To be perfectly honest, i liked Superman Returns when i first saw it. But when i purchased it recently I saw it as a jumbled mess that didn't know if it was a remake or a reboot. I appreciate it for what it was trying to be, bu it just missed its mark so much. Now onto the edit. I haven't been watching fan edits for very long, a couple years at the most. That being said this edit was above and beyond. Near perfection as far s editing. i had to follow along with the cut list to see what was gone. and it wasn't missed. there wre a couple minor cute that felt a bit jarring or sudden, but for the most part it was nothing short of professional. sadly no amount of editing can make me like Bosworth as Lois Lane. I am not a huge fan of the deadbeat Superdad plot but in your edit it actually works and doesn't feel tacked on. You made what was a confused movie into a proper end cap to the Donner era superman franchise. It feels focused. and like a sequel to the previous movies (at least one and two) keep up your amazing work and thank you for bringing out the hidden gem that was in this movie. Just one minor side note that i wish you would have done is reinstate Luthors theme from superman 1. not all the way as it got silly at times but there are parts of the score that sound menacing that could have been used. but that really is a nitpick.
Recently I listened to a fan discussion on Superman Returns on the Movie Moan podcast which featured a special guest Robert Meyer Burnett who worked closely on the film in a documenting capacity. In the discussion he describes Singer's original opening of the film. Essentially a tone setting fifteen minutes of footage with pretty much no dialogue. Watching Tomahawk's cut of Superman Returns I felt like I was watching the opening that Robert was describing.
In Superman Returned scenes are added, trimmed and re-ordered for a dramatic effect. Now one gets the experience of rediscovering these characters in a way that doesn't feel rushed and at the same time not sluggish in the slightest.
It's easy to understand why Singer felt the need to cut the return to Krypton sequence. He wanted to move things along. But Superman Returns was still an origin story, just a different form and it needed to be given the time to evolve and then launch into some action.
I can honestly say that I feel a casual viewer would be far less lost watching this version. But most importantly the film better resonates the message that it is trying to sell. Now when Superman stands over his son and repeats Brando's dialogue I didn't find it corny, I was actually quite moved. Similarly when Superman confronts Lex and calls the creating of new Krypton 'an old man's sick joke' it's a powerful line.
For the first twenty minutes of this cut we are entirely immersed in Clark's world as we see his struggle to fit back into society all the while knowing the horrors that he has seen. When he meets Lois again it's as Clark and not Superman. This was shear brilliance.
From here on end the movie gathers momentum as Lex's plan takes shape but not in a way in which the audience has to be spoon fed everything. Rather the movie builds towards a third act which moves faster than the theatrical cut.
With subtle trims performances are much stronger in this cut and I'm talking primarily about Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey. Bosworth is still for mine the worst Lois Lane ever. She was much to young for the role and the way she was written was very unlikeable. However in this version she is at the very least more understandable which is a pretty awesome achievement. Spacey was lauded by most but I always found his portrayal of Lex to be very cartoony. In this version we get a more evil and original Lex Luthor with much of the one liners cut.
In summary the core idea of this film now resonates with me in a way that it did not before. No longer am I bother by the subtle nods to Superman the Movie as I now feel Donner's film is being celebrated in a better movie than what we got. This is the version of Superman Returns that I'll reach for every time I spin the Superman series. Great job Tomahawk!
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 :)
Simply put - Amazing.
I love how you picked up the scrambled pieces and laid them in a neat order that makes Superman Returns a way better movie than it originally is!
Since the first time I watched Superman Returns, I've always had a warm feeling towards it. It was a movie that was, in my opinion, the best attempt to re-invent, and re-introduce Superman to today's generation with the style of charm and epicness that Richard Donner did with Superman The Movie back in the 70s. Super-hero movies today have quite lost that element of emotion and charm and often turn out to be shallow CGI driven generic action flicks, as we all know from watching Man of Steel.
Although Superman Returns never will reach the plateau set by Superman The Movie, you have brought it so much closer with your fan edit, by focusing on story, emotion, emphasizing on the key points of the film and telling the audience the story from Clark's point of view.
I love the narration and the pacing, how it started slow with Clark coming back to the world that had moved on without him, and him struggling to fit in once again, and how Clark returns to Metropolis and the action starting to build from there on. The climax of the film was a great balance between story and action and I loved every second of it. Nothing felt abrupt or awkwardly placed, everything flowed smoothly and it was done professionally. Flawless, except for one point where it felt a bit rushed when you cut from 'tell me everything' in the Fortress to Lex and his crew walking into the mansion. But that's not your fault of course so that doesn't count.
Your audio and video editing is just perfect. No awkward jumps and cuts, no disruption in audio levels, the whole thing was a seamlessly wonderful viewing experience. I love the changes you made, especially in putting the airplane sequence after we are introduced to Richard and the kid. I dunno what it is, but the whole thing feels way better this way. I think its wonderful how, Lois sees Superman first in the original version, but this cut shows Lois meeting Clark first through the rearranging of the airplane sequence. I love how you got around to doing this, because its so subtle yet it has such a major influence on the story. Its beautiful. Also that eliminates my question of how on earth Lois didnt connect how Clark shows up immediately after Superman returns to saves the plane! :P
The cuts and changes you made doesn't harm the movie at all, in fact now I understand why you referred to some scenes as 'bloated' and I didnt quite get it before I watched your edit, but now i do, and I'm grateful you altered it like it is. To be honest I would have hardly noticed what was gone if I had not referred to your changes list while watching the movie.
I really have nothing to say about your audio editing, as its just impeccable (if you can use that word). Love the altered musical cues, everything was great.
I'm running out of words to explain how brilliant this fan edit is, Tomahawk, really. I normally notice the slightest of errors, but this edit is marvelous. Very well assembled, very professional. After all of this talk, if I dont approve of your edit and recommend it to anyone I am an ass.
Very well done tomahawk, very well done indeed.