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Gene Hackman
Christopher Reeve
Ned Beatty
Jackie Cooper
Sarah Douglas
Margot Kidder
Jack O'Halloran
Valerie Perrine
Susannah York.
Running Time
127 minutes

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Superman II
One of the few sequels which really build on the first film.

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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.

Reviewed by Chris Hewitt

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Superman II
Empire Star Rating

RE: a classic

Ah, well, yes there are some silly bits in it too, sight gags, and they jar with the other serious, depressing elements imo. Oh, another thing that annoyed me. My fave bit in the first film is his big appearance, when he saves the day in one night across New York! The surprise and gratitude of the citizens is quite moving. In this one, he's taken for granted. It's like, right, okay Superman can sort this mess out. Now, where is he, the useless son of a .... I agree the aliens smashing... More

Posted by Professor Dent at 18:10, 08 February 2013 | Report This Post

RE: a classic

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the recap opening either. Yes, the Eiffel Tower sequence gets the snip in the Donner cut. I actually thought the opposite; that the theatrical version was far too light in places - 'tis probably why that whole grim stretch is my favourite part of that cut. Also, hasn't Superman always been able to shoot lasers from his eyes? Granted, I'm not sure about some of his powers in the Fortress Of Solitude but i thought they were pretty cool, except for the cellophane S (WTF ... More

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Posted by Mr Gittes at 17:11, 08 February 2013 | Report This Post

RE: a classic

Never seen the Donner cut, though I understand it omits the Eiffel Tower set piece? n II me up the wrong way slightly, it starts with a massive recap of the first movie which isn't necessary mostly esp as everyone had seen that film, it was a massive hit. I didn't like the way it cuts to the chase with the Lois Lane Supes revelation; so much for wil he won't he! Now we know the romance between them is a non-starter, it's the moment when the series jumps the shark really. The film also seem... More

Posted by Professor Dent at 15:53, 08 February 2013 | Report This Post

RE: a classic

Couldn't agree more with the merged cuts idea, since my favourite section of the theatrical cut (Superman and Lois in the Fortress Of Solitude) is somewhat skimmed over in the Donner cut, which is the version I prefer. Which makes it all the more frustrating because that's the heart of the movie for me. I recently showed the first Superman movie to a friend of mine and he loved it, and now I'm pulling my hair out trying to decide which cut of the sequel to show him. The theatrical version... More

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Posted by Mr Gittes at 14:05, 08 February 2013 | Report This Post


Neither cut feels complete, but both are still great sequels. I just wish they hadn't fired Donner. I have a feeling that if he had been allowed to finish the movie, it would have been truly epic and possibly even better than the first. But I guess it says something about how great it is that while it's not complete it's still one of the greatest superhero movies ever made. ... More

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Posted by Mr Gittes at 13:12, 08 February 2013 | Report This Post

a classic

superman 2 in my eyes was just as good as the first but having also seen the donner cut now i do feel there are important details left out still one to watch but would love for the two cuts to be merged in to one film in the future ... More

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Posted by chrisharvey1551 at 02:59, 23 December 2011 | Report This Post

Superman II Review

The humor occasionally stumbles into slapstick territory, and the special effects are dated, but Superman II meets, if not exceeds, the standard set by its predecessor. ... More

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Posted by the film man at 14:16, 19 December 2011 | Report This Post

Having seen Lester`s version a while back, today it was time for the "Ultimate comparison" as I saw The Donner Cut for the first time. These are my thoughts: It took almost 3 decades for Richard Donner`s version of Superman II to be released. With the release of the Ultimate Superman box, the film finally saw the light of day. Really sad that it took this long before it was released and that this hasn`t become the actual sequal to Superman. I thought this version was better than Les... More

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Posted by TheGodfather at 21:42, 17 August 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Superman II

Legendary. The best Superman movie.   Grew up watching this. ... More

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Posted by shool at 13:49, 03 September 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Superman II

Like with the other entries in the franchise I can remember seeing Superman II at my local Cinema when I was a Kid, I was totally blown away by the powerful performances from (Chris) Reeve as the titular Man of Steel, (Terence) Stamp's villainous General Zod and (Margot) Kidder's scheming Lois Lane.   The film made such an impression on my younger self that I left the Cinema wanting to be Superman, what more can I say? Although the original version was a pretty... More

Posted by Babsgordonsboytoy at 20:47, 13 April 2007 | Report This Post

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