Saturday, March 24, 2018

Canon Fodder: Superman IV- The Quest For Peace

Was it worth it, Mr. Reeve?  Today's Film is Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, a 1987 anti-classic that lives up its reputation.  To set the stage, Canon Films was losing money.  Since you got to spend money to make money, they bought the Superman License from the Salkinds.  To convince Reeve to sign on, he got two things- a Story Credit and funding for a second Film (that isn't Superman).  To see how the latter Film turned out, see the next Review.  For the first one, he was inspired to have Superman deal with real world issues.  It absolutely could have worked.  Due to Budget Cuts and a silly Script, however, it is all a bit of a joke.  Superman wants to stop the potential Nuclear War- so he tosses our Nukes into the Sun.  Lex Luthor is back- complete with terrible Nephew- and his plan to kill Superman- of course.  It's all a bit ridiculous and I kind of love it.  I also hate it, so let's just fly right in...
To give a little Backstory, the Film was cut at the last minute to reach 90 minutes, so that it could play more times in the day.

With that said, they still found time for both Superman saves singing Cosmonaut AND Superman saves train with Lois.
They also find time for this Superman/Clark won't sell the family farm unless it is too a Farmer Scene.  Yea.

The only thing that matters- a soft retcon of his space ship and a new Deus Ex Machina for later.
To deal with a few of the Films forty or so Plot Points, let me sum it up...

1) A Tabloid Guy buys the Daily Planet.
2) A kid writes an essay to Superman to get rid of our nukes.
3) He debates with two Kryptonian Elders (since the 3rd Actor was busy) over it.
4) The Daily Planet is an asshole.
To help him decide, Superman reveals himself to Lois, flies her around the World and...then wipes her memory of this.  What a Super Asshole.
He gets *all* of the Nations to give up their Nukes to be tossed into the Sun.  However, there's one left, so Lex Luthor makes a weird clone thing and hides it on the missile.  Nuclear Man is born!

Side-note: one bit cut was the ORIGINAL Nuclear Man (presumably born from the first batch)- who was a goof.  Various Edits of it are online, like so.
Superman has an epic(ally silly) fight with Nuclear Man where most of the silly stuff you know comes from.  While holding the Statue of Liberty in a way that defies Science, he's cut by Nuclear Man's Revlon nails.

The sickness overwhelms him until, guess what, Deus Ex Machina.
The pair battle again- including a bit where Nuclear Man flies Lucy into Space and nothing bad happens- and Superman outsmarts him by...moving the Moon to create a Lunar Eclipse, weakening the Villain.

Sorry about the Tsunamis.
In the aftermath, he dumps Luthor back in jail- promising to see him 20- and drops Luthor's Nephew off at...a Foster Farm?

I'm sorry, but did you even check to see if he has non-imprisoned relatives?  Dick.
After all of this, Superman gives one last speech about how we'll get peace when we truly want it and will ask our leaders for it.

Sorry about that, Superman.  The End.
Super-silly.  Super-serious.  Super-disappointing.  On the plus side, Canon cut the Film down to 90 minutes, making it less bloated than Superman III.  This came at the expense of Plot and Characters- including the kid who wrote the letter-, so it wasn't all good.  Getting Hackman back- good.  Getting Jon Cryer with him- not good.  For every good or theoretically-good thing here, there are like 6 bad things.  Superman facing real-life problems- good.  Superman doing so by tossing Nukes into the Sun- less good.  Hackman is great here and Reeve is still committed to it all.  The less said about Mark Pillow as Nuclear Man- dubbed over by Hackman- the better.  I want to like this as a serious Film- I can't.  I want to love this as a dumb Film- I can.  It feels earnest, yet so silly that you have to laugh.  Making so many filler bits of Comedy- like Clark pretending to be weak or his double date- didn't help the Film as a serious narrative.  As a Comedy, it works better than Superman III.  Yes, that was supposed to be one!  This is the kind of endearing bad Movie that you can't be too mad at overall.  Let me just end now before things get awkward....never mind.
Next time, the Film that Reeve wanted to make in order to do this.  Well, it nearly won *someone* an Oscar.  Stay tuned...

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