- Movie Rating -

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

| July 24, 1987

I am not kidding, there were moments during Superman IV: The Quest for Peace when I could not look at the screen.  When Superman is fighting Nuclear Man (ulk!) on the moon (double-ulk!) and throws the spandexed villain into a broken elevator (don’t ask) where the sun can’t reach him, I almost left the theater.

I remember that original film.  I remember it’s intelligence, it’s sense of the characters and its sense of fun.  I remember how much is honored the Man of Steel with a brilliant four-act origin story and moved it into the sequel with that great love story.  Those two films defied the conventions of their comic book origins and became as much an emotional experience as it was a grand entertainment.  We cared about what happened.

Then Richard Donner was fired from the project because of the absence of imagination of producers Alexander and Iliya Salkind,  They wanted a Superman movie without a serious bone in it’s body and got it in the form of Superman III.  What we got from that film was uncreative and mean-spirited, a film that pushed Superman into a supporting role in favor of yet another tragically unfunny vehicle for Richard Pryor.

Now the series has been sold to The Cannon Group, and I’m afraid that their goals aren’t any loftier.  Much as been made about the production of this film, which continually had its budget slashed until it barely even resembled a movie.  What we have a slapdash embarrassment on the level of Jaws the Revenge.

And yet, unlike the Jaws sequel, I sense that Christopher Reeve, who co-wrote the story, wanted this film to be about something.  The problem is that what it’s about comes off as cheap and obvious.  Superman wants to rid the world of its nuclear arsenal and makes plans to do so by hurling them into the sun.  Meanwhile, his arch-nemesis Lex Luthor (played by a pallid-looking Gene Hackman) gets the idea to get into the nuclear arms race by creating a nuclear-powered superhero to wipe out Superman once and for all.

Reeve’s sincerity is here, but the movie is trash,  The special effects look cruddy, the characters are cartoons and the story is all over the place.  There is no sincerity here, nothing to grab hold of and the actors look embarrassed to be part of this mess.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1987) View IMDB Filed in: Action