Directed by: Richard Lester, Richard Donner
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman
You know, watching them back to back like this, I can’t really tell which is better, Superman or Superman II. They’re both really damn good. The second film has some much better villains than the first (not taking anything away from Gene Hackman’s insane portrayal of Lex Luthor, which he repeats in this film… only now he’s comic relief), but the first just has a more natural arc to it. They’re both very good.
Before Krypton was destroyed, Superman’s dad sent three convicts to the “Phantom Zone”, where they were to stay for eternity. Due to some space-based nuclear testing, the three escape and go to Earth, where they find they have the same powers as Superman, except there’s three of them, and they’re evil. Also, Superman just gave up his powers so he could marry Lois Lane, who finally found out about his alter-ego. Guess the world’s fucked. KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!!
Seriously, Terence Stamp as General Zod is fucking great. He’s just this really scary dictator guy who has Superman powers, and some buddies. He’s basically Super Caesar, which is a damn good type of villain for Superman, guardian of peace, justice, and the American way. Also, keep in mind that this was thirty years ago, they didn’t really have the effects or budget to do any of the crazier comic book Superman enemies, and all the good ones are crazy. I guess they could’ve done Brainiac, back before he was a big robot thing. Like… Paul Newman in green facepaint and he’s shooting lightning from his eyes. Hell, it would’ve been better than the third and fourth Superman movies.