Sunday, July 3, 2011

Give Us Your Worst, Part 3: Superman III

There are coincidences in this world; as often as not, we are indeed playthings of chance. But not this time. No, the alignment of the third and fourth installments of this series with the third and fourth installments of the Superman franchise is by design.

It was planned. Unlike, we suspect, the plot of Superman III.

The movie started innocuously enough as a comedy. The first few scenes came off as generic comedy. Great filmmaking, surely not, but nothing ostensibly worse than much of Superman II (which, we fear, is remembered more fondly than perhaps it deserves).

For a solid half hour, we began to wonder if Superman III was perhaps remembered less favorably than it should have been. The early scenes with Pryor start out funny, the Superman bits are serviceable as light comic adventure, and Lana is well portrayed.

But then something horrible happened. The movie kept going. While the first half hour was passable, the second is tedious. The third, outright painful. And so on, for the movie's (we're not bothering to look it up, so we'll estimate) eight hour runtime.

There was a brief reprieve when the movie integrated a variation of red kryptonite (obnoxiously colored green, to avoid confusing the audience) into the story. When an unshaven Superman began acting like a complete di...fferent person, the movie picked up some needed (if mostly unintentional) humor. Seeing Superman throwing back whiskey and flicking peanuts to break bottles in a bar was an enjoyable diversion.

Unfortunately, it couldn't last. When Superman returned to his benevolent ways, the movie began to bore us once more. A few good moments aside, Superman III was a combination of bad filmmaking and long length that creates a perfect storm. Unfortunately, we found ourselves caught in that storm, held by oath to finish the damn movie.

Perhaps Part 4 will be kinder to us.

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