Friday, January 8, 2016

Superman III Film Review


(Spoilers for the previous two Superman films are below).

Superman II was a sloppy and uneven film, primarily because of the change in directors after the original director, Richard Donner, had already filmed most of the movie. The new director, Richard Lester, filled in the blanks with some lame slapstick comedy and ultimately ruined the film. Soon, after the success of Superman II, Lester was invited back on for Superman III, and with him he brought David and Leslie Newman, the writers that Donner originally replaced because of their lame humor. With this shit cocktail of a production team, Superman III was sure to be a slap in the face.

The film, unlike it’s predecessor, does not continue any storylines from previous films. Instead we’re introduced to Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor), a clumsy oaf, who discovers he has a natural gift for programming computers. He uses his gift to land a job, and soon he’s also embezzling funds from his company. His boss, the villainous Ross Webster (Robert Vaughn), catches onto Gus’ plot and blackmails him into helping him sabotage his competitors’ computer systems. Meanwhile, Clark Kent is sent to his hometown to cover his high school reunion. There, he reunites with Lana Lang (Annette O’ Toole), an old flame. Clark quickly falls for Lana again, and soon he finds himself spending a lot of time with her and her son.

Simultaneously, Kal-El thwarts Webster’s plot to destroy Columbia’s coffee crop to boost his own sales. Webster is filled with rage and demands that Gus find out the chemical composition of Kryptonite, in an attempt to manufacture it to kill Kal-El. Gus screw this up and winds up creating a false Kryptonite that acts like a slow poison on the Man of Steel. Soon, Superman is acting less and less like a hero, becoming violent and depressed, and Webster is left free to sabotage the world’s oil supply and claim even more monopolized profits.

The first problem of this movie was introducing Gus Gorman. He perfectly fits as a Jar Jar Binks of the series. Pryor does his best to deliver his lines, and for the most part his timing is perfect, but the script is so painfully unfunny that even he can’t do anything with it. Also, audiences go to a Superman film to see Superman save the Earth from whatever peril threatens it, not to see a famous comedian make an ass of himself. Gorman is a just plain bad and predictable character that detracts from the whole film. The rest of the film’s principal cast isn’t much better. Reeve delivers his unique take on a disturbed Superman that stands out as one of the better parts of the film, but he did seem to just got through the motions for the rest of the movie.

This film was so overloaded with quickly resolved, meaningless subplots that it just feels more like a collection of random ideas than a cohesive narrative. Where the first film successfully and thoughtfully told three stories, this film tells four major stories with little interjections that are supposed to build backstory, but wind up just mauling the pacing and distracting the viewer from the bigger picture.We’re given history about Lana’s old boyfriend, Gus’ employment history, where Lois Lane is while all this happens. The movie just feels like a slapped together hodge podge of jokes and half thought out storylines.

Superman III is certainly a low point for the series, and fans alike. Basically riding the fact the Richard Pryor was in their movie, the film makers forgot to make something interesting for those who love a good Superman yarn. Poor performances, writing, and an insanely boring beginning ruin this film and tarnish the Man of Steel’s image.

Score: 6

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