection for the character of Superman I found the mess that was made of the movie series after Donner's excellent start painful to watch -- especially knowing that the whole farce seemed to be caused by the greed of certain persons involved in the production.
Basically, if you care enough to have read this far, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. It's a credit to all involved and a fitting tribute to Chris Reeve, who, even in the worst of times, wore the cape and the symbol like he was born to it.