Superman II had two directors?I didn't know this - A couple of decades ago Richard Donner was fired from the production of the movie Superman II after allegedly having completed 80% of filming. (How would this be calculated? Budget spent? Number of screenplay pages filmed?) A late night re-viewing of Superman II a few months ago made me realize how very poor was the melding of Donner's and Lester's different tastes and visions. Foooh, it's a train wreck.
I think integrating two artistic approaches works best (if at all) when both parties either have common ground to build on or a respect for their differences. Since Donner couldn't be there to find common ground it seems that Lester would have been more successful had he attempted to find greater respect for Donner's darker vision. The result was a big ball of confusion for the audience (I remember being jolted by sudden campy tones as a kid) and a missed opportunity for all involved.
On the best of days collaboration is a tightrope act. Successful collaboration usually means all parties have to work slightly outside of their comfort zone. More appropriately, the success of any collaboration where one artist has authority over another's work especially hinges on respect and trust. Looks like it came down to Lester (or management) not trusting Donner's direction, not being brave, and in the end not making a good movie.
(You may have loved it. Excellent! Vive la différence! To my eyes, it was embarrassingly bad. I suspect even for fans it should have, at the very least, had an internally consistent plot.)
Of course maybe specific scenes were improved, wait hang on a sec...whew... just thought of the "glasses-in-fire" scene and the "irreversible process" plot hole at the end and shuddered. No, I'm pretty sure they made the wrong choice. Oh well. At least the Kryptonites looked cool.