August 14, 2012
I got this edit awhile back to watch after Son of Jor-El. I figured cutting the 4 films into 2 might be a good 1-2 punch of nostalgia. Unfortunately, my nostalgia was the strongest element of these films.
Look, Christopher Reeve was phenomenal. Donner had a good take on Superman as well. With movie sensibilities evolving since the 80s, and with the MCU having developed especially, these old superhero films just don't hold up well. The writing, the plot, the tone, a lot of the music cues, the performances... there are so many elements that go into the cheesy, overly-performative style of an 80s goofy-yet-lovable screwball adventure. I remember it really working for the time, especially in the first film, but it just seems ridiculous now.
This is no fault of the fan-edit. The video looks about as good as most from the 80s, and the audio is pretty good for the most part, with edits mostly smooth. In terms of the footage that was selected for this film, it's probably most of the best parts of the two movies. I actually did really miss some elements of Superman III, (I LOVE Robert Vaughn in anything) like the mechanized deathtraps and a few Pryor bits. But the bits that were selected make a story that's better than either the theatrical version of Superman III or IV. That said, "you can't polish a turd"... it's just still so terribly problematic. Changing the orbit of the moon? Governments willingly shooting all their missiles into space? C'mon. Also, the narrative bits just don't really have time to breath, so time compression and pacing of subplots stick out as issues. The action bits between are fun, but those 80s effects are just horrible now. They don't age endearingly like old Harryhausen stop-motion.
All in all, if you're a huge old Superman fan, maybe this will give you your fix. Or if you want to show a Superman film to your kid, this might work. But it doesn't really hold up next to MCU films, and no faneditor can fix that. Admirable effort by ADigitalMan, however! He did as good a job as possible.