Superman battles a trio of superpowered villains who escape from their Phantom Zone prison. They have a final battle over the streets of Metropolis. He also battles against Lex Luthor. — Genre: Feature Film-Action/Adventure... more »
Hank Drake | Cleveland, OH United States | 05/13/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Much of Superman II was filmed simultaneously with the first movie. The original plan was to have Superman I end with a cliffhanger: The nuclear missile that Lex Luthor set for Hackensack New Jersey, which Superman diverted into outer space, explodes, shattering the Phantom Zone and setting the three Kryptonian criminals free. Then the action would freeze-frame, and the screen would flash with "Next Year, Superman II."Time constraints and studio politics put an end to that scenario. As the first movie was hastily completed to meet the release date, Superman II was put on hold. Then, director Richard Donner was fired, and replaced with Richard Lester. Even though 70% of the second film was complete, much of Donner's footage was reshot by Lester. In the final film, about one-third of the remaining footage is Donner's. All scenes with Gene Hackman, Valerie Perrine, Ned Beatty, or E. G. Marshall were shot by Donner. In addition, the scene at the diner where Clark gets attacked was shot by Donner. As sequences for Superman II were filmed as much as two years apart from each other, there are glaring continuity problems in the film. Lester set a different tone than Donner, opting for slapstick humor over the verisimilitude of the first movie. Also, because of legal difficulties, all footage with Marlon Brando was removed, including a moving scene where Jor-El sacrifices his remaining spirit to return Superman's powers (rather like God touching the hand of Adam). Anyone who has seen the original script for Superman II knows it would have been a better film if Donner had remained at the helm.So, how is Lester's Superman II? Pretty impressive overall. There is ample character development, particularly in the Lois/Clark/Superman love triangle, and plenty of action to keep the viewer satisfied. The visuals are mostly on the same level as the first movie, although the destruction of the Phantom Zone and the defacing of Mount Rushmore look pretty cheap. John Williams' excellent score is cannibalized by Ken Thorne, conducting what sounds like a high school orchestra. So, overall, while entertaining, the movie lacks the epic scope of the first film, and is far less memorable. The letterboxed DVD looks fine is unspectacular. The sound is flat and unimpressive. Warner has packaged the DVD in their usual cheap snapper case."
AMAZON PLEASE GIVE THE RICHARD DONNER VERSION A SEPERATE LIN
gdb | london | 10/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm really begging with Amazon to not confuse The new Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, with the original Superman II: Richard Lester version because both of these are completely different films & should be treated as such.
1st thing people who truely think that Richard Lester is a great director & did a great job on SII need a reality check. All he did was take an already great script done by SUPERMAN I creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz, and 70-80% shot by Richard Donner shift around some stuff & make the film (all the actors were there for him, a donkey could have done it).
Lester would also add some unneeded slap stick humor (e.g. Metropolis fight scene where the three super villains use their super breath to blow out the Metropolis civilians where after an unneeded and very cheesey moment of slap stick bad homage to Charlie Chaplin stances take place & the earlier scene of when the supervillains are introduced by duking it out in the American wild west???).
Lester would be found out as a director in the poor Superman III where his slap stick humour would basically ruin the film but not to say his version of Superman II is bad but it just doesn't compare to the brilliance of number 1, especially after repeated watchings II just seems like a poor boys substiute!!
Donner on the other hand had completely different thinking for II it was meant to be on the same epic scale & feeling a I & in quality terms match it if not even better it. Also around 30% of the Lester film uses Donner's footage whilst in the SII:DC it uses around 80% footage & will feel like a completely different film.
Having already seen some of the new scenes, e.g. Lois jumping out of the window of The Daily Planet to proove that Clark is Superman, The fight with The Super Villains over Metropolis, some of the new Brando scenes, & Lois's tearful farewell, it's obvious that this film will be entirely different from the original theatrical realise of SII & should be treated as an entirely different film not put as if it's just a normal directors cut of an already realised film!!!
Please Amazon originally the link was seperate so why change it???
Special edition coming of classic live-action comic strip e
Darren Harrison | Washington D.C. | 02/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's very rare for a sequel to eclipse its predecessor (The GODFATHER and X-MEN series feature examples along with THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and SPIDERMAN 2) but this movie comes close to being a better picture than the classic superhero movie that preceded it two years earlier, almost - but not quite. Perhaps it is the fact that the two were originally shot back-to-back (before the Salkind brothers fired Director Richard Donner and brought in Richard Lester) but this movie shares a tone and panache of the first movie in the series that the subsequent films lacked. I suppose it is no surprise then that the upcoming (at the time of writing) big screen SUPERMAN RETURNS takes place after this entry thereby totally negating the slapstick SUPERMAN III and horrendous SUPERMAN IV. At the beginning of the first movie we saw Superman's father Jor-El prosecute three criminals and send them out hurtling into space. These events are recounted at the beginning of this movie, and I still remember watching the opening in a darkened theater one night in the early 1980s, wondering if the first movie had accidentally been placed in to the projector. These three criminals are led by the excellent Terence Stamp (who would later provide the voice of Jor-El in the SMALLVILLE television series) as Zod and included the very sexy Sarah Douglas as Ursa. They subsequently make their way the Moon and after decimating an Apollo crew head for Earth marveling at their superhuman abilities. Meanwhile on Earth, after rescuing Lois Lane (played by the very appealing Margot Kidder who was the focus of a schoolboy crush on my part) from a hostage situation in Paris, Clark Kent is having an increasingly difficult time trying to keep his identity a secret. Then when Lois learns the truth the two get together, which forces Clark to turn in his powers - just at the very moment that Zod and his companions are arriving to wreak havoc. Add to the mix Gene Hackman reprising his role as Lex Luthor (who has some of the best lines in the movie) and what follows is a highly entertaining action movie. Will Clark be able to get his powers back? Will he be able to defeat three with the same powers he has and will he be able to exact some payback on that guy at the diner who beat him up when he was powerless Clark Kent? My favorite scenes in the movie are those that center on the battle between Superman and the three supervillains as they duke it out on the streets of Metropolis (actually filmed in England on the studio backlot). The special effects look a little hokey today and the modelwork is very noticeable in some scenes, but this is good old fashioned fun and probably one of the best comic book movies ever committed to celluloid.
SPECIAL EDITION DUE IN 2006 Unfortunately the same attention was not given to this movie as its predecessor when the series was released on DVD. Whereas the first movie featured googles of documentaries and even an audio commentary (both worth checking out), this movie's DVD release was limited to the theatrical trailer. With this in mind it might be worth waiting for the special edition planned for June 2006. The special edition will feature the theatrical version of Superman II on one disc, along with option to play deleted footage and two different commentary tracks, one with Lester and the second with actors Margot Kidder, Sarah Douglas, and Gene Hackman. The second disc will feature the restored Richard Donner version, along with a commentary track by Donner (who was so good, entertaining and informative on the SUPERMAN DVD.) I notice that another reviewer has already provided a comprehensive list of the cuts made so I will not repeat them, but I am particularly looking forward to seeing more of Ursa and Luthor."
Richard Donner Should've Been Allowed To Direct!
Mr. | USA | 07/02/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ever since viewing the original Superman DVD and learning that director Richard Donner was fired while he was still working on Superman II, and then replaced by inferior director Richard Lester, who was the one who gave us all the cheesy scenes of Part II (and all the cheesy scenes of part III), I felt that the world was robbed of a truly great Superman series. Alexander & Ilya Salkind should be ashamed of themselves. They took a promising franchise and basically flushed it down the toilet just so they could have things done their own way. Typical Bad Producers as usual!The film itself is still strong, though it would've been stronger with Donner at the helm. Can't help but cringe when Sarah Douglas grabs a NASA patch off of one astronaut on the moon, destroying his space suit, watching him crash to the ground as if the gravity was the same as Earths. Pretty unrealistic. Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, & Gene Hackman are fantastic. My favorite scene by Chris is after he's lost his powers and is beaten up by a truck driver at a diner. As he watches the Television and learns that General Zod has taken over the world you can see the horror flooding through him. Even though it seems futile he persuades Lois to go back to Metropilis while he journeys on foot to the fortress of solitude to look for any way to get his powers back. Chris is just so great in the role, you can't imagine anybody else. By the way, I was disappointed that the scene of Superman destroying his fortress of solitude (since people are now aware of its location) was not included in this DVD version. People still look at the first two Superman movies as being the superiors (though the original is Gold, thanks to Richard Donner). Warner Brothers could've at least given us a Special Expanded Edition of Superman II like they gave its predecessor. I mean all you get on all the Superman sequels is the theatrical trailer and cast & crew information. Maybe one day they'll get around to including the bonus features and added scenes we Superman fans would love to have.Again, it's a shame that Richard Donner was not given the opportunity to finish directing Superman II (and perhaps even taking on Superman III & IV, which he would've made so much more enjoyable). The Salkinds didn't even give him a co-directing credit for Part II. It makes me wonder how any good films are made when somebody's always throwing a wrench into the works? Superman II is still a very good movie, but I'll always wonder how much better it could've been."
A flawed, but ultimately enjoyable sequel to a classic
Justin | Orlando, FL USA | 07/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, I've finally seen the controversial second chapter in the Superman movie series, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. For a movie whose production is the subject of possibly the most notoriety in recent film history it really pulled through for me. That's not to say that I did not see the flaws, but most of them were less obvious than I had expected.
We'll start with the negatives so I can close on a high note, as this is an over-all positive review. First of all, if you've recently watched the first movie you can just start the movie from chapter 3. The pre-credits scene does not really tell you anything new, it only shows you why the three Kryptonian traitors were banished with an additional 30 seconds or so of flashback footage. Then the credits go on for about five minutes or more here, recapping most of the major events of the first film (and some of the trivial ones) in between names.
I'll get the most annoying part out of the way. To paraphrase Roger Ebert in his review of Pirates of the Caribbean, forgive me for interjecting logic where it clearly is not wanted, but I do have a problem with some of the science in this movie. Obviously for a superhero movie, you're going to have to suspend a little disbelief, and I'm quite willing to accept that Kryptonians gain near limitless powers from the yellow sun (and even that they all speak fluent English), but how does that allow them to breath and speak while in the vacuum of space? Even if their molecular structure is made denser by our solar system, that still wouldn't allow them to create matter where matter does not exist. Okay, I'm done.
With science out of the way, I'll move on to the movie's problems. First of all, the editing could use some guidance. Perhaps it is because so much of Richard Donner's original footage was left out of the picture, but there seems to be a lot of holes in the middle section of the film. There are quite a few moments in this movie where a scene will cut away to another, and when it returns something is completely different, without ever really explaining how or why. Also characters without the benefit of superspeed travel across the globe in unnaturally little time.
My final major issue is that Richard Lester really doesn't know when to use comedy and when to lay off of it. There are a few funny moments when General Zod, Ursa and Non, the Kryptonian traitors banished in the first film, first arrive on Earth and they're still learning about the planet, but once they start attacking people the comedy should have ended there. It didn't. Non continues to be a mostly threatless comic relief, and there are spatterings of humor, even in the most desparate moments. During the final battle scene between Superman and the traitors, while innocent civilian are being tossed around, used as weapons or bait, and generally in harm's way, they seem to have complete disregard for their own safety. One guy refuses to end his phone conversation while the traitors blow hurricane force winds down the street. Another couple is more concerned with their hair (or rather, her hair and his tupee) than the terrible things happening around them. These moments could have been funny in a comedy movie, but here they feel very inappropriate. At least when Donner gave us comedy it was only at the expense of Clark's awkwardness, Luthor's arrogance, or Otis' incompetence, never of innocent people caught in a crossfire.
That said, this movie does have quite a few inherent high points. Once the movie gets started, it picks up fluidly where the last one left off. It still feels like a sequel, but it doesn't feel forced (because it wasn't - I and II were actually written as one movie at one point). While at its worst points it feels like Batman Forever (it never quite reaches the depths of atrocity that Batman & Robin dives head-first into), at its best it feels like Spiderman 2. The characters introduced in the first film are fleshed-out well in this one. The relationship between Superman and Lois Lane is carried quite a bit futher, leaving Superman even more vulnerable, in more ways than one (though the way he overcomes this vulnerability is left unexplained, and comes a little too quickly in storytelling terms).
Despite some of the issues during the production, everyone delivers great performances along the way. Gene Hackman is back and in rare form as Lex Luthor, though this time he spends much of the movie without his half-hearted (but always entertaining) cohorts, Otis and Ms. Teschmacher. He even gets some screen time without his tongue-in-cheek hairpiece. Christopher Reeve is charming as always as both Superman and Clark Kent. Margot Kidder gets to do more in this movie than just be Superman's damsel in distress. All three of the Kryptonian traitors put in memorable performances, but Terrence Stamp truly steals any scene he appears in.
This movie also set the standard for all superhero sequels to follow, upping the stakes for all of the characters. Superman now faces enemies who are his physical equal, which makes the finale more of a confrontation than the beat the clock (or would it be reset the clock?) situation at the end of the first movie. Also, as mentioned before, the relationship between Lois and Superman raises the emotional impact even higher. The character development throughout the movie was surprisingly deep, despite the occasional feeling that the puzzle was missing a few vital pieces. I really got the feeling that Superman could be a real person with real feelings, and not just an icon who's impervious to harm, physical or emotional.
Had Donner been allowed to finish this movie the way he wanted, it could have surpassed the original. Unfortunately, the Salkinds (producers of the Superman films) were not fond of Donner's direction and dropped him in favor of Lester, who clearly had no respect for the character or what he represents. Lester was not familiar with American comic books and took the term "comic" a little too literally, resulting in jokes in all the wrong places. Fortunately, Lester's misdirection was still guided by a strong script with its emphasis on its characters, resulting in a sequel that is not without its flaws, but still a classic to be viewed alongside its predecessor. If I could give it three-and-a-half stars (* * * 1/2) I would, but since I can only give whole stars it gets a mild four stars
Anyone who is interested in owning this film should note that a Richard Donner cut of the movie using most of Donner's original footage (the movie was about 80% completed when Donner was fired and Lester took over, reshooting much of what Donner had already finished) is available, as well as a two-disc special edition of this version, neither of which were available at the time I originally wrote this review. I highly recommend the Richard Donner cut and will hopefully review it when I have the time."