Superman III, which is among the worst comic book movies ever, makes its arrival on 4K Ultra HD in time for its 40th anniversary. The film makes its arrival as part of the Superman 1978-1987 5-Film Collection getting the complete upgrade to 4K as Warner Bros continues its 100th anniversary celebration.
This is one of those films where one can immediately tell it’s going to be terrible. Right off the bat, Richard Lester opts for gag after gag after gag. This isn’t a Beatles movie nor is it a spoof. But for all intents and purposes, it very well could be a superhero spoof. It gets to a point in which Kal-El (Christopher Reeve) straightens up the Leaning Tower of Pisa and blows out the Olympic Flame. It makes one question what they were thinking when the film was in production.
As a result of whatever Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor) did with the flawed Kryptonite, Superman becomes selfish and then separates into two different beings: Clark Kent and Superman. Honestly, the film is so unwatchable that there are so many points in which you just want to turn the film off. I realize that Reeve had a contractual obligation but this film is a disgrace to everything that Kal-El stands for. How much of this is because of Lester, the Newmans, Pierre Spengler, or the Salkinds is beyond me. The fact that neither Richard Lester or the Newmans do not return for the last Reeve film is very telling. Hey, somebody had to take the blame for this cinematic pile of disgrace!
Where the Lester cut of Superman II did well at the box office, he was also working around much of what Richard Donner had done. Here, it’s entirely on him and the Newmans. Meanwhile, Ken Thorne’s score relies way too much on the classic John Williams tune. Surprisingly, it barely makes an appearance during the opening credits. Instead, we only hear it the first time that Clark Kent changes into Superman. In any event, the entire film is a colossal disappointment to say the least. Richard Lester should never have been allowed to touch this franchise with a ten-foot pole. It’s a shame that the Salkinds let go of Dick Donner because he would have done a way better job if allowed to stay at the helm. Gene Hackman didn’t return and Margot Kidder is seemingly punished with a lesser role.
Neither Christopher Reeve’s performance nor the VFX are enough to make up for Superman III being a very unwatchable film. Superman vs. Superman may be one of the few highlights in the entire two hour-plus film. This film doesn’t even earn its bloated run time!
- Commentary by Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler
- The Making of Superman III – 1983 TV special
- Deleted scenes
- Save my baby
- To the rescue
- Making up
- Going to see the boss
- Hatching the plan
- The con
- Rooftop ski
- Boss wants this to go
- Superman honored
- Gus’ speech
- Hanging up on Brad
- Theatrical trailer
DIRECTOR: Richard Lester
SCREENWRITERS: David Newman and Leslie Newman
CAST: Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, Annette O’Toole, Annie Ross, Pamela Stephenson, Robert Vaughn, and Margot Kidder
Warner Bros. released Superman III in theaters on June 17, 1983. Grade: 1/5
Please subscribe to Solzy at the Movies on Substack.