In the words of Mr Samwise Gamgee ‘there’s an eye opener and no mistake.’ To think, I had never watched either of these movies properly, never paid Superman any respect until the tragic loss of Christopher Reeve when I decided to give these movies a try. My only real experience of the man of steel was Superman III- and the less said about that, the better. It’s a credit to the people over at Warner Bros who put this set together they didn’t pair these two great movies up with their inferior, deformed half cousins that are the two other Reeve movies (the aforementioned Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace- utter horror). What we do have is quality, epic moviemaking, distilled into around four hours of adventure. Its important to note these films were shot back to back and as such, Superman II leads on, directly and spiritually from its predecessor. Together, they feel like a complete arc- they feel so interlinked- plot threads set up in the first film are paid off in the second etc. The first film deals with the meaty back story of the last son of Krypton, featuring a brilliant cameo from Marlon Brando as Jor El- Superman’s dad! The man was paid something in the region of $3 million for around two weeks work, but he is more than value for money, if, at that price, it was possible. It’s over an hour before we see Christopher Reeve take off on his first mission in the iconic suit, but it is pure entertainment all the way. Reeve is the one and only Superman, a piece of casting so great its up there with Connery’s Bond. It helps that he is backed up by John William’s score (with THAT theme tune) and wonderful support from Margot Kidder as Lois Lane and Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, who is fun, if non menacing (he never feels like a threat). The only dark spot on the whole thing is the childish humour supplied by Ned Beatty’s Otis, who is simply not funny and takes away some of the suspension of disbelief. Thankfully, this character is lost in the sequel.

Part two takes the story further, it deepens the romance while keeping things fresh with the appearance of three Kryptonian villains (who we see briefly in the first film). This gives the second entry a sense of menace, a real threat to Superman that Luthor and co could not provide. The film ramps up the action and the emotional levels, whilst giving the Lois and Clark story a mature resolution that the awful Dean Cain TV series from the mid nineties could not provide. Overall, the Superman films are great fun, up there with the best fantasy films of all time. You will come back to these two movies again and again, once they get hold of you. Trust me, you’ll love them.

EXTRAS: Superman comes laden with extras, featuring several informative docs, trailers and screen tests, showing how the film was planned, financed and made. Its riveting stuff, and coming on a dual layer disc, it means no fumbling in the box to get disc II. There is also a chance to hear John William’s score without SFX from the movie- it’s a great soundtrack and well worth the listen. The 5.1 mix is well done for a film that originally didn’t have one. The sounds are crisp and clear and help the remastered print to breathe. The second movie comes only with a trailer and a 2.0 mix that serves it well. It looks as good as the first film, so not complaints there. Overall the package is just super, man!


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