6/18/13

SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE - REVIEW


Don't worry, I'm not here to rant anymore about Man Of Steel...

Let's talk Superman IV: The Quest For Peace!

A far more light-hearted subject, as far as I'm concerned.

The fourth (and probably cheapest) film in the original Superman franchise, Superman IV is quite probably the most memorably goofy instalment in the original run of Christopher Reeve-starring Super-outings. This time around, Reeve himself got the chance to have more creative input and make this fourth movie his own.

The result?

Essentially a cartoon but an incredibly fun flick nonetheless.

Everyone's back including Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, Margot Kidder as Lois Lane and, of course, Reeve as Superman/Clark Kent. New entries cast-wise include Luthor's impressively unfunny sidekick nephew Lenny (John Cryer with a magnificent haircut), Lacy (Mariel Hemingway's new love interest) and, of course, the real star of the show: Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow). Yes, this is the one where Lex Luthor, one of the greatest criminal minds of our time, despite his many, many failures, steals a strand of Superman's hair and decides to put it together with some bits of fabric and whatever chemical components, blast it into the Sun and create a powerful enemy for Superman to fight. Nuclear Man, a golden-haired rockstar with a truly glamorous costume, pointy poisonous nails and the power of the Sun is the real star of this movie: he is such an 80's creation that he single-handedly dates the movie but also makes it completely unforgettable. He's cheesy as hell but he's the perfect poster boy for this movie in that he is ridiculous but gloriously so, like the movie itself. If the fact that he's fully solar-powered wasn't so lame he'd be a real threat to the superhero!

He's also basically Luthor and Superman's child since he was made with Superman's DNA but also, inexplicably, speaks in Luthor's voice.

Gross.

The main plot of the film sees Superman decide to rid the world of all nuclear weapons and everyone is apparently ok with that. The Cold War is a big deal in this movie and, in that sense, Superman IV is the Rocky IV of Superman movies. The political stuff is hardly subtle and feels pretty clumsy in places when more slapsticky scenes are thrown in all around it. A whole scene sees Clark turn into Superman and turn back into Clark over and over, it's pure cartoonish lols and doesn't really feel useful at all. Then again it is somewhat amusing so it does serve some kind of purpose, I suppose. Lois is much less important in this movie and weirdly, you do kinda end up warming up to Lacy who almost seems to be there only to be a second, sexier Lois Lane for Nuclear Man to have the hots for. Oh and speaking of that character: she should be SO dead by the end of this movie. Nuclear Man brings her to outer space without any spacesuit whatsoever and somehow she survives.

Note to filmmakers: people can't breathe in space.

They just can't.

There are a lot of silly elements to this movie: plot inconsistencies, that OTT villain, not particularly useful scenes and characters but this isn't one of those movies that deserves nitpicking. For one thing there's 45 minutes of the movie out there that didn't make it into the final film due to a failed test screening so that's always going to create discrepancies, right off the bat. Also, regardless of whether everything about it works or not, Superman IV is always fun and completely enjoyable. It does have its genuinely good moments but it's basically a cartoon and as that it's just very entertaining and very charming. Reeve is as good as ever and the whole movie is worth it if only for Nuclear Man.

Overall, while definitely more of a guilty pleasure, Superman IV is far from being as bad as its reputation suggests. Yes it's sillier, it's cheaper, it's random but it's still tons of fun and well worth checking out. Don't take it too seriously, sit back and enjoy it for what it is.

Fab nonsense.

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