This time round, Superman faces off against three villains General Zod, Ursa, Non from his home planet Krypton, while getting to grips with his growing attachment to Lois Lane.
Given the behind-the-scenes machinations that went on during the making of Superman II (with original director Richard Donner fired, having shot about 70% of the script, to be replaced by Richard Lester), the end product should have been a barely coherent mess. Instead, somehow, Superman II is one of the most exciting comic book films ever made.
Sure, with hindsight you can see the joins, but somehow Lester’s more freewheeling style meshed well with Donner’s quest for reality and love for Americana, leading to a truly epic and entertaining tale in which Christopher Reeve’s peerless Superman is confronted with three Kryptonian adversaries (led by Terence Stamp’s General Zod), each as powerful as he. Meanwhile, though, the film is also focused on the battle for Superman’s heart, as Margot Kidder’s intrepid Lois Lane tries to discern the truth about her colleague Clark Kent, who for some reason has never been seen in the same room as Superman… Notably the first superhero movie to really show godlike beings going toe-to-toe (the fight between Superman and his enemies in the middle of Metropolis is a set-trashing triumph, with a refreshing emphasis on physical effects), where this sequel really succeeds is in aiming for, and hitting, the funnybone (Hackman’s Lex Luthor takes something of a back seat, but makes up for it by getting all the best lines) and in upping the dramatic content from the first movie’s relatively straightforward origin story. In mining the always-engaging ménage a trois between Lois, Clark and Superman for dramatic mileage (Superman turns his back on true love for the benefit of mankind), this deserves its place in the classic comic book canon for showing that the Man Of Steel is just as human as the rest of us.
Manages to gain classic comic book feature status through a combination of great stunts and a great human angle.