Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Superman II

Go To

  • Adaptation Displacement: Zod was a pretty minor element of Superman's rogues gallery when the movie came out, but since then, he's been promoted to a rather important element of it. Most versions of Zod are also visually based on Terence Stamp, and most fans would likely struggle to name a second Zod storyline.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • After losing his powers and getting sucker punched by a redneck trucker thug, a powerless Clark laments that he and Lois need to hire a bodyguard, causing Lois to remark "I don't want a bodyguard, I want the man I fell in love with." What exactly does that say about Lois? That she only loved the superhero with god like powers but not the Nice Guy behind them?
    • Advertisement:
    • What side of the "Who is the real persona?" does this Superman fall on? Lois asks Superman if it's hard being Clark Kent, and he remarks that it's not hard at all and he even enjoys it despite the foolishness he must sometimes indulge in. Normally Reeve's Superman fell on the version from the Silver Age, but this evokes the Bronze Age interpretation that both identities are important to him.
  • Ass Pull: Superman's whole ability to give Lois Laser-Guided Amnesia with a kiss comes across this way, as there is nothing in the previous movie to suggest he has any such power, and seems made up mainly to "reset" his relationship with Lois as her knowing his identity would radically change how future movies would work. It also counts as a Voodoo Shark, as you have to wonder why he doesn't just give Luthor a Forceful Kiss to make him forget his evil plans (ok, Superman isn't gay, but it's hard to believe he'd refuse to kiss a man if doing so would save the world.)
  • Advertisement:
  • Audience-Coloring Adaptation: For Zod and his followers. It worked so well that the comics eventually changed their depictions of them to match. Zod was originally clean-shaven and dressed like The Generalissimo in the comics - imagine Superman fighting M. Bison. Nowadays, his Beard of Evil is indispensable.
  • Better on DVD: The Donner Cut removes a lot of the unnecessary comedy scenes that Richard Lester and the Salkinds added and fills in a couple of Plot Holes. It's the closest to Richard Donner's original vision.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The overlong scene of the villains using their super-breath to blow away the Metropolis civilians is meant to be both funny and horrifying, but even among the sight gags there's a very weird shot of a balding man wearing a red sparkly jacket being blown away on roller skates. It especially stands out in the Donner Cut, which otherwise removed the goofy slapstick moments from this scene.
  • Broken Base: Over which version is better - the original Lester Cut or the 2006 Donner Cut.
    • Superman's revenge on the trucker who beat him up while he was powerless is quite a controversial scene. Lots of people love it, while lots of others say it's completely out of character (even though the trucker had it coming). It arguably looks worse in the Donner cut where Superman changed time at the end, essentially undoing the beating.
  • Designated Hero: Superman for some viewers. He gives up powers that will save millions of lives to be with someone who is Too Dumb to Live, and after being re-powered and rendering Zod helpless he brutally crushes his hand as payback before casually executing him by throwing him to his death in an icy crevasse, uses his regained powers to injure a human in an act of petty revenge (granted the guy was a Jerkass), and then gives Lois Laser-Guided Amnesia for his own convenience. What a hero! What makes it even worse is that according to the canon of Superman Returns, the Broad Strokes sequel, the big lesson Superman learned about responsibility, that necessitated this entire experience, didn't even stick. Not long afterwards, Supes abandoned his post again, this time for five years, on a fool's trip and told no one he was leaving - not even Lois - despite making a promise to the president of the United States not to do that. What a hero.
  • Deus ex Machina: The process to make Superman mortal that his Mother insists is irreversible and there is no going back? Yeah, about that...
    • The Donner Cut reintroduces a key detail that explains it: It isn't reversible, so Jor-El's spirit hologram has to perform a Heroic Sacrifice by transferring his remaining power to Kal-El.
  • Evil Is Cool: General Zod. Like Khan in Star Trek, he has cast a very long shadow over the franchise ever since, as a high-profile bad guy who is both intelligent and a physical match for Superman.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Zod. Then again, he is played by Terence Stamp, so it'd be surprising if he didn't fit that trope. Ursa, too, what with the legs on her outfit being slit all the way up the sides.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In the Richard Donner cut, the actions that Lois takes to prove Clark is Superman could be seen as insane — jumping out a window so that Superman will save her, pointing a gun (albeit loaded with blanks) to elicit a reaction from Clark, essentially actions that no sane or rational person would attempt (sadly Lois actually did do stuff like this in the older comics during her Stalker with a Crush days). This becomes tear-jerking, when Margot Kidder, the actress who portrayed Lois, would be diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a severe psychotic episode.
      • Then it got even worse when her death was officially concluded to be a suicide.
    • Throwing herself into the river in the original Lester cut to make Clark out himself as Superman isn't much better.
    • The sight of a powerless Clark Kent being beaten up by a roughneck trucker and left barely able to move, along with a shot of him laying unconscious in the Donner cut, becomes harder to watch knowing what happened to Christopher Reeve later in life.
    • In-unverse example, as Supes apparently didn't remember what happened when he went away for two weeks and promising never to leave again - and than goes on a pointless five year trip to Krypton to determine that the planet really did explode (what?) in Superman Returns.
    • Superman realized that having three superpowered villains fighting him in the middle of Metropolis might get a little out of hand, and decided to draw them back to the Fortress where no innocents would get hurt. In the Continuity Reboot Man of Steel, Superman's relative inexperience and General Zod's unhinged Roaring Rampage of Revenge ended up causing massive destruction and loads of innocents getting hurt or killed in Metropolis (and Smallville), which serves as the catalyst for many citizens, including Bruce Wayne, to hate him in the next installment.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Memetic Mutation: All together, "Kneel Before Zod!"
  • Narm:
    • Christopher Reeve's facial expression as he delivered the line "No! Don't do it! The people!" (Notice how in the preceding shot he looked appropriately horrified at the sight of the bus being lifted, than it looks like he's trying not to laugh and smile as he delivers his lines, than in the third and fourth close up shots he's back to looking suitably horrified.)
    • And the British boy going, "Please, Mr. General! Please let my daddy down!"
    • In the Donner Cut, the speech Superman gives to the ghost of his father Jor-El about how Lois is the one thing he truly desires in life, above all else, and you can see Reeve giving it his all, and it's almost touching and poignant and heart-breaking... until you remember that Lois is an illiterate, chain smoking scatter brain who in the Donner Cut threw herself out of the Daily Planet building in an attempt to bluff Clark into admitting he's Superman and then successfully outed him with a fake gun and fake bullets.
    • How does Lois discover Clark's secret identity? He tripped over a rug and landed in a burning fireplace. The man who can fly and withstand gunfire tripped over a rug. Lois suggested that maybe Clark subconsciously outed himself, but that just clashes with an earlier scene where she nearly killed herself to get Superman's attention.
  • Narm Charm: General Zod is made of this. He's a titanic ham with lots of dialogue that could have been very painful, but he tends to come of as genuinely deranged and dangerous rather than goofy considering he has the godlike power to back up his threats. It also helps that he can bounce back and forth between Large Ham and dangerously understated almost at will, as his introductory scene shows.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • General Zod and his cohoots in this movie show just how terrifying it can be to have three practically invincible evil Kryptonians wrecking havoc on Earth.
    • A depowered Clark getting beaten up by some a bully at a diner, leaving him bewildered at the sight of his own blood and fearing for Lois' safety.
  • Older Than They Think: As far back as the Golden Age Superman comics, Superman had psychic hypnotism powers that he occasionally used on Lois to erase (or prevent) her memories of his secret identity. The "kiss of amnesia" from the Lester Cut isn't anything new.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Despite its piecemeal nature (by unfortunate necessity), the Donner cut is generally considered superior to the original theatrical cut; note that Donner directed the first Superman movie.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor:
    • No matter which version you watch the romantic subplot between Lois and Superman is very iffy - arguably even more iffy in the Donner cut if that's at all possible.
    • It's true that modern audiences often dislike this subplot for "not being action packed enough" on comparison of nowadays superheroes movies. But, if you like superheroes stories that not only revolve around action, you can find this pretty enjoyable-and quite clear.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • If Lex had any sense of foresight, he would have carried Kryptonite on him. Based on its deadly effect on Superman, you would think Lex would carry around some more in case Zod, Non, or Ursa ever tried to kill him. However, based on his lust for power (he wanted Australia in the first place), it's clear that killing them was not on his priority list. He had good reason to want to destroy Superman in the first film, but in this film, all he wants is control of Australia. While Kryptonite could momentarily take out Zod and his gang, Lex would no longer have any short cut way of gaining his goal, making Kryptonite more of a nuisance than a good thing. Still, it'd be smart to at least carry some in a lead the good chance Zod would have tried to get rid of him.
      • Superman III states that there's no more Kryptonite left on Earth, so that may have been true for Superman II as well.
    • Regarding the above point, Lex's Chronic Backstabbing Disorder makes no logical sense either. Zod had already shown that he has no use for Lex Luthor, and Lex only remains alive as long he's useful. With Superman depowered, Lex has no further usefulness to Zod, whereas if he helps depower Zod at least Superman won't kill him afterwards, and Lex can even claim to have helped save Earth.
    • Superman giving up his powers to be with Lois Lane. Even if he didn't have to worry about three super villains from Krypton or roughneck trucker thugs this is just incredibly stupid on his part - and may make his suffering during his loss of powers Unintentionally Unsympathetic.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: