“ Genre: Action & Adventure / Theatrical Release: 1981 / Director: Richard Lester / Actors: Christopher Reeve, Jack O'Halloran ... / DVD released 22 January, 2002 at Warner Home Video / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, PAL, Widescreen „
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Back in 1978, Superman: The Movie wowed audiences, making a sequel almost inevitable. In the way of sequels everywhere, 1980s Superman II promised a film and effects that were bigger and better; the big question on the lips of cinemagoers everywhere was: can Superman II deliver.
For the most part, the answer is "yes". Shorn of the need to set up characters and back story, Superman II is able to get going at a much faster pace than the original. It also shows a pleasing degree of continuity, picking up elements of the Superman saga which were hinted at in the original, but never developed as full themes in their own right. This helps to give Superman II a slightly more epic feel, as though it is part of an on-going sage, rather than an isolated event.
This time around, Superman faces a triple threat. Accidentally freed from their prison in the Phantom Zone, Kryptonian Arch-villains General Zod, Ursa and Non head towards Earth, where they find they enjoy the same powers as Superman. And all this at a time when Superman/Clark Kent is facing a very personal crisis...
The set-up for Superman II is very sure-footed and builds on the solid foundations already established by the earlier film. Yet whilst it's better to have watched that before seeing this, it's not essential, as the key plot elements are carefully recapped during the opening credits of the sequel. Superman II could be watched as a standalone film, although inevitably, some of the finer points of the plot and references back to the earlier film would be missed.
The plot (hero faces personal crisis just as his greatest enemy surfaces) may appear a little hackneyed these days but it's important to remember that where superhero films are concerned, Superman created the template which is still followed today. It might seem old hat now, but in 1980 it was fresh and exciting - the idea that Superman could be vulnerable was a shock to your average cinema goer. Mix this with some great set-pieces and it's clear that Superman II is a winner.
All the action and plot is carefully counter-balanced by some amusing moments. Never stupid enough to turn the film into a spoof or ridicule the characters, they are well-judged and will make you laugh. Some aspects are (deliberately) slightly cheesy, and they work very well when set against the more serious tone of the rest of the film.
Characters, too, work even better this time around. It's clear that the cast have grown into their roles and are more comfortable with their respective roles, returning to them like a duck goes back to the wet stuff.
Once again, Christopher Reeve is superb as Clark Kent/Superman, a man finding his dual identity increasingly complicated. The nuances which Reeve brings to the role are genuinely impressive. As Clark Kent, his bumbling, clumsy nature makes him both endearing and frustrating. His high-pitched voice is never aggravating, but he does make you wish that he would get some backbone. Then, in the blink of an eye, he becomes Superman, seeming to grow visibly in size, whilst his voice changes, becoming commanding and forceful. Reeve nails both sides of his role perfectly and his ability to switch instantly from one to the other in the blink of an eye remains an impressive acting feat.
Margot Kidder as Superman Groupie (and reporter) Lois Lane is also on good form. Her love interest story with Superman/Kent is well-handled, bringing enough romance to make it convincing, without becoming overly sickly and slowing the plot down too much. It is a shame that the sequel reduces Lane to little more to the damsel in distress role, always waiting for Supes to come and get her out of her latest scrape. In the comics and the first film, she had a feisty edge to her, and this becomes a little more subdued in the sequel (although it resurfaces in a very satisfying manner towards the end).
Amongst the bad guys, it's Terence Stamp who excels as evil leader, General Zod, a man determined to bring down Superman once he discovers he is the son of his Kryptonian jailer, Jor-El. Stamp's commanding delivery of his lines and his cold, lizard-like stare is genuinely chilling and Zod makes a worthy adversary for the Last Son of Krypton. The three-on-one scrap that takes place in the middle of the film is a great set-piece and it's a shame that it's the only time we really see these four giants of Krypton go head to head. The final climax, by contrast, is slightly disappointing, settling for brains over brawn which is not quite as exciting as a mass brawl between 4 super-powered beings. It might teach an important lesson about the merits of thinking over fighting, but it doesn't make for as satisfying conclusion.
It's a shame that Gene Hackman's Lex Luthor, is somewhat sideline, relegated to fourth ranking in the villain stakes. Worse, at times he is reduced to the role of providing some comic relief - something which is ill-suited to his character.
As with the original, if you want to criticise Superman II, you need to look to the special effects. Inevitably, they have dated and look somewhat laughable in this age of photo-realistic, computer generated special effects. In many ways, they actually look worse than the 1978 film, mainly because it is a much more effects-heavy film, so the shortcomings are more obvious. Still, it a little slack. Nothing (not even this cute little monkey-reviewer) looks as good as it did 30 years ago, and the strong plot, cast and set-pieces more than make up for any deficiencies in the effects department.
Sequels don't always improve on their predecessors, but Superman II bucks that trend. A strong cast, well paced story shorn of the need to establish basic plot and some great set-pieces make it a film that deserves repeated viewing... and that's without even mentioning the stirring score based on John Williams' original theme. Which I bet you're humming to yourself even as you read this...
Director: Richard Lester
Running time: approx. 123 minutes
© Copyright SWSt 2011
Superman II is the second film in the franchise starring the late Christopher Reeves as The Man Of Steel, and is arguably the finest of all the series! Starting with a recap of the first movie over the opening credits for anyone who has forgotten what went on before, the film then continues with an introduction to three evil sorts on Krypton who are sentenced to imprisonment in something called The Phantom Zone several years before Krypton's destruction.
Sent out into the deepest reaches of the universe, these three prisoners float trapped, with no hope of release, until Superman throws a hydrogen bomb being used by French terrorists into space where it explodes seemingly harmlessly. Unfortunately this explosion sets free the Kryptonian convicts who then make their way to Earth whereby they discover that they have become Uber-Supervillans due to the effects of our sun on their Kryptonian physiology. What is already a bad situation then becomes worse when they fall into league with Superman's Earthly nemesis, Lex Luthor; still smarting after his defeat in the first film!
Superman meanwhile has his own concerns. Lois Lane is close to discovering that Clark Kent, bumbling reporter, and Superman, Man Of Steel, are one and the same and when she confesses how she feels then he finds himself reassessing his very existance. In a declaration of love, he retreats to his North Pole sanctuary and makes the descision to give up his powers.....just as the three Kryptonian bad guys, lead by Terrence Stamp in a hackneyed role as General Zod, begin to lay waste to the planet they now plan to control!
With its now rather dated special effects, that unfortunately have been made to look even older in comparison to Brian Singer's newer reimagined version of Superman, there is much about this film that has aged. That is not to say this is not enjoyable however and, evenjust from a nostalgia point of view, is still defenitely worth a watch. Reeves is at his best here and there are some really classic scenes!
This is easily my favourite of the four original Superman films, and I am not alone in this I am sure, and is certainly the strongest of all the sequels that followed!
Well I've just reviewed the original Superman so it seemed only right to follow it up with a review of Superman 2! This film followed on from the first and came out two years later in 1980. The film was directed by Richard Lester and again stars the excellent Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman. The film won an award and got a few other nominations. The film was a big hit at the time largely due to the success of the original and has been popular ever since.
So the film picks up the story from where we left it in the first film. Clarke Kent is a reporter for a newspaper in the big city, but he is hiding a secret. He has a double life and is also a superhero or more to the point, he is Superman. Clarke has fallen in love though with a woman named Lois Lane he agrees to sacrifice his powers and become a normal human so he can marry Lois. However he discovers that three evil beings from his home planet are taking over the earth and causing chaos wherever they go. Now Superman must regain his powers and save the world!
This film is not quite as good as the original for me. Some of the effects do look a little dated and some of the action is not quite as gripping. Having said that its still an excellent film, you get to see the human side of Superman and how is he deals with life on earth.
You get involved with the characters in this film and really start to live the story. There is a real classic struggle between good and evil in this film that comes across very well. Yet again Christopher Reeve is excellent and Gene Hackman backs him up by playing an excellent part.
The film runs for 127 minutes. Again this is quite along time but there is so much going on in the film that it really flies by. At no point was I bored in the film and it does not drag in any way.
The film is rated PG. Being such an old film it really is quite tame. There is no real bad language in this film and the violence is really mild, so another film you can watch with the family and let the kids enjoy.
The DVD itself is nothing to special, it has all the features you would expect but nothing really to get to excited about. You should buy this DVD for the film itself and not for the extras.
Overall this is an excellent film, there is loads to enjoy and whilst its not quite as good as the original it is still well worth a watch. Many sequels do not live up to the original but this one comes close. If you have never seen this film I suggest you give it a try. Am sure you will enjoy it.
With all the doom and gloom of the recession it's great to watch an escapism film and this definately fits the bill.
Christopher Reeve returns for the second of his four Superman films. I love his portrayal of Superman/ Clarke Kent. His superman can be forceful when needed but also shows a humourous side. For example when he rescues Louis from the Effiel Tower lift he comments " I believe this is your floor". His Clarke Kent is so adorable because he portrays him as very innocent and the sort of person you just want to take under your wing, which Louis does.
Gene Hackman returns as Lex Luther. He teams up with three criminals from Superman's home planet led by Tererence Stamp. When Superman allows a bomb to explode in space it smashes the glass the criminals have been imprisoned in and they head to the nearest planet which of course happens to be earth. They soon find out that their powers are increased when they reach earth and so want to rule. Superman however is distracted when Louis find out his true identity and so he reveals his feelings for her. This leaves him making a choice that has serious consequences which I won't reveal as it will spoil the film for you.
This is a brilliant sequel and is acted by everyone concerned extremely well. Although this film was made in the 1980's its still well worth watching as we all need Superman from time to time.
Superman, released in 1978 and directed by Richard Donner, was an immensely successful film and the very first major adaptation of a comic book character onto celluloid. It also still stands as one of the best, alongside X2, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The sequel, returns director Donner (for a brief stint before being replaced due to studio interference) and illustrious star Christopher Reeve back together, as Superman must save the world from a rowdy gang of Kryptonians, led by Zod (Terrence Stamp).
The basic premise is that Clark Kent, whose alter ego is Superman, has fallen in love with a co-worker at the Daily Planet, Lois Lane (Margot Kidder). Kryptonian precedent states that if he wants to marry a human, he has to relinquish his powers. However, just as he does so, a crystal containing three evil Kryptonians, including Zod, is released, causing Clark to have to beg for his powers back and struggle with not having them.
Reeves returns again with the incredibly charm and pitch-perfect casting as Superman - he's so clean-cut and good-looking that there's no question that he is the definitive Superman (despite how good Brandon Routh was). Margot Kidder is again well humoured and quick-witted as the feisty femme Lane, Terrence Stamp makes an early menacing turn as villain Zod, and Gene Hackman also returns again as supervillain Lex Luthor.
Although it's not quite as good as the first film, this is still a solid sequel that has a lot going for it, but the problems that plagued its production, including Richard Donner being replaced by Richard Lester halfway through also shows through. I recommend the Richard Donner cut that he released a few years back, which rectifies some of the film's problems and also includes a bunch more scenes that the studio made Lester cut. It's the definitive version and proof that not all "Director's Cuts" are shameless cash-ins.
As sequels to great movies go, Superman II has to be up there with the best of them. Without delving into the plot too much as I don't want to spoil it for those of you who are yet to see it, I can reveal that 2 hours plus of action, emotion, love and hate that ensues in this movie are well worth a watch.
Christopher Reeve returns as the man of steel to take on 3 stray villains from Krypton who make it there mission to rule the world. Naturally this involves taking out Superman and much of the story revolves around that battle. There are, however, some great moments featuring Clark and Louis and Superman and Louis. Yes we know that is the same thing, but she didn't and the acting in these sections create real drama and leave the nerves tingling. Clark's personal battles with his feelings show the viewer a more softer side and leave you wanting more.
The special effects are still way ahead of their time and are only used when necessary. This is good as the scriptwriters have gone for acting more than effects in this one.
I highly recommend you take a look.
Released in 1980, Superman 2 is (quite obviously) the sequel to the 1978 CLASSIC Superman. From the beginning Superman 2 was shrouded with contoversy due to the fact that there were 2 different directors that worked on the film. The directors in question were Richard Lester and Richard Donner. Donner had included an ending which included a U.S. polar patrol coming and getting Lex Luthor and three kryptonians, without this, this viewer is led to believe that Superman has let them die, which is strictly against his code.
The film begins by bringing you up to date with what has happened so far in like a high speed montage of footage, which, eventually leads to, in my opinion, the best Superman film ever made.
One of the main focal points of the movie is the innevitability of Lois discovering that Clark is Superman. This changes her whole view on the man, we all know, she secretly loves.
The cast of Superman 2 consists of some of the greatest actors to ever grace the big screen, some of which include the late and very great Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder (Lois Lane), Gene Hackman (Lex Luthor), Terence Stamp (General Zod). There were also a couple of cameo appearances by some of our favourite Cheers characters John Ratzenberger and Rhea Perlman.
If anybody agrees with me on saying that Superman is the all time best superhero ever then i would highly reccomend viewing this movie, its an amazing pertrayal of a sensational superhero story and will forever live in the memory of anybody who watches it. Its just sensational.
The opening credits is basically a complete recap of Superman The Motion Picture. And they go on way too damn long for my liking. Now why Zod, Ursa & Non curse Kal-el is beyond me. You never see him at the trial and he seems to have nothing to do with their crime, their trial or their punishment.
The nuke freeing them is a bit of a really rubbish plot device. The little boy who falls down Niagra falls, this is a massive goof. He falls for 27 seconds (I counted, twice to make sure) before Superman catches him. I still say falling at terminal velocity he'd have drowned before Superman even got his cape on.
The little boy in East Houston has a really good English accent for an American. Oh, and the RPG fired at Non would have still exploded before he bent it, most likely as he held it in his hands.
Lois's line "I'm going to change into something more comfortable" is pointless. All she has with her is the clothes on her back and the handbag. Unless Superman is a closet transvestite?
The President Of The USA is a funny man, saying he's trying to protect the people of the world. Funniest joke in the film. How did Clark and Lois get back from The Fortress Of Solitude and where did they get the car from?
Despite being told by his mother that losing his powers is a one way thing Clark still tries to go back to being Superman. It's impossible. But why he doesn't think of using Kryptonite against the 3 criminals? He's an idiot. We're never told how does get his powers back either. And even though his journey to The Fortress Of Solitude as a mortal must have taken him a long time he still has bruises and cuts on his face from the bar fight against the truck driver.
Why does Lex Luthor think the 3 Kryptonian criminals will have heard of him. And he has nothing to offer them at all. They should have killed him right away. Oh, and Luthor is bald at the start of the movie, how did he grow so much hair so quickly?
What was with all the masonry falling outside the Daily Planet, Zod, Ursa & Non only flew through windows, they didn't smash through any walls so that's quite a big continuity goof. I did spot the reversed "No Entry" sign as well, this time. How we're expected to believe Superman can ever beat these 3?
He's outnumbered. Yes, they haven't had their powers as long as him but they seemed to have MORE powers and different ones he didn't have either. The off-camera comedy "noises" fight with Non is totally ridiculous. Oh, and is it me or is Ursa's voice treated by a synthesizer in some way? And "They've killed Superman! Let's go get 'em" what the hell does this mortal think they can do to 3 Kryptonians? The matte behind them as their blowing is really bad and very obvious as well.
The dubbed British accents saying "He chickened out" & "Superman didn't do nothing" were very funny. I guess only Britsh Actors were available for ADR? Lois is a very bad passenger with Non, despite having taken many flights with Superman. I found that odd. Good goof.
Now what's the finger beam that Zod and Ursa use? Superman has never displayed that power. Or the ability to disappear. Until this film of course. How did Luthor know what activated the molecule chamber? Superman never told him, and it's unlikely he found that information on his previous very short trip to The Fortress Of Solitude.
I guess we're left to assume that once Zod, Ursa & Non lost their powers and fell in the crevasse they froze to death? There isn't much rubble or mess in The Daily Planet offices after the huge smashing it took. Lois said "I don't even know what to call you" even though Lex and Zod both clearly called him Kal-el in The Fortress Of Solitude?
Clark going back to teach the trucker a lesson is wrong. Superman is all about right, and revenge no matter how it's meted out is never right. Even if he did pay for the damage. The silly frozen fountains on The White House lawns just summed up this movie. Poor, with no attention to details.
I'd go for the Richard Donner cut which improves on many of the mistakes I've mentioned here but isn't yet listed on Dooyoo (don't worry, I've suggested for them to add it and already have a pre-written review for it!).
This is the second installment of the Superman films, again starring Christopher Reeve as Superman, the orphan sent from the planet Krypton to ensure the survival of Kryptonians.
Clark Kent (Superman's other identity) has fallen in love with Lois Lane, with whom he works at the Daily Planet. According to Krypton law, Superman must renounce his powers if he wishes to marry a human. No sooner has he done this than 3 outlaws from the planet Krytpon descend to Earth to take over, and Superman is helpless to defend his adopted planet against his enemies.
Cast and Performances
Reeve returns as Superman, and is brilliant once again. We get to see a bit more acting as he renounces his powers, and Margot Kidder as Lois Lane supports her lead brilliantly. Gene Hackman is once more the bumbling criminal Lex Luthor, and Terence Stamp is excellent as General Zod, the leader of the 3 outlaws.
The acting here is very good, and I do like the plot, yet for some reason it just doesn't quite measure up to the first film. I think it is probably the fact that although the score is once again a very good one, director Richard Lester does not combine the Superman theme tune with Superman's appearances on screen as well as we see in the first film Superman (1978).
This is a very well done film, but perhaps could not live up to such a mammoth film as the original. The curse of the sequel!
Although a very good second Superman film, Superman II (1980) is not as good as the first.
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I had never seen this film before the other week, and all i could think of was 'This film is OLD!' Now theres nothing wrong with old films. In fact it shouldn't really be a factor in weather a film is counted as good. However when i saw this, that was all that was on my mind.
The second installment of Supermans adventures has him face off againt 3 bad ass's who are also from Krypton. Its amusing Superman antics that you would expect. However as a film it doesn't really have anything going for it. The only reason i believe that it was as popular as it was at the time, is because of the 'special effects.' These have obiviously dated, and so it seems to be rather empty now. This is what i mean by 'old'. That aside its still a laugh to watch. Though they could have spent more time on the actual story then the effects.
An oddly artificial film in some ways, though still a tremendously entertaining one. The richly enjoyable sense of nobility in the original is replaced as gracelessly as the director (Richard Donner was kicked off the project, despite having shot original footage for the sequel). He was replaced by Richard Lester, who made the Beatles? movies in the sixties, and some of the most scathing entertainments of the Seventies (the fantastic Musketeers movies, and my favourite disaster movie of all time 'Juggernaut'). The plot of this movie is as set up in the first film: three super criminals (played by Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas, Jack O'Halloran) are inadvertantly freed from the prison they were placed in by Superman's dad, and arrive on earth to cause bother and kill extras (and why not?). Aided and abetted by Gene Hackman, hamming it up as Lex Luthor, they set about taking over the world. Meanwhile, Superman (Christopher Reeve) has confessed his secret identity and in an entirely PG way is romancing Lois Lane (Margot Kidder, whose voice is, if anything, deeper than it was in the first film). So just as the Krypton supervillains are planning to wreck the world, Superman is planning to give up his powers. It doesn't go well. Shot on location in places like the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls, it was nevertheless mainly filmed at Shepperton. Therefore, most of the extras are English faces, many familiar from TV (the most hilarious is an extended cameo from a very young looking, very smug Antony Sher), and nearly all of the American voices are just dubbed over. The destructive street scenes are shot on a superb set which nevertheless looks a bit fake. Adding to this artificiality is Terence Stamp, whose preening, immensely witty performance makes the movie, but nevertheless, every now and then, his thunderous, stentorian voice dissolves into pure cockney ('I'm gonna getchu, Sup'mayn', he yells). Moreover, becau
se this was always envisaged as the second half of a movie, it occasionally feels like one: the relationship between Superman and Lois feeling like the previous movie has just ended, rather than something we saw in a film two years previously. But what really makes the film is Lester's take on the situation. Rather than taking Superman at face value, Lester sends him and his values up something rotten. America is seen through the eyes of an outsider (though an American, Lester has lived in Britain since making the jazz movie 'It's Trad Dad' in the fifties). It's a cruel, harsh place, full of rednecks and bullies. In every scene, Lester uses the vicious outsiders to satirize the vulgarity, stupidity and silliness of American life. More painfully, especially if you were a kid who adored superheroes, he plays magnificently nasty games with the icon. I can still remember feeling agonised and betrayed by the superb bit when Superman, having sold his powers, gets the shit comprehensively beaten out of him the first time he steps back into 'civilisation'. In the end, 'Superman 2' seems to want to pit Superman against a foe even more deadly than any other - satire. Throughout the movie, Lester piles on absurdity (the spire of the Empire State Building falling towards a deliberately cliched woman with a pram, Superman and Non fighting a ridiculous, unseen cartoon-style battle underground, General Zod ending up crashing into a Coke sign), while forcing Reeve to keep a straight face and remain the steadfast hero. Of course, as much as hilarious indignity is piled on Superman, he still wins. Even being paired with Richard Pryor in 'Superman 3' (another Lester attempt to humiliate him) isn't quite as bleak a fate as the deliberate onslaught of gags, and yet somehow, the square jaw and the deliberate steely gaze cannot be defeated. The End PS In the scene where the gang kidnap the Chief
of Police in 'Fight Club', they are wearing Clark Kent wigs. And I'm not going to review the second two Superman films, because they are absolute crap.
Usually sequels are pretty lame, especially Superhero ones. This doesn't dissappoint however. This came out 2 years after the original Superman but was filmed back to back with it which means it has great continuity. We finally found out what happened to those bad guys that Marlon Brando banished to outer space!! Richard Donnner had filmed 80% of this film before he was replaced with Richard Lester. Superman is back in a big way! I have been a massive Superman fan for as long as I can remember and I apparently used to drive my parents insane by constantly wanting to watch Superman. Now I believe that the first Superman was the best of the lot as it really delved into the whole creation story of Superman, but the others are pretty good as well. Superman II is a great story and it focuses more on what most Superman fans like: the relationship between Clark/Superman and Lois. I'm one who prefers the action that Superman is involved in. And the three criminals from Krypton make the perfect enemy for the Last Son of Krypton. He finally meets his match in General Zod, Non and Ursa. Christopher Reeve is one again very convincing as Superman, but it's his improvement as Clark which gets me. He plays the bumbling nerd perfectly and I really think he could have been a great actor if it wasn't for his accident or being typecast as Superman. The same problem happened to George Reeve who played the original Superman in the 50's. For the first time, he gets to be just Clark Kent for a while as he gives up his powers to be with Lois. It requires a certain degree of acting and Reeve doesn't disapoint. Gene Hackman is once again brilliant as the humourous yet evil Lex Luthor. He really does bring the funny element to the frey. But for me, Margot Kidder puts in the best performance as the love-struck Lois Lane. Her performance is perfected at the end by her obvious grief at losing Clark/Superm
an as her lover. This is a fantastic storyline and everybody who is required to act well does.
Superman II doesn't really have a sense of building up the story as it supposedly takes place about a day after the original. The movie sets into full motion from the start based an action sequences and continues the stretch of being action packed. While Superman II manages to be fairly quick with the pacing, expand the characters, and provides some good special effects for its time (i.e. pre-computer graphics), the script on certain occasions can get so simple-minded, that the movie tends to lose a sense of anything logical. When the film tries to be very ingenious and/or showy in certain areas, it's either pretty confusing or silly. Not to mention that the movie throws in an absolutely ridiculous "cop-out" resolution for the relationship of the main characters. Still, Superman II manages to be very entertaining throughout and is definitely superior to the films in the series that followed (Superman III, which was ultimately hampered by awkward and juvenile humor and a certain devoid of action while Superman IV was ultimately hampered by cheesy special effects, a thin story, and some considerable derivation from Superman II).
Superman II is not only the best film of the Superman series of films but one of the greatest superhero films of all time. Superman has now become a hero and is relied upon to save the earth from whatever pitfall. However, three inhabitants from the planet Krypton want revenge, and the evil General Zod, played wonderfully by Terence Stamp is after Superman's blood, and uses the help of the evil Lex Luthor (played by Gene Hackman) to capture him. To make it worse, Superman is starting to fall in love with Lois Lane. Director Richard Lester picks up on all the points that the original's Richard Donner did not and Superman II is far more enjoyable for that. The thrilling fight scene in the city of Metropolis is both exciting and scary, and the ending is both feel good and brilliant. Superman II is a must for all of the family.
Although this is not as good as SUPERMAN - THE MOVIE, this is by far better than Parts 3 or 4. The plot involves Clark Kent/Superman deciding that his love for Lois Lane is more important than his love for humanity and so he gives up his superpowers in some Kryptonian mumbo-jumbo. Trouble is, just as he does so, the Earth is held hostage by a group of Kryptonian criminals who have superpowers too! Christopher Reeve is as solid as ever as Superman/Clark Kent, and thankfully Gene Hackman also returns as Lex Luthor - he wouldn't come back for Part 3 and that had a effect on that movie of lowering the quality. Lois Lane is again played by Margot Kidder, who I've never seen as a good Lois. She's too much of a shouter and I've never understood what Superman would see in this version of the character. The special effects are on a par with the first movie, as is the musical score. The law of dimishing returns would kick in with the next in the series.
Director Richard Lester (A Hard Day's Night) took over the franchise with this first sequel in the series, though the film doesn't look much like his usual stylish work. (Superman III is far more Lesteresque.) Still, there is a lot to like about this film, which finds Superman grappling with the conflict between his responsibilities as Earth's saviour and his own needs of the heart. Choosing the latter, he gives up his powers to be with Lois Lane (Margot Kidder), but the timing is awful: three renegades from his home planet, Krypton, are smashing up the White House, aided by the mocking Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman). The film isn't nearly as ambitious as its predecessor, but the accent on relationships over special effects (not that there aren't plenty of them) is very satisfying. --Tom Keogh