Saturday, August 13, 2011

Superman III (1983)

The most-hated poster of 1983.

Enough time has gone by to give Superman III its rightful due. Once a pariah among super hero films [and really, it had unfair competition against Superman:  The Movie (1978) and Superman II (1980)] it's no longer at the bottom of the genre.

No, that's a spot reserved for Batman & Robin (1997), Catwoman (2004) and this film's successor, Superman IV:  The Quest for Peace (1987) — which even Christopher Reeve distanced from. (Nuclear Man, anyone? I didn't think so.)

Of course Superman III is far from being anyone's desert island must, but if you're in the mood for a fun, nostalgic taste of the 80s, this fits the bill more nicely than you might expect. Plus, it features an evil Superman sitting in a bar, drunk, breaking bottles by flicking nuts at them with superhuman strength.

Uneven? For sure. It was, after all, the movie that paired The Man of Steel with Richard Pryor. Margot Kidder looks like she can't get off the set fast enough, and when you see Robert Vaughn, you can't help but think, "Hello, Obvious Last Minute Gene Hackman Replacement."

But for those who criticized director Richard Lester's campy take, don't forget that he's responsible for directing the most entertaining action sequence from any Superman film — at least up until the plane rescue sequence from Superman Returns (2006).

I'm referring to the junkyard battle of Good Superman vs. Evil Superman. As it turns out, it's a psychological battle inside the hero's head, but this somehow makes him even more heroic when it's all over.

I love this part of the movie, and occasionally put in the DVD just to find it in the chapter index. It shows that Christopher Reeve was ideal for this role, and understood the character perfectly. The man is definitely missed.

The battle begins.

Bully Superman = Comedy. "Come ON!"

Iconic Clark. An inspiration for comic artist John Byrne?

Still drunk . In agony . Ripped off at Oscar® time .
"You always wanted to fly, Kent. Now's your chance!"
Free at last.
Not so fast.

He's back.

Anyone else wonder why they went with the darker colored Evil Superman costume when designing the look for Superman Returns? It appears the next version of Superman in 2013 is following suit. Still, I'm holding out hope for that one.
 Meanwhile, give Superman III another chance. Nuclear Man is nowhere to be found.

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