Wednesday, June 5, 2013
SUPERMAN:The Retrospective-PartIII:SUPERMAN III (1983)
Director: Richard Lester
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Annette O'Toole, Marc McClure, Robert Vaughn, Pamela Stephenson
Never underestimate the power of computers
To start off, this shouldn't be called Superman III. A more appropriate title would be Gus Gorman with tag line "You Will Believe A Computer Can Do Anything". This is a Richard Pryor movie with special guest, Superman. Pryor easily clocks in the most screen time and the plot really revolves around every move he makes. He's not even the main villain or some sort of hero. At best I can see, he's the bumbling henchman of the criminal mastermind. So, if we ever wanted a movie told from that angle, here you have it. It's a Superman movie, but Superman is pretty much shoehorned in and only swoops in to save the day.
From the outset, you can tell Richard Lester is predating Joel Schumacker's "full control and off the rails" by 14 years. We start off with a full scale slapstick series of events in Metropolis, making West Side Story look like The Godfather in tone. Gone are the cool space opening credits that ushered us into the first two films. Nope, we get this. A series of comedic destructions, one after another, all because of Lorelei strolling by. A bank robbery happens, but does Superman catch the culprits? Nope, he instead saves a man who has run over a fire hydrant and his car is full of water drowning him while people just sit and stare. BREAK THE DAMN WINDOWS! So yeah, this is how this thing we call a movie starts.
Also, the first two films' effects were revolutionary and setting new standards. This one? It backpedals about 90 steps and 10 years. It looks incredibly cheap. Superman's flying looks really bad in this. Everything looks done for quick buck and just assuming people will go with it. Its pretty sad. Superman III has some of the poorest blue screen work you'll see. This film should have taken it further, but its too concerned with getting yucks and trying to find a punchline in any film.
Okay...I'm going to do this a little more 50/50. I'm going to stop with the complaints here. The list of dislikes regarding Superman III are well documented on the web and elsewhere. I'm going to spin this into things I actually liked about the movie. No, I'm not on the fence about Superman III, I don't like the movie, but I just wanted to do something a little more fair for it.
Evil Superman is a pretty big hoot. Reeve once again commits to his role and makes for one hell of a creep as the darker side of Kal-El. Weirdly enough his costume changes color and its more in tune with Superman Returns color scheme. There's a insanely uncomfortable moment with Lana Lang that plays far more dangerous and off from this film's tone and feels so damn awkward. However, looking back at this now, the Evil Superman stage of this film is quite hilarious. There's a lot of funny lines and he does some things that are just wildly out of left field. And then you get to see Clark Kent fight Superman to top it off. Its probably the highlight of this movie.
Find out when I return next time with: SUPERGIRL