Combustible Celluloid
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With: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, Jon Cryer, Sam Wanamaker, Mark Pillow, Mariel Hemingway, Margot Kidder, Damian McLawhorn, William Hootkins, Jim Broadbent
Written by: Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, based on a story by Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Christopher Reeve
Directed by: Sidney J. Furie
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 90
Date: 07/24/1987

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Nuke Bomb

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I watched the Golan/Globus production of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace again after having seen the documentary Electric Boogaloo, and was able to appreciate it in a new light. It's by no means a good movie, and is indeed considered among the worst superhero movies ever made, but with its budgetary constraints and odd creative choices, I prefer it to the limitless budget and utter soullessness of Man of Steel. For one thing, Superman IV has Christopher Reeve -- the best of all screen Supermen -- and the actor clearly went into this with the best of intentions, sporting a co-story credit and perhaps hoping to spread a pro-peace message to the world. It also has Gene Hackman returning as Lex Luthor, always a plus for any movie, and the underrated Margot Kidder as Lois Lane. Mariel Hemingway is easy on the eyes as a tabloid journalist who falls for Clark Kent. Jon Cryer is less so as Lex's annoying nephew. Worst of all is the dumb villain, "Nuclear Man," as well as the poor visual effects that go with him. But if you don't take this too seriously, watch it with the same attitude you might watch the old black-and-white Superman serials or TV series, it has some fun spots and some silly spots. And, it only runs a breezy 90 minutes (a full hour shorter than the lumbering Man of Steel). Jim Broadbent appears in a small role, and Sidney J. Furie received credit for directing, though it probably wasn't entirely his fault.

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