Superman's already received some negative press from this site due to his highly suspicious appearance in the worst He-Man comic book ever, and his pretty dubious home-decorating skills over at his Fortress of Solitude. I wish I could say I went out and found his more redeemable work, but truth is, we're gonna talk about Superman II.
This movie came out in 1981 - and it shows. Because as everyone knows, scriptwriters were universally idiots before 1985. I'm not saying this is a bad movie - I actually quite like it...but it's really hilarious if you look at what's actually going on.
On assignment at Niagra falls, Superman is pretty much forced to reveal his identity to Lois. Supes then decides he'd rather sleep with Lois than save the world, so he gives up his powers to be with her. It's a great moment - not two seconds after relieving himself of any super powers, Superman drags Lois to his giant Kryptonian bed. It's like a 16 year old with his first pack of condoms. Or jazz CD.
Meanwhile, three alien bad guys basically take over the planet. Superman's now faced with the internal struggle of going back to snow world to get his powers back before these crazy aliens (who dress like back-up singers for Depeche Mode) destroy the Earth.
You know that bully at school that looks like an idiot and talks like an idiot, but everyone's so afraid of him that they act like he's really cool? That's General Zod. I really want to focus on the last hour of the movie, because that's when things get really insane. These bad guys were trapped in the Phantom Zone, and they used their escape to it's fullest potential by trying to get everyone to kneel to General Zod. They crash into the White House, beat up everybody, tear the place apart, and when they finally reach the president, the best thing they can think of is forcing him to kneel.
Zod also has the same problem Skeletor did in the live-action He-Man movie - all he could think about was enslaving his enemy. I guess it's construed as some total victory, but what would he actually do with a Superman slave? What, is Clark going to be dusting Zod's coffee tables for the rest of eternity?
Don't get me wrong - Zod is undeniably cool. He's so ridiculous that it's impossible not to like him. In a scene where Lois and Clark are at some shady diner watching television after Clark gets beat up, the president announces that the planet is under Zod's control, prompting Zod to look directly into the tv cameras while screaming his name with more enthusiasm than a little girl with a new lunchbox on the first day of school. If you're at home watching some guy scream 'Zod! ZOD!' through your television sets, it'd be pretty hard to gain that sense of horror even considering the circumstances. Two to one you'd be calling your friends in a fit of laughter telling them to switch to channel 7.
The fellow above is called 'Non', and he's the bad guys' brute force. He had absolutely no lines - all he could do was grunt and occassionally throw buildings at Superman. Other than that, he mainly tried to keep his face at a right angle to the camera so you wouldn't get a chance to see his unfortunately mishapen nose. His plot worked for the most part, but there's still a few head-on shots that provide much more terror than his leader's name shouting.
Non is supposed to be the child of the group, and that's understandable. He's so filled with wonder and curiousity, I couldn't picture him any other way. The first thing I thought out when Zod started punching the White House walls was 'Ah, there we go. Something for the children to relate to.' Zod meets his doom pretty much in the same way every bad guys meets his doom in a film where they've gone overbudget - by falling into a pit. What an easy out. No explosions, gunshots, nothing. He just falls into the pit.
Ursa was the female of this rogue alien bad guy group. She's also wears thigh-exposing pants! Thigh-exposing! Now that's evil. Out of all the aliens, Ursa was the most vocal about her distaste for the human race. Let's face it, she has every right to feel that way. Stuck in the Phantom Zone for all that time, and still she managed to keep her mascara on perfectly. We've got nothing on Ursa.
Ursa really hated Lois Lane. If you ever made it three drinks for whenever Ursa smacked Lois in your Superman 2 Drinking Game, you'd die from alcohol poisoning.
One of the best parts of this movie is after Superman gives up his powers for Lois Lane. I understand that Clark's no longer 'super', but jeez, he really becomes a pansy. Not only does Clark manage to get his ass kicked, bleed, and cry within ten minutes, but he throws an absolute temper tantrum when people won't pick him up while he's hitchhiking back to the Fortress.
All in all, it's a sometimes unintentionally funny movie, but a good one nonetheless. It's worth renting just to see the end battle, where the aliens are tearing up Metropolis. A mother tries to shield her baby carriage from incoming debris...but the only problem is that we get a direct-above shot of the carriage to see that there's absolutely nothing in it. Attention to detail was never Superman's legacy, so we'll let it slide. Get drunk and rent it.