After “Superman III” came out in 1983 earning negative reviews, Warner Bros. (WB for short) worked on a spin-off focusing on The Man Of Steel’s cousin known as “Supergirl.” Like Superman III, it was an epic fail. Due to both films’ critical failure, father-son duo, The Salkinds sold the Superman film rights to now defunct production company, “Cannon Films.” Development of a fourth film went through numerous problems. Cannon Films were on the verge of financial problems struggling to fund a budget, Wes Craven dropped out to direct due to a disagreement between him & Christopher Reeve, 45 minutes of material were cut among many issues. “Superman IV: The Quest For Peace” was distributed worldwide.
Superman IV: The Quest For Peace was released in 1987. (same year Predator came out) Unlike the first two films, it was critically panned by critics, fans and movie goers alike. To put salt in the wound, it grossed less money than the previous three films, labeled as a box office failure. Superman IV is considered as one of the worst superhero movies ever made. Bryan Singer’s disappointing “Superman Returns” removes Superman III & Superman IV as both films are not canon to the original film series. Brandon Routh filled in Christopher Reeve’s iconic role in an “Arrowverse” crossover establishing many film/television franchises based on DC Comics are officially part of a DC Multiverse much like the comics.
Zack Snyder’s cut of “Justice League” will stream on HBO MAX. To prep up for Zack’s vision, I’d like to share my thoughts on Superman IV’s disastrous results.
I don’t care if SPOILERS are present. If you’re a massive Superman fan, you’re gonna be bummed out.
Mighty & Weak Aspects
Mighty: Christopher Reeve did a good job for his performance as Superman one last time before his horseback accident forced him to hang the cape.
Other Cast Members such as Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder & Jackie Cooper all did a fair job for their respective performances.
Weak: Opening Credits felt lackluster. The first two film’s opening credits were made with effort. Superman IV’s credits belong in a PowerPoint presentation.
Action Sequences didn’t captivate me.
Lex Luthor creates Nuclear Man using Superman’s DNA & his own predates the lackluster creation of Doomsday from “Batman VS. Superman: Dawn Of Justice.”
Special Effects are very terrible. For example, Superman flies towards the center of the camera, using the same shot, but replacing a location from behind.
Nuclear Man’s dumbest line is “I hurt people.” Ouch! Poorly delivered with no emotion!
For some strange reason, Nuclear Man inherits Lex’s voice. I’m not kidding. Gene Hackman dubbed Mark Pillow’s voice.
Where the heck is Superman’s Earth mom Martha? The film never addressed her fate.
Remember the first film when Clark retrieves a green crystal from the same ship he was sent to Earth as a baby? Why is it back at in Smallville? The crystal was made to build The Fortress Of Solitude.
Similar to Superman III, Lois Lane’s role is reduced in favor of Lacy. A new character working at The Daily Planet. For no apparent reason, she immediately falls in love with Clark Kent.
There’s a random dance scene with Lex and some random woman. Has nothing to do with the plot.
Many subplots don’t seem to fit into the main story. One subplot involves a student, who’s writes a letter to Superman about the dangers of nuclear weapons. After he meets Superman in person, the kid no longer plays a role.
Jon Cryer’s performance as Lex’s nephew Lenny, is so cringeworthy. The way Lenny acts on screen is best described by Jerry Seinfeld as a “hipster doofus.” Jon later admitted he didn’t like Super IV, he wanted to work with Christopher Reeve & Gene Hackman, because he’s a fan of Superman. Jon ultimately redeemed himself portraying an alternate version Lex to make up his past mistake.
A fight scene with Superman & Nuclear Man on the moon seemed fake. There’s no stars in the background, just a a black curtain. In space, there’s stars. It gets worse, the pair fight slowly. Why do I get the feeling this film’s action sequences are becoming slower than John Candy’s arteries?
Superman has the power to repair The Great Wall Of China using some sort of laser eyes to fix the damage. He never had it in the comics.
Lex mispronounces nuclear as nuke-you-lar. So you’re telling me Superman’s greatest foe can’t pronounce nuclear? That’s stupid.
Nuclear Man’s appearance is horrendously bad. His mullet, girly lookin’ fake finger nails, and outfit looks like Billy Ray Cyrus auditioning an acrobat for the circus.
Superman IV breaks the laws of reality. Superman & Nuclear are able to breath in space, but how the actual heck is Lacy, a human being capable of breathing in space? If this were real life, her head would’ve exploded as in “Total Recall.” Gonna have to Triple Points. My brains cells died from graphic stupidity! A human being breathing in space doesn’t make in gosh darn sense!
The Final Verdict: F, FOR FAKER!
Superman IV: The Quest For Peace is an illogical flop. Christopher Reeve deserves respect for a proper swan song as The Man Of Steel. Sadly, he never got his wish due to his horseback accident and numerous failed attempts to revive the Superman film series. No wonder Bryan Singer discarded Superman III & Superman IV in favor of Superman Returns. I hope Henry Cavill’s solo film as the character can do justice. He’s due for a follow up to Man Of Steel.
R.I.P. Christopher Reeve. Your iconic role as Superman will never be forgotten.