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Superman II (1981)

tomatometer

89

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 45
Fresh: 40 | Rotten: 5

The humor occasionally stumbles into slapstick territory, and the special effects are dated, but Superman II meets, if not exceeds, the standard set by its predecessor.

100

Average Rating: 8.6/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 0

The humor occasionally stumbles into slapstick territory, and the special effects are dated, but Superman II meets, if not exceeds, the standard set by its predecessor.

audience

75

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 238,389

My Rating

Movie Info

Between giving up his super powers, confronting criminals from outer space, and having problems with his girlfriend, it's a bad time to be the Man of Steel in this sequel to the 1978 blockbuster. When terrorists threaten to destroy Paris with a thermonuclear device as they hold reporter Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) hostage, Superman (Christopher Reeve) comes to the rescue and flings the weapon into space. However, its blast outside the earth's orbit awakens Zod (Terence Stamp), Ursa (Sarah

May 1, 2001

Warner Bros. Pictures

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All Critics (45) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (5) | DVD (23)

Let's face it, times change, and Superman and friend have sweetly embraced the spirit of the '80s as well as each other.

April 12, 2013 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As good a matinee movie as could be imagined.

April 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A solid, classy, cannily constructed piece of entertainment which gets down to action almost immediately.

April 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The combination of Richard Donner's superb original casting and visual attack with Lester's wit and his ear for sound proves a pretty formidable alliance.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Superman II begins in midstream, and never looks back...

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comment (1)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Superman II is a marvelous toy.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's an entertaining and fun follow-up that definitely made good on the promise of evil doers who'd challenge the man of steel for all he's worth.

June 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

On some levels soars above its predecessor with a more personal story; credible, menacing villains and an impeccable cast.

June 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Lyles' Movie Files
Lyles' Movie Files

Witty, action-packed superadventure with big themes.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

A fine follow-up, it's easy to understand why some consider Superman II to be the pick of the series.

July 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Manages to gain classic comic book feature status through a combination of great stunts and a great human angle.

July 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

This is first class entertainment with a little bit of everything thrown in for good measure.

July 10, 2007 Full Review Source: DVD Review
DVD Review

An especially fun movie and a rare instance of a sequel that not only equals, but even betters, its original.

April 17, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The spectacular battle scenes, the tenderly poignant love story, and the still-amusing work by Hackman make its broad transgressions quite forgivable.

January 2, 2007 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

A definitive look at the strange, impossible love triangle of Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Superman… not perfect, but in the annals of comic-book movies it remains an indispensable touchstone.

August 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

Acaba sendo salvo pelo mesmo elemento que contribuiu para o sucesso do original: a dinâmica e a química entre Christopher Reeve e Margot Kidder.

July 11, 2006
Cinema em Cena

...as uneven and overlong as the first one.

July 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

By its very nature, the resulting film is severely compromised, but still rip-roaring, unpretentious entertainment.

July 4, 2006
Groucho Reviews

Tighter, funnier, and generally better than its predecessor

September 13, 2005 | Comment (1)
Film Journal International

I thought it was great when I was nine, but now... oh my GOD!

August 25, 2005 | Comments (7)
7M Pictures

Superman II made me cheer when I was seven years old, it makes me cheer now that I'm thirty, and it'll make me cheer when I'm ninety.

June 18, 2005 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Aside from some unfortunate slapstick, it's a truly spectacular superhero sequel.

February 3, 2005
New Times

Audience Reviews for Superman II

It may not set an new standards in this series, especially because it's almost impossible to live up to the amazement that the original film brought to the table, but "Superman 2" exceeds in many more ways than one, embracing it's cheese and creating awesome action scenes, even if the extras become a bit distracting and the effects laughable. The effects are definitely dated, but the story is stronger than ever. As seen at the beginning of the first film, Zod and his sidekicks have been locked up in the phantom zone, only awaiting their accidental release in this film, making them the main focus as Kal-El/Superman faces real-life issues. I loved everything about this film, but it is just hard to praise it as much as the first, because I wanted to see just a little more of everything. Still, it's a fantastic superhero film that I can watch over and over again!
June 15, 2013
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

****

"Superman 2" is one off those sequels that does a lot of the same as the first one, but changes it up enough to actually be better. Here, everyone is back, only the villain is General Zod(Terrance Stamp) along with his 2 sidekicks, who have escaped their exile, and come to Earth to rule. Once here, they meet with Lex Luther(Gene Hackman) and learn that Jor-El's son, Superman(Christopher Reeve) is living on Earth. It then becomes their mission to destroy Superman and make him kneel, while ruling the world. There is a lot more action in this one that the first(and the 3 and 4th), and although the ending is one big rehash, it's very entertaining and keeps at a good pace. The version I watched is the Richard Donner cut released from 2006. I don't remember much from the original theatrical version, so I'd have to rewatch it sometime before I can say what's different, but this version works fine. Reeve was an awesome Superman, and just as awesome as he was, Stamp was amazing as Zod. For a guy dressed like a dominatrix, he was a perfect villain. The film runs a little long, and obviously looks dated, but it holds up better than the other 2 sequels by far. Actually, I would say this is the best of the Reeve's Superman movies. If your gonna revisit any of them before the new one, this is the one to check out. If anything, to compare the Zod performances.
June 12, 2013
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer

Replacing Donner halfway through production, Richard Lester's (A Hard Day's Night) campy slapstick tone severely clashes with the serious tone of the Donner-filmed scenes. General Zod makes for an entertaining foe but too much of the story is taken up by the time-killer sub-plot involving Lois discovering Clark's secret identity. The narrative puts the Last Son of Krypton through the dilemma of losing his powers but due to its inexplicable anti-climactic resolution and the infamous memory-wipe kiss; any dramatic potential or intriguing story opportunities are wasted.

Thankfully the special effects and still fantastic-as-ever cast elevate this flick. With the exception of the moon sequence, the special effects are very creative and delightful to watch. Seeing the powerful trio of Kryptonian criminals effortlessly destroy buildings (White House and Daily Planet sequence) is extremely fun to watch and perfectly conveys that Zod is very much Superman's equal in strength. The Metropolis wind-tunnel sequence has some impressive special effects work also but the forced sight gags and jokes undercut the dramatic tension. Terence Stamp's turn as the rogue General Zod is very memorable due to his cold-calculating nature and subtle arrogance. Stamp shouting "Kneel before Zod!" is a very memorable line.

It is a shame that the story is so ridden with jarring tonal inconsistencies, lame slapstick, cheap gags, and wasted opportunities. 'Superman II' shows signs that the franchise was already descending into the realms of self-parody that will only get worse in the ensuing two sequels.
June 5, 2013
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

Funny and cool with a great spin on the man of steel. Full review later.
June 9, 2012
TomBowler
Thomas Bowler

Super Reviewer

    1. Gen. Zod: Why do you say this to me, when you know that I will kill you for it?
    – Submitted by Lucas M (2 years ago)
    1. Gen. Zod: [as somebody pulls a gun on him] These humans are beginning to bore me.
    – Submitted by Lucas M (2 years ago)
    1. Gen. Zod: I win. I always win. Is there no one on this planet to even challenge me?
    – Submitted by Lucas M (2 years ago)
    1. Clark Kent/Superman: Good afternoon, Mr. President. Sorry I've been away so long...I won't let you down again.
    – Submitted by Geraldo G (2 years ago)
    1. Clark Kent/Superman: We'd better talk.
    2. Lois Lane: I'm in love with you.
    3. Clark Kent/Superman: We'd really better talk.
    – Submitted by Geraldo G (2 years ago)
    1. Clark Kent/Superman: Well that's funny. I've never seen garbage eat garbage before.
    – Submitted by Geraldo G (2 years ago)
View all quotes (8)

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Foreign Titles

  • Superman II (1980) (DE)
  • Superman II (1980) (UK)
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