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I am generally not a fan of sequels; however, Superman II has always ranked as one of my favorite sequels. I was expecting Warner Brothers to treat the often referred to “better then the first” to a DVD treatment that was equal to that of Superman – The Movie. Boy was I just a dreamer on that one!

Superman II
Movie
Continuing the adventures of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, Superman II picks up where Superman – The Movie left off. Only this time, Superman must battle the three villains that were imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, a scene that took place in the first film. The three villains travel to Earth where each one learns of super powers that equal those of Superman’s. In addition, Lex Luthor rejoices as he may have discovered the forces that could put an end to Superman.

In addition, the romance of Superman and Lois Lane continues as she spends an increasingly amount of time with the Man of Steel and discovers his secrets.

I have always enjoyed Superman II over the first film because of the interaction of three villains battling one superhero.  To me, Superman II reflects the true nature of a comic book hero that must battle the odds, remain faithful to his alter ego, and fight for truth, justice and the American way.

Video
As stated in a previous review, the transfer of Superman – The Movie was fabulous, however Warner Brothers did not put the same amount of work and effort into this film. Overall the film looks pretty good, although it is no equal to that of the first film. There were some slight blemishes, although this could have been due to the fact that the film is 20 years old.

Fans of DVD will be pleased to hear that the disc is in 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer.

The colors, in particular the reds and blues of the Man of Steel’s suit were strong but other colors seemed to appear a bit lackluster. Of course with the DVD format, the picture looks great compared to that of a VHS picture, but it certainly does not appear as strong as that of Superman – The Movie.

Superman II
Sound
Unfortunately there are not many options when it comes to sound. Warner Brothers has included an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround track. The track is average and considering the age of the sound. Some of the major scenes in which a surround track would enhance the sound effects is only mediocre and doesn’t sound very good. With all the audio options available, balancing the dialogue, sound effects and music is far from the superior track on Superman – The Movie.

Also included is a French 2.0 mono track as well as English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles and English Closed Captions.

Extras
What can I say about any features, um, well, there are none! By that I mean Warner Brothers has only included the theatrical trailer and it is in 2.0 stereo. Not all that moving and certainly worth a look for fans of movie trailers, but not all that impressive either.

It’s clear that Warner Brothers has devoted their entire budget to the Superman films to the first one as the sequel certainly has its colorful story of coming to the silver screen. It would have been nice to include a documentary about the pitfalls of making this film including interviews with director Richard Donner, who started filming this film but was later fired. Richard Lester later took the reins. Also there have been stories of rearranging the musical score, longer cuts of the film appearing on television. For the full story on what went on behind the scenes, the Superman Cinema website is fantastic.

Superman II
Overall
For me, this was the best sequel of all of them! I think its unfortunate that Warner Brothers had the opportunity to turn this sequel into a DVD edition that was brewing with extras like Superman – The Movie. I think it is doubtful that Warner Brother s will revisit these films anytime soon in the future so we will have to live with the barebones edition, a missed connection I suppose.

Superman fans however, will thoroughly enjoy this film and will find it to be equally has entertaining as the first film.


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