Saturday, June 30, 2018

My Review of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987)

Written by Christopher Reeve & Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal
Directed by Sidney J. Furie

Lex Luthor (to Superman): "Goodnight, sweet prince. Parting is... inevitable."

Going by this line, a part of me wonders if there's some UST between the Man of Steel and his most popular adversary. It certainly would explain a lot about Lex's obsession with Superman but at the same time, it's this movie.

The very movie that despite actor Christopher Reeve had some story involvement in was also the same one where he'd tell co-star Jon Cryer that they were basically filming a turkey. Is Reeve right on that matter? Let's face it, this movie is far from loved, even if it has the bonuses of a third outing for Gene Hackman's Lex Luthor and Margot Kidder back in a far bigger role as Lois Lane.

Unfortunately though, this movie is also another reason as to why these superhero movies are better off expanding on other prominent baddies though. You would've thought by this time someone would've attempted to have used the likes of Bizarro, Doomsday or Darkseid for one of these movies instead of having Lex coming back for another round.

This time around, he's sprung from prison by his dimwitted (but we're supposed to believe he's an actual genius) nephew Lenny (Jon Cryer) and by stealing a strand of Superman's hair that the latter donated to a museum (bit of a reckless thing to do there, Clark), Lex then creates his own super soldier unimaginatively called Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow).

Nuclear Man is another baddie specifically made for the movies and he's not a very engaging baddie. Namely he's a mindless drone for Luthor, even copying his 'father's' speech pattern at various points in the movie but there is a decent enough battle between Nuclear Man and Superman in space before Lex is sent to prison yet again and Lenny is sent to an all boys school where hopefully he's never seen again either.

In terms of threats, the quest for peace had the potential to be interesting but it just didn't come together that well. On the other hand, we also had Perry White (Jackie Cooper) temporarily lose control of the Daily Planet to David Warfield (Sam Wanamaker) and his daughter, Lacy (Mariel Hemingway) - the latter with an overt interest in Clark and who actually a far better written character than her father was in the whole movie. Needless to say though, Perry did get control of the Daily Planet before the very movie did end.

As for Lois, this was a better movie for her than the third one but even still aside from an odd quadrangle involving herself, Lacy and both Clark/Superman and realising that she cares for Clark, her role still isn't hugely satisfying though. There was even a brief moment when it felt like she was going to remember Clark and Superman being the same person but that came to nothing though.

- Aside from appearing in all four of these movies, Marc McClure (Jimmy Olsen) also appeared in Supergirl, which was released between the third and fourth movies. I will be reviewing that one too.
- There was tension between both Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder during filming of this one.
- Apparently this film was meant to be 134 minutes but was scaled down to 90 minutes. It was also a box office failure.
- There was nice opening scenes set in Smallville where Clark talked to Lara before talking about not selling his parents farm.

Superman IV: The Quest For Peace like Batman & Robin a decade later brought something of halt to a disappointing end to an overall great movie saga. Despite the behind the scenes chaos, Reeve does try his best but compared to even the third movie, it does feel like he's going through the motions a bit at times and the results of this movie are seriously undercooked at best.

Rating: 5 out of 10

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