The "not-so-great-thou-art-official-Donner" thread -
Donner is God and Lester is the Devil by popular standards passed on by many websites. However Lester has done many good things for this past franchise.
First though - I will say a few words on Richard Donner. As a person - I have not much of any idea of what kind of person he is. Professionally, he done a lot of successful projects - and I suggest that you go on the imdb - you'll be amazed.
However, on Superman... I loved his Clark Kent being a nerd and he is now considered campy by 2012 standards. However, no camp - no characters. Look How Lex was in SR. You end up with homogeneity like just about all the characters on Star Trek tng. So, camp is good, camp will always be there. No camp characters today, will be campy characters in 10 or 20 years by the future standards. But, where is Superman's heat vision in the first movie? SR has been criticized because of the lack of presence of Superman but, in STM - Superman is only there in the third act of the movie.
What really kills me though is that Superman can change the present/future. This is a VERY GREAT power that even in comics he didn't have. And then, comes the moral problem that if he saved Lois by reversing time - why shouldn't he do it for everyone else? Because this means he can favor who he chooses and this power to change time makes more of a God than ever before. (I am aware that originally STM was supposed to end on a cliffhanger - but what was supposed to be and what is, are, different things).
Then Lester is put down for so many things - things like humor and the masses liked the humor. STM is so epic that you can't watch that movie 57 times - you'll vomit from it's "heaviness". As where Superman II flies bye (excuse the pun) faster. The tension is also very good. Popularly known as the "amnesia kiss" - the amnesia kiss brought a beautiful ending to this movie (which actually seems to be the same ending as "Roman Holiday" with Hepburn (if you are a true fan of Superman II - you must see Roman Holiday). The amnesia kiss is not an amnesia kiss. Superman had from very early on the power to hypnotize. Here's my version of what happened: he neared Lois, distracted her with the kiss but his eyes did the trick.
This will be blasphemy to hardcore fans but Donner would've needed 10% of..."Lester's vision" (of a lack of better expression) so that for example Krypton had stayed "alien" but might've been a little more accessible. What do Kryptonian do for fun, for lunch, games? If Zod was a general - what kind of general - what kind of army, what kind of weapons. What are exactly his crimes (it's very unclear when they are judged - I know insidious, ect...). They are condemned to a terrible fate - is Krypton without other means to rehabilitate it's criminals. How did Donner plan this - because the explosion in space is exactly where they happen to be and there are only 3 people in all in the phantom zone????
Donner did a wonderful job of creating this universe (but I'll give 25% of the success to Williams' themes too - and artistically A LOT to Chris Reeve). So, Donner - wonderfull = yes. God? No way.