By Matthew Turner (Erdington)
Ah, the Man of Steel…the movie nobody had high hopes for but everybody wanted to see (especially as Bryan Singer made a Superman in love disaster) my opinions of the Man of Steel are not all bad but mostly disappointed. I liked Kevin Costner’s performance and think he was underused and killed way to early…right, that’s my mini rant about the latest reboot.
I do want to go back to the originals though, Superman 1 and 2 although uneven in tone due to different director for both films, were a deserved success. Number 3 was ok but not a patch on the originals and having Richard Pryor along for the ride for nothing less than comic relief was a bit of an anticlimax to what could have been a turning point in the series and the possible inclusion of doomsday or even a new take on Lex Luther could have been a better story. The rights to Superman were sold to Cannon Pictures and they quickly swooped to carry on the somewhat semi acceptable Superman 3! Christopher Reeve was recalled into the role of his unfortunately small life, and he made some demands before donning the cape. Firstly the movie must send a message to the world about nuclear weapons and their effect on the planet blah, blah, blah, blah! Like this is what we watch a Superman movie for right?
So it was to be Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was brain waved, written, produced, edited, directed, and invested in by the thousands (and trust me, we see sights in this movie that show where the time and money went!) whether it be a poorly executed scrap on the supposed green screen great Wall of China to the scenes of Superman flying or landing were the same and repeated throughout the movie. Gene Hackman’s acting and facial expressions explain a story of desperation and you know this was just a paycheck to cover his rent and having to star alongside NUCLEAR MAN!! He knew himself this was a low point of his so far cracking career. The fact that the antagonist is a radioactive nuclear Julian Clary in tights doesn’t convince us that he is any threat to Superman.
The only thing that was in threat in this trash was Reeve’s and Hackman’s reputations. The reason why Superman threw the nuclear bombs in to deep space was because a snotty nose kid in a school suggested Superman should do just that and well, don’t you know it, Superman did and Gene Hackman’s Lex Luther had the spiffing idea that if he could get a piece of Superman’s hair he could send it into space and create NUCLEAR MAN!!! And the way he got this piece of hair questions the whole universe of Superman itself if you really think about it.
Somewhat thankfully the plan for Superman 5 was scrapped and we didn’t see Christopher Reeve in tights again. The legacy he left though in the early movies especially is easy to be seen in Brandon Routh’s performance as Clark and briefly at the end in Henry Cavill’s Clark cameo so to speak.
So to wrap it up, Superman 4 is still a regular on television so holds a somewhat cult fan base but I still would watch it if it’s on, even if it’s to just ridicule the dodgy direction or see if Superman’s bulge could possibly be any bigger!!!