There’s one man here, that will never kneel before you…
The Man of Steel is back, in the 1980 film ‘Superman II’.
Having filmed around 75% of the sequel to 1978’s Superman whilst filming the original, Richard Donner left the project, with Richard Lester (Hard Day’s Night, The Three Musketeers, Juggernaut) taking the role of director. Lester would go onto refilm some sequences and a number of extra ones were added, with him ultimately receiving the director credit. Screenplay was again delivered by the combination of Mario Puzo, David and Leslie Newman.
The three criminals exiled from Krypton (cruelly now 75% of the surviving population of the planet) are released from their ‘phantom zone’ prison after a hydrogen bomb explodes in space. They, led by General Zod (Terence Stamp), take to Earth with powers equal to Superman.
Meanwhile on Earth, Clark Kent is developing a relationship with Lois that may well break down his secret, and present him with a choice about his powers forever in a chamber that would allow him to live as a mortal.
Given the overlap in filming, the film is very much a second part of the story and all of the key cast members reprise their roles through the film.
Much like the first, the film is at its best, when its fighting the slapstick humour and finding the real story in these characters. Reeve himself finds a new level when dealing with the decisions to reject his powers, and his human existence afterwards especially featuring a scene with a monologue in the ‘fortress of solitude’ as a stand out moment in the film.