Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace 1987
My stack of Superman DVDs are due back today and it’s time to finish it out. I think even Jena has a feeling that this one’s going to be bad because she’s not even interested in watching the movie with me today and doesn’t come downstairs until about 40 minutes into the movie. She vaguely pays attention but never really gets into the movie. Before I even watched this movie I was warned by several people over Twitter that this is an awful movie and they were completely right.
Now on the surface you might think it’s a good idea for a movie. It’s got Margot Kidder as well as Gene Hackman back in full force. Gene Hackman had left during Superman II after Richard Donner was fired and Margot Kidder was delegated to a cameo in Superman III after disagreeing with that same decision. And he’s got a big superpowered villain to face off against in the third act. But ultimately that wasn’t enough to save this movie because everything was just handled poorly by a company that couldn’t give them even half the money they needed to pull it off.
Early on in the movie, while Clark was troubled about a child’s highly publicized request for Superman to rid the world of all nuclear weapons, he revealed his secret identity to Lois so he could unburden himself to her while taking her on a flight around town just like in the first Superman movie. But during the flight he uncharacteristically let her go on purpose so she could start to freak out for a moment before he came back to catch her. That was totally an un-Supermanlike thing to do to her, and to top it all off, immediately after talking to her he gave her another amnesia kiss so she forgets it all once again, just like in Superman II. But unlike Superman II, which was still ridiculous but at least he was doing it to save her the heartbreak and torment of keeping his secret, in this movie he basically used her for his own needs and tossed her a forget-me-kiss so things would be back to normal.
There’s just ridiculous scene after ridiculous scene, like where Clark and Superman went on a double date with the new head of the Daily Planet Mariel Hemingway, who was this movie’s love interest for Clark, and Lois. But it was just excuse after excuse for Clark or Superman to leave the room for just a moment so the other could pop in. And Superman apparently agreed to get rid of the nuclear weapons by having the countries shoot them all into space where he collected them in a giant net and threw them all into the sun. I’m sure several dozen nuclear weapons being tossed into the sun wouldn’t have any major repercussions on Earth… riiiight. And the countries will all apparently forget how to make more nuclear weapons? I’m not even going to get started on Ducky, err John Cryer, Lex’s teenage slacker nephew.
But there’s a new supervillain who’s just as powerful as Superman, right? Well, he’s just as powerful as Superman as long as he’s in direct sunlight, because anytime he gets into the shade for a few seconds he completely powers down, and yet he flew around the world with no ill effects. He’s also so hot to the touch that Lex can light his cigar on his finger, yet he could carry Mariel Hemingway into space and she’s perfectly fine…riiiight. They gave Superman yet another power that doesn’t make any sense. Apparently he has “brick-vision” which allowed him to rebuild a part of the Great Wall of China that got destroyed in a fight with Super-blondie just by looking at it. And Superman figured out Super-blondie’s weakness just by thinking about it for a while, at least that’s what he told Lex at the end of the movie. I thought he was going to do something interesting when he was first created and rebelled against Lex, saying “I’m the father now.” And yet that was the full extent of his young rebellion, he just went back to serving Lex no questions asked.
And if you can’t tell already, there’s just so much going on in this movie that nothing got the amount of time it needed to fully tell the story. There’s a hostile takeover of the Daily Planet by a tabloid millionaire who put his daughter in charge. His daughter was interested in Clark Kent romantically and supposedly cared about the paper more than following her father. There’s the whole nuclear threat that prompted the boy to write a letter to Superman asking him to get rid of all the nuclear weapons. There’s Lex and his nephew using a strand of Superman’s hair to make Super-blondie who was supposedly an altered clone of Superman who looked nothing like him, had only a couple of the same powers and a ton of new ones, and constantly sparked and buzzed which was really annoying. There’s the romantic plot between Clark and Mariel Hemingway, There’s Perry White getting a loan to buy back the paper, there’s a bit about Clark not wanting to sell his old farm to a developer, instead he wanted to wait for an actual farmer, and on and on and on. And only about half of these plot threads even had a resolution. Most were just touched on and then left behind.
The worst part about this movie is it’s not even bad enough to make fun of it. Through most of this movie I was just wondering where the heck the movie was going with this, or why the heck did they just do that? I was constantly puzzled and not in a good way. Why the heck did Super-blondie have Gene Hackman’s voice? What does that have to do with anything? Why does Super-blondie have a crush on Mariel Hemingway when he’s never even seen her before? Why does he have weirdly long fingernails? How does that even make any sense? Superman fighting himself made more sense than this movie, and that’s saying something. It’s amazing that they got all of the original cast to agree to make this movie considering how it turned out. What a way to end a series. Next week I will be watching Supergirl as well as Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. I’d still like to watch Richard Donner’s cut of Superman II, but it will have to wait until I can actually get a hold of it. Don’t forget to leave a comment and tell me what I should watch next, until next time this is Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.