Netflix February 2017_day.06 – Superman III (1983)

_When I go to the kitchen and make a sandwich, I’ve turned into a full on convert of open-faced sandwiches. What was once born of necessity when I only had one slice of bread left of a loaf has turned into my preferred method of making a sandwich. I have nothing against bread, but removing the top piece made me realize how much mouth real estate it took up before. Cutting that it in half really made any meats or cheeses or condiments I put on really stand out. I’m a fan.

But I don’t order open-faced sandwiches at deli’s. Because they put entire packages of meat on those. You could probably put 5 slices of bread on those and meat would probably still overpower it.


If a scheming tycoon’s sinister plan comes to fruition, Superman won’t be quite so super anymore.

Time to dip our toe into the non-retconned-but-not-acknowledged-in-Superman-Returns part of the franchise. It’s Superman III.

_Let it be known that Lois Lane was never featured on a movie poster for a Superman movie…but Richard Pryor was. No wonder Lois is such a crazy person, willing to throw herself into rivers and sneak into terrorist situations.

…but Margot Kidder did get the “And…” modifier on the credits, and she barely had to do anything in the entire movie. Terence Stamp got an “And…” in Superman II and he was the main antagonist. And Christopher Reeve get top billing finally! Although Gene Hackman not being in this one probably had something to do with that.

_So this opening credit sequence…wow. There’s comedic elements, then there’s outright slapstick. People comically flying around when Zod and Co. super breath everybody? Silly, sure, but it’s a lighthearted take on ordinary citizens having superpowers used of them, rather than…you know…them getting incinerated with heat vision or violently blown into a brick wall or something. This opening sequence? It’s just normal everyday Metropolis citizens being inept at basic human functions.

The craziest thing is that the rest of the movie isn’t really that over the top. It’s campy, yes, there are some really goofy moments after the first 5 minutes, yes, but the first impression the movie gives off is “A scene where bit players and random extras will get pies in the face and perform various pratfalls for no reason other than comedic effect.” Those first 5 minutes of the movie has more over the top zaniness than the rest of the movie combined.

_I think “Consolidating fractions of a cent into a single bank account” might be the most common white collar crime in all of cinema. Seriously, it feels like it happens all the time. It’s the go to crime when you want the perpetrator to not seem like a total dick, and be like “Oh man, what a clever individual performing a victimless crime!”

_Richard Pryor’s character see’s an ad on a random matchbook that he can make money doing computer programming. Goes in, sits at a computer and knows computer programming. Yup. It’s that easy. Never sat in front of a computer before, know how to program. It’s just intuitive.

_”I told you to kill Superman, and you couldn’t even do that one simple thing.” Evil CEO man, I don’t think you know how Superman works, do you.

_Nice to see Superman adheres to the Star Trek rule that if you turn evil, you mysteriously get eyeliner. Evil Superman is hilarious, though. He’s not even “evil” he’s just a jerk. He doesn’t really hurt anybody…just goes “I’m gonna straighten the leaning tower of Pisa. Mwahaha! Time to blow out the Olympic torch, evil hand wring! Gonna not help people at a collapsing bridge so I and hit on Lana Lang!” He flies to the Atlantic Ocean and causes a massive oil spill cause a women flashed her cleavage in his face and gave him pouty eyes.

_I’m gonna assume that they wrote Lois out of this movie so there wouldn’t be a competent reporter left at the Daily Planet to piece together that one company just so happened to corner the coffee market and oil industry within a week of one another through happenstance. Cause Lois would probably piece that together pretty fast.

_I get that the Superman / Clark fight scene in the junkyard is meant to represent Superman struggling internally with what the synthetic kryptonite has done to his mind, and him trying to break free from it, but when you think of it that way, the physical stuff like Eyeliner Superman blowing acid and burning away Clark’s suitcoat, or dropping a giant magnet on him and driving him into the ground, or Clark trying to subdue Eyeliner Supes by trapping him in a column of tires. It’s silly. And when I think “It’s probably all happening in his mind,” well…he sure left a hell of a lot of actual damage in that junkyard for a mind battle.

…but that short sells Christopher Reeve’s acting in this scene. While the physical representation of the battle might be a little confusing, Reeve portraying an evil Superman standing next to his good guy counterpart Clark Kent really shows that he was a hell of an actor. You can really see the contrast between them just in the way he stands as the two. His voice isn’t even really recognizable when Evil Supes speaks.

_If you asked for specific examples, I would draw a blank, but another thing that feels commonplace in older movies is video game graphics as a real time representation of captured footage. It really shows how far games as a medium have gone that in older games, everything had points. Points were the reason to play. As the medium has grown, the necessity of points has gone away. You know what makes us play? Narrative reasons. Narrative gives us a goal.

…except in games that have no narrative and still use points. Pac-Man: Championship Edition DX is a gift to mankind.

This scene brings up an interesting point about Movie Superman’s power level, though. We’ve seen Superman turn back time, teleport, and do all kinds of crazy ass shit, but his actual vulnerability isn’t tested that much in these movies. If you put aside “He’s Superman, we know from the comics that he can survive a lot,” the most harmful thing he shrugs off is bullets. The Kyptonians definitely were doing damage to him by hurling man-made objects with their super strength, though. Ursa threw a manhole cover at Superman, and while it didn’t exactly cripple him, it did it was hardly shrugged off. I thought about this while watching them try to shoot Superman down with video game missiles and thought to myself “Seriously, missiles? On Superman…wait a second…he hasn’t actually been blown up at any point in time in these movies yet, has he? There no actual evidence anybody in this movie world has to think missile explosions WOULDN’T hurt Superman!” Probably not what actually happened in the writing process of this movie, but…good unintentional work!

_Richard Pryor is so weird in this movie. His entire character is kind of like Robin Williams in Aladdin: His scenes are there to be a showcase of them just doing what they do…although Richard Pryor does only part of what he does, because it’s not vulgar as hell. But it’s really weird to have that happen in the 3rd movie of what was a wildly successful series. It wasn’t like “Superman 1 was a big hit, but the sequel was a let down, so let’s try to infuse some star power into the next one!” Superman 2 was really well received! It’s just a strange decision.

_…super computer turning that lady into a cyborg.

Yup. That happened all right.


_Stop by tomorrow, where we’ll be watching a good old American heist movie: Three Fugitives. Just kidding, I know it’s not a heist movie. See you then~

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