3 1/2 Stars
This leads to the most interesting aspect of Superman II, the plot development in which Kal-El decides to give up his super-powers for a mortal ‘normal’ life with Lois. The pair escape to the fortress of solitude for a weekend retreat, unaware that Zod and his malicious crew have partnered with Lex Luthor, and seized control of The White House. What is Kal-El to do? Stay with the woman he loves? Or return to the fortress, regain his Kryptonian powers and fight Zod? After a few scenes of soul-searching he chooses the latter, setting up the film’s centerpiece. A dazzling fight in the streets of Metropolis that integrates special effects and stunt work seamlessly. The last twenty-minutes of Superman II make up for the slower-paced sequel’s more adult tone.
Superman II holds a special place in the history of the series. As a directorial conflict ensued that resulted in original director Richard Donnor being replaced by Richard Lester, even though a significant portion of the script had already been shot. Perhaps, Lester’s influence accounts for the odd ball moments of off-beat humor that pepper this sequel, including a hillbilly sheriff, straight out of Live and Let Die. As with the first film, the acting is top-notch, particularly when considering the silly material, and the score by John Williams is triumphant and uplifting.
Director: Richard Lester
Stars: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Terence Stamp