Tried to type up a quick review the other night, but I got about one sentence in when the melatonin took hold and my ability to think was completely shut off. In short – this movie is perfection. As far as superheroes go, Superman is my personal favorite. From the movies of the 80’s, to Lois & Clark, Smallville and his triumphant if not lackluster Return. Comics, cartoons, and the recent Superman Doomsday (which was good but IMHO butchered the Death of Superman) top off my collection.
At first I had the same reaction as anyone to a remake – but this isn’t a remake. What came out in 1980 was the remake. Originally, Richard Donner shot and directed both Superman films at the same time. Production efforts were focused on Superman I, and by the time Superman II came out – Donner was no longer involved. Instead of the masterpeice that was intended, we got a campy plug and play Superman flick which set the tone for those which followed.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved all 4 Superman flicks, any time I can see a little further into the life of the Man of Steel, I’m happy. Still – I can only imagine what turns the franchise could have taken if 3, 4, and 5 were sprung off of the Richard Donner director’s cut. What do you get? More footage which makes the movie dark as hell. This is General Zod after all (or Jor-El if you’re a Smallville fan). He’s the blackest motherf!@#er this side of Vader to grace the universe and Donner did him justice.
“Son of Jor El, KNEEL BEFORE ZOD” – before this film was a comical line easily surpassed by Jason Mewes in delivery. After seeing this film though, the darkness, the attention to detail, and the respect given to the entire Superman franchise from 1938 on – they’ve reinvented Zod, reinvigorated Superman, and if anything – put the directors and producers of Returns who handed us 90 minutes of Kryptonian self-gratification that required no brain to watch – on notice.
SPOILER – SPOILER – SPOILER
My favorite scene overall? Kal El in the Fortress of Solitude, giving up his superhuman abilities for love, arguing with Jor El who then proceeds to GLARE at Lois Lane when all hope is lost of Clark not making this near calamitous mistake. If there’s a better screen demonstration of Jor El than his disembodied holographic head glaring at Lois who is standing there in nothing more than Superman’s shirt… I haven’t seen it.
Rent it, buy it, love it. This version of the classic should hold a special place in the heart and collection of any real Superman fan.