Director: Richard Lester
Screenplay By: Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman
Release Date: June 19, 1981
Run Time: 127 minutes
Superman 2, compared to Tim Burton’s “Batman”, is a pretty interesting look at just how much better writing and a sincere passion for a project always makes for a better movie. Yesterday I had said that In “Batman” there was way too little Batman. Well, in this film there is even less Superman. But as you can clearly see by the score I gave the movie, I clearly think this is a superior film. How does that happen? Well, the film makers here clearly cared more. So lets take a look at “Superman 2” and discus what exactly made this film so good.
The film starts with a recap of the last film. It re-shows us General Zod and his minions being taped in the phantom zone, Krypton being destroyed and Clark landing on earth. Then it cuts to Superman’s meeting with Lex Luthor and how Superman managed to stop one of the bombs Luthor sent by throwing it into space. That’s were the recap stops. We fallow the bomb Superman sent into space as it travels endlessly and aimlessly throughout space. As Newton’s First Law of Motion states, all objects in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. And what outside force stops the bomb? Zod’s prison. Yes, with in a few minuets of the film starting out Villains have escaped and headed straight for earth.
At this same time Lex Luthor, still in prison after the events of the last film, has found a way of tracking Superman’s movements and is plotting his own prison break. Like in the last film Luthor and him minions are mostly here for comedic relief, but I think the managed to find a nice balance this time around. He’s still a threat, but still rather funny as well. For example: when he brakes out of prison. His old girlfriend brakes them out with a hot air balloon. Luthor sends Otis to look for the ladder, but it keeps swinging behind him. It was a nice bit of physical, not quite slapstick, comedy. However even with all the scenes like this, with out Luthor’s discovery, the climax really couldn’t have happened. And what was that big discovery? He manages to find Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.
And what about our hero’s? What have they been up to? Well, at the end of the last movie Lois begins to suspect Clark is Superman, and goes out of her way to prove it. Even going so far as to throw herself out of a window 30 stories up knowing he wont let her die. Witch he doesn’t, but he uses his speed, super breath and heat vision to make her safe(ish) landing seem more like a coincidence. They are then told to do a human interest story, posing as a married couple at Niagara Falls. While there a young boy (being the worlds biggest dumb-ass) falls over the railing and strait into the the lake below. This forces Clark to become Superman and save the boy. This reignites Lois’ belief that Clark is Superman. So, when they get back to their Hotel she shoots him at point blank range. Clark tells here that if she had been wrong, Clark Kent would have been dead. To witch Lois can only retort “From a blank”?
Now free from the constraints of his hidden identity Clark takes Lois to the Fortress of Solitude and the two of them spend some real quality time together. As this is happening, Zod and his crew begin taking over a small town in the USA. Clark and Lois become so happy together, that Clark ends up forfeiting his powers so he can be with her, instead of having to be a hero as well. And what is Zod doing? He takes over the U.S. By taking over the white house. Unfortunately only finds out about this after getting his ass kicked in a bar fight and has to make his way back to the north pole by foot.
Luckily, Jor-El knew to expect this, and did create a fail safe, but it would cut off there ability to communicate forever after that. So, with his powers back Superman Heads back to the City in order to deal with Zod. The fight scene is actually pretty cool. It reminded me a lot of the fight between Superman and Zod in “Man of Steel”. In fact, I kind of prefer this version of the fight. Sure, the effects aren’t as good, but it’s shoot and edited much better so I could keep up with the action much easier. And even through Superman and Zod do go through a few buildings here like the due in “Man of Steel”, it ever feels like Superman doesn’t care about the people he’s trying to protect. That could be the result of this being a more family orientated movie that “Man of Steel” was, but in the end, I think Superman should always be shown to be compassionate, even when pushed to his braking point.
The Film ends with every one in the Fortress of Solitude, were Superman does a reverse version of what took away his powers. This Strips Zod and his crew of theirs, while Superman keeps his own. He then kills Zod, Lois kills his female counter part, and the bid dumb brute…tries to fly and falls to his death. So why don’t people complain about this like they do with “Man of Steel”? Well, because Superman does that dumb ass “world spin time travel” thing from the first movie and Zod and his crew go back to being taped in the phantom Zone. I guess the film crew though that that would get less stupid if they did it again. So the film ends with everything back to normal. Lois has no idea who Superman is, Zod is no longer a threat and there is peace once again. But Clark is back to having to be the bumbling idiot that can;t get any attention from the woman he loves after getting a taste of real happiness, so the film doesn’t end completely on a high note.
What makes this movie so good in my opinion are the stakes and the relatability of Clark’s dilemma. I think every one understand the yearning to be happy and how our responsibilities can often get in the way of that. And at the same time, Zod and his underlings are showed early on to be a real threat. So when we learn that Clark made the wrong choice, we have a real understand of just how much there is to lose. Zod wont just sell land at a ridiculous price if he beats Superman, he’ll kill nearly everyone alive. If it wasn’t for that cop-out ending being done again and the poorly aged effects, this would have been a perfect movie. As is though, this is my favorite Superman movie to date. Maybe not my favorite Superhero movie, but defiantly my favorite Superman incarnation.
Join me tomorrow when I take a look a “Batman Returns” as I continue “Batman Vs Superman Month”.
***Note: Sorry for the Lack of pictures this time, but nearly all the cast is the same as they were in the last film. Plus, with how old the effects look there really isn’t much that is worth looking at outside of the film itself. With those two things combines, i can’t really justify spending the time to look for pics when i have so many more films to watch and review and well as games to play and review.