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Superman is heading back to the screen in a couple weeks for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which means some of you might be looking at his previous movies. Go back far enough, and you’ll rediscover Superman II, which followed two years after the enormously successful Superman: The Movie and saw him fighting Zod and his lackeys. Although Christopher Reeve’s second turn as the Man of Steel earned a lot of praise when it first came out, it hasn’t necessarily aged well, and 36 years after its release, there are some issues that are more noticeable. So what better way to pick up on them then watching an Everything Wrong With… video?
The video kicks off with how the beginning Krypton scenes not look like they were made from pieces of the Star Wars set, but also don’t line up with the continuity established in Superman: The Movie. From there, the CinemaSins folks dig into the perceived “sins” Superman II has, and by the end, it’s racked up a total of 158 “sins.” The problems range from the antiquated moviemaking technology available at the time, to the illogical movement of certain plot points, to the continuing issue of how no one knows Clark Kent is Superman. As per usual, most of these “sins” are just nitpicks, but every now and then they come across some legitimate problems.
One of the major flaws that sticks out to both the video and fans is Superman erasing Lois Lane’s memory of his secret identity. Superman has a lot of special abilities, but memory wiping kisses have never been part of the arsenal. Even if we accept a yellow sun somehow empowers his Kryptonian lips, wouldn’t that also work on Jimmy Olsen and anyone else who learned the truth? Oh wait, Robot Chicken already covered that. Then, of course, there’s the worst of them all: the cellophane ’S’ shield that Superman used to neutralize Non. Look, obviously special effects weren’t as advanced back in that era, but even so, they couldn’t have come with a better anti-Kryptonian weapon? That one just caused the narrator of the video to utter “What the fuck?!”
As mentioned before, Superman II did earn many positive reviews in it initial release, but behind the scenes there were a lot of problems. Because production of Superman II was happening at the same time as Superman: The Movie, Richard Donner was originally the sequel’s director, but after shooting 75% of the movie, he was replaced it in 1979 by Richard Lester. Lester subsequently reshot more than half the movie, and while it still performed well, there are some noticeable differences if you look closely enough. In 2006, a Richard Donner re-cut of Superman II was released on home media, so if the theatrical version didn’t do anything for you, perhaps Donner’s original vision will be more preferable.
However you feel about Superman II, at least one thing is widely agreed upon: the film and its predecessor are a lot better than Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. If you want to experience the Reeve Superman era at its best, you’d be wise to jump off once Superman II finishes.