Film,  Uncategorized

Review: SUPERMAN III

Superman III (1983)
Written By:         David and Leslie Newman
Directed By:       Richard Lester
Here’s a
question: How do you follow up on the massive success of Richard Donner’s
Superman and Richard Lester’s Superman II? 
Donner and
Tom Mankiewicz are gone and if you’re the Salkinds you see this as an
opportunity to finally bring your vision of Superman to the screen.  So, do you bring in Brainiac and Supergirl
and team them up with Mister Mxyptlik? Well, Warner Brothers wasn’t keen on
that so you go back to the drawing board and that’s when it happens!  Richard Pryor, one of the greatest comedic
voice in history is on Johnny Carson talking about Superman II and how much he
enjoyed it!  It’s almost too perfect, so
you call up David and Leslie Newman, who you had tasked with writing Superman 1
before Donner came in, you pair them up with Richard Lester and let the magic
happen.
I know it
sounds like I’m gearing up to be harsh on the movie but I promise I’m not, I
like Superman III in a vacuum.  It’s
silly but fun and Christopher Reeve, Annette O’Toole and even Richard Pryor
give the movie enough heart to overlook Lester’s over-reliance on slapstick
gags but the problem is this film is not in a vacuum, it’s the sequel to two
incredibly beloved and well-made films. 
Superman (1978) is such a cultural landmark that to this day sets the
blueprint for how to present a superhero on screen for the first.  You can see Donner’s thumbprint in Burton’s Batman, Raimi’s Spider-man, and even the most recent Marvel Films like Iron Man or Captain America.
“Lester’s” Superman II has enough of Donner’s film
left behind that it maintains some of his intended impact but if you watch the Donner
cut back-to-back with Lester’s Superman
II
or if you watched Lester’s most famous film “A Hard Day’s Night” you could’ve seen Superman III coming a mile away. 
It is silly, after all the movie’s title sequence is a prolonged slapstick comedy routine
punctuated with Superman rescuing a man drowning in his car after running over
a fire plug.
Richard
Pryor as Gus Gorman looms large over the movie to the point that the people who
have referred to the film as a Richard Pryor film guest starring Superman have
a valid point.  Hell, the movie opens on
Richard Pryor in the unemployment office. 
It’s not a bad thing, Hackman and Stamp had loomed large in the first
two films but never larger than Superman. 
Clark feels lost in the shuffle at times, except when paired up with
Lana Lang.
That brings
up Annette O’Toole as Lana Lang.  Lana is
presented as a counter-point to Lois Lane, as she so often is, sweet and kind
where Lois is sometimes brash (and in these movies brash almost to the point of
being cruel to Clark) and O’Toole has great chemistry with Reeve.
The “main”
villain Ross Webster (Robert Vaughn) is something of a generic evil business
man and it’s rather ironic that soon after this the Crisis relaunch and Byrne’s
Man of Steel would re-imagine Lex Luthor as an evil business man on par with
Webster.
Now, if I
had written this review when I planned to Monday afternoon this would probably
be where I wrapped this up but I had to stay late at work Monday and didn’t have time
to write the review before Supergirl so let’s talk about the synthetic
Kryptonite.  After Superman spoils one of
Webster’s schemes he tasks Gus with creating Kryptonite to kill Superman but
when he gets it wrong it turns Superman…
Well, not quite
evil but he’s definitely a jerk.  His
colors change, literally and he helps start a second oil crisis on
Webster’s behalf before heading to the local watering hole for Happy hour.
Look
familiar?
Seriously, I
laughed my ass off.
Superman III
is far from perfect, but it’s fun and it has heart.  There’s a lot of good in this movie and if
the sum is lesser than the whole it’s not by much.
Come back tomorrow for our next review in the 25 Days of Batman -v- Superman Celebration!

Just another guy on the internet.

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