Howdy people of the north, south, east and west, and welcome to Day #18 of Month of Superhero Film Reviews 2! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best, average and worst comic book adapted films. After enduring the mess that was Superman 3 yesterday, I am going to look at the infamous film that killed the series; Superman 4: The Quest for Peace.
So Superman 4, back before the mid-2000’s the idea of a superhero film series or any film series going beyond three films was a bad sign and showed fatigue with that franchise and that was definitely the case from what I’d heard about this film. I have practically seen this film through online reviews and stuff, but I was curious to see if it was all that bad so I once again stepped into the danger zone to see what was going on.
The story can be summed up as the following:
“The Man of Steel crusades for nuclear disarmament and meets Lex Luthor’s latest creation, Nuclear Man.”
All I can say about this film is wow, just wow. The story is a lot simpler than the last film and goes back to common tale of good versus evil in the form of Superman going up against Lex Luthor, except this time there’s Nuclear Man to contend with too. In truth that should have been it. Instead with have all this other stuff with politics, nuclear war, Lois Lane’s continued obsession with Superman and another love interest for Clark Kent, and all this stuff feels like padding that could have easily have been erased. This story does have some merits though, I liked some of he call backs to the first two films in relation to Clark’s old home and the presence of Lex Luthor because of the nostalgic value, but everything else was so generic, silly and unbelievable. This was the point where I just stopped taking the film seriously and just went with things like those funny B-movies on Sy-Fy or something. This film is hilarious for all the wrong reasons, while some of the humour I did laugh at, I was mainly laughing at the ridiculous nature of the story and characters more so than anything else. I will say that there was one moment in this film that really pissed me off, SPOILERS!: Nuclear Man steals Lacy and goes into space and I’m like “Are you fucking kidding me? She’s human, she’s in space, SHE SHOULD BE DEAD? WHERE’S THE FRIGGING LOGIC HERE!” I know that theses films are fictional, but you can’t adhere to the laws of physics and nature at one point and then completely undo them later on, that’s bullshit.
Now let’s talk about the cast. Christopher Reeve is once again good as Clark Kent/Superman. Reeve really had this character done to a tee by this point, but there was certainly no sense of evolution for the character, I mean there are some nice quiet reflection moments, however his character doesn’t seem that different from before especially when it comes to this Clark Kent persona. Bloody hell he pisses me off, such a fool! How can he continue to act like such a dummy for so many years? That would kill me inside, I’d blow up! It was good to see the return of Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, he was severely missed in the last outing. While Hackman was a little more cheesy and over-the-top in this role, he was still great as Lex and his voice work as Nuclear Man was alright, a bit strange though.
Margot Kidder as Lois Lane played a bigger role than the last film and Kidder was fine, but it bugged me how obsessed Lois still was with Superman and how she STILL, STILL couldn’t tell Clark was Superman when the evidence was staring her right in the frigging face! Mariel Hemingway as Lacy Warfield was pretty good, I liked how vain and stuck up she was at first, but at the same time how sweet and confident she could be when it came to Clark and her job, plus she was very pretty. Jackie Cooper and Marc McClure are still fun as Perry White and Jimmy Olsen, while Jon Cryer was hilarious as Lenny Luthor, he was such a stereotypically dumb teenager with a surfer accent who seemed stoned the majority of the time, but that’s what made him so memorable. Mark Pillow as Nuclear Man did fine but some of his facial expressions and body movements were so cheesy and silly that I couldn’t take him seriously especially with those stupid fingernails.
Now let’s talk about the presentation. Visually the film is okay but was definitely starting to show its age for the time. Some of the special effects that looked good in 1978 didn’t look nearly as impressive around a decade later, the reuse of Superman flying shots was terrible, the green screen looked worse than in this film when compared to the previous film and the Superman and Lois flying scene, almost an exact copy from the first film, lazy much? As for the soundtrack, Alexander Courage steps in for this film score and he does a decent job, but again nothing sounds nearly as good as what was done in the first two films, luckily the John Williams themes are kept and they still sound good.
And lastly how does it compare to the comics? While they have Superman’s looks, powers and general persona in check, everything else seems made up. Now as I’ve mentioned before I’m no Superman comic book expert, however I swear some of his powers were just made up and he pulled of abilities that were never in anything that I researched.
So to conclude Superman 4: The Quest for Peace is a silly film, but I did like it slightly more than the last one (*GASP* Ready your pitchforks people), I think it may have been because of the simpler plot, better connections to the first two films and lack of overwhelming humour. Make no mistake, this film is bad, so very, very bad, but it is also hilarious and I would only recommend it if you’re drunk and want something silly to watch.
That’s 18 reviews done, only 12 more to go. So have you seen Superman 4: The Quest for Peace and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!