Superman II (1980)

Warner Bros.

The early ’80s were a real wake up call for Gen X kids — first Han Solo was frozen in carbonite in The Empire Strikes Back, and then a few months later Superman lost his powers in Superman II. Or rather, he sacrificed his powers, in hopes of a normal life with Lois Lane (Margot Kidder).

The idea of a superhero willingly giving up his powers for love — and then sacrificing that love in order to save the world — was head-spinning for young fans who just wanted superman to be all-powerful. We all learned many lessons from Superman II.

Also: Kudos to writers Mario Puzo, David Newman and Leslie Newman (who worked on both Superman and Superman II) for bringing back General Zod (Terence Stamp) and his sidekicks, relatively minor players in the first Superman, as the villains of the second one. Did they plan that all along? Yes! The two films were shot fairly simultaneously. (Robert Benton was also a writer on the first Superman, but not the second.)

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