Wealthy businessman Ross Webster (Robert Vaughn)discovers the hidden talents of Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor), a mischievous computer genius. Ross decides to abuse his talents, in a way to help Webster with his plans for economic control. When the man of steel interferes, something must be done about Supes. When Gus' synthetic Kryptonite fails to kill Superman, it turns him in an evil incarnation of his former self. The tar-laced Kryptonite pits man against himself, setting up the Clark vs. Superman battle. Written by
After making two fairly decent Superman movies, things took a slightly different turn with Superman III. Gene Hackman was nowhere to be found, Lois Lane has such a small part that she's essentially not even in the continuity anymore (Clark apparently forgets all about his love of Lois when he re-meets Lana Lang). And things became really funny, or were at least supposed to be. If you consider "campy" to be funny.
Superman faces off against himself, after being exposed to a new form of kryptonite that has tobacco tar mixed in. Can the world trust a Superman who destroys oil tankers and sleeps with random women on top of the Statue of Liberty? The best part of the "Evil Superman" sequence is when we see Superman drunk, if for no other reason than the thought of Superman getting drunk (or even having the ability to become intoxicated) is a most unusual thought. Good thing Superman doesn't drive a car.
I really enjoyed the entrance of Lana Lang into the film. Lana, in my opinion, was always the more appropriate match for Superman and there is no exception in this movie. She shares a history with him, is more caring than Lois and less dominant. I'm curious where the Lois/Lana thing will go in Part 4, if it goes anywhere. (I am not suggesting dominant women are bad, by the way. But the fact of the matter is anyone dating Superman is going to have to be comfortable with being second fiddle.) What sold me on this movie (and almost scored it a 7 instead of a 6) is the tie-in with "Office Space". In Office Space, Superman III is referenced for a computer program that takes fractions of a cent and puts them in a bank account. The scene in this film was great, and really made me appreciate the way Mike Judge used it many years later.
With nicotine and tar being the secret ingredients in the new kryptonite, was there some message being sent? Richard Pryor was great. He was funny and made the entire film more of a comedy with kitsch than the serious films we had seen before. Many people really didn't like the campiness, I guess, but I thought it was enjoyable for the most part (though they did go over the top just a bit). In my mind, Superman was the light story and Batman the dark story, so I'd rather see a silly Superman than a silly Batman.
The new villain to replace Lex Luthor was okay, but why bother making a new villain if he's going to be the exact same character? I would hope after fifty years of comic books, there would have been at least one other super villain they could have chosen (although the new "Superman Returns" focuses on Luthor again, so I guess creativity is minimal in the Superman world).
If you've seen parts one and two, you may as well see this. But do keep in mind that the world of Superman turns a little "bizarro" for the next two hours of film time...
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