Most of the footage that was shot with Marlon Brando has been reinstated for Donner’s film. I have to say that the Brando scenes were certainly better than what Lester attempted. When Superman I was a hit, Brando wanted more money and rightfully so. Despite his big take home check; he still only got paid for one movie. Well Lester and the producers didn’t want to pay out of their pockets, so they completely dropped him from the film, and used Jor-El’s wife instead for the re-shots. One of the coolest scenes was the one where Brando comes out and touches Clark on the shoulder before disappearing forever. This was a touching scene, and I am very pleased that it is back in.
Everything about this version of Superman II works, except for one glaring portion. The new ending has major issues. Instead of kissing Lois and making her forget, Superman goes out into space and turns the Earth into reverse…again. Most things reset themselves, including the three villains being placed into The Phantom Zone. Lois sort of forgets everything, but we’re not certain. Donner claims that this ended was the intended ending during the pre-production of parts 1 and 2, but he also filmed footage that was never used for another ending too. A lot of this footage is on the DVD deleted scenes section. You can see Lex and the three villains getting arrested, plus watch carefully for the Villains in handcuffs. Donner could have ended his version of Superman 2 with Lois still remembering everything and ended on Lester’s Flag ending. What was the point of Superman destroying his Fortress if it gets reset again?
Despite the silly Reset Button ending, I still give this version of Superman 2 high marks over Lester’s film. Seeing Donner’s intended sequel was just a treat. With all the goofy junk taken out of this film, it does feel like the two movies are a complete story now.
Donner Cut Grade: A
Lester Cut Grade: B