Welcome back to 1 out of 5 – Would Recommend, where we acknowledge that Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice has opened to awful reviews (which this reporter finds overstated). Well, no matter how you feel about the movie, it could always be worse – and 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace proves it!
What’s The Plot?
Superman decides to rid the world with nuclear weapons, gathering the world’s stockpiles and tossing them into the sun. Lex Luthor uses this opportunity to clone a stolen sample of Superman’s DNA, creating the powerfully evil Nuclear Man! Lex pits his creation against the Man of Steel, hoping to clear the way for his plans of world domination.
Who Made This Beautiful Garbage?
Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, the Go Go Boys of Cannon Film Group! These men perfected the art of the low budget movie in the early 1980’s, giving the world Chuck Norris as a leading man, the Death Wish sequels, Texas Chainsaw Massacre II (along with several other Tobe Hooper flicks), and they released forty-three movies at their height (about two years before their big fall). Superman IV, along with Masters of the Universe and the Sly Stallone arm wrestling movie Over The Top, were intended to catapult Cannon into the big time as a film studio…and all three were big box office disappointments. That, combined with purchases of distributors and theaters, led to an end of the Golan-Globus team.
There’s a fantastic documentary about the heyday of Cannon, Electric Boogaloo, on DVD and on Netflix right now. It is highly recommended.
Five Reasons to See It
- Lex Luthor receives an annoying sidekick: Lenny Luthor, a juvenile delinquent nephew played by Jon Cryer (Sixteen Candles, Two and a Half Men).
- Superman uses the infamous mind wiping kiss from Superman II again, again on Lois Lane, and after revealing his identity to her in order to get her advice. The morality of that move is…questionable, at best.
- Superman tries to pull of the old sitcom plot of “I’ve got two dates in the same place in the same night” using his dual identities. Which could easily have been a Silver Age issue’s plot, so you can’t complain too loudly.
- Nuclear Man’s mutated Kryptonian DNA somehow gave him a spandex costume, perfect 80’s hair, and Gene Hackman’s voice.
- “Lenny, I’ve always considered you the Dutch Elm disease in my family tree.” – Lex Luthor, inadvertently describing this film’s place in Superman’s movie history.
This movie is really, really, incredibly dumb. However, it has a certain low budget goofiness that the other “bad” Superman movies (Superman III and Superman Returns being the least controversial claimants to the title) lack, and that makes it a much more enjoyable watch.
NEXT WEEK: We continue examining Golan & Globus’ work, going back to their early days of American success with 1981’s Enter the Ninja.