Comic Book Movie Rewatch: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

I really enjoy movies based on comic books, whether they be based on minor comics like Spawn, or classics like the X-Men. Every time I watch one (or re-watch one) I write up a post with my thoughts. I try to be spoiler free, but the older the movie, the less careful I am. This time it was the 1987 movie Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

superman_4Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

IMDb Rating: 3.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes critics: 12%

Rotten Tomatoes audience: 16%

My Rating: 4/10

I know this movie has a reputation for being the worst of the Christopher Reeve’s Superman movies, but I actually thought it was okay. It’s not as good as the first two, but I’d put it in line with the third. The beginning is decent, and it really helped having the original cast back.

Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor is an interesting character. He openly brags about being the greatest criminal mind in history, but he’s rarely shown doing anything particularly smart or clever, and so many of his plans rely on luck. At the same time, he has a great on-screen charisma that makes him likeable. Margot Kidder and Christopher Reeve are also great in their roles, but their chemistry seemed to have faded since the first movie. Some of that may be because of all the recycled footage and effects. When Superman takes her flying around the city in the first movie, it’s magical, in this one it’s obviously trying to recapture that feeling, but fails.

The visual effects were really distracting in this movie. Usually I can forgive dated effects when the movie is as old as Superman IV, but this was bad even for the era. The green screen effects were obvious and shoddily done. The effects also led to some weird plot holes like every character (including the non-super powered people) being able to breathe in space, or Superman suddenly having the power to repair the Great Wall of China with his eyes.

Overall, the writing just wasn’t very good and that led to most of the other problems. Even with all its difficulties, the movie still has a charm that’s been missing from the more recent Superman films. I’m glad I finished the series, and I’d have no problem saying this as a great bad movie night option.


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