Apart from visual errors, which I will get into later, the structured narrative felt all over the place too much to feel consistent. To me personally there was no real thread throughout that combined all of the events. As njvc was raving about the structure, that should make it clear it's only a personal opinion and in no way in detriment to the editor.
It was a great idea to move the plane scene away from Luthor's experiment. On one hand you can understand the intention that the bigger equivalent of a 'small' pyramid causing a blackout would be an entire continent being pushed aside by the growing land mass. On the other hand it's perfectly understandable that the editor would like to scale down the effects of the pyramid crashing out of the floor of the house.
That scene immediately uncovers a few errors in judgement for me. Once Luthor and his goons enter the house, Kitty comments on not wanting to go back there, but they've never been there so far we know. What would their shared history with this house be then? Might have been left out that part.
The scene where Clark goes from talking to Jimmy to talking to Lois was very jarring as well. Not only does he lose his overcoat between shots, but Lois seems to appear out of nowhere. Not at any point was he looking away from where Lois was supposed to be standing, so how did she get there?
While those faults were small, I couldn't really get my head around why everyone was still talking about Superman? He arrived on Earth, but no one knew but us. It came across as if after all of those years, people were still bringing up those sore points about Lois having written an article, Richard being jealous, etcetera, etcetera. You would think that after a few months people would just let it go because they knew he wouldn't be coming back very soon.
The restructured narrative doesn't really work for me in the traditional sense; i.e. every traditional set up has a three-act-narrative. Act 1: introduce the major players and introduce the threat. Act 2: Show the impact of the change/threat and how the major players try to deal with this. Act 3: resolution of the change introduced in Act 1.
There's no action sequence to set off things in Act 1, which is also usually the case. While the Return to Krypton scene was there, and was handled well by filling it up with Superman Returns cues (didn't work very well all of the time but expertly handled nonetheless), there was no action until 20 minutes into the movie (the bank robbery). This was also a problem in the theatrical edit, that wasn't really resolved here.
Some other things felt jarring, which I'll list here:
-Back to the first act, the EMP is made out to be catastrophic by Lois although the actual shortage was only a few seconds, as evidenced by the short amount of time for the televisions in the bar to come back on.
-I agree with njvc’s review that the Deep Impact footage doesn’t gel well with Superman Returns. Not only is his roto into the meteor handled rather ‘ugly’ (for lack of a better word > was it necessary to edit the close up as well? I think that could have been avoided, but there’s also a single frame in there of Deep Impact that was overlooked.
It also doesn’t fit with Superman merely falling down. If that footage was used in Superman IV to show Nuclear Man being knocked out of the sky, I could understand the explosion. But not here. Not with Superman unconscious, perhaps it could work if he ‘meant’ to do that, but why would he? :)
All of this sounds very negative, but like I said, I mostly go over stuff I didn't like and let the ratings speak for themselves for the things I DID like.
While Act 1 felt lacking in terms of action, Act 3 more than made up for it by having two major action pieces intertwine with one another. The plane sequence truly felt to be the result of Luthor's grand scale crystal experiments, while the rest of the city in peril was still as strong as it was theatrically. I will say that I missed the boat sequence where it cuts in half and Superman rescues it.
That also makes for an awkward moment when you see the landmass rising towards a boat, only to see the boat's gone in the next shot. And where did Lois come from all of a sudden? And Richard?
To me personally the narrative is off. I don't mean to bring Avid 4D down a peg because I like all of his other edits, but this could have been handled better. I will be brutally honest and say that I hope that this review won't affect his review of my own Superman Returns edit should he ever watch it. It's a personal opinion at best and one that should never be allowed to faze him. I did enjoy his other edits (reviews on those to come later!).
My annotated ratings:
AUDIO/VIDEO 9/10: Great quality, not much to say about that. Could have been graded (better).
VIDEO 8/10: Some jarring cuts here and there and the Deep Impact footage wasn't handled well.
AUDIO 8/10: Some jarring audio jumps but nothing too major. Follows the video editing well. Great use of new music cues.
NARRATIVE 7/10: Great idea to restructure and take Jason out of the picture, but didn't work well as a new narrative. Still great work on Jason so extra kudos for that.
ENJOYMENT 5/10: The twitchy narrative doesn't allow me to get into it, sadly.
Seriously? Okay fine...
- Kitty not wanting to return to the house? Lex and Kitty were already partners in crime from the beginning of the movie so why would it be strange for them to have history before the events of this movie? You're holding on to the original too much!
- Clark talking to Jimmy and Lois. That whole scene is actually from two separate parts of the original, but Clark is wearing the same suit (less the coat in one part) and in this version the hustle & bustle of the Daily Planet could easily explain why Lois appeared amongst the dozens of people walking around. Not perfect, but not a strange concept really!
- Why were people still talking about Superman? Hey that's in the original movie so don't shoot the messenger! And also Lois is hurt by Superman in the 2nd movie of my trilogy so this sub plot ties in nicely to my movie arch.
- No action for first 20 mins? You don't think Superman discovering his home world and then nearly being trapped in a "space ocean" of kryptonite and speeding off to escape was exciting? Oh well I did!
- The first EMP was only for a few seconds. Yes that's true, but if you understood that power is deliver in 3 phases and it takes something monumental for all 3 phases to drop out simultaneously, not to mention multiple 3 phase circuits across a whole city, then that makes it a very significant event indeed, even if it was just for a few seconds.
- Deep Impact footage doesn't fit. Well I may partially agree with you. While it is not perfect, I intended to remove the b#llshit hospital scenes so for that reason I had to change Superman falling in Metropolis to somewhere outside the city. As fan editors the Own The Source rule must apply, and I have Deep Impact in my collection which provided me the best alternative given my options.
- The appearance of Lois and Richard. Well Superman just saved her ass in this version and then goes off saving the city for a while before taking off to the island and interacting with Lex and crew. More than enough time for Lois to find Richard, learn about the island which was showing up on radar and being surrounded by storm clouds, and then start flying there with him. It was already established Richard has a pilot's license and he was just hanging around The Daily Planet when the EMP hit.
Glad you like other aspects of this version though, but I think you need to let go of the original theatrical release or perhaps try to forget what changes you have decided to make in your own edit and watch it with fresh eyes. It's not a perfect movie, and while my version is not perfect either it is the fondness you and I obviously share for the character that makes us want to enjoy this film more than we originally did. I haven't seen your edit - is the kid still in it? If so then I most likely won't watch it because I just can't stand the plot of Superman having a son, even if it was in the comics, and there really is no version of Superman having a son that I could possibly enjoy! This is not a criticism on you, because I know you did not add Jason to the story, so for that reason I choose not to watch and give you an unfair review.
The restructured narrative is kind of genius in the way that it stitches across unrelated scenes and creates a new flow that feels organic, despite elements being used from very different parts of the film. Of particular note is the use of the plane rescue to kick off the action-packed third act, and the way that ties into Lex's creation of New Krypton. Fantastic work!
The deleted material is not missed for the most part. Getting rid of Jason works a treat (except his ghost remains, playing "heart and soul" on the piano in the background of an early scene. As it stands, the scene's music is quite odd, but not a deal breaker in any way). I also didn't miss those awkward hospital scenes, or the overlong water-based scenes in the original third act. I slightly missed the scenes of Clark reuniting with his mother on the farm and some of the flashbacks to young Clark, but only slightly. Their deletion makes total sense within the structure of this edit.
There are only a couple of visual edits that felt slightly jarring/rushed (eg, after Lois hands Perry the article on Superman, there is an abrupt cut to Lex in the boat, and next thing Lois is on the Plane with no explanation of how or why), but there were only a couple of such examples and they were forgiveable given the material there was to work with. Overall, the narrative flow makes total sense, and gives the material a much needed boost in energy and fun.
The included footage from "Contact" worked very well, but I wasn't quite as sure about the inclusion of the meteor crash from "Deep Impact". The aftershock from the impact clearly sends a tsunami around half the globe, but there is no follow up after that dramatic shot. I understand the need to have superman land outside the city, but to not address the fact that his fall probably decimated half the planet was somewhat problematic.
Other than those small issues, this was a really brilliant edit and may just be my go to version of the film for any future viewings. Congrats Avid, and thank you for making it.
There's still plenty of things about this movie that bother me. I think it's really strange that Brandon Routh has to wear unnaturally blue color contacts while Lois's character is left with different colored eyes. It seemed truly lazy to make one actor wear contacts and not the other but this doesn't really have anything to do with this edit.
Overall the pacing was really quite good. The removal of the hour plus of depressing bullshit I thought really strengthened the story. I agree with judgementalpigeon that Lois and Clark's scenes were a bit lacking, but this is likely due to the fact that the kid was particularly invasive in most of their scenes and with his removal you realize that the relationship between Lois and Clark was being played out through their interactions with the kid rather than directly to one another. With the removal of the conduit we see just how much their relationship has been hollowed by Superman's departure.
I'm particularly happy with the way the action was placed in the movie. The two major true Superman stunts, the plane crash rescue, and the lifting of the island, were placed strategically to maintain the buildup and tension throughout the movie. Throughout the Superman movies before Man of Steel there have been practically just hints of what Superman is truly capable of, and by condensing these bits of action Avid4D has created a narrative that leads nicely into Man of Steel and a new type of Superman that is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done rather than one who is so weighed down by morality that he is often unable to act.
Overall I really enjoyed these first three edits, but Avid4D's true masterpiece is his edit of Man of Steel!
the flm is blisteringly quick, and film rarely lets up with its acton and plot progression, making the film immensely easy to watch. his edits are professional and unnoticable fo rthe most part.
however, i am not such a fan of some of the edits, such as the speedy ending between lois and clark which doesnt really provide the finally we were looking for, as well as removing the tension from the "superman dead" plot thread.
i also didnt feel the old shot of superman's ship returning from krypton, or his falling into the ocean was a necessary change, and that the clips from the movie worked fine.
however, this is a vastly superior film to the original and i recomend it to anyone who dislikes the feel of the original movie, which most fanedits choose to keep.