Superman II Image

Superman II

By Alan Ng | January 30, 2022

I continue to believe that any discussion of the greatest superhero films must include Richard Donner’s Superman. It was the first time a beloved comic book character was successfully (artistically and financially) brought to the big screen to public acclaim. So that begs the question, can Superman II (directed by Richard Lester) be considered one of the great superhero sequels? The removal of Richard Donner should say a lot.

Superman II is the next chapter in the saga and picks up by pulling loose threads exposed in the first film. Terrorists have taken Paris hostage with a hydrogen bomb on top of the Eiffel Tower. Lois (Margot Kidder) is there to cover it first hand and finds herself too close to the action. Before you can say “boom,” Superman arrives on the scene and hurls the bomb into space.

“…the bomb’s explosion in space shatters…The Phantom Zone holding General Zod, Ursa, and Non.”

In a callback to the first film, the bomb’s explosion in space shatters the glass prison (The Phantom Zone) holding General Zod (Terence Stamp), Ursa (Sarah Douglas), and Non (Jack O’Halleran). After realizing the yellow sun of our solar system gives the villains powers just like Superman, Zod’s tyrannical thirst for power sends the dastardly trio to Earth to rule the planet.

Meanwhile, Lois and Clark are on assignment at Niagra Falls, and through a series of mishaps, Lois discovers that Clark is Superman. They confess their love for one another and decide to be with one another forever. The problem is, according to the rules running the Fortress of Solitude, Clark cannot bond with a mortal unless he becomes mortal himself. So, making the ultimate sacrifice for Lois, he does just that…really bad timing. Superman II could have focused on this love story, but instead, it’s rushed.

Superman II (1981)

Directed: Richard Lester

Written: Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman

Starring: Christopher Reeves, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, Terence Stamp, etc.

Movie score: 6/10

Superman II Image

"…next chapter in the saga and picks up by pulling loose threads exposed in the first film."

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  1. Steven Stroppiana says:

    I totally agree. Cheap is definitely a word that comes to mind. However Superman 2 is still one of my favorite movies-so much so that I even bought the Richard Donner cut. Now you want to talk bad, this is REALLY bad. This version doesn’t have the confrontation between the hick cops and the evil trio. An important scene in my opinion. Also in place of actual takes they insert some rehearsals footage instead specifically in the Niagara falls sequence. Soured as it evolved? You can say that again. I was so hopeful Superman 3 was going to be good. Good Lord, it was bad. Superman 4 with Christopher Reeve returning only if he got some writing input was equally as abject a disaster. I still hold Christopher Reeves Superman at the gold standard but must have made I was impressed with Man of steel a decent movie that was better than I thought it would be.

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