At the start of the first film three Kryptonian criminals were banished into the phantom zone which was supposed to be an eternal prison which was sent from Krypton just before the planet blew up. I guess that they (the Kryptonians) probably didn’t think much about where it was going to end up as the prison was for eternity, and I don’t think that anybody else had ever broken from the phantom zone before so it was likely that they nobody else ever would, but then again they all died shortly afterwards in the planet’s destruction so had no more thoughts on the matter.
When Kal-El was sent from Krypton it showed that he flew straight past the criminals in their eternal prison who cried out to the craft to take them with them but to no avail. For some reason they ended up not far from where Kal El crashed which is never explained away apart from a massive coincidence, as that cannot have been engineered surely.Now by another quirk of fate the nuclear bomb that Supermen launched into space in the first film destroyed the phantom zone and they ended up floating in space.
We then get an interesting scene set on the surface of the moon where there is a small expedition going on and the three Krypton Zod, Ursa and Non are able to fly onto the moons surface and do things that they wouldn’t normally be able to do such as shoot laser bolts from their eyes, pick up space modules with their bare hands and puncture space suits and basically kick up a lot of shit for the poor cosmonauts on the moon at that time.
They then decided to go down to the planet which they assume is called Houston after they hear the cosmonauts calling it repeatedly. When they get to the planet they soon realise that they are not like any of the other inhabitants of the planet and decide that it is theirs for the takings.
Whilst all this is going on Superman is busy rescuing little scrotes who are pissing about on the rails at Niagra Falls and go plunging into the water fall. To be honest I would have let the little scrote drown as he pissing about when he shouldn’t have been! Lois and Clark have been sent to Niagara posing as a newly married couple, much to the delight of Clark, and Lois finally works out that Clark and Superman are one and the same person when she notices that Clark is never around when Superman is around which is and also because she saw him put his hand in a flame and come out unscathed and, also, saw him without his glasses which suddenly made it so obvious that she probably thought herself totally stupid for not realising this in the first place.
Then they profess their true love for each other, he takes her to the fortress of solitude and they do the dirty and then bizarrely he decides that it is the right time to give up his powers and be a normal man. He wasn’t aware of what was happening back in the real world with Zod and the others or he wouldn’t do what he did at that moment, even if it was a stupid thing to do.
So now Lois has lost Superman and is stuck with Clark who she was basically ignoring for the majority of the time. He even gets badly beaten in a cafe for try to protect Lois which is a new feeling for him and not a very pleasant one either. Clark realises what an idiot he has been and has to trek back to the fortress of solitude to see if he is able to gain his powers back even though his mother said that this was not possible.
Lex Luthor is broken out prison by Miss Tessmacher even though he tried to murder her mother and then she betrayed him by releasing Superman from his Kryptonite chains near the end of the first film and Lex doesn’t seem to harbour any sort of grudge against her, which is totally out of character for him but that’s by the by really.
Superman somehow manages to get his powers back and there is one hell of a battle scene between Superman and Zod, Ursa and Non where things like buses, ornaments on top of buildings, billboards etc. get thrown about as though they were confetti and there really seems to be a sort of stalemate between them and so what does Superman do? That’s right, he fucks off!
When he meets Zod, Ursa and Non he believes that he can use them for his own ends and takes them along with Lois to the fortress of Solitude and Superman himself where he had run to. In a nice little twist of events earlier on in the film Superman is made to relinquish his powers and worship Zod and he enters the chamber as before and it does its thing but he has somehow changed it round so that the other Kryptonian’s lose their powers when Superman crushed Zod’s hand and Lois is able to knock out Ursa with a single punch. They seem to be kicked into the bowels of the fortress of solitude and we never hear from them again, Perhaps that acts as sort of phantom zone, or maybe Jor-El has let enough Kryptonian science to recreate the phantom zone again, whcih would only really be true if he thought that anyone else would survive the destruction of the planet and that they might break out of the phantom zone in the first place.
Superman II is a good film and has some great moments and some fine acting from Stamp and Reeve and Hickman but some of it is quite silly and a bit to coincidental such as the phantom zone arriving in the same place as the infant Al-El and of course the whole thing about Superman giving up his powers for Lois which just doesn’t make sense at all.
Despite that it is a good film and you can forgive all of that for some of the excellent sequences in the film such as the battle between Zod, Ursa, Non and Superman.