The Blog Is Yours: Worst Superman movie: III or IV?

Superman III (Warner Bros.)

Excitement is building for Man of Steel. I recently rewatched the original Superman starring Christopher Reeve, which had long been hailed (until The Avengers came along) as the perfect superhero movie. And that got me thinking that the franchise has brought us some real stinkers as well. (I’m looking at you, III and IV!)

Which was worse? (Superman I and II and Superman Returns are out of bounds — no, I don’t care how little sense the infamous “S-logo throw” in Superman II made. Because kneel before Zod!). Here are some talking points to get you started. Carry on in the comments below!

Superman III (pictured):

Pros: Robert Vaughn in a new take on the millionaire villain. No subtitle. (Superman II didn’t need one.) Annette O’Toole as Lana Lang (years before she was Ma Kent on Smallville). Superman behaves like the rest of us.

Cons: Another millionaire villain. No subtitle. Richard Pryor. Scary robot lady. More missile mayhem (see Superman).

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace:

Pros: Lois isn’t as gullible and stupid as we were led to believe (see Superman II). Lara Jor-El. A really good newspaper speech at the end from Perry White.

Cons: Two and a Half-man Jon Cryer as little Lenny Luthor. The Nuclear Man mess. Unbelievably bad editing.

Have at it, nerds!

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About the author

Jayson Peters

Digital, social and print media pro. Nerdvana's founder, curator and editor.


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  • Totally looking forward to MoS.
    You can excise most of the cheesiness from Superman II with a viewing of The Donner Cut and Superman III’s saving grace is the (then) epic junkyard battle between Clark and drunken jerk Kal-El.

    The Quest for Peace, however? Abysmal.

  • Richard Pryor skimming partial cents from every financial computer
    transaction was decades ahead of its time and he would fit right in with today’s
    Wall Street villains. There are some excellent lines in III and it had a lot
    going for it.

    Seeing the sleazy Superman fight his do-gooder self was pretty cool, but for me, the Atari-like computer screen that was used to capture the missile fight with Supes was officially where the series jumped the shark. It cost $95,000 to create a scene that put a kryptonite dagger into the film. You can learn some interesting info about the Superman III video game and how it was incorporated into the movie here:

    Superman IV though was the worst. God bless Christopher Reeve, he was the greatest Superman ever, but as a writer he was more akin to Solomon Grundy. What a shame. But I have very high-hopes for the upcoming Man of Steel (please no illegitimate super-kids like in Superman Returns – pretending that never happened.)

    But while the discussion is on really bad Super-Films, let’s not forget Supergirl with its hokey “he’s off saving another galaxy” excuse for why Superman wasn’t in this film, leaving Lois Lane’s sister Lucy to explain to Kara Zor-El what a dingleberry is. Arrrgggh!

  • Superman III did have some good moments. The junkyard fight with good Clark and bad Superman. Richard Pryor could have been used better. Should have made him more evil. Special affects good. Chris Reeve great! Superman IV had Gene Hackman and the Lois and Clark scenes were nice. Clark is more fun as the goofy guy as he was in IV. Did not like Nuke man stuff. Should have had Bizzaro! I would say IV was the worst.