For all the production halts, setbacks, personnel changeovers and legal wrangling that paved its way to the screen, Superman II emerges as a solid, classy, cannily constructed piece of entertainment which gets down to action almost immediately.
Although original plans called for lensing the first two Superman features simultaneously, the sequel is reportedly 80% newly shot footage.
The film does an especially good job of picking up the strings of unexplored characters and plot seeds left dangling from the first pic, taking its core plot from the three Kryptonian villains – Terence Stamp, Jack O’Halloran and Sarah Douglas – briefly glimpsed in the first pic. Here, they’re liberated from perpetual imprisonment in a bizarre time-warp by an H-bomb explosion in outer space.
The film builds quickly to a climactic battle between Christopher Reeve and the three supervillains in mid-town Manhattan.