Sunday, April 8, 2012

Superman - Two heads are better than one

Marching swiftly on to a swifter sequel. Superman II came out in 1980, written by Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman and Tom Mankiewicz, and directed by Richard Lester.
All the main cast return except for Marlon Brando who was too expensive, so Susannah York as Superman's mother does much of the explaining of the back story. We get a complete recap of the first film during the title credits and then it's on to Luthor's escape from prison and Superman saving Lois from the Parisian terrorists and, in the process, throwing the nuclear bomb into deep space where its explosion releases the Kryptonian bad guys from the Phantom Zone.

Terence Stamp makes a suitably menacing General Zod, and the three Kryptonian baddies give Superman someone of his own power level to punch. Not that it does him any good as they are too evenly matched. Instead we get a display of new powers including throwing his S symbol as a sot of catch net (really?) and then it's on to the inevitable 'bait and switch' power removal chamber in the Fortress of Solitude.

Along the way we get Lois discovering Superman's secret identity, him renouncing his powers to be with her and answer the Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex conundrum. There's that strange bit where the human Clark Kent gets beaten up in a Diner before heading back to the Fortress of Solitude to power up in time for the final showdown. I always thought the moment when the re-energised Kent returns at the end to teach the bully a lesson was a bit odd. Like the Jedi Superman doesn't really do revenge. He should be above all that.

And then we end with yet another new Kryptonian super-power, the kiss of forgetfulness which completely restores the status quo. Having the perfect actor to play Superman and some pretty good special effects it is a pity they couldn't come up with better scripts for the first two films. Let us see whether the Donner cut of Superman 2 is any better.

No comments:

Post a Comment