Superman II (1980)

PG   |    |  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi


Superman II (1980) Poster

Superman agrees to sacrifice his powers to start a relationship with Lois Lane, unaware that three Kryptonian criminals he inadvertently released are conquering Earth.


6.8/10
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23 June 2003 | the_mysteriousx
9
| Superman's only worthy sequel
For those who are into the comic book movie craze today, this one is one of the best comic-y movies from the beginning of the summer blockbuster heyday. The original Superman is really an excellent film with solid, honest direction by Richard Donner. Donner shot around half of this sequel and his scenes are all excellent (Note: Every Gene Hackman scene was shot by Donner - Hackman refused to return to production after Donner was fired).

There is still much hope that Donner's footage will re-surface. Most importantly of all there are vital scenes with Marlon Brando returning as Superman's father, Jor-El and giving his "life" to save his son and save the planet from the evil villains he vanquished from Krypton. It would also be interesting for audiences to see the difference between Donner's scenes and the ones re-shot by Lester.

The characters are great. Superman, played by Christopher Reeve, is in solid form and he and Lois are given the opportunity to enhance their relationship from the original story. Jackie Cooper is once again great as Perry White, the chief editor of the Daily Planet.

What makes this movie move is the villains. Gene Hackman is funnier and still up to no good and the villains from Krypton are menacing. His dialogue is truly witty and Hackman's timing is perfect. Terence Stamp is the power hungry General Zod, out for revenge against the son of Jor-El. Stamp plays it straight and his scenes directed by Donner show a true megalomaniac. Jack O'Halloran is solid as the hulking Non.

Best of all is Sarah Douglas as the cold and evil Ursa in a truly underrated performance. She is the most curious and most interesting of the bunch. She collects badges as trophies for her conquering of earth, wearing them to mock male hierarchy. Ursa seems to be a forerunner of all of the sexy female superwomen today, but her role is not overstated and stale. She is not given gratuitous cleavage shots or anything of the sort. Ursa is a beautiful vamp and a tease, and if anything we wish she would have more screen time. Sarah Douglas constantly gives us hints as to Ursa's wishes, and we can only try to surmise what evil plans she is up to.

The music is John Williams' score from the first film, but used differently. Not sure if much of the music is original. Ken Thorne does a good job here of accenting cuts with Williams' original score (Williams too refused to return after Donner was fired.) Some great cues are Superman returning to fight the villains, which is wonderfully heroic; Ursa's shocking appearance to both the astronauts on the moon (a violent scene that uses the darkest motifs from Krypton in the first film); and the whole Metropolis battle in the end, which is well supported by the music.

The effects are very good for 1980. I keep reading how people are unhappy and always apologize for the FX in any movie more than a couple of years old. This one is solid and for the film it serves, does well. The only major goof is when Superman delivers the American Flag at the end - The water fountain in front of the White House is clearly a model with "frozen" bursting water! The scene in the de-powering chamber is not well-handled either.

Overall, this is a very entertaining film, and really amazingly considering it is obviously the work of two directors. Of all the comic book movies made from the 60s thru the 90s, this one definitely rates in the top five along with the first Superman, the first two Batmans. Supermans 3 and 4 were really poor. It is too bad that Christopher Reeve did not make more good Superman films. This one has some camp, but it's way too entertaining and it's the only sequel to still have the flavor of the original. And please, let's see a special edition DVD with all of the missing Richard Donner footage!!!!!

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Did You Know?

Trivia

It's a mystery why the story writers have Superman blow up his hideout, the Fortress of Solitude, in part 2. Superman in the comics continues to use the Fortress as a home base; kind of like Batman's Batcave; or Wonder Woman's Paradise Island. He never blows it up in a symbolic coming of age gesture; severing the umbilical cord with Jor-el etc.


Quotes

Krypton guard: Alert, alert, alert.


Goofs

Why would the Phantom Zone holding Zod, Lursa and Non break apart by a relative small nuclear device and not by the supernova explosion of the Krypton star itself? A supernova is not only trillions of times stronger than a conventional nuclear explosion but it generates actually a real shock wave while the detonation of a normal nuclear device in space does not. The supernova happens just after the trio was convicted and 'locked' up.


Crazy Credits

Opening credits incorporate an extensive amount of footage from the first Superman movie.


Alternate Versions

Superman is chased over the Metropolis river and city by Non in a far more exciting and action packed scene (which is abbreviated in theatrical version). During this chase General Zod can be heard shouting "Kill him, kill him!". The scene ends when Superman goes around a building at a sharp angle, Non follows him but chips off a huge piece of the building, scene then flows into the theatrical version, with Superman looking behind to see Non, with General Zod saying in the background "Come on kill him."

  • General Zod says to Lex Luthor during the flight to Superman's Fortress. Zod: "I trust, you do not waste my time, Lex Luthor!" Lex Luthor: "Of course not, your turbulance!"


Soundtracks

Pick Up the Pieces
(uncredited)
Written by
Roger Ball, Hamish Stuart and Average White Band (as The Average White Band)
Performed by Average White Band (as The Average White Band)
Courtesy of Atlantic Records

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi

Details

Release Date:

19 June 1981

Language

English, French, Russian


Country of Origin

USA, UK, Canada

Filming Locations

London Underground

Box Office

Budget:

$54,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,100,523 21 June 1981

Gross USA:

$108,185,706

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$108,185,706

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