Superman (1978): Ah the first Superman movie. There exists two cuts of this movie, the one that came out and the Richard Donner cut. I’ve always heard the Richard Donner cut was better and I just recently saw it. It is better but don’t go thinking there’s an amazing difference. There’s basically 3 added scenes that were cut out put back in the movie, no biggie. Richard Donner comes over from The Omen fame to direct this cheesy great film. A lot of people hate this movie today, say it was never good or it hasn’t aged well. Ah maybe they’re right on some counts but I like it. It is kind of cheesy but not only is Superman not an easy movie to make I suspect, this is also 1978, effects weren’t all stellar yet. People can argue that Christopher Reeve was great or terrible here, I think he did a fine job here…but people also praise Marlon Brando in this flick who I think was sub-par. The real gem of this movie no matter how you look at it is Gene Hackman filling the shoes of Lex Luthor, in quite a stellar way. We’ve basically got your run of the mill origin story here with Lex Luthor hating Superman, for oddly enough, no real reason explained. But it all works out, kryptionite is used and an evil plan is thwarted. The only thing about this flick I really hate is the ‘killing’ of Lois Lane, only to be brought back to life by Superman flying around Earth to reverse time…If you can get over that you’ve got a pretty decent superhero movie.
Superman II (1981): As with Superman you’ve got more than one cut of this movie. The main ones are the theater release and once again the Richard Donner cut because Richard was booted out of this movie for very unclear reasons, if you dig you can find the different versions of the story’s why. The big difference here between Superman and Superman II, the two different cuts of the movie are actually different. The Richard Donner cut of this one and the Richard Lester (new director) cut have about a 20 minute time difference and there are key plot points that are slightly different. Its certainly the same movie, just flows very differently. I must say I think I like the Donner cut a little better once again but either copy is still good. We’ve got Christopher Reeve back as Superman and Margot Kidder back as Lois Lane and the great Gene Hackman doing Lex Luthor again. This time however we’ve got the three villains from Krypton doing the main bad guy damage. Remember the Krypton criminals from the start of the first movie? Yeah those guys finally pay off. This also gives us the brilliant “KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!” line, that rates up there with Star Trek’s “KKKKKAAAAAHHHHHNNNNNN!!”. This movie however as great as it is, has more things in it that I hate than the first one had. We’ve got Kryptionan powers that never existed, such as telekinesis apparently, Superman can now make some sort of dumb-ass plastic net thing out of his S and has this amazing power to create amnesia when he kisses Lois Lane. Also Lois finds out that Clark is Superman and not only do they end up hooking it up but Superman gives up his powers then mysteriously gets them back. Seems like I hate this movie, I know. But its still great even will all its flaws. You’ve got a big super powered fight at the end, and that really makes up for everything.
Superman III (1983): Ah Superman III, the one everybody loves to hate. (This is of course, because everybody forgets they even made a part IV). Richard Lester jumped back in the director’s chair and we have most of the rest of the cast back, Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder in their title roles. We’ve also got Richard Pryor in for this one, which people either love or hate. Oddly enough most people remember this movie as either terrible, or as to the main plot for Office Space (stealing the fractions of cents from the company’s payroll). Lex is missed but he wasn’t in every Superman comic either, now was he? This despite all the hate it gets is actually my favorite of the series. Superman’s just a jerk-hole and it’s amazing. The villain here, we’ll just call him the bootleg Lex because that’s what he is, hires Richard Pryor to mess up the weather because hes a super villain and all, Superman stops this so they start to target him. How do you hurt Superman? Kryptonite. But they don’t have any, so they make some. Problem being 0.57% is unknown so it’s just made up as Tar. This makes the Kryptonite act more like the red kind and causes Superman to not care and turns him into a super jerk, and this is amazing. About 3/4 of the way through the film we get to my favorite part, where Superman gets all drunk, if you can’t enjoy this you have no soul. Well as this movie progresses it does get pretty stupid, Superman fights Clark Kent?? The whole sequence makes little to no sense, either way its been one of my favorite ever sense the first time I saw it when I was a kid. But really when it comes down to it it may be the dumbest thing in the movie so there’s that love/hate relation I have with that scene. I guess the point here being is this is by no means a perfect movie, or even a great one but at the same time it is an awesome one.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987): Now this is the worst movie by far of the Superman series. This is the “Batman & Robin” of Superman if you will, big difference being, Superman IV is worse than Batman & Robin. B&R at least had I donno, maybe 5 minutes of entertainment, where’s this does not. Problem one, written by Christopher Reeve, I got no beef with the guy as an actor but apparently he’s not a writer. Problem two, director Sidney J. Furie, this man has not directed anything worth a damn in his life. Problem three, which I guess can be tied to problem one, the plot – Superman gets a hard-on for world peace. This plot is stupid to say the least, just some hippy propaganda in an attempt to brainwash us into thinking the same. On the plus of this atrocity we’ve at least got some familiar faces back. Of course Christopher Reeve is the alien in the blue suit. Jackie Cooper is back as Perry White, Margot Kidder as Lois Lane and thankfully we’ve got Lex Luthor back played once again by the brilliant Gene Hackman. This movie is so bad it’s almost a parody of a Superman movie. It’s corny and cheesy both in very bad ways. I really don’t think there’s one good thing I can say about this except Gene Hackman being back. Basically I’d say avoid this movie if you can. Its not even really a fun watch, its just bad. Its probably in the bottom 10 comic movies ever made (it may have taken the worst spot if it weren’t for the cycle of crap that was unleashed on the world in the 2000’s).
Superman Returns (2006): A new Superman movie? Come on Bryan Singer don’t fuck this up. You can make a good movie, you did The Usual Suspects, but on the other hand you fucked up X-Men. Well this time it looks like Bryan went middle of the road and made a pretty decent movie. There are things I like and hate about this flick. It was pretty good, and slightly cheesy which I liked because the originals were pretty cheesy. It takes place after part two so its like number three never happened which is pretty fucking stupid, part three rules. But at least its not another remake I guess. Brandon Routh did a pretty Superman, Kate Bosworth did a meh Lois Lane. Speaking of Lois, she had a baby, apparently from Superman, what the fuck is this shit? This almost ruined the movie for me. Lois doesn’t have a kid, and a stupid kid that doesn’t exist with super powers? Fuck this shit, goddammit Bryan what are you doing? For all its faults (fucking baby) this movie does have one stellar shinning ray of awesome hope, the great (my personal favorite actor), Kevin Spacey stealing the movie as Lex Luthor. He’s so good he even puts Gene Hackman’s Lex to shame. The story here is a little odd, Lex finds out that he can make land so he goes and makes an island because, land is money and power. A little wacky but a decent villain scheme. The flick turned out pretty well, I was happy, I look forward to the sequel, hopefully they leave the baby out of the next one.
Get the Superman Ultimate Collector’s Edition (Superman – The Movie/ Superman II/ Superman II – The Richard Donner Cut/ Superman III/ Superman IV – The Quest for Peace/ Superman Returns) from Amazon HERE