We have come to the last movie in the original series and boy, what a way to go out. Now I admit that I did have a chance to see this movie in theaters when it came out. However, when I was presented with the choice of a 4th movie in a franchise, I decided to go watch Jaws: The Revenge instead, and I honestly don’t feel the slightest regret in my choice. Well, I might as well get this over with and watch today’s movie, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.
The plot: On a Soviet space station orbiting the Earth, a cosmonaut is singing while doing maintenance on the outside of the station while his fellow cosmonauts joke with him about is singing. Suddenly, some space debris hits the station, causing the station to spin while knocking the cosmonaut off the station and sending him into space. Superman shows up and stabilizes the station, then retries the floating cosmonaut and takes him back to the station and helps him inside before flying back down to Earth. In Smallville, Clark is wandering around his family’s farm getting ready to sell it as his mom , Martha Kent, had recently died. Heading into the barn, he sees his old spaceship and sees a glowing crystal and hears his birth mother Lara’s voice, telling him that it is an energy module and it’s power can only be used once. After Clark grabs the crystal, the spaceship dissolves just as Mr. Hornsby, the real estate agent, shows up. Clark meets with him but tells him he refuses to sell the farm to a developer, as he wants to sell it to someone who wants to have a farm. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor is working at a prison rock quarry when his nephew Lenny shows up and helps him escape. Back in Metropolis, Clark heads down to the subway but just misses the train that Lois is on. As the train heads down the track, the engineer suffers a heart attack, causing the train to go out of control, and Clark, hearing the trouble, quickly changes into Superman and stops the train, saving everyone aboard. When Clark arrives at the Daily Planet, he learns that the Planet has been taken over by David Warfield, a tabloid tycoon, and his daughter Lacy. During the course of the day as David starts making his changes to the Planet, they see a televised speech from the President, saying that he was going to be increasing the country’s nuclear arsenal in response to Soviet’s activities. When a classroom hears the speech, the teacher suggests writing to their congressman to tell them how they feel but one kid, Jeremy, writes a letter to Superman instead. Elsewhere, Luthor and Lenny head to the Metropolis museum and steal a strand of Superman’s hair that he had donated. After grabbing it, Luthor tells Lenny that he plans on using it to make a being that is stronger than Superman. Back at the Daily Planet, Lacy has taken a liking to Clark and attempts to seduce him and convinces him to help her with some stories about various clubs in the city. Lois interrupts them and brings the letter Jeremy wrote to Superman and gives it to Clark to read. Lacy gets excited about the idea of using the kids letter to boost their circulation, and David brings Jeremy to Metropolis to show him around the city while printing a front page story about Superman saying “Drop Dead” to the kid. After seeing the headline, Superman heads to the Fortress of Solitude to consult with the Kryptonian Elders about the situation, and they tell him to not interfere and he can always go to a new world where there are no wars. After Clark returns to Metropolis, Lois meets him at his apartment, as they were supposed to go to a press dinner together, and he reveals that he is Superman to her again. They fly off for a while and after returning to his apartment, he discusses Jeremy’s letter with her before wiping her memory again. The next day, Jimmy Olsen is taking pictures of Jeremy around the city when Superman shows up and they head to the U.N., joined by Lois and Lacy along the way. Inside, Superman speaks to the delegates and tells them he plans on ridding the world of every nuclear weapon, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd. As Superman collects the various nuclear weapons and throws them into the sun, Luthor meets with an American and Soviet general and makes plans to attach his device onto one of their missiles so that when it is thrown into the sun, it will create a being that will kill Superman and allow them to renew their arms race. The generals agree and once the missile is thrown into the sun, the Nuclear Man is born and flies back to Earth. Arriving at Luthor’s hideout, Nuclear Man starts to turn on Luthor but Luthor has him walk out of the sunlight, causing the Nuclear Man to depower and Luthor tells Lenny that he derives his strength from the sun and that the lack of sunlight is his only weakness. Meanwhile, Lacy is still having Clark join her at various clubs and while they are working out in her gym, she says they should tag along with Lois while she interviews Superman and make it a double date. Clark arrives at Lacy’s apartment and constantly manufactures situations to disappear so that he can change into Superman and vice versa. Suddenly, Clark hears a piercing noise and sees Luthor appear on a view screen downtown, telling Superman that only he can hear or see him and tells him that he has a bomb placed on a nearby building. Superman leaves Lacy’s apartment, and flies to the building to find Luthor and Lenny waiting for him. Luthor then introduces Superman to the Nuclear Man, telling Superman that after Nuclear Man kills him, he plans to use Nuclear Man to help restart the arms race, where he will make millions. The Nuclear Man and Superman start to battle across the world, with the Nuclear Man causing several disasters during the course of their fight. When the Nuclear Man grabs the Statue of Liberty and drops it from the sky, Superman grabs it and flies it back to Liberty Island, but Nuclear Man scratches him and infects Superman with radiation sickness. As the weakened Superman falls to the ground, Nuclear Man kicks him into the sky, while Superman’s cape falls to the ground. Later, David makes Lacy the new publisher of the Daily Planet and shows her Superman’s cape, which he had bought from the person that grabbed it, laying on her desk. Lois enters the office upset over the paper’s headline, “Superman Dead?” and quits, then grabs the cape off of Lacy’s desk. Lacy apologizes to Lois, saying she knew nothing about it, and asks if Lois has heard from Clark, as he hasn’t called in and she is worried about him. Lois heads to Clark’s apartment and breaks in to find Clark still sick from the radiation sickness, though he passes it off as the flu. Lois talks with Clark about her feelings towards Superman and leaves Superman’s cape with him. After she leaves, Clark takes the energy module and uses it to heal himself. Meanwhile, the Nuclear Man sees a picture of Lacy and becomes attracted to her so he flies off to grab her but finds Superman standing in front of the Daily Planet. When Superman refuses to tell him where Lacy is, Nuclear Man begins attacking the nearby people until Superman relents and agrees to take him to her. Superman manages to trick Nuclear Man into an elevator, where he loses his powers, then grabs the elevator and takes it up to the moon. As Superman leaves, a crack in the elevator door allows sunlight in, powering up Nuclear Man and he renews his attack on Superman, eventually pounding him down into the ground on the moon. Nuclear Man then flies back to Metropolis, grabs Lacy, and flies off with her. Superman digs himself out of the moon’s surface, then pushes the moon in front of the sun to cause an eclipse, then rescues Lacy from the depowered Nuclear Man. Superman then grabs Nuclear Man and drops him into a nuclear reactor, causing the reactor to power up to super levels. Later, Perry White gets a loan from the banks to buy the majority shares of the Daily Planet, forcing David out as owner. Later, Superman gives a speech in front of the U.N., saying that he could not be the one to stop the wars on Earth and that they needed to make sure to do that themselves. Superman then captures Luthor and Lenny, placing Lenny in a boys home while taking Luthor back to prison before flying off to new adventures.
Superman IV: The Quest For Peace was completely panned by the critics, holding a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The Superman series bottoms out here: the action is boring, the special effects look cheaper, and none of the actors appear interested in where the plot’s going.” The failure of this movie at the box office caused The Cannon Group Inc., who had produced the movie, to put their plans for a Spider-Man movie on hold. Technically, the movie was a box office success, as it earned $36.7 million off of a $17 million budget, but it was considered a critical and commercial failure and it would be almost 20 years before another Superman movie would hit the big screen.
Good lord, this movie was terrible. I honestly feel bad for DC comics to have to be associated with this one. The acting was ok but honestly, several of the actors just didn’t seem to have their hearts into this one. The story was a mess and felt like they just kind of threw a bunch of ideas together and see what sticks. The special effects were really the worst aspect of this movie. I know this movie suffered from a lack of budget compared to the other movies but there was still issues with these. The green screen effects, even something as benign as Superman flying around, were simply awful. I also still didn’t like the additional powers that Superman was given, such as telekinesis and special eye beams that were able to restore the Great Wall of China after Nuclear Man destoryed parts of it. Anyways, this is one of those movies that always winds up on a “Worst Movie Ever” lists and definitely earns it’s place there.
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5