Superman II

1981

Superman II

Critics Consensus

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.

86%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 49

76%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 239,786
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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 Douglas), and Non (Jack O'Halloran), three villains from Superman's home planet of Krypton who were exiled to outer space for their crimes. Zod and his partners arrive on Earth and use their powers in a bid to take over the U.S., and then the world. However, when Lois realizes that mild mannered Clark Kent and Superman are actually the same person, he brings her to his Fortress of Solitude, where his decision to marry Lois costs him his remarkable strength. Without his super powers, how can Superman vanquish Zod and save the world? Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty, Susannah York, and Jackie Cooper return from the first film, which was shot at the same time as parts of the sequel.

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Critic Reviews for Superman II

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (10)

Audience Reviews for Superman II

  • Sep 22, 2017
    Pretty good follow up to the first even if the film was ruined by the love story taking over way too much for my liking, We finally get to see Zod and his crew invade earth after the first one teased us with the story, There's more action and it wasn't half bad, The humour wasn't needed as it felt very childish at times, The effects and the practical effects were pretty good for its year but the main fight scenes were ruined by advertisements everywhere, By the end of the film I was thinking I should be smoking Marlboro cigarettes, Drink Coca Cola and watching this film on a JVC player, The ending was good but a few plot holes and silly bits really ruined it for me, It's not as good as the first but having a good villain and some ok action scenes really saved this film from becoming a real letdown.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Mar 15, 2016
    Super times two, this sun-kissed sequel takes everything that worked so superbly in the first film and manages to trim down some - but not all - of the hokiness. Bride of Frankenstein, The Godfather Part II, and The Empire Strikes Back all share the same distinction: According to many, these sequels best their predecessors. Superman II, however, truly one-ups the original. With a story threaded from the superb first chapter through to this slightly more serious adventure, a powerless not-so-Superman battling god-like convicts seeking revenge for the sins of his father makes for one of the most exciting and heartfelt hero tales ever. In this PG-rated sequel to Superman, Superman (Reeve) agrees to sacrifice his powers to start a relationship with Lois Lane (Margot Kidder), unaware that three Kryptonian criminals (Terrence Stamp, et al) he inadvertently released are conquering Earth. Though Richard Donner's fingerprints are all over this ridiculously rousing adventure (the plot of part II gets foretold in the excellent opening of part I), it's Richard Lester (A Hard Day's Night) who gets credited as director. Still, stick with the initial cut (and not the Richard Donner Cut, which was released on DVD in 2006) to get the full impact of General Zod and his cronies laying waste to an America without Superman. Like its forebear, the film is not without its Kryptonite. Some of the humor verges on madcap and the SFX dates poorly. Bottom line: Man of Real Steel
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 22, 2015
    A strange rarity that this is just as good as the original. With two more films I can't see this level of high standards remaining forever though.
    Ian W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 25, 2013
    Superman II marks my favourite entry in the franchise to date. Mostly thanks to the presence of Terence Stamp (The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Smallville, Elektra, Ultramarines) as General Zod. Superman and Superman II were intended by Donner to be a single, three hour film. WB insisted that they be split into two films, much to his distress (which may have been part of the reason he was replaced by RIchard Lester). What results is two acceptable films, that (while not adhering to Donner's initial vision) have a great sense of continuity. Feeling very similar to the first film, but changing it up enough to keep the audience engaged. Again, many people would probably feel the piece is overly long, but that may just be that this film is from an era of cinematic storytelling no longer appreciated by the masses. What results is a poignant piece covering a huge number of facets of the Superman arc, including the well addressed (but not over-glorified) dichotomy of Clark Kent and Superman. The goings on feel somewhat cliched, though given the fact that the film is over thirty years old, I'm willing too admit there's every possibility it wasn't so at the time. Superman II teeters on the edge of slapstick staple, but manages to avoid tumbling over into the realm of ridiculousness like the first or third entry (or just plain stupidity like the fourth) and instead sits in a comfortable place of mild comedic amusement. 64% -Gimly
    Gimly M Super Reviewer

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