Superman II (1980)
This sequel represents the zenith of the groundbreaking first two real-life Superman films directed completely (the first one) or in part (this one) by Richard Donner. Superman II was mostly filmed in tandem with the 1978 film, but after a falling out between Donner and the producers, original associate producer Richard Lester was hired to take over as director for the complementary filming for Superman II in 1979. For the viewers, however, all these backroom struggles (which also included the cutting of Marlon Brando's scenes as Jor-El, after he demanded more compensation than the producers were ready to offer) are not detrimental in the slightest. Superman II was and remains a trendsetter for the modern superhero movie, boasting all the ingredients both Superman fans and other interested could want. Christopher Reeve was at his finest both aesthetically and performance-wise, the romantic subplot between Superman and Lois Lane reaches its climax, and – most importantly – Superman fights his most classic and worthy battle, against his father's adversaries lead by General Zod, who is exquisitely personified by the ever stylish Terence Stamp. And the battle is brilliantly brought to life thanks to superb miniature-based special-effects. This is superhero action the way it should be; a perfect blend between fun and dark, between fan-satisfaction and relevant human drama.