Superman II (1980)
Plot: A nuclear explosion in space unlocks the Phantom Zone releasing three Kryptonian terrorists led by General Zod (Terence Stamp). They have the same powers as Superman (Christopher Reeve) as they attempt to overthrow the Earth’s leaders.
The first comic book/superhero sequel is a great one. The first half is kind of ‘meh’ but the later part of this movie is pretty awesome. The story focuses a lot more on the Superman/Clark Kent and Lois Lane romantic relationship, and it works for the most part. I love Lex Luthor’s role as a sleazy advisor to the evil Kryptonians. But make no mistake; it is General Zod who steals the show. He is an awesome villain! Just so passionate and intense about taking over the Earth, I love it. The low points are that it’s a little goofier than the first and moves slow in the beginning, and just like the original, it’s got a cringe worthy moment at the end. But other than that, I have no real complaints. It’s a perfect sequel. It ups the ante, develops Superman a lot more, and gives us more action. In short, it’s a great follow-up.
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Great)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout)
Best Performance: Terence Stamp as General Zod
-I just love his voice and intensity. He’s so damn vengeful towards Superman for what Jor-El did to him. He’s a great villain to watch.
Worst Performance: Jack O’Halloran as Non
-This was General Zod’s big dumb companion. I get the character is supposed to be stupid, but the actor gave him the goofiest faces every time he’s on camera. It was just too much.
Best Line: “Come to me, Superman! I defy you! Come and kneel before Zod!”-General Zod
-The delivery here is just so good. Terence Stamp screams it with so much passion. And the “kneel before Zod” line has definitely become a favorite among Superman fans.
Worst Line: “Holy skunk sweat!” –Deputy Dwayne
-There really weren’t any terrible lines in this movie, but I guess this was pretty stupid.
-The huge brawl between Superman and three Kryptonians was pretty damn cool. I love when Superman and Non battle under the Earth, which basically causes an earthquake. This was an impressive sequence for 1980. The two complaints I have is that it gets a little jokey with a lot of the onlookers, and why the hell don’t the three villains just take Superman down together? For a General, not a great plan from Zod.
-There’s a few to choose from, but I’m going to go with a very subtle one that I’m not even 100% sure exists. So in the Niagara Falls scene, Superman flies in to rescue a small boy who falls over the gate. As he’s flying up with the boy, I’m pretty sure you can hear a woman say “Of course he’s Jewish.” Okay, I obviously love a good Jewish line/joke, but this is just weird. Why would someone say that! Anyways, I’m not sure if there were Jews on Krypton, or I don’t know, maybe there were.
-When General Zod and his cronies barge into the oval office and overthrow the President. There’s some great dialogue here, and the actor who plays the President (E.J. Marshall) is really strong. Terence Stamp really shines in this scene.
-Clark Kent kisses Lois Lane and wipes her memory. Once again, it’s at the end where Superman does something ridiculous. It’s not as significant in this one, but it’s still just really stupid. How the hell does that work? I’m not buying it.
-Non actually has one good moment. The three Kryptonians approach a police car and General Zod points out how the red siren reminds him of Krypton. Non actually rips it out and hands it to him as a gift. Zod just kind of sighs and Non looks sad his gift was rejected. It was funny to see this huge guy put his head down like a sad puppy.
Bad Ass Moment:
-The end when Superman tricks every one into thinking he’s going into the molecule chamber to remove his powers when in fact it happens outside the chamber. I have to give it to Superman here. He actually uses his brain for once and out-smarts the three Kryptonians and even Luthor at the end. He even gives a little nod to Luthor as he points to his noggin and smiles.