Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What's that one movie...

You know...where Richard Pryor tries to get a donkey to "sit."

Oh, yeah. It's Superman III.

This is just an awful movie. I hadn't seen it since it came out, with good reason. And yet...

There's the hint of something spectacular here. There's the way it opens, without Superman at all. We watch Richard Pryor get denied unemployment benefits. Magnificent.

Then, there's the city scene. It's not well done, but it could have been the best part of any Superman movie ever. If we had seen Clark Kent subtly saving various Metropolitans from disaster and pies in the face, then this could have been great. There's a scene in issue 5 of All Star Superman, where Kent works to quell a prison riot, save the guards, and keep Lex Luthor alive all while avoiding the Parasite and never changing to Superman. If the scene in Superman III had gone that route, it could have been great. Instead, Superman arrives to rip a sunroof off a car. Couldn't Kent have flicked a beer nut to shatter one of the windows (which he does later in the film under the influence of wacky kryptonite)? And what's with that pie?

The rest of the film is really only notable because of the split between the good and bad Supermans. Exposed to a tainted kryptonite, he becomes evil--which consists largely of leering at Lana Lang, arriving too late to save a truck driver, putting the leaning tower of Pisa upright, and flicking beer nuts. Then he divides in two: Superman (whose red is now marroon) and Kent. They fight, Kent wins. Literally, Kent is the good in Superman, who would run rampant, mildly disturbing tourist attractions and otherwise making a nuisance of himself.

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