I watched Superman Returns when it originally came out. I wasn't a huge fan of it. But I got it for what it was. I wasn't expecting anything big with it. Something more along the lines of the Reeve Superman films. And sure enough, that is exactly more of what I got. One of the things that I enjoyed in the original is when Lex backstabs Superman. Was kind of sad to see that gone.
However, everything else is much better. the pacing for it is much better now too. It feels like the definitive version of it to me now. I'd highly recommend this to others.
Do you recommend this edit?
Now that's what I'm talking about! Thanks Steelio. I saw working on this project as a sort of public service that needed to be done in order to properly honor the Superman franchise and the genre it established, as well as acknowledge it's influence on cinema overall. Knowing that most of you guys are getting the vision, and coming away happy, and entertained, makes it more than worth while. :)
Over the last 18 months I have becomes quite a comic book fan and have taken to collecting various titles - some mainstream, such as from the DC and Marvel stables, but others of the more obscure variety. It's taken a long time to get into the medium properly, but truth be told, if there was one reason as to why I finally took the plunge, it has to be Superman. He's always been my favourite superhero, right from the days of having grown up watching Christopher Reeve to the more recent escapades of Tom Welling in the TV series Smallville. Batman may well be darker, and ultimately more interesting, but there's something about Kal-el, the Kryptonian brought up on a farm in Kansas, which keeps me coming back time and time again.
In 2005, when Bryan Singer's Superman Returns was released I could barely contain my enthusiasm. Not only was this the first Superman movie for almost 20 years, but it was one which would go to great lengths to pay close homage to Warner's first two Superman movies. It was almost as if the world wasn't ready for a completely new take on the character, such was Christopher Reeve's remarkable legacy which he left us with. Indeed, at the time I loved the movie. I thought Brandon Routh did an amazing job in the title role, Singer's direction was more or less on the money and I couldn't stop listening to the fantastic soundtrack from John Ottman. Even if I had know what fanediting was back then, I would never say Superman Returns was a prime candidate. That's how bowled over I was.
Hindsight however is a wonderful thing. In the years since and many viewings later, whilst I am still very fond of the movie, I can see Singer's movie is certainly not without its fair share of problems. b3nmitchell's first foray into the world of fanediting was therefore a prime opportunity to see some of these problems addressed and hopefully rectified.
Having been fortunate enough to see a couple of work-prints, I knew off the bat that this was going to be a winner. As Ben alludes to in his entertaining and informative commentary, the intention with Superman Resolved was to really strip back the fat of the film, to have less moments of over exposition or needless dialogue which tried too hard to make sure the viewer knew exactly what was going on - as the saying goes... "sometimes less is more". Ben's editing choices reflect this expertly. Indeed, viewing the initial work-print I was struck with how vigorously he approached the editing of Superman Returns; not that he recklessly cut the picture to ribbons - far from it actually - but just in how fearlessly he tried to refocus the film so its central story came through clearer and stronger. It came as no surprise to me to learn that he's currently taking a film degree, as for a first time faneditor there's no doubt that he's fully confident of his abilities.
The greatest compliment for any editor surely has to be when it's said that their art is almost invisible. Now, I'm not saying that such a statement can be bestowed upon Superman Resolved 100% of the time, but certainly for the most part I was happily sitting back watching and just thinking, "Okay, what has he actually cut here?". This is especially the case for the trimming of some of the various character's lines, particularly those of Lois Lane. Here, Lois is not nearly as unlikeable or cold. Okay, she's not that loveable either, but there's some impressive invisible editing which helps redress the balance of the character's behavior towards Superman. Excellent stuff.
I also liked the idea of fully embracing the "Father and son" side of the story. Whatever you make of little Jason's role in Superman Returns, there's no taking away the skill in which Ben has slightly changed a few lines and behaviors here and there to really make the whole relationship between Superman and Jason resonate stronger than it did in Singer's cut.
The heaviest editing comes during the film's last act, and whilst there is perhaps one moment which feels a little off-kilter during the restructured "plane rescue" sequence, for the most part this is skillfully handled and as good as can be expected with the footage available.
Video quality on the DVD version I watched was top-notch, and the same goes for a nicely balanced 5.1 soundtrack. Even the commentary deserves extra praise, as it's clearly been recorded on a very good microphone/sound set up - very professional.
So, has b3nmitchell restructured Singer's film into a movie which can proudly sit alongside the Donner's classics, Superman I and II? Maybe. If not, then it must come about as close as one could wish to get. One thing's for sure. It's an excellent debut edit and one which is quite honestly my "go to" version of the film now. Superman Resolved indeed.
I watched this edit earlier in the week, i've always had a love hate relationship with superman returns, there's just so much that doesn't really fit into the movie and superman doesn't really get much chance to do a whole great deal of super things.
Along comes the Resolved edit, striving to put right what once went wrong and hoping each leap will scale a tall building in a single bound. Well for the most part it works, Superman doesn't get to do more super things but he does have some of his weaker moments removed.
Unlike some people I've always found Spacey's lex to be a little too over the top, just like Gene Hackman's, hindsight is not my friend, after being subjected to the likes of Clancy Brown's ruthless businessman in the animated series, or Michael Rosenbaum's bad guy pretending to be a nicer guy with bad intentions the older lex feels like a joke in comparison. So toning him down actually worked for me, Kitty and Lois are also reduced in their annoying traits, so I am greatful for that.
Like others I didn't really like Richards rescue sequence, I think it works but barely and as Isaid superman barely gets to do a great deal (stops the plane, walks into a machine gun and then that disasters sequence near the end before the island) so depriving him of one more thing seems a little bit silly. I think everything is pretty solid choices until the last 20 mins or so, because without the stabbing we never really get a feel for supermans weakness and lex's escape seems a little apbrupt, I actually prefer the island sequence too because its a silly little closure.
It is is better than the theatrical but it's not my preferred edit. It's certainly a valiant effort and I like that you tried to do completely different things from other people
Do you recommend this edit?
Thank you for taking the time to watch the project, and for your honest and thorough review. I don't think that using the Lex island ending would have been such a bad thing if it was tagged on the end after the credits. (as another reviewer pointed out). Perhaps down the road a bit I'll release a blu-ray version and take a second look at the rescue while I'm at it.
I've never been a fan of Superman Returns and I think fan reaction has been pretty mixed concerning it's quality, so I knew any edit that attempted to improve it would have a tough time doing so. However, this edit did improve the film by tightening the overall pace and removing certain scenes. Some of the narrative flow was altered and I can't say I agree with every decision made but what changes were made were done with attentiveness.
The DVD quality was excellent and boasted some some very nice DVD menus. The editor has also included an audio commentary which is done with passion and professionalism toward the project.
This was enjoyable. I liked Superman Returns when I first saw it, liked it less each time rewatching. This was better than the theatrical, not perfect, but good times were had. And neat commentary too, I recommend listening to that for sure.
I think that's the best result that a person could hope for- coming in not having liked the original, and leaving having been entertained by my re-write of the films text. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and my commentary, and I hope I have the opportunity to entertain you again sometime. Thanks again for all of your advice and help with learning the process of releasing a proper fanedit. I do believe it's a legitimate emerging art movement, and I'm glad to share in that experience with you all, and I look forward to seeing where we all take it!