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  1. #1
    Gaurdian Of The Universe comicstar100's Avatar
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    Default Superman 3 what happened?

    Re watching Superman 3 and I'm wondering what happened? This started the downfall of the Superman film franchise while Superman 4 killed it. I don't understand how we went from Zod to Richard Pryor. Was it the director, the script? How was this sub par film allowed release. Was their ever a different script that didn't make it? Brainiac always seemed like a logical step for the third movie to me.

  2. #2
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    Shaky execution, but honestly I enjoyed it more than the first two movies.

  3. #3
    Incredible Member Xarek's Avatar
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    Superman III and especially IV had troublesome productions. Richard Donner's firing from the franchise led to mayor script revisions, friction among cast members and producers, Lester's vision changes, severe budget cuts (for IV), all conspired against the quality of the films. Personally, I enjoy III for what it is: funny/campy Superman film. Superman IV, is and always will be, one of the worst films ever made.
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  4. #4
    Mighty Member Mr. Mastermind's Avatar
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    Giving Lester creative control is what happened.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member DochaDocha's Avatar
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    From my understanding, one of the problems with III was that Richard Pryor was cast in hopes he'd used his trademark irreverent ad-libbing, but what ended up happening was that he ended up playing it straight off the script.

    Anyway, Superman III's hidden value is that the movie's scam was used and referenced in Office Space.

  6. #6
    Metahumane MykeHavoc's Avatar
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    Superman 3 has some potential in it. The manifestation junkyard fight is one of the best scenes in the franchise. Had they dealt with more of that and put in a villain like Brainiac, it could've matched the first two. There's still plenty to enjoy though. Doesn't get much better than drunk asshole superman beating himself up.

  7. #7
    Mighty Member Minerboh's Avatar
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    It had some good moments such as the Clark vs evil Superman and that giant super computer was a bit scary.

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member Doctor Know's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by comicstar100 View Post
    Re watching Superman 3 and I'm wondering what happened? This started the downfall of the Superman film franchise while Superman 4 killed it. I don't understand how we went from Zod to Richard Pryor. Was it the director, the script? How was this sub par film allowed release. Was their ever a different script that didn't make it? Brainiac always seemed like a logical step for the third movie to me.
    You can see the cracks in the franchise manifest themselves in the theatrical version of Superman II. Richard Lester used a lot of sight gags and slapstick comedy in Superman II, III and his previous films like the 3 Musketeers. Lester was a go-between director who was brought on to take over from Richard Donner by the producers of Superman I-III, Alexander and Ilya Salkind. The Salkinds found Donner difficult to work with during the production of Superman I. Disputes over creative differences and money for the budget; allegedly being the cause. After Superman I was a success at the BO and with critics, the Salkinds fired Donner and hired Lester. The Salkinds previously had worked with Lester and knew he would direct and shoot the films the way they (the Salkinds) wanted.


    Recall that Donner had shot 80% of Superman II, when he was shooting Superman I. Since Lester had to take full credit as director, he reshot much of Donner's footage and added some of his own. If you watch the 2 versions of Superman II (theatrical and Donner cut), you can see where Lester basically traced over scenes that Donner had shot for his movie. Superman III is what you get when Lester had nothing to trace from. He amplified the sight gags and slapstick comedy from Superman II. David and Leslie Newman who worked on Superman I and II crafted the script to reflect the Salkinds demands for more comedy and less drama. The result was a mismash of themes, the computer's can do anything buzz from the 80's, the dollar store Lex Luthor and his bumbling henchman and their stupid coffee plan, Evil Superman, Clark and Lana romance subplot, Richard Pryor playing a comedy character but not being funny.


    If there is anyone to blame, it's the Salkinds. They misjudged what it took to make a good and endearing Superman film. Sadly, Superman III sums up their vision for the character and the franchise. In hindsight, everyone (with the exception Ilya Salkind) thinks firing Donner was a mistake. Margot Kidder, Reeve himself at the time, Gene Hackman, and Donner himself still to this day. The Salkinds just didn't have the same respect for the material as Donner.

  9. #9
    I'm at least a C-Lister! exile001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xarek View Post
    Superman III and especially IV had troublesome productions. Richard Donner's firing from the franchise led to mayor script revisions, friction among cast members and producers, Lester's vision changes, severe budget cuts (for IV), all conspired against the quality of the films.
    Pretty much this. We went from a fantastic director/screenwriter to a bunch of hacks.

    I actually enjoy Superman IV more than III. Superman IV has a lot more excuses for being terrible and seemingly embraces that fact by being a hilariously inept movie. It's enjoyable for being so very, very badly made.

    III is just bad Superman, IMO, and despite the money and big name addition is still barely entertaining and mostly annoying (the shoehorned Richard Prior, the nonsensical story, the lack of any character/realistic motivation and general stupidity of the villains). Also, why not use Bizarro for the scenes of super-dickery?

    I feel the same about Batman Forever/& Robin.
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  10. #10
    Astonishing Member WillieMorgan's Avatar
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    Pretty much everything listed above. There was a basic lack of understanding of the character that was compounded in the producers hiring an inferior director to Richard Donner after S1. Donner 'got' Superman in an era when making super-hero movies was still new and uncharted territory. One of the underlying themes of S1, as far as Donner was concerned, was the notion of 'verisimilitude' (as in making the character and his world as believable and grounded as possible). This more human approach made S1 the ground-breaking movie that it is (as opposed to a campy Superman or cartoony Superman movie that could have been developed instead). The Salkinds just didn't possess the same foresight, sacking Donner during the production of S2. Bringing in Richard Lester didn't affect S2 too much as much of it had already been filmed by Donner. It was S3 that was Lester's first attempt at creating a Superman movie according to his own ideology.

    It's not 100% bad. As well as the Superman vs. Superman element praised above there is also some touching interplay between Clark and Lana, and his return to Smallville was handled well overall. Gene Hackman wouldn't work with Lester however, so instead we got Ross Webster as the primary villain (a cheap Lex Luthor cast off) and Richard Pryor totally misused as gullible computer genius Gus Gorman. The slapstick elements are far to much to the fore and the film has no heart overall. I suspect Lester imagined he was being cleverly ironic in his approach. S3 wasn't a flop but was certainly a huge come-down after the first two.

    I can't agree with the poster above who prefers S4 in a 'it's-so-bad-it's-funny' way though. S4 is one of the worst films ever made. I even hated it when I first saw it at 13. A Superman movie filmed on an English industrial park and that tries to pass Milton Keynes off as Metropolis. Shudder.
    Last edited by WillieMorgan; 09-18-2014 at 06:26 PM.

  11. #11
    Scarlet Spider neonrideraryeh's Avatar
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    I thought 3 was great, I enjoyed it. It had some very funny scenes like when the traffic light men started punching each other.
    Also drunk Superman was funny even though it made no sense that Superman could get drunk. You can't really watch it as the same kind of movie as 1/2, you have to watch it as them being kind of silly and then you see how it can be a fun watch. For that traffic light scene alone, it's the best thing ever haha.
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  12. #12
    Incredible Member Xhatch's Avatar
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    Just want to put this in here, but I thought Superman IV's Nuclear Man was awesome when I watched it as a kid. And remember, through the eyes of a little kid these "terrible" movies are actually quite entertaining.

  13. #13
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    I remember being less bored by IV than III. III's opening comedic farce over the credits is actually enjoyable but I didn't pay much attention to the rest (this is watching on TV of course). I haven't seen IV since I was very young, I'd probably hate it now, but I'm in no hurry to rewatch either of them.

    This franchise was killed by its producers. Were it not for Donner fighting them every step of the way to make the first film, I don't think it would have gotten off the ground at all.

  14. #14
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    The Goldberg hijinks of the intro, the mission he's sent on originally (and how that plays into the resolution), Reeve and his interactions with O'Toole and Stephenson, the banter of the Websters and the transformation of Vera, with their plot in general providing a lot of fun throughout. I think Pamela Stephenson is one of the coolest people ever. Pryor... the idea to bring him in was good and a few of his scenes were funny, but it wasn't his wheelhouse at all and the character arc for Gus was really dumb.

    Not as big a deal as everyone seems to think: the junkyard scene. The idea of Superman against his own conscious and his own image in general was very neat, cool symbolism, but it doesn't rise above the rest of the material as dramatically as claimed. Kudos to Reeve for not only being as good a Superman as ever, but for pulling off the heel turn effectively.

    And the potential for Brainiac: I love the villain, but he didn't need to be shoehorned. Webster's system could have been called Brainiac and the bootleg Kryptonite could have been red, but ultimately those would be very smalls shout outs and not beneficial to the feature. The original Salkind idea had neat inclusions for Brainy and Kara, really out there in a comic book way, but needed such strong editorial interference that it basically would have really changed regardless.

  15. #15
    Junior Member UltraWoman's Avatar
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    I've tried to watch Superman III all the way through to the end with little success. I like little moments (Smallville, the The Superman Id/Ego fight, the opening and closing with Lois) but otherwise I cringe. Badly. The cheese hasn't survived well.

    Superman IV was made by a different group than the Salkinds. I actually remember flipping through the cable stations and landing on the scene where Superman saves the Russian space station, which is my earliest memory of being fascinated enough to search Superman out (I even had dreams with that scene part of it). Watching it as an adult also makes me cringe, but I still have moments I like about it (the Lois/Clark interactions, the Lois/Kal interactions, the way Lacy TRIES to pursue Clark with little success) but it can't make up for the A-plot being so utterly terrible.

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