Three escaped criminals from the planet Krypton test the Man of Steel's mettle. Led by General Zod, the Kryptonians take control of the White House and partner with Lex Luthor to destroy Superman and rule the world. But Superman, who attempts to make himself human in order to get closer to Lois, realizes he has a responsibility to save the planet.
**He was called Non because that is the amount of brains he had.** Great sequel that expands on the introductory scenes in Superman (1978) where we met General Zod, Ursa and the massive moron, Non - although I wouldn't call him a moron to his face. (Perhaps if I had a ladder) But anyway, these three criminals are inadvertently released from the Phantom Zone by Superman and they naturally head toward Earth seeking revenge on the son of their jailer. Hackman receives top billing this time now that Brando collected his pay cheque and was at the bank cashing it. A very entertaining and funny sequel thanks to Richard Lester's expert hand at comedy. - Potential Kermode
Fun packed and humanistic sequel is worthy alright. Superman II stars Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Terence Stamp, Ned Beatty, Sarah Douglas, Margot Kidder, and Jack O'Halloran. It was to be a troubled shoot that saw two directors involved with the project. Richard Donner had completed about three quarters of the film before being taken off the project, so Richard Lester then came in to finish the film. Because of the back stage problems there are a host of writers credited on the film and both Robert Paynter & Geoffrey Unsworth were involved with the cinematography. Filmed using the Megasound system the score is a reworking of John Williams original score by Ken Thorne. Something of a miracle in itself that Superman II, in spite of all the behind the scenes shenanigans, is a very fine sequel to the massively successful Superman from 78. Sure there's some odd tonal shifts, a couple of things don't quite add up (to be corrected later on down the line with the release of the Richard Donner cut), while the villains are badly under written, but this has enough comic book adaptation savvy to please most comic book lovers. This time around sees Superman pitted against three villains who have been released from their prison due to Superman himself detonating a hydrogen bomb in space. The big kicker here being that the three convicts, General Zod, Ursa and Non, are from his home planet of Krypton and had been imprisoned by his father Jor-El. Now they are free they are hell bent on revenge against the son of Jor-El and the planet that worships him. If that was not enough for Superman to contend with, he also has affairs of the heart to deal with as his love for Lois Lane grows ever stronger by the day. While a certain Lex Luthor is plotting his escape from prison... Pic nicely fuses a humanistic heart with exciting set pieces, to make Superman II a worthy sequel to the wonderful template that is the first film. Ultimately we should embrace both cuts of Superman II or it would go downhill from here... 7/10
_**Continues the super-story of the groundbreaking first film**_ Three Kryptonian criminals escape imprisonment in the Phantom Zone (Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas and Jack O'Halloran) to harass citizens of the United States, including the president (E.G. Marshall), while Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) schmoozes them. Meanwhile Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) suspects that Clark Kent is Superman (Christopher Reeve) during an assignment to Niagara Falls before flying off to fight the Kryptonians. Susannah York plays Kal-El’s mother while Jackie Cooper is on hand as Perry White. "Superman II" (1980) was mostly shot simultaneously with the first film in 1977 wherein director Richard Donner had shot 75% of the film before focusing on finishing the first movie. When the flick went back into production in 1978 Donner was controversially fired and replaced with Richard Lester, who was already working on the project with Donner as second unit director. Marlon Brando’s scenes as Jor-El were cut (obviously because he wanted too much money, i.e. 11.75% of gross US box office earnings) and redone with Lara (York). Despite the behind-the-scenes drama, this is a thoroughly entertaining sequel with some people even claiming it’s better. What makes the film work so well is that (1) the three Kryptonian villains are interesting and their superhuman exploits are engaging, (2) Luthor is likewise amusing, (3) the sci-fi ambiance and special effects are state-of-the-art for the late 70s and (4) the drama involving Clark/Supes and Lois (and Perry White) is consistently entertaining. On the downside, I could do without Otis’ goofy antics (Ned Beatty) and the movie is slightly overlong. The film runs 2 hours, 7 minutes and was shot in Paris; Norway; Niagara Falls & Calgary, Canada; Pinewood Studios (the Metropolis scenes, etc.), Chobham Common, Surrey (the East Houston, Idaho, scenes), & London Underground, England; and St Lucia. GRADE: A/A-