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Superman III

Superman III

Genders: Action, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Director: Richard Lester

Writer: David Newman, Leslie Newman

Actors: Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Margot Kidder, Jackie Cooper

Year: 1983
Run time: 2h 5min
IMDB score: 4.8
Updated: one year ago

Movie infomation

Movie name: Superman III

Genders: Action, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Imdb Score: 4.8

Runtime: 2h 5min

Released: 17 Jun 1983

Director: Richard Lester

Writer: David Newman, Leslie Newman

Actors: Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Margot Kidder, Jackie Cooper

Company: WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES

Imdb Link

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Trailer


Review

A lot less humor needed

6/10 If you're a fan of Superman you'll find plenty to enjoy in this third installment in the series. I do, but it must be admitted that this film is much inferior to the first two.

This has Richard Lester written all over it. Superman II was Richard Donner's creation and Lester simply took over and wisely kept the tone of the film but with some added humor. This time around the humor steers the film as it's mostly a Richard Pryor vehicle. It doesn't come as much of a surprise that the film fares best when focusing on the Man of Steel, whether he's romancing an old flame in Smallville or in high flying action.

This is also the film where Superman goes bad and fights his alter ego to the death. Those scenes are the best in the film. Some set pieces are pretty good and special effects are decent. However, the finale has to be deemed utterly ridiculous when Superman battles a "sophisticated" computer!

Reeve is amazing as Superman/Clark Kent. Effortlessly switching to playing a meaner version of himself, he's simply perfect. Richard Pryor is always the same, so if you're a fan of his work you'll love him here. Everyone else is decent except those three villains; they're a little too much, especially Vaughn.

A lot less humor and more seriousness would have made the film very good.

4 years ago

"I hope you don't expect me to save you..."

10/10 Despite the overwhelming hatred for Superman III, I gotta say that I think it's an excellent film. One of the two best of the whole Superman saga, actually. The other, of course, is the original film. But Superman III is so much fun, and a great example of how it's possible for Superman to have enemies OTHER than Lex Luthor. The guy's been the main villain in, how many is it, FOUR of the now FIVE Superman films? I liked Gene Hackman's Luthor (far superior to Kevin Spacey's), but you gotta take a break at some point. No, Superman III is a refreshing change of pace, not only in that respect, but in several ways.

Most noticeable, and much to the chagrin of many people, is the slightly more comedic tone of the film, centered mainly around Richard Pryor's character, August 'Gus' Gorman. I thought Prior was great. He plays an over-the-top character in a movie series about an over-the-top character. I hear people complain all the time that they hate the comedy that Prior brought to the film because Superman is supposed to be, and these are actual quotes, "gritty" and "realistic". NO, he's not. Superman is not gritty, and he's not realistic. Never was, never will be. Richard Donner's original doesn't even come CLOSE to playing it straight. Just look at how he portrays Clark Kent. In the comic books and 1950's television series, the "mild-mannered" Clark Kent is treated with respect and professionalism. He basically co-exists amongst his peers at the Daily Planet. In "Superman: The Movie", Richard Donner has taken the character straight out of the old comics and TV series, with all the same mannerisms and morals, and placed him in a very modern 1978. This is a set-up for much of the films adequate amount of comedy relief. "Superman: The Movie" is not a comedy. Neither is "Superman III", but they both have comic relief. The Clark Kent character is slightly more serious in this one, thus, you have Gus. A funny little man, with an interesting power. A savant-like intellect that gives him complete control over any computer system.

I especially like how Clark Kent, Superman's alterego, is fleshed out more as he returns home to Smallville. This is a great follow-up to Richard Donner's brief exploration to Superman's early years in Smallville. The inclusion of Lana Lang as Clark's high school crush was great, even better in that they chose the lovely Annette O'Toole to portray the character. I LOVE Margot Kidder, but I think Lana is a very important character in Superman's backstory.

All the delving into Clark Kent's character and background leads us to one of the greatest scenes in motion picture history... Clark Kent vs. Evil Superman. I could sit here and expound on the scene's metaphoric implications all day long, but simply put, I found it jaw-dropping. Christopher Reeve was always perfect as Superman, but his best work is here in this scene. Evil Superman is a very physical representation of everything Clark/Superman has ever repressed, and obviously we're talking about a lot of repression here. It's great stuff. I still wanna cheer every time the victorious Clark Kent opens his shirt to reveal his famous insignia, which, by the way, is differentiated by Evil Superman's in that it's excessively bright, where as his was really dark and dingy looking. Having been a Superman fan since I was a kid way back in the day, that's one of those scenes I'll remember 'till the day I die. I remember it from my childhood, but it's actually more relateable for me now as an adult.

Superman III is one of the greats. If you haven't seen it yet, I only ask that you watch it with an open mind and not look for grit or realism where it has no place being. Instead, just believe a man can fly... again.

4 years ago

Like Office Space With a Super Hero

6/10 After making two fairly decent Superman movies, things took a slightly different turn with Superman III. Gene Hackman was nowhere to be found, Lois Lane has such a small part that she's essentially not even in the continuity anymore (Clark apparently forgets all about his love of Lois when he re-meets Lana Lang). And things became really funny, or were at least supposed to be. If you consider "campy" to be funny.

Superman faces off against himself, after being exposed to a new form of kryptonite that has tobacco tar mixed in. Can the world trust a Superman who destroys oil tankers and sleeps with random women on top of the Statue of Liberty? The best part of the "Evil Superman" sequence is when we see Superman drunk, if for no other reason than the thought of Superman getting drunk (or even having the ability to become intoxicated) is a most unusual thought. Good thing Superman doesn't drive a car.

I really enjoyed the entrance of Lana Lang into the film. Lana, in my opinion, was always the more appropriate match for Superman and there is no exception in this movie. She shares a history with him, is more caring than Lois and less dominant. I'm curious where the Lois/Lana thing will go in Part 4, if it goes anywhere. (I am not suggesting dominant women are bad, by the way. But the fact of the matter is anyone dating Superman is going to have to be comfortable with being second fiddle.) What sold me on this movie (and almost scored it a 7 instead of a 6) is the tie-in with "Office Space". In Office Space, Superman III is referenced for a computer program that takes fractions of a cent and puts them in a bank account. The scene in this film was great, and really made me appreciate the way Mike Judge used it many years later.

With nicotine and tar being the secret ingredients in the new kryptonite, was there some message being sent? Richard Pryor was great. He was funny and made the entire film more of a comedy with kitsch than the serious films we had seen before. Many people really didn't like the campiness, I guess, but I thought it was enjoyable for the most part (though they did go over the top just a bit). In my mind, Superman was the light story and Batman the dark story, so I'd rather see a silly Superman than a silly Batman.

The new villain to replace Lex Luthor was okay, but why bother making a new villain if he's going to be the exact same character? I would hope after fifty years of comic books, there would have been at least one other super villain they could have chosen (although the new "Superman Returns" focuses on Luthor again, so I guess creativity is minimal in the Superman world).

If you've seen parts one and two, you may as well see this. But do keep in mind that the world of Superman turns a little "bizarro" for the next two hours of film time...

4 years ago

It's not all that bad folks!

6/10 Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor) who is a fun-loving computer genius has been hired by a mad rich computer company tycoon named Ross Webster (Robert Vaughn)to help him with his plans along with Ross's sister Vera (Annie Ross) and girlfriend Loreli (Pamela Stephenson) but Superman (Christopher Reeve)interferes with their plans as they must plot to stop Superman for good. Clark Kent revisits his old boyhood town called Smallville, where he is reunited with an old flame named Lana Lang (Annette O'Toole) at a high school reunion during his visit. Gus comes up with a scheme to make a special kryptonite with tobacco tar to make Superman evil including splitting up with his personality so that way Gus and Webster can make their supercomputer that can control the world's energy, can Superman come back to normal or will the computer take over mankind?

Enjoyable sequel but not as awesome as the first two movies, Richard Lester who did his version of "Superman II" just added some unnecessary comedy relief such as the "Three Stooges"-esquire opening sequence that didn't help or that ludicrous video game footage but there was some good special effects and memorable moments like Clark Kent vs. Superman in the junkyard sequence or the part where Vera becomes a Dot Matrix from Spaceballs-like android, although Ms. Stephenson was pretty cute.

All in all it's that bad folks, just relax, enjoy and suspend your disbelief.

4 years ago

Not that bad of a sequel.

5/10 I will admit that when compared to the first two films, this is obviously inferior. But still, it's not all that bad. Christopher Reeves is still the best Superman, and Richard Pryor was okay. I remember seeing this a lot when I was real young, so I have a special place for this film in my heart. I will always remember the scenes when Superman fights the separate superman. The scene where that lady is turned into a robot used to scare me, but I think it's cool now. A good Saturday afternoon film.

4 years ago