_Years ago, a friend asked me what my favorite kind of stories were.
I sat there for a moment, trying not to blurt out the first thing I thought of which might be based on something I’d enjoyed recently, clouding my response with recency bias.
…after a hard thought minute, I replied “Bittersweet.”
While I enjoy a lot of stuff, I think overall, that answer still stands for me.
This movie isn’t bittersweet, though.
“Just as the Man of Steel is trying to save the world from nuclear destruction, he faces a new nuclear nemesis”
It’s just non-stop “great.” Aw yeah, it’s Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.
_If you don’t know anything about the production of Superman IV…well…let’s just say it had a slightly lower budget than the previous films. “Slightly lower” meaning everything looks visually shittier in this movie than it did in the first movie made 10 years prior. “Like what?” you ask?
Everything. Literally everything.
Even the opening credits look shittier.
Yeah. BUDGET CREDITS.
There’s a shot in the movie where Nuclear Man shoots a blast from his arm, which blows a police officer away. And for the “Getting knocked back” shot rolled some footage of him jumping up and sliding over a car hood backwards. Yeah. Instead of a straight forward shot of a guy falling backwards by acting, they decided some unnecessary film trickery was the way to go.
They were right. That was the way to go.
Quest For Peace is amazing.
_So everybody is super worried about the nuclear crisis, and some mopey kid in a class tells his teacher “Superman will fix all of this! I know he will!” Superman doesn’t do it immediately, so the Daily Planet runs a FRONT PAGE ARTICLE that reads “Superman says ‘Drop dead’ to kid!” Clark gets mopey about it, flies to the UN, stands in front of everybody and says “I’m going to do what our governments have been unwilling or unable to do. Effective immediately, I’m going to rid our planet of all nuclear weapons.” To thunderous applause. Applause from all of the representatives of the countries unwilling to disarm themselves. Brilliant.
And then Superman puts all of the nukes into a GIANT NET IN OUTER SPACE! This movie is incredible.
_You know, I’ve heard plenty of people dump on Superman IV. Dump on the effects, dump on the story, dump on the writing. But how are you gonna dump on writing with such an incredible attention to detail that they explained how Nuclear Man was created with a full set of clothes, weaved from fabric by a computer Lex designed to meet his high moral standards? How could you describe that as bad writing?!
_Superman vs. Nuclear Man on the moon is just fantastic. The way the entire scene is shown in slow motion to replicate the lower gravity. How their main method of attack is tossing each other around in said low gravity. The way they spend so much time grabbing each others shoulders and spinning around. Nuclear Man driving Superman into the surface like a railroad spike. Nuclear Man kidnapping Lacy and flying her into outer space where…she’s fine. No trouble breathing or anything. Superman emerging from the ground, and placing the flag upright. Superman pushing the moon to eclipse the sun to defeat Nuclear Man by cutting off his source of energy. There nothing not great about any of it.
_This seems like a perfect time to list off some of the wonderful random powers over these last four Superman movies~
-Superman turns back time in Superman 1 to save Lois Lane.
-Zod is able to move things with lasers emanating from his body. First a shotgun with his heat vision, then he lifts a man with a laser extended from his finger. Unknown if the lasers do the lifting of it it’s actually telekinetic powers.
-Momentary debilitating thrown cellophane Superman logo peeled from chest of costume.
-Teleportation by all four kryptonians.
-Ability to project holograms by Superman, though I suppose it could be Fortress of Solitude projecting images of him not him doing it with his mind or something.
-Ability to instill amnesia via kiss. The last 15 minutes of 2 has a lot of ridiculous. Then he did it again in Superman 4, with the implication that he would totally just let Lois know he’s Superman, get her advice, then wipe her memory whenever he needed someone to talk to. Excellent.
-Uses super breath to blow an oil spill back into a hold in a tanker. Even though it’s technically “Just super breath,” he cleaned up an oil spill with super breath. That’s like the super breath equivalent of turning back time being “Just super speed.”
-The nuclear fingernails of strength possessed by Nuclear Man.
-Not a power, but Nuclear Man speaking with Lex Luthor’s voice. What the everlasting hell.
-Superman repairs the Great Wall of China with super vision. Repairs the Great Wall. With super vision. Yeah. Excellent.
_Objectively, Superman IV is horrible. Like, really bad. The writing is a mess of shit, the plot is a ham fisted anti-nukes/war message, the action scenes are dull, and it plays up the “Clark Kent conveniently disappearing then Superman shows up” and vice-versa things to an extreme in multiple scenes making Lois seem as dumb as she’s ever been. The movie is objectively not good.
That being said…I wouldn’t call Superman IV a guilty pleasure, because I feel no guilt for enjoying how laughably awful it is. Superman IV is a cinematic masterpiece of the highest order and a triumph of film schlock. The only way to give this movie the proper credit it deserves would be if I surgically replaced my other 8 fingers with thumbs, so I could single-handedly give it ten thumbs up.
It’s almost too beautiful of a movie.
_Stop by tomorrow, where we’ll watch a movie that I’m going to assume isn’t about the Mumford and Sons album. Babel. See you then~