Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) Poster

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The End of an Era... for Christopher Reeve
gavin694220 September 2006
In this 4th and final Chritopher Reeve Superman film, Superman tries to rid the world of nuclear weapons, only to find that Lex Luthor is back and ready to supply the world with these dangerous weapons. Oh, and he has a new sidekick: Nuclear Man!

Many people have given this a lower rating (understandably), but a 3 or 4 out of 10? It really is not that bad. The film is fun, fast-paced and very watchable. Some consider it the worst, but I did not find it any better or worse than part 3. Granted, parts 1 and 2 are superior (thanks Richard Donner) but I've seen many worse films than Superman 4.

Random thoughts: The double date scene was clever, but really annoying and completely pointless. If Superman would just reveal himself to Lois Lane he wouldn't have to find other girls on the side... although see below.

The idea of getting rid of nuclear weapons was very nice and a great social and political commentary. I agree getting rid of nuclear weapons would be a good move. But the film made this very unrealistic. The world cheers him on, when in reality the countries would protest. He invades a variety of countries and steals their to secret hidden weapons (not sure on the legality or logistics of that). And what is to stop someone from building these weapons all over again?

What happened to Lana Lang? At the end of part 3, it looked like Superman finally realized that Lois Lane is a loser and hooked up with Lana. But she is never seen or mentioned in part 4, despite working for the Daily Planet (at least as of the last film). What gives?

Does anyone else think Lex Luthor is getting a little tired? Did we really need 3 films with Luthor and one with a Luthor knockoff? What about Brainiac or Bizarro or the Eradicator or just about anyone else? Heck, General Zod is so much cooler than Luthor (with all due respect to Gene Hackman).

There's a scene where he rebuilds the great wall of China just by looking at it. What power did he use? Tractor beams from his nipples?

But anyway, this film is not as bad as many would have you believe, and if you've spent six hours on the first three, you might as well invest 90 more minutes in this series finale.
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Not A Very Memorable Ending To The Reeve-Superman Series
ccthemovieman-12 February 2007
Superman Turns "Peacenik" could be another title to this film. Christopher Reeve remarked several times that this was his most "important" Superman movie. Being somewhat of a Liberal "peacenik," he was the kind you'd see out with a big "peace sign" at rallies against nuclear weapons.This movie had the kind of message that was dear to his heart.

Superman goes about trying to rid the world of nuclear weapons here, especially, of course when they get into the hands of villain "Dr. Luthor" (Gene Hackman). It was a nice message and, overall, a nice film. Unlike the other Superman films of the era, they didn't overdo the sappy romance with "Lois Lane" (Margot Kidder). They concentrated more on the story. Unfortunately, that story - even with good intentions - just wasn't all that memorable.

Ask anyone: people remember the first two Reeve Superman films a lot more than the last two. This one, and the third one with Richard Pryor, pretty much "bombed" at the box office, at least compared to the others.

It did not help that the producers of this movie were Golan-Globus films, guys that were known for their cheap and usually-sleazy exploitation films. "Superman" deserved better.
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Such a shame!
richieandsam16 May 2013

OK... so everyone knows that this is the worst Superman movie ever made... but if you have not seen it in a while, you should watch it.

It is still pretty rubbish, but it is not as bad as I remember.

The story is not that bad... Superman rids planet Earth of all the nuclear weapons, and in doing so unknowingly creates a super villain named Nuclear Man thanks to arch rival Lex Luthor.

The movie does star all the original cast, which surprised me. I knew Christopher Reeve was in it... and after reading his autobiography now know why. He said in the book that he only made it because the film studio wanted to make it and they said to him that they would only finance another movie he wanted to make if he made Superman IV. I will quote what he said in his book... "The less said about Superman IV the better."

Gene Hackman returns as Lex Luthor & Margot Kidder is back as Lois Lane. They all did good jobs as always, although Margot was a bit unsure in places. The other supporting cast were not great. Mariel Hemingway played the new boss of the Daily Planet. She was awful... not a great actress in this I'm afraid. But she was not the worst. Mark Pillow played Nuclear Man. Absolutely terrible. His acting was definitely the worst of the whole quadrilogy.

The effects in this film were so bad. You could see that the budget of this film was so much less than the other 3 movies made. Superman flying was so bad that Flash Gordon was more convincing... and speaking of Flash Gordon... Nuclear Man looked like him... but more camp! Nuclear Mans outfit was embarrassing... it was not much of a super villains outfit. It honestly was just a bad character through and through.

There are also some really bad scenes... there was a scene where a large chuck of the Great Wall of China gets destroyed and Superman fixes it just by looking at it and using some dodgy blue eye lasers. What the hell? Terrible. Also, there is a scene where Nuclear Man kidnaps a Lacy and takes her into space... WHAT? He drags her to space and not only does she not scream or even say anything, but she can breathe fine in space... erm... really? I know Superman was never meant to be realistic, but that is too much!

When I was a kid I was a big fan of the Superman movies... but I think my parents protected me from this disappointment, because I don't remember this film at all... I didn't see this film until I was an adult. Haha. Thanks Mum.

I will give this film 5 out of 10.

It's a shame about this film... it was a very disappointing ending to Christopher Reeves Superman career. But no matter what he will always be a legend.

For more reviews, please like my Facebook page: Reviews/456572047728204?ref=hl
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Well intentioned film...
signs9338 March 2001
Superman 4 has good ideas and good performances, but was ruined when the director cut 40 minutes from the film before release. Among other things, the denouement in which Nuclear Man defies Luthor and turns himself into a nuclear missile in order to spark World War III. In order to see what the film should have been, I suggest one seek out the DC Comic Adaptation. This film, as Christopher Reeve's final performance as Superman deserves to be restored for DVD. The reason for Superman using powers he has never had, was the result of unfinished effects. The great wall of China scene should have been finished by adding Superman fixing the wall at super speed, and finished with Superman sealing it with heat vision.
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Not As Bad As You Might Think...
timdalton00731 October 2006
Despite its reputation as the worst of the Superman movies, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace is not. Despite the horrendous special effects and rushed ending, the film manages to still present itself with some respect.

Christopher Reeves had proved in the three previous films his ability to convincingly play the role of Superman. With this film, he not only proves his abilities but this is, in many respects, his best performance in the role. His speeches during the film are a sign of this and his chemistry with all the other actors helps also. Reeves also does his best to sell the special effects sequences it is a shame he couldn't. Reeves is the films biggest saving grace and it's a shame this would be his last time in the role.

Gene Hackman also returns in the role of Lex Luthor and with brings him that character's with, charm, and silent menace. But somehow he seems to be out of place most of the time and serves as a drawback in many of his scenes. Mark McClure, Jackie Cooper and Margot Kidder all return in their roles. But unfortunately they are all under used and their appearances might as well be cameos.

The rest of the cast does a decent job. Mark Pillow does excellent in the role of Nuclear Man, Luthor's super powered creation. Pillow does the role so well that one wonders how much better eh might have been in the special effects had been better. Mariel Hemingway is a welcomed addition to the cast as a heiress who serves as an additional love interest for Clark Kent. The only major addition that doesn't fit is Jon Cryer who could easily be the single most annoying character to ever appear in a Superman movie.

The film's real drawback is its low budget values. While this doesn't affect the majority of sets, the Fortress of Solitude set in particular looks cheap when compared to the one found in previous films. The same can also be said of the Daily Planet set. The low budget would also hurt the film in the area a budget was needed most: special effects.

The previous films, for all their flaws, at least had decent special effects and mostly convincing flying sequences and this film has neither. The special effects are sub-par by virtually any standard and despite being made nearly a decade after the first movie the effects from the first movie are still more convincing. The truly horrific nature of this films effect sequences can be seen during the climactic battles between Superman and Nuclear Man. The added addition of new powers with bad special effects doesn't help either.

The other major problem is the pacing of the film. The first 50 minutes or so is sheer entertainment that's the set up the story of both Superman riding the world of nukes and Luthor's evil plan. The set up, however, is better then the execution of the ending, which is both rushed and disjointed. The subplots of Mariel Hemingway's character and the boy who inspired Superman's quest are both left unfinished for example. Whole scenes feel incomplete and the final battle is over far too quickly to be effective.

But the film does have a saving grace in its concept. The idea of taking Superman, the ultimate hero of America, and placing him into the timely situation of Cold War disarmament is a stroke of utter brilliance. The concept of Luthor and Nuclear Man added to it also serve as an interesting addition to the story and it makes for good entertainment when viewed in this context. But this concept is ruined by the rushed feeling of the ending. But one still has to give high marks to Christopher Reeves and the screenwriters for their concept.

The films does have another saving grace: its musical score. Like the Ken Thorne scores for II and III, Alexander Courage's score makes heavy use of the John Williams themes composed for the first film and is highly effective. The Courage adaptation never fails to use the Williams music to maximum effect and it's a shame that, at Courage's own request, it has yet to see release.

Despite its flaws in special effects and editing, Superman IV has saving graces in Christopher Reeves, the rest of the cast, the music, and the timely nature of the story. While nowhere near as good as Superman The Movie or Superman II and while not as bad as Superman III, the film still serves its purpose and is your average Superman adventure.
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So bad, yet so watchable !
theojhyman3 April 2002
Superman 1 was such a classic movie, and 2 was almost as great - Superman 3 is not a great Superman movie, but as a piece of '80s American comedy / spoof it succeeds and has some very memorable scenes (notably Chris Reeve as the evil Superman). But Part 4 is just an awful film overall with few redeeming qualities. Reeve's admirable storyline works well, and the double date scene with Superman & Clark is very entertaining (similar to the style of Superman III). But it's when Superman IV tries to get serious and exciting in its action sequences that it fails miserably and becomes a cheesey, ridiculous farce that only succeeds in showing how pointless it was to make the film on such a small budget. The story's not bad and if Donner was directing and you had 100 million dollars you could do it now and create a great adventure movie with some classic comedy scenes and some exciting action sequences. But anyway, it's too late. For all its failings, every time you see it, it's still fairly watchable, mainly because you're always expecting it to magically be better this time around. It's not as bad as everyone makes out and far more creative and original on a 16 million budget than what Batman and Robin did with 100 million! If Batman and Robin's a 3 out of 10, then Superman IV's a 6 out of 10.
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The Last Nail in the Superman Coffin.
phillafella23 June 2003
SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE pits the Man of Steel against Nuclear Man, Lex Luther's newest creation while ridding the world of nuclear weapons. This is easily the worst of the SUPERMAN movies, and it was doomed to fail right from the start. Cut from its original 134-minute version, it is full of plot holes resulting in a movie with some scenes that just don't make any sense, but even with the extra 45 minutes intact, the movie still wouldn't work because the special effects are cheap and ridiculous, and it shows. Unless you are a diehard fan of the Superman genre, this movie should be avoided.

1 out of 5
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Worth a few laughs
dr_foreman4 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I recently watched "Superman IV" for the first time since...well, 1987, I guess. How time flies.

I thought the first half-hour was actually pretty good - not luminous, but fine. The hostile takeover of the Daily Planet is interesting, and I enjoyed Superman's moral dilemma about the nuclear missile situation (some reviews suggest that Superman is all gung-ho about disarming the world; in fact, he's initially quite reluctant to do so).

But after that decent first half hour, the movie pretty much falls apart. The Daily Planet storyline is resolved abruptly and unconvincingly - I simply can't accept that Muriel Hemingway's character undergoes a total conversion from yellow journalist to an editor with integrity. What exactly inspires this change of heart, besides the fact that she's hot for stumbling, stupid Clark Kent?

The nuclear missile plot is also glossed over. I'm not exactly sure why Superman decides to abandon his disarmament mission; just because Lex Luthor's given him some trouble, suddenly he's not in favor of world peace? The movie simply doesn't explore his decision-making processes thoroughly enough.

Another strangely underdeveloped plot line is the sale of the Kent farm. In an early scene, we find out that a "big developer" is interested in buying the farm, but Clark would prefer to sell it to a small-time farmer. This is actually a pretty nice segment, pleasingly reminiscent of the first film, but it comes to absolutely nothing, as the sale of the farm is never mentioned again. Huh?

Some of these plotting problems doubtless arise from the fact that about 40 minutes were chopped out of the film before its release. However, I've heard that a lot of the missing footage is devoted to action, so it probably plugs relatively few of the aforementioned plot gaps. Anyway, what really matters is that the theatrical release is semi-incomprehensible.

The special effects are another big minus for the film. For example, the same terrible "green screen" shot of Superman flying toward the audience is reused about eight times, and it's so bad that you didn't even want to see it once. I know this film had a limited $17 million budget, but for goodness' sake, I've seen better special effects done on much smaller TV budgets.

And yet...and yet...I can't bring myself to hate this movie. At a mere 90 minutes, it's much pacier (and more sincere) than the plodding, dreadful "Superman III." Also, it's nice to see Margot Kidder and Gene Hackman back in substantial roles after they were basically ignored in the previous film. Hackman's performance as Lex Luthor is always pretty funny, even if he's playing it on auto-pilot; I particularly enjoy the moment when he lights his cigar using Nuclear Man's radioactive aura.

I don't even object to the presence of Mariel Hemingway, who is strangely sexy in this movie - though somehow I feel obliged to point out that an actress with a one-scene cameo as a teacher is actually the prettiest woman in the whole thing.

Even the much-maligned special effects have a certain campy charm. And, you know, Nuclear Man is cool in certain dumb ways; he gives Superman a tough fight, which makes him at least somewhat interesting. He looks ridiculous, of course, but I don't really sweat his mullet as much as everyone else does. (When are we going to get over this whole childish mullet obsession, anyway?)

Despite this praise, I should note that, toward the ending of the movie, Nuclear Man flies into space carrying Hemingway...and she survives, despite the fact that she's not wearing a space suit. That complete lack of realism, attention to detail, whatever you want to call it - I guess that's typical of the whole movie. But I still get a laugh out of it.
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Actors try hard, but movie fails
jpintar23 October 2004
Superman IV is not nearly as bad as the reviews suggest. The actors try really hard, particularly Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, and Margot Kidder, to make it work. The movie is watchable and the musical score is good. The movie is an improvement over the disappointing Superman III. However, Superman IV has major problems. The movie has obviously been cut from its original length make it incoherent at times. The special effects are below the standards set in the first two movies (even the third movie had decent effects). Maybe if the movie were restored to its original length, it would be better. I can only give this movie a 5/10. I wished it were better and hope someday they do restore this movie to its original length.
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Crashing down to Earth
Rainfox21 November 2001
* (1 out of 5)

Superman IV: The Quest For Peace

Directed by: Sidney J. Furie, 1987

Perversely bad. With major budget cuts (from $28 to $16m) and story problems, the moviemakers suddenly found themselves cutting corners in all areas. And it shows. Completely lacking in awe, fun and excitement, Superman IV most of all feels like a bad joke.

The fact that it comes across more cartoonish than the previous three is hardly intentional, as everything - from effects to dialogue - just seems oddly rushed and second-rate.

The only highlight is Gene Hackman - who returns in high spirits as Lex Luthor. Christopher Reeve co-scripted this time and he again personifies the Man of Steel. But most of his co-stars are either wasted (Mariel Hemingway) or hysterical (John Cryer).

The new villian, Nuclear Man (as played by Mark Pillow), looks like a Swedish showwrestler in a home-made Halloween suit, complete with mullet hair and horrendous over-acting mannerisms.

Director Sidney J. Furie (the man behind the otherwise taut thriller The Entity) seems unable to create any sparks and Superman IV falls completely flat, head first. Game over.

Note: Certain scenes had to be borrowed from the previous movies, most notably Superman and Lois on their romantic evening flight above the Manhattan skyline. How they even managed to make this scene look worse than in the original is really mind-boggling.
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a guilty pleasure
aaron-b-199710 July 2013
come on people what's wrong with it, I there's a lot of problems with this movie but if you don't take it seriously I think you will like it like I did, I admit the effects were terrible, the same shots used over and over again, fighting scenes meh and a bad villain and retarded scenes, and last but not least no logic is in this movie.but just remember the budget used when they were making this, there was a good message and it was well presented still I enjoyed it, all those problems make it what it is a fun movie to watch, and I would recommend it if you like funny failed movies such as batman and robin, troll 2, for me the movies so bad it's good
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Should have been titled Superman IV: Rest In Peace
KMM2 March 2002
This movie never should have been released. This movie is at the opposite end of the spectrum as far as favorites go for me. The 1978 original is one of my all time favorite films, while sitting through this one at the movies was like getting a root canal without the novocain. Special effects were horrible as well as character development and plot line. How could any studio head or those involved with the final print of this film feel comfortable with the finished project?

Talk about a film that rode on the popularity of its predecessors and failed to live up to any expectations that fans of the earlier films had. This movie certainly was the nail in the coffin as far as the Christopher Reeve Superman films go. And for what it's worth I fall in the category that feels Superman 3 was better than this mess. A waste of celluloid.
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"The film that killed Superman"? Give me a break
RiffRaffMcKinley5 May 2007
I cannot stand public opinion about the fourth and final Christopher Reeve "Superman" outing. "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace", while not the best of the entire series, is better than "Superman III" and better than Richard Lester's cartoonish "Superman II" (in which Lois Lane actually says, "I'm going to change into something more comfortable").

First of all, people have claimed that "IV" is the most physically ridiculous of all four. This is not true. Yes, for a human to fly in space, they would have to survive being burned up leaving Earth's atmosphere, then survive the vacuum of space (in other words, two people would have been dead by the end of the movie). However, let's revisit the 1978 original, in which the Man of Steel flies around the world, making it spin backwards, which also makes time reverse. If that really happened, every living thing and object on the planet's face would be flung off into the cold depths of space.

I won't linger on this anymore. Yes, "The Quest for Peace" has unbearable dialogue (in places), but it's classic Superman-- the cheese, the cheap effects, and the general cartoon feel. Plus, it does have Jon Cryer, in what is oddly his best performance of all time (you'd better believe it), and a solid message people still need to think about. In other words, come to believe a man can fly, stay for the inherent message of the movie: we would have to be very stupid to nuke our own planet.
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Better than Man of Steel
DylanMcChillin23 August 2018
This is a fun film. Haters are going to hate, but Superman was never supposed to be a dark comic like the man of steel shows him to be. Sit back, relax and enjoy this awesome flick.
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A lot of promise and potential wasted
MovieReporter29 March 2006
Its Supes versus Nukes for the fourth, much-derided Superman adventure often slated for its repressing low-budget, inferior special effects and a whole wad of plot holes and incoherence – thanks no doubt to the extraction of a whole fifty minutes, much of the film's middle portion. Yet, among the wreckage are signs that there was a good film in here somewhere, as our hero struggles to decide whether or not to intervene in human history and the character's rather touching realisation that he is not just a visitor to Earth. A nicely-toned return to the Lois-Clark-Superman relationship also could have rooted the film back to its glorious predecessors - bar number three - but once Nuclear Man shows up and the film's story is cut in half, all promise and potential disappears from the project and the audience is left with a strictly mediocre re-tread of Superman II.
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Nowhere near as bad as people seem to think
UnlovedSeason21 March 2011
I have watched this recently (early 2011) on the Deluxe DVD – picked up very cheaply to complete my set – I think for the first time since it came out. As a teenager, I am sure I enjoyed it as a piece of typical escapism, but I have come back to it now – screening a season for myself of all five Superman films – aware that people seem to think it's an all-time turkey. Well I am here to say that this really isn't fair.

As with so many things, it's all a matter of context – yes, alongside a modern equivalent superhero sequel, e.g. The Dark Knight or any of the X-Men follow-ups, it's pretty dire. But then alongside a contemporary equivalent – say, Highlander II: The Quickening or Ghostbusters 2 – it's almost sublime! (But then compared to Highlander II, nuclear war sounds like a pleasant diversion.)

Anyway, I am prepared to say that this is not even the worst Superman film! It's worthy of re-evaluation and it's genuinely worth seeing as part of the series.

Firstly, it's VERY 1980s when you watch it now. Big-hair-tastic and shoulder-pad-mungous. But this is comparable to any other film from that era, such as Robocop or Working Girl. And yes, infamously there are some extremely dodgy effects in the mix – but some of them are actually very good. This odd contrast is not so different from the previous films in the series, especially the first from 1978. And remember that Ghostbusters – released the previous year and winning an Oscar for its effects, no less – has some risible shots when you look at it now.

The real problem with Superman IV is that it's clearly been compromised in the making, ultimately put together without all the footage the director had planned to shoot. The infamous budget slashing by the studio is obvious in various scenes. While, jarringly, elsewhere you can see the money up on screen – the result being an uneven whole that's sadly less than the sum of its parts.

I shall have to check out the deleted scenes some time to see what potential was there. But as it is, there are so many plus points trying to save this film:

Gene Hackman is great as Lex Luthor again, with lots of good lines and villainous charm. he was shamefully wasted in Superman II, as was Kevin Spacey in this role in the turgid and unengaging Superman Returns. Hijacking the airwaves to lure Superman, Luthor signs off with V-for-victory signs and an ironic "Peace!" and I love the subsequent scene where he has his say/exercises his ego before our endlessly patient hero, constantly on the move and fixing himself a drink of champagne to toast the demise of his arch-enemy. (It's clear, too, that the film-makers decided to try to top his wonderful subterranean lair from the original film by having his new hideout a big Art Deco set for the top of Metropolis' equivalent of the Empire State Building.)

The rest of the returning cast all do a solid job and, of course, Christopher Reeve is excellent. As the clutzy Clark Kent, he mistimes his aerobics (so 80s again!) but slyly gets back at a bully, bumbles around the capable Margot Kidder's Lois Lane and compliments his new love interest on her dress – badly and only at Lois' prompting. And then, as the earnest Superman, wrestling with his conscience and making then-oh-so-valid points about the Cold War arms race and human frailties, he gives the film a weighty centre. A scene at the now deserted Kent farm is touching and there is even the revelation that, without his parents, he now seems to be in the habit of revealing his identity to Lois for some love and advice, then mind-wiping her (again) with a super-snog! She is not, it is strongly suggested, entirely unaware of this arrangement...

Lastly, Sidney J Furie is a very capable director and his work shines in certain scenes... while elsewhere you are left musing sadly on what might (should) have been. The double date is superbly handled – for example, there's a lovely shot where Clark quick-changes into Superman through a car parked outside revolving doors. And dare I say that the sequences where the 'Nuclear Man' goes on the rampage, around the world and then on the streets of Metropolis, are actually better handled, with more sense of scale and jeopardy than the three Kryptonian villains' not dissimilar activities in Superman II. Then there is the careful way Superman's famed all-American persona is, in this film (only, out of the five), balanced against a sense of him actually being an international figure, fluent in all languages and looking at the planet and the human race as one whole. In the opening scene we are presented with some Soviet cosmonauts who are shown to be 'just like you and me', neatly setting up the film's entire premise – which is eventually tied up with even the defeated Luthor asking an Eisenhower-quoting Superman if the Earth will be vapourised in WWIII and being told that, as always, the planet is "on the brink with good fighting evil".

So in conclusion: It's nowhere near as good as the original, epic Superman, nor does it work with anything like the brio of Superman III, which is pure entertainment in my book. But it scores over Superman II, which for me feels like it was too old-fashioned even upon its initial release and seems even more compromised in its mix of what works and what jars. While in last place I am afraid I must put the disappointingly wet and unimaginative Superman Returns.
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Even Superman couldn't save this one!
griffolyon1214 May 2006
I am a huge Superman fan and I loved the first two Superman films,but starting with the third one this franchise slowly started going down.Now we reach the fourth installment in the franchise and not even Superman himself could of saved this one.The story and villain were weak and the action was boring.Plus this sported the worst special effects in the franchise.This film feels rushed and choppy,cutting from scene to scene leaving you confused.Christopher Reeves still played the part perfectly,but him and Margot Kidder are the only ones.I felt throughout the film they tried to rekindle the success of the original two,but just couldn't do it.With a corny script,bad special effects and action,weak acting,and terrible directing and editing this one is completely passable.You definitely will not be watching this one again and again like the first two.

A disappointing: 1/10!!!
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Predictable sequel that's not that bad as people say it is
saint40526 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Christopher Reeve plays the man of steel one more time in the last Superman sequel with Lex Luthor busting out of jail and creating Supermans ultimate nemesis, Nuclear Man! Now the reviews I have read said that this film is bad and it is. But that's not all right, this film is entertaining. It is a pretty predictable movie with big plot holes and bad acting but that doesn't mean we can still enjoy it. This film is ten times better than part three and is almost as good as the original. Superman IV: The Quest For Peace gets the big 6 for being a sequel with no meaning, it's not good but it's not bad. It's just plain watchable though some people who are fans of the original may be upset. Just watch and you'll see, recommended for people wanting to kill time. This is that kind of a film, a time killer.
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A "Super" disaster
rparham22 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
After an absence of four years, along with Christopher Reeve's initial determination he was done with the blue and red tights after Superman III, the Superman franchise was brought back to life for one more entry, but after the release of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, it's unfortunate that everyone involved hadn't just decided to let things alone. Superman IV is a complete disaster on almost every level, a silly, cheesy and downright cheap looking poor excuse for a film that manages to rank among the worst comic book adaptation films of all time, bested only by such "winners" as The Return of Swamp Thing and the direct-to-video Captain America.

Superman IV finds our hero, Clark Kent (Christopher Reeve), selling off his family farm after his mother has died between performing his normal super duties. He returns to Metropolis to discover that the Daily Planet has been taken over by tabloid king David Warfield (Sam Wanamaker) and his daughter Lacy (Mariel Hemmingway) and are turning it into a salacious rag sheet. Shortly after the takeover, a young boy writes Superman a letter, via the Daily Planet, and asks him for assistance in solving the arms crisis by removing all nuclear weapons from the Earth. Superman initially refuses, taking the stance that he cannot interfere in human affairs (although how this relates to his other helping of humanity is a puzzler). Eventually, Superman changes his mind and begins ridding the world of all nuclear weapons by tossing them into the sun.

Meanwhile, Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) has escaped from prison with the assistance of his nephew Lenny (Jon Cryer), and hatched a devious scheme: to create a new super villain to defeat Superman by taking a sample of Superman's DNA recovered from a museum exhibit featuring a single hair from Superman's head and attaching it and a computer to the side of one of the missiles that are hurled into the sun by Superman and thus creating Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow, voiced by Gene Hackman), a being with the power of Superman, the voice of Lex Luthor, plus more abilities, powered by the sun. The two match off, but has Superman finally met his rival?

It's not really surprising that Superman IV is terrible movie, considering it was produced by The Canon Group, who may never have released what you could label a "good" movie when they existed in the '80s. And Superman IV is not a good movie. It has an intriguing concept at it's heart, Superman ridding the world of nuclear devices, but everything around that central idea is just a complete mess. The script by Laurence Konner and Mark Rosenthal is borderline insipid, featuring some extreme gaps in logic that cause the audience to have to accept some absolutely ridiculous contrivances and just asinine ideas. Superman tosses a missile containing Nuclear Man's basic building blocks into the sun. And how is that not all fried by the sun? Okay, maybe the Superman genetic material may not be (although I don't know if it was ever stated he is able to withstand even the sun), but the computer that will supposedly give Nuclear Man form, along with the barest shreds of material that suddenly grow into clothes to cover his body? Please. And how does he get Lex's voice? Late in the film, a human character is carried into space by Nuclear Man with no oxygen or protective suit, and survives. The complete contempt for the audience the script shows is inexcusable.

With Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) still pulling a mostly supporting role, the writers attempt to inject Lacy as a new love interest, with her eye on Clark instead of Superman. They also try to generate a triangle between them, but none of it works. There is no chemistry between Lacy and Clark, and much of what was there between Superman and Lois seems to be gone or on life support. Yeah, Lex Luthor is back, but he is nowhere near as engaging as he was in Superman and Superman II. Hackman does the best he can with his questionable material, but there is no saving it.

Many of the outstanding aspects of the previous films are just shoddy this time around. The special effects are abysmal, with many generic elements of Superman flying reused over and over again and almost none of it is believable. The action sequences, what few there are, are unspectacular and barely raise your pulse. The film, on the whole, has a rushed and half-complete feeling to it, and you get the impression you are watching a movie made on the cheap, not the latest sequel to a successful, multi-million dollar grossing franchise.

So, after close to ten years and three sequels, Supeman IV is able to do what Lex Luthor could never accomplish: it brought the Man of Steel down, and left him tattered. It would take almost two decades for Superman to fly again, and we can only hope that the next entry is worth your time, because this one wasn't.
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Is this film so bad?
darrenhutton217 April 2005
I have just watched the 89 minute cut of superman 4 and i've asked myself is this a stinker of a film or not and my answer to that is no i don't think it is.

Why you ask when most of the world thinks it is well i shall tell you.

Well it's world renowned that cannon were cheapskates and the budget was only 10 million on this film but that aside what Sidney j furie did with this film was i think a much better film than superman 3.

I liked the story the acting i think was on par with the other films and i enjoyed the action scene's especially the fight around the world with the nuclear man and it kept me entertained however there are bad points about this film as much as it kept me entertained which included Lenny who was as about as much use in this film as a chocolate tea pot and "THE NUCLEAR MAN" what purpose does he serve in this film he is that bad that Gene Hackman has to voice him so i can only imagine Marc pillow was more wooden than a park bench and also when superman and nuclear man are fighting in space it's so obvious that they are on a blacked out stage.

What really bothers me about this film is that somebody out there has the full 143 minute version and i think this is the problem with superman 4 the general public have seen a watered down version which in some places this film makes no sense where as the full version that was laughed at by critics in an advanced screening would make more sense than this version we have to put up with and lets face it the real critics are real movie fans who do not get paid for there views unlike these posh art house lovers who would dissect care bears the movie if they had the chance.

In closing i would like to say two things about this movie (1) This film is voted one of the worst films of all time because we have a watered down version that makes no sense in places.

(2)Warner brothers or cannon whoever has the rights to the full uncut version do the decent thing and give us the general public and superman lovers across the world the the right to view superman 4 the quest for peace in it's full uncut glory if not for us then let's have Christopher reeve doing what he does best in these films and entertaining us and believing that a man can really fly
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No worse than the '60s comic books
jwpeel-131 July 2004
I don't know how many of you followed the comic books in the 1960s as I did, but this was the period when Marvel was getting all the comic book readers that were leaving DC in the dust. That was because the stories got increasingly juvenile and silly, and tried to too hard to be decent and honorable and a teacher of sorts. In other words... boring!

Yet even in this time, the DC comics were simple fun escapism and the artwork of Curt Swan made it palatable to the eye. The same could be said of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace. The budget was obviously lower and the platitudes higher (due to Christopher Reeve's need to make a statement about nuclear proliferation) but the film as its moments of excitement, particularly in the scene between Superman and the manufactured super-villain of Lex Luthor, a sort of Sun-Man.

I still prefer it to be second film in the series. That one, at least for me, really bit the big one. That's why I rate it higher than Superman II.
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Big Movie Fan27 February 2002
Warning: Spoilers
If you've read my reviews of the previous Superman films you'll know that I have nothing but praise for them. Well, I have praise for this film as well.

Firstly, Nuclear Man is an awesome villain and probably the scariest supervillain I've ever seen. And it was good to see Gene Hackman back as the evil but likeable Lex Luthor.

(POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD) This is a movie with an interesting theme. A young boy asks Superman to rid the world of nuclear weapons which Superman does. However, at the end of the film Superman attends a press conference and tells the press that world peace is not a gift that he can give-humanity will have to work for it. He also pinches a quote from an American president (I don't know which one) by telling the world that, "There will be world peace one day because the people of the world are going to want it so badly that their governments are going to have no choice but to give it to them." True words eh? Anyway, I thought Superman's speech at the press conference was a nice touch to the film and it gave out a strong message-that peace must be worked for.

Back to the film now-the battles between Superman and Nuclear Man were great. Does Superman beat Nuclear Man with his fists? No he doesn't. Once again he uses his brain to defeat Nuclear Man.

This was a great movie which I had the pleasure of seeing at the cinema in 1987 and I really can't understand why it has been criticized so badly over the years. It was a great movie. I wish there would have been a Superman V and there probably would have been if the excellant Christopher Reeve hadn't suffered his awful accident in 1995.

Chris Reeve is the definitive Superman
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A flawed, though enjoyable movie
ar8716 August 2001
Warning: Spoilers
My rating - 3/5 stars CONTAINS SPOILERS Released in 1987, Superman did very poorly in the box office, because of bad reviews and because of some people's experiences with Superman III. John Williams replaced Ken Thorne - He and Alexander Courage made terrific music, possibly the greatest in the entire series, but unfortunately not on CD. Superman IV, a Cannon Group Inc./Golan-Globus Production, directed by Sidney J. Furie, and featuring the return of Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Jackie Cooper, and Marc McClure, a story by Christopher Reeve, Lawrence Konner, and Mark Rosenthal -

Christopher Reeve returned as the Man of Steel, on the condition that he could help write the story. He came up with a very sensitive theme - nuclear disarmament.

After receiving a letter from a boy wishing that Superman would rid the world of nuclear weapons, Superman decides to put the plan into action, and with the approval of the world leaders, he hurles the missiles into space. Unknown to him is the fact that Lex Luthor planted a device on one of the missiles, with DNA from a strand of Superman's hair. A nuclear creation emerges from the sun, and makes his way to Earth. "Nuclear Man" proves to be Superman's biggest challenge yet. He destroys everything in reach to "have fun," and gives Superman a nuclear beating. Although Superman proves to be a better fighter, Superman is scratched on the back of his neck by Nuclearman's "nuclear nails." Bleeding for the first time in his life (with his powers) Superman becomes "sick" and disappears. He uses the green crystal for the second time (not too original) which returns his powers to him. Suddenly, we see a scene with Nuclearman destroying everything in sight, until Superman will tell him where Lacy Warfield (new publisher of the Daily Planet) is hidden. The scene basically pops out of nowhere, and leaves you staring at the screen with a blank look on your face. Superman pretends that Lacy is in an elevator, shuts the lights off, and hurls it into the moon. Superman forgets to do a double check to see if any cracks are in the elevator, and is attacked by a regenerated Nuclearman. Superman is pummeled into the ground (literally), while Nuclearman flies back to Earth. Nuclearman grabs Lacy, and flies up to space, his reasons unknown. He's a blond, buff, moron - What did you expect? Superman moves the moon (possibly causing tidal waves in the process) to cover up the sun. Nuclearman "shuts down," and Lacy is left struggling to hang on to him, so she doesn't "fall," then Superman comes out of nowhere and brings her back. He takes Nuclearman, and throws him into a nuclear reactor. One would think that this would cause a power surge, but every light in the city turns on, blinding everyone in sight, even though I'm sure many of the buildings didn't have their light switches on.

The budget was cut in half, leaving the special effects group helplessly reusing effects. One of these reused effects seems like a cutout of Superman being pushed towards the camera on a stick (great way of describing it, DVDfile).

The only thing that saves this film is a great story (the nuclear disarmament idea, DEFINITELY not Nuclearman) and some great performances, as usual, by Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman. Margot Kidder appears as well, but doesn't get a whole lot of screen time.

The old wise tale is that there was a screening of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace in Orange County, CA. The viewers didn't like it, so they cut the supposedly 134 minute movie down to a measly 90 minutes. The TV version has 2 extra minutes of footage. It's possible that the extended cut is still out there - many fans have a theory that it was thrown in the fire. I think it may be out there - you never know if that one pimple faced college student had his mini camera handy when he attended the Orange County screening...
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Pillow Goodness
repo_jake-14 July 2005
Warning: 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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