Worst To First: Ranking the Superman Movies
Later this month, Superman and Batman will appear on the big screen for the first time. Leading up to the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, we’ll be looking back at the cinematic history of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight. To kick things off, we’re going to rank the Superman movies from worst to first.
Let me start off by saying something that is very hard for me to say as a lifelong Superman fan. Most of the movies featuring the Last Son of Krypton aren’t very good. There’s really only two that are worth watching. For the rest of the bunch, we’re splitting hairs to determine which belong at the bottom of the barrel.
7. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
Summary: Superman tries to end the threat of nuclear war by throwing all of the world’s nuclear weapons into the sun. But instead he ends up battling a nuclear-powered clone created by his arch-enemy Lex Luthor. Meanwhile, the Daily Planet is threatened by a hostile takeover and Superman’s love life gets complicated when the paper’s new owner falls for Clark Kent.
What’s Good: After a few years away from the series, Christopher Reeve donned the cape and tights one last time. While just about everything about The Quest For Peace falls short, it’s great to see Reeve sparring with Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor. Their scenes together work despite everything else that is wrong with the movie. And it’s good to have Margot Kidder back as Lois Lane after she was mostly written out of the third movie. It’s just a shame these actors didn’t reunite for a better movie.
What’s Bad: After the disappointment of Superman III and Supergirl, Alexander and Ilya Salkind decided to get out of the Superman business. They sold the rights to the series to The Cannon Group, a studio that was known for cranking out cheap action movies. Cannon was looking to improve their reputation by making some big budget movies. Unfortunately, their spending spree didn’t pay off. They were going bankrupt and it shows. The budget for Superman IV was dramatically slashed.
Verdict: Superman IV was built on good intentions. Christopher Reeve, perhaps naively, thought he was signing on for one last adventure that would rival the better films in the series. On top of that, he came up with a story that he hoped would help promote world peace at the height of the Cold War. Instead, with no money to spend on things like flying, Superman IV looks embarrassingly cheap. The script borrows liberally from the first two Superman movies even going so far as to repeat plot points better left unrepeated (Super-memory-erasing-kiss) but all it accomplishes is to remind the viewer how much better those other movies were by comparison.
Posted on March 11, 2016, in Movies, Super Heroes, Worst to First and tagged Brandon Routh, Bryan Singer, Christopher Reeve, Henry Cavill, Richard Donner, Richard Lester, Superman, Zack Snyder. Bookmark the permalink. 100 Comments.