Superman III ★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

It's been about a decade since I last watched Superman III; coincidentally enough, that was also during an all-night marathon of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies.

The first several minutes are almost excruciating to endure; a parade of gags that make Chaplin seem subtle. The font for the credits is terrible, being both obnoxious to read and having the negative effect of blurring the screen where they roll. Amazingly, the end credits are even more poorly designed.

Yes, It's overlong, in large part because of its several gags, and the middle drags. The idea of a satellite actually controlling the weather is stupid. So is Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor) being an accidental computer genius who couldn't keep a fast food job a full half hour. These are the conceits of the film, and one has to imagine that in the hands of a director who took the franchise more seriously than Richard Lester, these things would have all been shored up tidily.Alas, they were not, and they do detract from the overall viewing experience.

Despite these failings, Superman III actually has a more cohesive, evenly told narrative than the others. Ross Webster (Robert Vaughn) is a more believable villain than I realized as a kid. (I didn't realize how truly evil old white capitalists are at the time.) It's more of a Roger Moore-era Bond movie than it is a Superman movie, but it works. I've decided I actually like it.

Christopher Reeve had better chemistry with Annette O'Toole than he had with Margot Kidder, for one thing. Also: that junkyard fight between Clark Kent and Superman is probably the best passage in the whole series. It's genuinely suspenseful, especially when Clark Kent goes into the compactor!

Superman III Re-Ranked on My Flickchart (#1174/1600)

Superman III > Shrek --> #800
Superman III < The Thief of Bagdad --> #800
Superman III > The Blues Brothers --> #600
Superman III < À bout de souffle [Breathless] --> #600
Superman III > Exit Through the Gift Shop --> #550
Superman III > The Lost World: Jurassic Park --> #525
Superman III > The Dukes of Hazzard --> #513
Superman III > Undercover Brother --> #506
Superman III > For a Few Dollars More --> #503
Superman III > Despicable Me --> #502
Superman III > Superman II --> #501
^I know! I can't believe it, either!

Superman III was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #501/1600