Receiving its first release in Australia and mainland Europe in December 1980, Superman II was not released in the UK until 9 April 1981.
Featuring Christopher Reeve as the eponymous hero and Gene Hackman as the fabulously deranged evil mastermind Lex Luthor, Superman II is tremendous knockabout fun regardless of what critics may say. Margot Kidder reprises her marvellously kooky role as Lois Lane and the villain count is upped by Terence Stamp’s memorable portrayal as the truly vile General Zod. This doesn’t do justice to other fine performances from Valerie Perrine as Luthor’s girlfriend Miss Teschmacher and Ned Beatty as Otis, Luthor’s would-be dastardly henchman.
To paraphrase the plot is not hard. Three criminals, General Zod and his hench-people Ursa and Non have been banished from Superman’s birthplace Krypton and cast into the Phantom Zone.
Unknowingly released by Superman’s redirection of a hydrogen bomb into outer space, the three arrive on Earth with powers equal to Superman’s and immediately force the President of the United States to surrender the planet to them.
The only person capable of resisting them, Superman (aka Clark Kent), has decided to trade his own superpowers for a lifetime of love with Lois Lane. It soon becomes apparent to Clark and Lois that their promise must be reversed and Superman duly joins battle with the three, who are assisted by Luthor and his cronies.
After a tense set to, with lots of BIFF! and KERPOW!, not to mention THWACK!, Superman wins the day seeing off Zod and his cronies; returning Luthor to jail, and wiping Lois’ memory of who his alter ego at the Daily Planet is. Oh, and he also returns the Stars and Stripes to where it belongs on top of the White House.