Superman IV: The Quest For Peace

Good lord, is this a piece of shit…
The next time you find yourself discussing the finer details of Superman’s life up on the silver screen and you find yourself putting the boot in to any movie not featuring Christopher Reeve, it always pays to remember this towering abortion that quite possibly has a major claim to being one if the worst films ever made.
Oh sure, Zack Snyder’s Supes may have been a conflicted, broody, city flattener and Bryan Singer’s attempt had The Man Of Steel become The Man Who Went To Space To Avoid Paying Child Support (not as catchy a title, I guess), but for all their faults, at least they both had something that Superman IV didn’t. A motherfucking budget.
You see, the rights to the last son of Krypton were scooped up by the folks of Cannon, a studio famous for churning out untold cheesy vehicles for Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson and for having an extraordinarily dubious business model. By 1987 their money trouble had caught up with them and their highly trumped Superman movie was crammed full of cheap effects, depressed looking stars and a script so thin it was suffering an iron deficiency.

It’s business as usual in Metropolis but the growing threat of nuclear war is ever present – or at least we’re TOLD it is, but nothing about any specific beef between superpowers is mentioned despite some of the film being set in a godamn newspaper – so under the suggestion of a complaining child Superman takes it upon himself to do the decent thing and take away our nuclear playthings before someone loses an eye. After disposing of all of the world’s nukes into the sun (which is oddly never mentioned again despite being the movie’s entire premise) all seems right again but a resurfaced Lex Luthor has other ideas and by mixing Superman’s DNA with his own, sticking it to the outside of a missile and tricking Supes to also throw it into the sun, Nuclear Man is born (luckily it apparently only takes about 20 minutes to fly there from the earth so we’re saved the agony of waiting). With his luxurious blonde do, sick biceps and the manicure of a Venezuelan prostitute, this superpowered himbo proves to be a more than a match for Superman and wounds him badly after their first confrontation which allows more screen time for the B plot of the Daily Planet being taken over by an unscrupulous tycoon which drags itself along like a mortally wounded slug. Wisely using every second of that dead screen time to heal, Superman prepares for a rematch with the glowing nuclear powered “bro” who has become illogically smitten with the tycoon’s daughter after seeing a picture of her. Can Krypton’s last son beat the sun powered man one on one or will their showdown on the moon spell the twilight of Superman’s career?

It’s sort of tough to adequately describe exactly how bad Superman IV is to someone as I truly believe the English language is insufficient to the task and endless tormented rage screaming frankly doesn’t read too well on the page – but in order to do my job I’ll guess I’ll persevere…
Alarm bells start ringing right from the off with a staggeringly cheap looking title sequence and then get steadily worse from there. Every scene crashes into the next like the blindfolded participants of a vodka fueled demolition derby and it becomes readily apparent pretty quickly that the filmmakers don’t give two squirts of warm piss about minor details like logic, physics or creating a coherent story. Sadly, even series flotation device Christopher Reeve can’t even squeak by as part of the deal for him to (reluctantly) return was that he got to come up with the basic anti-nuke plot which, sadly, is shat on from a great height instantly by the parade of baffling images the film flickers in front of your disbelieving eyeballs like some sort of poorly edited torture device.
Chief amoung the frequent crimes against cinema are the moral implications of Kal-El creepily abusing his powers. Watch in bemused horror as Superman finally re-reveals his identity to Lois Lane and takes her for a clumsy flight past a selection of the world’s grainiest stock footage, only erase her memory AGAIN once he’s asked her for her advice! Or how about an excruciating scene where he uses his super speed to date two women simultaneously for “comedy” purposes; or how about Supes casually shoving the moon in front of the sun in order to create a surprise eclipce in order to defeat his foe no doubt damaging the eyesight of everyone unlucky enough to be with a stones throw of a hero who has as strong a grasp of physics as a flat earther…
The film stubbornly refuses to stop being stupid for it’s entire run time, virtually daring you to turn off by piling on levels of incompetence so vast that it makes Superman III look like a cure for AIDS.
Metropolis seems to have a subway system that suspiciously looks like the London Underground, Mariel Hemminway’s character is flown into actual SPACE without seemingly any adverse effects, we’re expected to be impressed by a solar powered villain who’s greatest weakness is mild to heavy cloud cover – the stupidity is endless and relentless. Jon Cryer turns up as Lex Luthor’s valley-speaking nephew Lenny, a sequence set at the Great Wall Of China contains effects so bad it’ll make your jaw unhinge like an anaconda and… holy shit, is that JIM BROADBENT as a French arms dealer!?!? And how the hell did they get Gene Hackman back?

As ugly and stupid as the most stupidly ugly thing you can think off (fittingly for me, it’s actually this movie) Superman IV: The Quest For Peace somehow contains not a single redeeming feature during it’s seemingly endless duration (only ninety seven minutes in actual time which would be better spent jamming wasps into your pee hole) and drove the cinematic adventures of comic’s most endearing character into the ground so hard that he didn’t resurface on the silver screen for nearly two decades.
Nuclear waste…

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