October 03, 2013
I'll say it; Superman Returns is my favourite Superhero film ever made. Yes, its slow and much more cerebral than the norm would be for superhero fare but theres something about it that I'm just drawn to. That being said, I know it's not perfect, and no amount of editing is going to fix all the problems that are in the script itself.
That being said...
This edit is a fantastic alternative take on Returns. You've made a lot of wise choices; here's some notes I jotted down when I was watching, good and bad.
I found the flurry of newspapers retelling Supermans disappearance a little strange. Aside from being visually out of tone, it's a little jarring since we go from Krypton, to a fast zoom into Earth seeing news headlines and nothing else, just to return to a now destroyed Krypton. And considering you've added the scene of Clark finding the newspapers in the barn later, it feels a little strange why you'd add it at all.
The sound editing you did in the Krypton sequence was fantastic. I loved it, though the heartbeat I found was a little overdone and audibly too loud. But I really liked how you returned to the heartbeat once again as Superman lifts New Krypton into space. Nice touch.
Removing Clark from the window was surprisingly harmless. I know alot of people hate that scene and found it stalker-ish, but I thought it really played to the Gatsby nature of Superman in this film. But you've removed him from the scene and thought it played rather nicely. And because of this, you're not scratching your head when Superman decides to fly Lois right by Richards house as they're holding hands since its never revealed he knows thats where they live in the first place.
Removing Lex's swindling the old woman out of her money was an obvious "Thank GOD!" kind of cut. In fact, most of your editing around Lex has improved his menacing nature yet while at the same time keeping him more in tone with his Donner counterpart. His "reveal" shot in the mirror even serves as a better reveal than coming out of an dead woman's room and taking off his wig. Imagine that.
It's a completely superfluous scene, and I completely understand why you cut it, but I really missed seeing when Superman drops off Katherine at the Hospital. Brandon's performance is at his best there, and gives a little extra depth to Parker Posey's character.
I didn't really like how you trimmed the Lois and Clark rooftop scene. This was the one scene I felt played beautifully and didn't need any cutting. Removing "The world doesn't need a saviour, and neither do I" kind of lessens the impact of when Superman throws the words back in her face a few minutes later. And removing the "So will I see you around?/I'm always around" beat kind of makes Superman look like a bit of a dick. He goes in for a kiss, gets rejected, takes a step back and goes "Goodnight, Lois!" and flies off. When it's Lois giving him the out, as in the original, it shows more care for maintaining their friendship.
I loved how you cut from Lois lighting a cigarette outside to her being wide eyed looking up at Superman; just played a lot better and added a nice surprising beat.
I was actually surprised that you left in the scene of Superman returning to his fortress to find that he's been robbed. That scene, even in the original, felt completely pointless. He looks pissed, flies away, and then...? Nothing. He doesn't go looking for it or anything. Just a little strange. If the scene were placed earlier in the film it might make a bit more sense, as he's trying to reach out to familiar things now that he's back, but when its after he's done so much it just seems strange and unnecessary.
Anyways, overall, this edit was exactly what I was hoping it would be. The longer, almost dialogue-free first 20 minutes gives a lot more weight to Superman's isolation and personal issues about returning. And when Superman arrives at New Krypton at the end of the film, we now have visual connecting tissue from the beginning of the movie. The movie works a lot better this way. Congratulations, sir. You've made my favourite superhero movie even better :)