Between serving two days of jury duty and some personal life nonsense that prevented me from visiting the multiplex, I didn’t do much movie watching this week. So there’s not much here, unless a sweaty defense of an unloved superhero movie is your bag.
Superman III (1983) All the Salkind Supermans are comedies – yes, even the first one, once you get past the Biblical first act. As such, the addition of Richard Pryor into the franchise is far more par for the course than it might seem. What’s not par for the course is just how weird it is, and I like it when movies (especially the big studio tentpole kind) get weird. It’s essentially three movies in one: first a loopy farce with Pryor and Robert Vaughn and half-pennies and robots; then a tender romcom with Clark Kent reuniting with Lana Lang (pardon me while I swoon over Annette O’Toole); and wedged in the middle, a mini-movie where faux-Kryptonite turns Superman evil, and he eventually battles Clark Kent (!). None of them mesh with each other, creating a wildly uneven, oddly paced mess, but individually, they’re terrific in their own ways. Yes, even the Gus Gorman slapstick. I’m tickled by the idea of following a movie where a moody Superman battles three Kryptonian supervillains with a movie where a yo-yo spinning Richard Pryor programs a walk/don’t walk sign to fight itself (!!). The whole thing screams Silver Age Superman, where nothing had to make sense as long as the story was fun, and hot dog, is Superman III fun.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) On the other hand, nothing says “we completely give up on our franchise” quite like “eff it, just let Golan-Globus have it.”
Superman Returns (2006) An underdog of a superhero movie, which I wrote about earlier this week.