One of my all time favorites.
Highly Overrated But Still Good
everything you have heard about this movie is true.
The film never slows down or bores, plunging from one harrowing sequence to the next.
I'm convinced there's never been a more perfect superhero casting than Reeve as Superman. This sequel picks up tonally & narratively right where the first left off, only better capturing the childlike silliness yet warranted sincerity of the Superman mythos. Yes, the relationship arc between Clark & Lois is rushed, & the final fight is almost comically leisurely paced. But Niagara Falls is great, the moon is impressive, and the politics are wonderful.
Due to the complex and troubled production behind Superman II it seems more likely for it to have been a disaster of a film, yet despite of this I consider Superman II to be the perfect Superman film. While I enjoy the first film, I find Superman II improves on it in so many ways, delivering a more emotionally satisfying film. A rare instance of the perfect combination of cast and crew coming together to create something wonderful. I do feel on the whole Richard Lester is a better director than Richard Donner and after seeing Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut I thought to myself "thank God Donner was fired from this production". The romance between Lois and Clark is very forced and underdeveloped; there is a lack of humor, and no exaggeration, one of the absolute worst endings I've ever seen. I'll stick with the Richard Lester version.The actors of all the Christopher Reeve era Superman films have such a great dynamic together that even in a movie as poor as Superman IV I can still enjoy their interactions. Especially the scenes in the Daily Planet offices are have such energy to them and even containing a bit of that His Girl Friday feeling to them with Christopher Reeve having a bit of that Cary Grant to his acting DNA; plus you know an actor is perfect for a role when I find myself accidentally referring to the actor as Clark Kent and not Christopher Reeve. But if there's anyone who steals the show its Terrance Stamp as General Zod. One of those performances which bring me eternal levels of respect to an actor. Every one of his beautiful, hammed up, menacing lines I could listen to all day. The wonderfully kitsch special effects of Superman II just get better with age; give me these charmingly fake effects over eye sore CGI any day (ok I'll try and avoid a CGI rant). Likewise the 3rd Rock From the Sun type humor such as Zod and his minions mistaking Earth's name as planet Houston to the visual comedy (Zod walking on water) has some big laughs (as well as that humorous use of product placement during a fight scene for Marlboro Cigarettes and then Coca Cola only a few seconds later amuses me).Many people will say Superman is a boring superhero, what tosh! A guy who makes the world a better place for others who can't enjoy his own life and has to work with the woman he's madly in love with, but can't profess it to her. If that's that tragic then I don't know what is. Speaking of romance, that is perhaps my favourite aspect of Superman II; the romance between Lois and Clark is perfect. I so badly wanted to see these two get together, two down to earth souls who are too perfect for each other. Margot Kidder's voice is so emotive and she has that Margaret Sullavan like quality to her. At the film's most intense romantic moments her tearful pleas kill me.
Superman 2 (1980): Dir: Richard Lester / Cast: Christopher Reeves, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, Terrence Stamp, Sarah Douglas: Every bit as exciting as the first film. Clark Kent faces even greater challenges with his relationship with reporter Lois Lane and his battle against the scheming Lex Luthor and three super villains. However Kent may not be able to stop them thus leaving him torn between his love for Lane and his being a super hero. Directed by Richard Lester who previously helmed the Beatles masterpiece A Hard Day's Night. Christopher Reeves returns as Superman who questions his destiny. Margot Kidder plays the ever testing Lane who knows that something isn't quite right with Clark. Gene Hackman is superb as Luthor who breaks out of prison and recruits three super villains in belief that Superman has met his match. Terrence Stamp is compelling as the leader of the three super villains who are encased in glass sheet prisons hurled aimlessly through space but upon their escape they wreck havoc upon the earth. They embark upon a grueling battle with Superman in the city streets until Superman realizes that their downfall will not be through brawn. Sarah Douglas plays the sly and feisty female super villain. Electrifying special effects highlight as Clark must decide what is more important, being in love or being the man of steel. Score: 9 / 10
At some point with certain kinds of movies, you just have to ignore whatever preconceived notions you have about the subject matter, sit back, and enjoy what unfolds before you on screen. I wouldn't call myself a Superman fan, per se, but midway through this film I decided to stop resisting and let it be. I wouldn't exactly call SUPERMAN II superb filmmaking, but as a blockbuster sequel it's certainly up there in terms of quality. It also makes a knowing turn toward the silly, which was present in the first one, but here is utilized even more. Yes, there are plot elements that make no sense, but what's important is that I had some fun.The film begins by doing a recap of its predecessor, in case you forgot the events that occurred beforehand and then launches straight into the main story. When Superman saves a bunch of tourists (and Lois Lane) in Paris from terrorists wielding a hydrogen bomb, he leaves Earth's atmosphere and releases it into space. The force of the explosion shatters the Phantom Zone prison where Zod, Ursa and Non are kept and they make their way to Earth in order to rule it. There's also the risible subplot about Superman giving up his powers in order to be with Lois Lane, but thankfully that doesn't take up as much screen time as you'd think. Lex Luthor also shows up for a few scenes, but isn't really given that much to do.First, the good. At first, I was taken aback at just how silly the film was. However, it grew on me. Zod and his minions were easily the best part of the whole film. Campy? Yes. But what exactly did you expect from an alien whose only motive is subjugation, and who is completely out of touch with Earth culture? I think I liked Michael Shannon's take on the character better, but Terence Stamp was great too, in a different way. Other elements I liked were the improved special effects, although a climactic fight scene between Zod and Superman in the air kind of showed the limitations of what was achievable in the early 80's. Still, the production values were excellent. And the sweeping vistas during the flying sequences were something to behold. Acting was generally good across the board, although no one was "awards-worthy." Christopher Reeve was undoubtedly the best among the cast, and I like how played up the differences between Clark Kent and Superman. And of course, the score was phenomenal. Apparently, John Williams wasn't the composer this time around, but they used a lot of his material from the first film.All of my complaints are largely to do with incredulous or ludicrous plot elements. First: Superman gives up his powers to be with Lois Lane? Come on. He's supposed to be devoted to "truth, justice, and the American way" (however corny that is), and he lets a woman come in between him and the mission handed down to him from his father? Sure, whatever. Directly tying into that scene, how does he get back to Metropolis after giving up his power of flight? In the scene where he goes back to his Fortress of Solitude to reverse his previous decision it's implied that he walk. But seriously? Not only does he walk from the North Pole to Metropolis, but does it twice? That part really took me out of the story. And then there's the part towards the end where he uses the Superman symbol on his chest to incapacitate Non. Even in a movie that's knowingly campy, that was a little much.However, despite the campiness there was a sense that the filmmakers were aware of this fact, which made the film more palatable to me. The source material isn't the greatest stuff in the world and yet they managed to make an entertaining blockbuster sequel that builds on what they created in the first one. Yes, there are some absolutely gut-busting funny moments, and not necessarily in a good way, but there was a pervasive sense of fun that allowed me to overlook a lot of what didn't work. If pressed to choose, I still think I enjoyed SUPERMAN a little more, but SUPERMAN II is no slouch either.