In 1978 the world was a much different place for comic book fans. Today’s superhero connoisseurs have it made — every summer brings a new parade of big budget, Hollywood produced comic book adaptations. Actors are not only taking home big paychecks for their time strapping on tights and capes, they’re earning critical accolades. In 1978, though, comic books were seen as primarily a child’s pastime — not the tent pole in a studio’s release schedule.
Then came SUPERMAN, the Richard Donner directed adaptation of the Superman mythos. As the Man of Steel, Christopher Reeve personified everything that was great and triumphant about the character. From the country boy smile to the steely determination of spirit in the face of evil, Reeve’s Superman defined the character for a generation. It also paved the way for almost every comic book adaptation that has come since.
Between SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN II, the rules were set for the next thirty years of superhero films. Clichés and standards – both good and bad — have their origins in Richard Donner’s classic film. SUPERMAN is the Rosetta’s Stone for nearly every superhero film to have been released since.
With this in mind, we’re proud to be presenting a special double feature of SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN II: THE RICHARD DONNER CUT.
SUPERMAN explores the origin of the character — offering a mosaic of scenes, iconography and traits that define the hero. SUPERMAN works best when seen as an overview of what makes the character so iconic. As a story, the film is a bit haphazard in its pacing by today’s standards but when seen as a portrait of the character’s myth it’s near perfect.
For SUPERMAN II, we've decided to screen the recently released Richard Donner cut of the film. Donner was legendarily removed from the job of directing SUPERMAN II after he had shot nearly an entire film. Most of his footage was scrapped and reshot — leaving fans with an incomplete picture of what Donner had meant to create when he began shooting both SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN II back to back.
In 2006, though, a team of editors oversaw the recreation (as best possible) of Donner’s vision. Scenes were restored and test footage fished out of the vault to piece together something closely resembling what Donner had envisioned. SUPERMAN II: THE RICHARD DONNER CUT is not the ultimate version of SUPERMAN II but it is a wonderful peek into alternate film history — a glimpse at what could have been and, better yet, it’s a much more satisfying emotional bookend to the story began with SUPERMAN.
With November’s edition of our Dynamic Duos film series, we’re also introducing a brand new event — the Dynamic Debates. Each month we’ll pose a question and solicit responses. In less than 300 words, we’ll ask you to answer the question and sell us on your point of view. We’ll pick the best two answers to the question and invite you to attend that month’s event with a pair of complimentary tickets to the screening. Even better, your food and drinks for the night will be on us.
Between the two films, you’ll be asked to come up on stage and present your case — debating with your counterpart on the validity of your answer. The person who is best able to defend their point in the Dynamic Debates will go home with an amazing prize package from series sponsors Ain’t It Cool News, 8th Dimension Comics & Games and the Alamo Drafthouse.
This month’s question: Who’s the more relevant superhero: Batman or Superman?
Send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org — just be prepared, if you are chosen, to be able to defend your case in front of the audience the night of the event.
In the meantime, can you read my mind? Because if you can, you’ll know just how excited I am for this month’s super-awesome Dynamic Duos screening SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN II: THE RICHARD DONNER CUT. You’ll have so much fun, you’ll want to fly around the Earth backwards at the speed of light so you can turn back time and relive the screening all over again.