Superman was one of the great original superhero movies, and this sequel continued its winning blend of (then) impressive visuals, memorable villains, and melodramatic comic-ness. My VC and I have always felt that Christopher Reeve was Superman, easily outdoing Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill in embodying the character. Likewise, Gene Hackman excels as Lex Luthor, though Kevin Spacey came close to hitting the mark in Superman Returns while making the character much darker than Hackman’s portrayal. Margot Kidder may not be the Lois Lane, but she’s the best one I’ve seen and does pair well with Reeve. Lastly, the three villains, Ursa, Non, and General Zod, may be one-dimensionally villainous, but they are certainly formidable opponents for the man of steel.
I’ll go ahead and say that the first film is higher on my list, mainly because this second one has some elements that bother me. Aside from some silly effects, like clothes fluttering in the “breeze” of space, Superman himself is much less vigilant than he ought to be, letting both a nuclear threat in Paris and a worldwide extraterrestrial takeover slip past him. His removal of his powers (for the sake of “love”) may be romantic, but it also seems quite selfish and irresponsible on his part, as well as Lois Lane’s. The scene where he is beaten up in a diner confirmed the issue to me. In the first film, it was clear that Superman was pretending to be the nerdy Clark Kent; in Superman II, mainly in the middle part, it seems as if Clark Kent is pretending to be Superman and failing.
Nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable superhero film that may not have the spectacular effects of more recent movies (though some destructive scenes in the Metropolis battle are impressive), but the familiar characters, engaging plot, glorious score, and campy action come together to make it a classic. It’s also much better than its two sequels. I haven’t seen them, but my VC says don’t bother.
Best line (or at least the most laughable): (a Metropolis bystander, after they think Superman has been defeated by the invulnerable supervillains) “They’ve killed Superman! What are we gonna do now?” (another man) “Let’s go get ’em! C’mon, I know some judo.”Artistry: 5 Characters/Actors: 8 Entertainment: 8 Visual Effects: 4 Originality: 7 Watchability: 8 TOTAL: 40 out of 60
Next: #217 – The Terminator
© 2014 S. G. Liput
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