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