“Think of it: three — count them — three supervillains, each one with the same powers he has, each one totally dedicated to corruption, violence, and evil.”
Superman (Christopher Reeve) gives up his special powers to be in a relationship with Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) — but when three super-criminals from Krypton (Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas, and Jack O’Halloran) descend onto Earth and terrorize its citizens, the world desperately needs Superman’s help.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Christopher Reeve Films
- Comics and Comic Strips
- Gene Hackman Films
- Margot Kidder Films
- Ned Beatty Films
- Richard Lester Films
- Susannah York Films
- Terence Stamp Films
- Thieves and Criminals
Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, despite the fact that this sequel to Superman “got better reviews than the original”, it never quite “reaches that [film’s] high level” — however, it remains a fun, must-see flick in its own right. Directed by Richard Lester, it’s more humorous and less of an outright epic than the first Superman, instead exploring the ramifications of Superman’s decision to give up his superpowers to be with Lois Lane (though why one must be predicated upon the other is just one of several plot devices best left unquestioned…). Naturally, just at that moment, the world turns out to need Superman more than ever, given that three malevolent villains — “evil Terence Stamp, striking-looking Sarah Douglas, and brute Jack O’Halloran” — have, in a stunning special effects sequence, been accidentally released from their time warp prison “cell” and descended onto Earth.
The “battles of muscles and wits between Superman and the three villains” — both in Metropolis and back at Superman’s fortress — are indeed “spectacular”, and constitute the highlights of the film. Stamp and Douglas in particular, with ice water running through their veins, are delightfully malicious; in their shiny black skintight outfits, they stand out as two of cinema’s most memorable baddies. Meanwhile, Gene Hackman has fun reprising his role as Lex Luthor, who — after escaping from prison near the beginning of the film (fortunately, Otis gets left behind) — shows off his skills as an intergalactic negotiator extraordinaire; amazingly enough, he never seems even slightly intimidated by the villains’ ability to decimate him at will (now THAT’s an impressive ego!). Note that one of the film’s most satisfying moments comes near the end, when, having “regained his strength”, Superman “exacts satisfying revenge” at a “snowbound bar” — you’ll be rooting for him like you never did before!
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Christopher Reeve as Superman/Clark Kent
- Terence Stamp as General Zod
- Sarah Douglas as Ursa
- Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor
- Impressive special effects
- The exciting Metropolis battle
Yes, as a successful and most enjoyable sequel.