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Films: S is for...

Superman II

Richard Lester’s own justification of the Middle-Film-In-A-Trilogy-Is-Best theorem (we’re not counting Superman IV, here, obviously). Freed of the pondering pretentiousness of the first episode we get fun from the first frame here. There’s’ loads more Lex Luthor – the only reason to watch any of these things – Superman getting a bit of a doing and Richard Griffiths. All good stuff. Of course, the first part had Harry ‘Superman’ Andrews and the third part had Richard Pryor’s giant comedy cowboy hat, but this is where it’s at.



  1. An Overaged Jimmy Olsen

    November 30, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    I think there’s less Lex Luthor because Gene Hackman walked off the film a little way into shooting, you can spot his embarrassingly obvious double as he’s always filmed from behind. Richard Donner came up with his own re-edited version of this recently partly because he wanted to make General Zod less funny, which is a terrible idea, Zod being funny is one of the best bits. Anyone who says Terence Stamp is a lightweight actor has never seen how great he is in this.

    You can tell how expensive this was due to the way over the top product placement throughout (even for cigarettes! Nick O’Teen must have been delighted!).

  2. Richard16378

    September 1, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    I did wonder why Lex Luthor vanishes from the plot for a long time after his jailbreak.

    The first 2 Superman films were made back to back to keep continuity tight.

  3. Glenn A

    November 29, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I think Lois Lane makes these films, which is why the third one isn’t as good as she’s only in it for five minutes. Margot Kidder portrays Lois Lane well as an opinionated, independent woman who gets into as many scrapes as Superman.
    In real life Margot Kidder was hit by the curse of Superman, a horrific car accident in 1990 nearly killed her and then mental illness saw her become a down ands out. However, last I heard she’s on the fan convention scene and also a bit of a political activist.

  4. Glenn Aylett

    August 6, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    The first film is excellent, but Superman 2 goes one step further and there’s more action. I can’t think of any film I enjoyed as much in the eighties and absolutely love how Lex Luthor’s character was expanded into a collaborator of General Zod, and how he tries to play off Zod and his comrades against Superman as Lex Luthor is really only interested in Lex Luthor. Also the sets in the Arctic and on Krypton are right up there with Star Wars.
    Then, of course, they had to make another one, which while it’s OK( Richard Pryor and the good Superman/ bad Superman are the best bits), it’s no match for the first two films.

    • richardpd

      August 6, 2019 at 10:57 pm

      I agree, the first one is great but the second takes thing a bit further.

      Plenty of good moments to fill up a slow bank holiday afternoon, the oddly British accented kids, the gratuitous product placement during the fight, Ursa nicking badges off everyone she fights, The Average White Band’s Pick Up The Pieces on constant play at the diner etc.

      Also endless debates with fellow film buffs about how it would have been if Richard Donner hadn’t been sacked. I know he had his alternative cut for the DVD but I presume he had to use footage shot by Richard Lester.

  5. Glenn Aylett

    August 7, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    @richardpd, another highlight for me is when Clark/ Superman loses his powers, gets into a fight with a redneck lorry driver who’s widely disliked in the diner and loses, and then goes back to sort him out at the end. I doubt think there’s one dull moment as a few people said the love scenes in the original film were a bit slow and smaller children obviously found them boring.

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