Monday, June 10, 2013

Superman Week: Superman II

Superman 2 is an interesting case of not only a film being as good if not a little better than its predecessor but also having a major change in production. when around 75% of the film was shot, Richard Donner left  the production. After Donner's exit, Richard Lester took over and had to shoot much of the film over again in order to receive directors credit. How well did this work? It turned out one of the better film sequels ever made, but its not without its faults.

Plot Summary: Three criminals from the planet Krypton, General Zod, Ursa and Nod,  are released from the Phantom Zone by a nuclear explosion in space. They descend upon Earth where they could finally rule. Superman, meanwhile, is in love with Lois Lane, who finds out who he really is. Lex Luthor escapes from prison and is determined to destroy Superman by joining forces with the three criminals.

The plot of the film is really richer than most people would give it credit for. It also has a big lesson that sometimes the thing you want most has a greater cost and impact than you can imagine. The plot here is a little unbalanced in spots, so its obvious some things were  cut here and there and new footage was used, but overall it is a good story.

The acting is the same great work that was shown in the first film, which is to be expected with a great cast like this. Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder and Gene Hackman all return and there are also some new additions to the cast. Terence Stamp as General Zod, Sarah Douglas as Ursa and  Jack O'Halloran as Non.

As Zod, Terence Stamp was a formidable opponent to The Man of Steel. Much more intimidating than Lex Luthor was in the first film, this was definitely a step in a good direction for the series. Having a villain that could not only match wits with the hero, but also possessed the same abilities as him made for a much more compelling film and story.

Now I'm not going to say this film wasn't without its faults. At points to me the film felt unbalanced, no doubt the victim of a director swap during production.With scenes being cut and the story changing during production,there are many plot holes and stuff that just really doesn't make sense.

The fight scene in Metropolis is a mixed bag in my eyes. On one hand you have the good with the action and special effects, which were decent at the time. There were plenty of jokes such as when the Zod is using his super breath to produce strong winds and people are getting wigs ripped off and phone booths toppling over. On the other hand you have Superman appearing to be weak which he likely is as he might not be at full strength. Had they gone with that route and had him try fighting them when not 100% recovered it would have made more sense, but as is it was a decent.

Then there is the new powers which pop out of no where. It appears that not only Superman but Zod, Non and Ursa also have developed telekinetic abilities and other powers. Zod is able to not only heat up a shotgun which a police officer has pointed at him, but also levitate it towards him. Superman displays his telekinetic power by popping a bottle of champagne for Lois and himself. In the films final fight scene Superman and the others also have the ability to teleport and make projections of themselves. There was never a logical explanation for these abilities being added that I've seen.

There is also the plot hole of how exactly he got his powers back, which in this version of the film is left to your imagination. At first it would appear that he was able to repair the machine which turned him into a normal human, but when they return to the Fortress of Solitude the control panel is still destroyed. Also don't even get me started on the memory erasing kiss, that's a whole different level of WTF. 

Overall its not a bad film, but the acting and  action don't really make up for the inconsistency and lack of logic. Superman 2, this version at least is on par with the original film, which is a compliment in its own right, but it could have been better. Still worth checking out if you get a chance. 

Score 7/10

Trailer :

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