Film (1980). Dovemead/International Film Production. Directed by Richard Lester. Written by Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman (and, as "creative consultant", Tom Mankiewicz) from a story by Puzo. Cast includes Ned Beatty, Sarah Douglas, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Jack O'Halloran, Christopher Reeve, Terence Stamp and Susannah York. 127 minutes. Colour.
Originally to be shot back-to-back with Superman, Superman II changed directors after conflict between the previous director, Richard Donner, and the producers, Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler. Superman II as released is perhaps 25% Donner's work and 75% Lester's. Certainly in its pace and its pop-art ironies it seems the work of Lester, maker of, inter alia, the Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night (1964). A trio of criminals exiled from the planet Krypton find their way to Earth, which they attempt to take over using their Superpowers. Superman, who finally stops them, has first to restore his own powers, lost through his love for Lois Lane. (Apparently the condition of Superhero, like that of priest, requires celibacy.) The protracted finale is choreographed with skilful comic-strip glee: the mythic dignity of the first film is lost, but enough wit takes its place – including the parallel between an impotent Superman and an impotent USa – for the film to be good value. Superman was to be further demystified in Superman III (1983). [PN]
see also: Supergirl; Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.
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