Sunday, 20 November 2016

Superman III (1983)

"I just don't believe a man can fly..."

Well, this is a very odd way to do a Superman film. We've had two films based very much on the existing mythology but here we have a perfectly entertaining film in which Richard Pryor is superb, but there's very little about the Superman mythos here, even with the same director helming the film. Even the Kryptonite used to turn Superman nasty isn't red. And Robert Vaughn, while excellent, seems to be playing an ersatz Lex Luthor. Lois Lane conveniently sods off at the start so Clark Kent can get all romantic with Lana Lang. And the film starts with an extended sequence of physical comedy. It's a very odd instalment in the series. Thing is, though, when looked at simply as a film, this is actually rather good.

Gus Gorman is unemployed, lazy, but likeable, and when he turns out to be an unlikely computer genius (of a very early '80s type) and much chaos ensues, although the film is always careful to keep him likeable and make it clear that he isn't a bad sort. We also have a rare film appearance from Pamela Stephenson as a bimbo who enjoys reading Kant.

The scenes where Superman deals with the fire at the chemical plant are awesome, and there's some good character stuff in Smallville with Clark and Lana. But possibly the best bit is Superman straightening the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

We end with a very '80s huge computer that Superman has to fight to avoid being turned into a cyborg, after a rather cliched fight in a junkyard between evil Superman and Clark Kent. It's a very weird approach to a Superman film, and I'm bemused as to how this script ever got to be the way it is. But, bizarrely, the film works.

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