Superman II

"Good"

Superman II Review


"Kneel before Zod."

Superman II had all the signposts of a disaster. Richard Donner, who shot much of the footage during the production of the first Superman, found himself forced away from the movie and replaced by Richard Lester, who claimed never to have heard of Superman before signing on to the franchise. To top it off, Marlon Brando sued to cut out all his scenes as Jor-El. And Gene Hackman was unavailable to shoot after Lester took the reins.

So who woulda guessed that Lester would make Superman II the The Empire Strikes Back of the franchise?

In part two, the Man of Steel, in the process of saving the day, tosses a nuke into space and accidentally busts loose three Kryptonian nihilists from their interstellar space prison. The trio quickly sets its sights on conquering Earth with its new yellow-sun powers. Meanwhile, Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) is finally seeing through Clark Kent's convenient disappearances and bringing some loving to Superman's Fortress of Solitude. But Superman's gotta switch to full-time humanity to get with Lois, so he says farewell to his day-saving powers and hello to 24-7 Clark Kent.

Meanwhile, Lex Luthor finds Zod (Terence Stamp) and his two evil superbuds to be effective strategic partners for world conquering. But with Superman's cape in mothballs, who will defeat the villains and restore power to the earthlings?

With the whole origin story out of the way in part one, Superman II is free to lay out a fresh adventure for the characters. And Superman II is bright and briskly-paced, loaded with humor both subtle and obvious. Our villains, for example, go through much of the movie assuming earth is called "planet Houston." Good stuff.

Lester, for someone new to the character, admires Superman and appreciates what he does for mankind. Why else would he spend much of the action scenes scanning and eavesdropping on the crowds that amass to watch Superman do his thing? ("Of course he's Jewish," a woman insists as our hero pulls off another rescue.) And those action scenes are balls-out fun, especially a madcap three-on-one super-battle on the streets of Metropolis.

Far from the train wreck it could have been, Superman II crackles with comic book energy. Now, kneel before Zod, Mr. President.

The new Superman II DVD includes commentary from the producers, a deleted scene, and a second disc of making-of featurettes (culled from TV specials), new featurettes, and archival Superman cartoons.

Completists may be interested in Richard Donner's 2006 re-cut of the film, which was famously taken away from him during shooting. Donner's revision of the film -- cobbled together on DVD out of footage in the theatrical cut, alternate takes, and screen tests -- is interesting, if overlong and clearly an unfinished product meant for fanatics only. Namely, the film adds in numerous scenes deleted from the theatrical cut, most of which add unneeded exposition or repeat earlier scenes. As a curiosity, it's intriguing (Brando is notably cut back into the film), but it hardly overshadows Stamp's performance. Donnner offers a commentary track and additional deletia on the disc.



Superman II

Facts and Figures

Run time: 127 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th June 1981

Box Office Worldwide: $108.2M

Budget: $54M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: DC Comics, Warner Bros. Pictures, Alexander Salkind

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Fresh: 40 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Superman / Clark Kent, as Lois Lane, as Lex Luthor, as Perry White, as Jimmy Olsen, as Otis, as Ursa, Jack O'Halloran as Non, as Eve Teschmacher, as Lara, as General Zod, E.G. Marshall as US President, as Sheriff, as President's Aide (as Michael J. Shannon)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.