"Superman II" picks up right where the first flick featuring Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel ends. During the opening credits, the viewer is briefed quickly on the first film. After that, we learn that Lex Luthor has escaped prison (leaving Otis behind bars), Superman has fallen hard for Lois Lane, and the evil trio from Krypton, headed up by Terence Stamp, are freed from their window-pane prison via an H-bomb that Superman tossed into space in order to save Paris, France and Lois Lane.
In order to do a newstory, Clark Kent and Lois pretend to be a married couple on honeymoon at Niagara Falls. Once there, a sequence of events leads up to Lois figuring out who Clark really is. He gives up his powers so that he can live the life of a mortal with her. Little does he know that once he loses his powers, his father's old Kryptonian enemies show up, take over the White House, team up with Luthor, and basically call out Superman for a big fight. The rest of the tale unfolds with typical superhero flash. I won't say too much more because I don't want to give everything away.
Reeve reprises his role as the overgrown Boy Scout with flair. His performance as Clark is even goofier than in the first flick. Margot Kidder has lost a little edge with Lois Lane in this film, probably because she's got her love blinders on. Gene Hackman is solid, if not funnier, as Luthor in this film. The real scene-stealer, however, is Terence Stamp as Zod, the leader of the villainous trio of Kryptonians. He chews up the screen with silly one-liners like, "Not God, ZOD!!" His two lackeys are along for the ride (Jack O'Halloran and the lovely lady who's name escapes me). The dazzling Valerie Perrine and Ned Beatty have brief but funny appearances in the flick, reprising their roles as Luthor's lover and oafish henchman, respectively.
The special effects haven't aged well at all. Limitations are revealed in this flick that weren't as noticeable as in the first film. The "power loss" scene where Superman gives up his powers is downright horrid to watch on the screen. Also, there's a lot more humor tossed into this second-helping of Superman, but it never takes away from the story as much as the effects.
The effects are understandable, and the humor is a nice touch, but the really glaring bad spot for this flick is the DVD itself. Poor audio quality (I had to crank up my volume to hear the dialogue and then crank it down due to the loud music), only a couple of "special features" (if you call actor's film credits and a trailer, special), and the flimsy packaging all add up to a bad disc. But, as another reviewer stated, this is currently the only version of this flick that you can pick up on DVD, so I guess we'll all have to deal with it.
Hopefully, Warner Brothers will do something nice to this and the rest of the "Superman" flicks when the "Superman Returns" DVD hits store shelves. It'd be nice to have these films in a decent hardback case with a couple of decent special features. Till then, I recommend this sequel to folks like myself who've grown nostalgic about ol' Christopher Reeve since the new flick hit the screen. He is sorely missed.
And in case you're wondering, when I originally wrote this review, the new version everyone is writing about wasn't out yet. It seems that a lot of people feel that my review was done on the incorrect version of this film when, in fact, I wrote this review about the DVD that I own. Thanks.