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Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
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Index 259 reviews in total 

9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A decent story spoiled by haphazard movie-making.

Author: Willard Schwartz from North America
20 February 2003

Superman movies are based on the Superman comics. Since they are comics, I don't expect them to be very deep and the science of super strength and flying are unrealistic, so we accept that. We also accept fairly cheesy dialog, because none of that matters. However this Superman IV movie simply appears to be quickly and carelessly made. Some examples are;

* The opening has a Russian spacewalker knocked off by a faster-moving satellite, so that Superman can rescue him. Two satellites in the same orbit have to be moving at the same speed. Plus, Superman's voice cannot be heard in the vacuum of space.

* The flying shots are done poorly with blue screen.

* Cables pulling people up or letting them down are clearly visible.

* For scenes on the moon the pleats of a black curtain are clearly seen in the background.

I am not one to be overly critical of slight "goofs" in film, but the ones in the film almost yell at the viewer, saying "look at me!" Still, I don't think this movie is as bad as the average rating indicates it is. To me, a rating of "4" is about right. Even with its great flaws, it mostly was entertaining, and that's what comic books are for.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Not *That* Bad

Author: Lee Sherman from Iowa
8 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this movie when I was about 11 and liked it. Later I learned of all the scorn heaped upon it, and figured it was one of those shabby films that only seems entertaining when you're not old enough to scrutinize it in the least (e.g. the "Ninja Turtles" live-action movies). But I rented it today for curiosity's sake, and I still like it. I honestly don't understand why it's gone down in history as one of the worst films ever made. If any of them deserve scorn, it's "Superman III." But that's a different review for a different day.

I'm not going to claim this is a great film. It does have problems. Except for a few nicely-constructed models (particularly the Russian space station), the special effects are bargain basement. It doesn't have as many nice character moments as the first movies or "Superman Returns." The plot doesn't flow naturally. The green crystal is an unsatisfying Deus ex machina (and really confusing in light of the first movie, although I think we're supposed to believe this is a separate crystal piece of the spaceship that we didn't see before – maybe they should've made it purple to avoid confusion). A number of things come up only to be dropped. And, perhaps most unfortunately, the real issues of the Cold War and nuclear disarmament aren't fully explored. But "Superman IV" is not a bad piece of entertainment, and it's refreshing to see a movie that depicts the world as a place where people can rise above all the hatred and evil and forge a better future.

I could criticize this movie for being scientific nonsense, but the "Superman" movies have always been closer to fantasy than science fiction, and this isn't really any worse than the others. We have Superman talking in the vacuum of space and being heard by astronauts, but that happened in "II" with Ursa. And a lot has been made about how he telekinetically moves things in this movie by looking at them, but Zod did the same thing in "II" and that didn't seem to bother anyone. Him ringing the doorbell from the balcony to appear as Clark Kent once Lois turns her head is stretching credibility, and the part where Lacy is taken into space is stupid, but little things like that aren't what ruin a film in a series where heavy suspension of disbelief is par for the course. Lastly, none of the "plot holes" are that serious, and most of them are just a byproduct of the (admittedly clumsy) editing job done to improve the film's pacing and remove a braindead subplot.

Now I'll focus on the positive things. The part where Clark playfully reveals himself as Superman to Lois, consults her for advice, then reinstates the mental block, is great. It was pretty much the only thing I remembered from watching the movie as a kid, and there's a reason. It's beautiful, funny, and provides insight into the Man of Steel's mind. The subplot with Lacy and her father is good for some laughs. The humor and drama are in a ratio that I consider good, as in "Superman Returns" and the Donner Cut of "Superman II." Probably the biggest highlight is Lex Luthor. He may have natural hair for no apparent reason, but he's the same magnificent bastard he was in the two "Superman" films I love. The lines written for him and Gene Hackman's performance are both top notch. And, while I'm on the subject, Christopher Reeve does a great job too, although there isn't a whole lot to his role in this film (excepting the scene described above). On the minus side, Margot Kidder phones it in, and the rest of the supporting cast is so-so. Jon Cryer is wasted as Lex Luthor's teenage nephew.

There is one thing that really annoys me about "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace," mainly because it baffles the hell out of me. Holograms of Kryptonian elders appear to Kal-El in the Fortress of Solitude, and none of them are the same elders who appeared in the first two movies. Makes sense, couldn't get the actors, y'know. Except John Hollis, who played one of the Kryptonian elders in those movies, is in this movie in a totally different role (Soviet general). I mean, seriously, what's up with that? The bottom line: This isn't a bad movie. I don't know if I'd recommend buying it, but you should rent it if you like "Superman," or if you want to show the kids something fun that isn't violent or obscene. It's a pleasant, optimistic, fairly engaging action-fantasy story, and it has lots to offer those who look to the '80s with nostalgia. And be sure to watch the deleted scenes, because one is better than anything in the feature. It's a clever bit of political commentary that depicts the Cold War arms race as an '80s arcade game, with all the quarters going to Lex Luthor and his fellow war profiteers.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Don't be too harsh everyone!!!

Author: alexis_240 from Greece
9 October 2006

I will not succumb to the temptation of reminding everyone once again how terrible the special effects are and how many times one can see the supporting wires. Instead I will focus on the few good aspects of the movie. Chris Reeve is once again great in being superman and Gene Hackman is an absolute joy to watch as the menacing Luthor with only one thing on his mind "Destroy superman". The references to the first two movies e.g.flying sequence with Lois Lane and the well known score remind us of why they were so successful.

I agree with the nonsensical space sequence but not so much with superman moving the moon. It's a comic book movie after all and in the first film he managed to get the earth out of orbit! You know the whole idea of a man flying and being invincible is quite impossible so why don't you pick on that too? In superman's world anything can happen.

However what is painful for me personally is Warner Bros not being bothered to refurbish superman 4 just like Lucas did with the original star wars trilogy(added better sound, new scenes e.g. Hayden Christensen at the end of the return of the Jedi). They could use modern technology and hide the visible wires and improve the flying sequences. I am sure it won't be expensive. Plus why not even restore the 45 minutes of deleted footage? Dick Donner did so in the first film and also later this year a new restored cut of superman 2 is coming out with all the deleted Donner footage. Why not patch up a low budget effort and restore superman's former glory?

For the performances of Reeve, Hackman and the rest of the common superman characters I chose to give this film 5 out of 10 and I hope that one day we will see it patched up.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

Author: OptikMatrix
21 December 2003

There is a sort of stigma that surrounds this film. Superman fans either love it or hate it, and the general viewer mostly despises it. Indeed, in comparison to the other Superman films (1 and 2 especially), this entry leaves very much to be desired. I tend to stand on the middle ground when it comes to an opinion on this movie, and I'll tell you why.

Many people know the production history behind Superman IV. The Salkinds gave up the rights to Superman and low-budget studio Canon Films eagerly snatched them up. Christopher Reeve had previously stated that he would never don the red cape again, but with the Salkinds out of the picture and and the assurance that he could contribute to the script, he went right back to the role. The rest of the original cast also came back, also because the Salkinds were out. With all of this lined up and a great budget provided by Warner Brothers, Superman IV was slated to be a film that went back to serious tone of the original two. Of course, Canon slashed the budget in mid-production due to bankruptcy and a disastrous screening in Orange County left 45 minutes of footage on the cutting room floor. When it was finally released, Superman IV had been butchered, beaten, and severely under advertised. The best intentions went awry, and for many fans, the Superman film legacy had ended on a sad and heart-breaking note.

I agree, there is something sad and heart breaking about it, mainly that the movie was probably much more epic than what we were left with. The 45 minutes left out of the film involved a titanic battle between Superman and a prototype Nuclear Man and established the sub-plots that connected the rest of the film together. If such footage had been left in, the quality of the film could have been greatly increased.

The other gut-wrenching thing about the film is the intentions behind it. Reeve and the people involved had wanted to make a film that spoke to fans and to the world about the evils of nuclear weaponry. Behind it all, the movie had a heart, and sadly, many people failed to realize it.

There is no denying that there are some terrible moments in this film. Many times can you see the strings of Superman and/or Nuclear Man and the flying is no where nearly as beautiful or inspiring as it was in the other entries. On the moon you can see the folds in the black curtain of space and Superman is "gifted" with many powers that do not exist in the Superman mythos (he fixes the Great Wall just by looking at it). Despite these numerous errors, Superman IV does have some great moments. Christopher Reeve delivers a flawless performance of Superman and Clark Kent yet again and Gene Hackman is fantastic as Lex Luthor. The movie should be watched, if anything, for the UN speech. It is beautiful and carries a meaning in our current world.

All in all, Superman IV is a technical disappointment in comparison to the other films. It does, however, provide what the third film sorely lacked, and that was heart. We should not easily dismiss this movie, however simple it may seem to do so. May we hope that someday the lost footage will be restored.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A Mediocre Sequel

Author: superboy478
27 February 2002

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is a good movie, but it was a failure in my opinion. It was great seeing the Superman cast back together again, including Gene Hackman who we haven't seen since Superman II. This time, Alexander and Ilya Salkind were not producing the movie. Instead, Menaham Golan and Yoram Globus, the owners of Cannon films, were producing. If you ask me, the Salkinds knew how to make a Superman movie better than those two.

In Superman IV, Superman hears the threat of Nuclear War over and over, and so he decides that he will rid the world of every nuclear weapon known to man. At the same time, Lex Luthor has broken out of jail again and this time, his sidekick is his dorky nephew Lenny. The two criminals create a device that they put on one of the nuclear weapons and that ends up creating Nuclear Man. Nuclear Man has the same powers as Superman but, the only difference is that Nuclear Man gets his power from the sun.

While all of this is going on, The Dailey Planet is being controlled by a tycoon and his daughter who has her eye on Clark Kent.

So Superman has a big job here: SAVE THE WORLD FROM NUCLEAR DESTRUCTION!

I'm going to say that, anyone who has seen the first three Superman films, then just go ahead and see IV because it would be a shame to not see the film that is last in the series. But, in my opinion, I didn't like it much. I think Alexander & Ilya Salkind would've made a hell of a last movie.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Sad note for the Man of Steel to go out on...

Author: James from Des Moines, IA
21 August 2000

The final adventure of Superman is by far his worst. Granted Superman III isn't much better, but at least it was not as contrived as this one.

First of all, let's look at the good parts of this movie, it is a short list. Christopher Reeve came up with an excellent story for this film and it reflected the times that the world was facing. Riding the world of nuclear weapons was a good start, a nice foundation to build on; unfortunately there was not enough money to finish the film and it was released unfinished.

The other nice things about this film are the return of Lex Luthor,and the return to seriousness in the film series. One can only wonder how this movie would have turned out had all the necessary funding been there.

The special effects are just plain horrible, and the audience winces as Superman makes his 'dramatic entrance' by saving a space capsule from spinning into the Earth's atmosphere and rescuing a man falling into space. Everytime Reeve is in flight, the animated Superman is obvious to everyone, and it is sad to see this; for the audience no longer believes a man can fly, but that a cartoon can instead.

So many scenes are deleted from this movie that it is confusing to understand just how certain key elements of the film are executed, or worse yet, why!

The only scene which holds interest for a little while is the climatic battle between Superman and Nuclear Man, at best the scene gets a mediocre.

So far this has been the final entry of the Superman series, and although the film is exceptionally weak. Christopher Reeve once again sparkles as the Man of Steel. He always gave an excellent performance as Superman even when the movies where sub-par, and that speaks plenty.

At least the ending to this movie is done well with Superman flying out of the Earth and smiling at us as he flies off into space, protecting the world; that alone will always inspire some kind of hope to people.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

How is this rated lower than Superman III???

Author: jcasedc from Ellensburg, Washington
5 February 2004

My friends and I regularly sit down and watch an entire movie series in consecutive nights, and we just watched Superman IV last night and the third one the night before. I can't believe Superman IV is not only ranked lower than Superman III, but that it's on the Bottom 100 list. Granted, this is by no means a great movie or very good at all, but there are definitely more than 100 other movies that are worse. Superman III is one of those, in which the opening credits set up the rest of the movie for failure (having everybody in town falling down, running into things, tripping over other people, etc. and not having that tie in to the plot is not a good start to a movie. It is just ridiculous and tells the viewer not to give this movie any respect). If it were me, I would put Superman IV at maybe a 4 or 5 (no higher), and Superman III at a 3 at the most.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Pillow Goodness

Author: repo_jake-1 from United Kingdom
4 July 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Superman 4 the quest for peace?? OK the premise had potential - Superman saving the world for Nuclear disaster. If anyone who has read the Graphic Novel 'The Dark Knight Returns', will know that Superman does indeed save the world from nuclear destruction as Batman faces off finally against Joker. So Superman doing this and an escaped Lex Luther trying to make money from re arming the world has merit.

But it is completely wrong! Lex Luther suddenly develops a unique talent for genetic engineering to grow a man from the sun. The films most funny point is its endless use of the same shot of Christopher Reeve superimposed flying towards the screen. When you monitor it, you see how often it comes up you start yelling "use another shot"!

The funniest thing is Nuclear man played by the legendary Mark Pillow! He flies, he growls, he has retractable finger nails and is dubbed with Gene Hackmans voice! He looks like he is wearing a black nappy with bondage gear on! I think the growling is dubbed too. He is supposed to be as hot as the sun (floor melts under him) but when he kidnaps Mariel Hemmingway she doesn't melt in his arms or die from being flown through deep space by Pillow! This was just stupid, she looks down at the Earth from the Moon! What the hell????

The whole film is just stupid, Hackman and Reeve just look bored and thinking of the money they will make! The flying scenes just look pathetic as seen when Superman takes Lois flying! Its soooo bad! The only saving grace is when Superman is clearing up the destruction left behind by Nuclear Man, not bad like the Mount Vesuvius eruption!

Mark Pillow should join the legendary Dan 'The Man' Haggerty as he is so bad he is good! Superman Returns should be a return to form!

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12 out of 21 people found the following review useful:


Author: Daniel Christopher from United Kingdom
14 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Have we all been watching the same movie? In a franchise that was until this point fairly average, finally somebody decided to make a movie that was true to the comic books.

From the moment the opening credits rolled I was convinced I was witnessing a film worthy of the best film Oscar, perhaps the fact it wasn't even nominated will remain the greatest oversight in film making history.

High points: A villain that offered evilness personified, campness and humour all rolled into one, chris reeve really excelling in a script finally worthy of the role, and a wonderful reprisal from gene hackman.

Low pointd: ended too damn soon. lol.

Cinematography was exceptional, I really believed superman was flying. Music was spot on as always so no change there.

How superman iv is so unpopular will always remain a mystery to me. I rate it fifth in my top five after godfather, seven samurai,rear window and the good the bad and the ugly.

Pure cinema. Pure genius. Pure superman as he was intended. Stop everything and watch this movie. Faultless!!!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Hey, Let's Uninvent The Atomic Bomb!

Author: ArchAngel Michael from Quis Ut Deus ?
16 February 2016

Spoilers Ahead:

Let's grant the givens, this is a Golan Globus movie which meant it had the lowest possible budget known to man. Reeve said, in interviews, the whole cast couldn't believe the effects. I have to take issue with the assertion that it is fine despite the bare bones budget. The premise is painfully absurd; let's grant the big S rounds up all the nukes, a trifle unlikely, but let's go with it. Is he going to spend the rest of his days getting them as people keep producing them. All movies are slices of their zeitgeist, this was made at the height of the No Nukes insanity near the late 80's in the US; it was a direct reaction to Reagan's Star Wars and MX missile deployment. Hey, Reeve was a kind, great guy but his knowledge of world geo-political realities wasn't exactly FDR's. The movie has some scenes with the always entertaining and gifted Hackman; the nuclear man scenes would have worked with decent effects. When I saw this, people, who weren't walking out, were laughing non-stop at the effects during the showdown between the two. What is so tragic is that Wanamaker / Hemingway were good. The movie sank because of the synthesis between the most quixotic premise ever conceived and the worst special effects ever seen in a motion picture. Yes, let's put the nuclear genie back into the bottle; when you watch this, remember the massive Coke problem in Hollywood at this time.

Can you tell some people were snorting some serious blow when this idea was settled upon? There are good scenes with Wanamaker, who proved in Raw Deal that he could act. The triangle with Lois and Hemingway was showing promise. What the production team never learned is, what Carpenter showed in They Live and Escape From New York, if you don't have the funds: less is more. Give the audience just a few scenes of good effects than lots of scenes of crappy effects. The other problem is the estrangement of this movie from its indigenous zeitgeist, after 9 / 11, this kind of peacenik suicidal idealism just doesn't fly quite so well. Reeve still plays the role well, we have much more of Lois and Perry, after their near invisibility in Lester's cheese-ball third one. I don't like either one, but truly, I prefer this to the third one. Hackman is so superior to Vaughn, no Pryor, plus the main group of Jimmy, Lois and Perry is back. Some movies just become so temporally incongruent, as time passes, that they fade away.

If you really love Reeve and Kidder, watch the movie. Hackman has some good lines, though Cryer is quite annoying. When I see this tiny rating, you have to ask yourself what is would have been with good effects and not a retarded premise? Even in 1987, when Superman said he was going to rid the world of nuclear bombs for small fry's wish, people were giggling loudly. The effects were always blamed, along with Hemingway, but truly, the premise of the movie is patently absurd. What? He is going to fly around the world forever grabbing them as they are built again? I always felt bad for Reeve, this was our last look at him, he deserved much better than this. Better Than Three But Still Awful. Q.E.D.

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