|The ejaculation of Superman|
Despite the return of Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor as well as Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder everything is just a bit flat. Reeve didn't really want to come back and was effectively lured in with promises of stroy input, a Street Smart shaped carrot and maybe, just maybe a directorial pop at Superman V.
Reeve wanted the story to be more serious; more faithful to Superman lore and a step away from the good time slapstick of Superman III. Unfortunately, it seems Cannon Films' scattergun approach to production and corner cutting took greater precedence. Solid gold nobility in the form of ending the Cold War and nuclear proliferation is the soup du jour. Croutons take the form of tedious underdeveloped sub plots. The corporate takeover of The Daily Planet is uninteresting and Luthor's newly acquired nephew (who is most definitely not Matthew Broderick) is annoying. Gone are the days of Puzo's grand vengeance story arc and Mankiewicz rewrites. And then......then there's Nuclear Man. Dolph Lundgren was away having a dust up with Frank Langella so the 'role' went to the unknown Mark Pillow. Poor old Mark couldn't build a career on these fragile foundations. A flimsy script, dodgy locations and cheap special effects are a plague on all their houses. Oddly enough, no one seems remotely bothered that Lex Luthor's hair has grown back. If I'd been Hackman and was playing a role for the THIRD time I think I'd have had a word. Or a shave.
|United Nations based peril|
Everything's just so flimsy, it's hard to invest or arouse any real interest and you begin to get itchy feet around the 40 minute mark. From 1978 to 1983 Superman was, literally, on top of the world. Superman IV: The Quest For Peace was such a hammer blow to the hero's heart it's surprising that even 1999 was early enough for Warner Bros to bash the reboot button. Especially if those Tim Burton and Superman Returns rumours were true.
This film's only redeeming feature is the double date sequence. Superman and Lois versus Clark and the entirely forgettable Lacy Warfield. Superman rekindles his slapstick tendencies but it's Reeve's charm that pulls it all together. You can almost forgive him for another Rohypnol Kiss earlier in the film. An epic lunar conclusion is sadly a wasted opportunity as is the Great Wall of China spat and I'm struggling to even wonder that much about all those deleted scenes. Even The Liability Formerly Known As Jimmy Olsen is an afterthought.
For now, Superman's star has fallen. There's a bigger shadow coming to take over the late 80s and 1990s. The Dark Knight is coming back and he looks a lot like Beetlejuice.