Superman III (1983 Movie)

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So, Superman III with its boring as all get out bluray cover. That barely looks like Christopher Reeve anyway!

This was released in 1983, has no “directors cut” and as far as I know generated ZERO controversy.  Let’s look at an alternate cover, shall we?

 

 

supermanIIIA

 

Now THAT cover does a MUCH better job of showcasing just what kind of movie this is going to be.

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Pryor is an out of work bum whose unemployment benefits have been denied. He sees a computer programming training course on the cover of a book of matches and next thing we know he is working at a computer coding computer. Oh, we get sequence from his training where he makes his computer do something that even the trainer thought was impossible. Thus is set the stage for Pryor’s genius as a computer programmer. He gets his first paycheck and sees that 1/2cent is missing. He wonders where all those 1/2cents goes and programs the computer to put them all into his account. Next payday he gets an extra paycheck for $85K. Of course, this doesn’t go unnoticed by the Big Evil Capitalist running the company but they have no way of tracking who did it. Until Pryor screeches into work driving a new ferrari.

A lot of silliness ensues. Trust me, it isn’t worth typing out. But needless to say, a secret government satellite that can control the weather is involved.

Pryor, under the direction of the Evil Capitalist, creates a supercomputer capable of destroying even Superman. It attacks Superman, Pryor has a change of heart and rescues Supes. Supes gets some super acid and one little canning jar’s worth sends the entire computer system (about a large cave’s worth) crashing into a fiery, lava’y pit of destruction.

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Yep, one little canning jar destroyed all of this!

 

Supes fixes all the problems his silliness caused (synthetic kryptonite was involved) and is once again the world’s hero. The movie ends with Lana Lang moving to Metropolis and working at the same paper as Clarke and Lois, as a secretary.

Now, I had memories of this being silly, campy and almost stupid. I definitely got the silly and campy part right. I think the “stupid” would depend more on just how mean you were feeling at the moment. Pryor was supposed to be comedic and in many ways he was, but it was over the top, rub most people the wrong way funny.

There was one scene where Superman has to fight himself, as he’s possessed by the kryptonite. I thought they did an excellent job and that Reeve did an absolutely fantastic job of showing a mean, brutish, 5 o’clock shadow drunk Superman. He looked mean and animalistic. I’m not one to usually notice an actor’s ability, but between Reeve making Clarke Kent and Superman truly different people and this time around portraying a good and bad Superman, I have to admit that the man was an ACTOR! It was also pretty fun to realize that the actress who plays Lana Lang is the same actress who plays Martha Kent in the tv series Smallville.

This was definitely the campiest of the movies so far. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this but I’d only recommend this to others if they are a huge Superman fan or like watching the acting skills of Christopher Reeve.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Superman II: The Donner Cut (1980 Movie)

220px-supermaniiricharddonnercutI guess that directors and studios having tiffs isn’t a new thing. While Zack Snyder and Warner Brothers parted ways with the recent DC Extended Universe movie franchise, Supes has experienced this kind of panty-twisting before. Hence this version of Superman II.

Most of the differences are in timing and tone. You can tell that this and the first Superman movie were meant to be a two-part story. That wasn’t evident from the theatrical release. In this, the missile that frees Zod and Co was the missile Lex Luthor launched, not a hydrogen bomb in Paris. In fact, that whole terrorist scene was cut from this version, or technically I guess, it was never filmed. Another difference was in how Lois realized Superman and Clark Kent were the same. Her life threatening stunt was different too. She throws herself out of a window on the 30th Floor of the Daily Planet instead of jumping into the river at Niagra Falls.

However, I found one of the biggest changes to be the inclusion of Jor-El as the brain at the Fortress of Solitude.

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Marlon Brando played Jor-El.  This riff on that never fails to amuse me. This is from Mega Mind, an animated movie I plan on reviewing in the future.

I guess there were money/rights issues with Brando and his ego, so the theatrical release cut everything with him out and replaced most of his dialogue with Supe’s mom. If you ever read much of the comics, the scanned brain of Jor-El tended to be an arrogant ass-hat. Well, that was true here for sure. He was a pompous, arrogant control freak who would have been a horrible father. He basically kicks Supes in the yarbos when he returns asking for his powers back. It was down right unpleasant to watch. Him sacrificing himself to give back Kal-El his powers didn’t move me at all like I’m guessing it was supposed to. It made me feel glad that the jerk was going to be gone!

Finally, the ending. In the theatrical release Clark super-kisses Lois so she forgets he’s Superman. In THIS version he flies around the world and turns back time, just like in the first movie. It made me roll my eyes so hard but in many senses it simply tied the first and second movie together even tighter, like it was originally supposed to be.

Overall, I actually enjoyed the theatrical version better. I thought the story flowed better, the lack of Jor-El the ass-hat was a huge plus and while super-kissing is stupid, turning back time AGAIN is even stupider (and if you think stupider isn’t a word, you’re stupider!).  I’d only recommend this movie if you’re a huge Superman movie buff. Or if you want to see Superman grovel before his over-bearing father.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Superman II (1980 Movie)

superman2 Yee haw!  This was a fun movie. A direct sequel to Superman, things start out with a big bang. Terrorists have a hydrogen bomb in the Eiffel Tower and Lois Lane is there investigating. Supes saves the day and takes the bomb into space where it explodes. However, said explosion intersects the Phantom Zone crystal the 3 criminals from the first movie were exiled into. They are set free and head to Earth. Lois Lane figures out Superman is Kent, Supes gives up his powers to be with Lois and the Kryptonians take over Earth. Kent gives up Lois and gets his powers back in the Fortress of Solitude. Lex introduces himself and promises to give them the son of their old enemy Jor-El.  A big fight ensues in Metropolis before Superman flies away when he realizes how many people will die.  Everyone ends up in the Fortress of Solitude where Lex betrays Superman only to have the tables turned. The Kryptonians are turned into ordinary humans and fall to their deaths in the depths of the Fortress.  Superman super kisses Lois and makes her forget knowing he is Clark Kent. The World Is Safe, Once Again.

Yee haww again I say! I had so much fun watching this. It was definitely bordering on the campy in places but considering it was 1980 it was no surprise. The villains were appropriately tight leather’y shininess and they looked bad ass. Having 3 other beings with the same powers as Superman was a fantastic move.  Luthor was comic relief more than anything and his continued demands to be King of Australia had me rolling.

The idea that Superman couldn’t be with Lois unless he was a human was a bit foreign to me, as I’d grown up with Lois and Superman as a couple. Heck, in the Death and Rebirth of Superman storyline in the comics in the 90’s, Clark and Lois were engaged. There were no reasons given, it just was “one of those things”.  It was refreshing to see a hero simply do something without spewing all his inner thoughts to the audience.  When Superman gives up his powers I was expecting a monologue from him or Lois about his duty to the rest of the humanity.  Imagine my pleasant surprise when it simply didn’t happen.

The film’s biggest weakness is what most superhero films suffer from. That is, not being an origin story.  Once the creativity has been expended on the origin story it seems like most movie story writers can’t write themselves out of a paperbag. This also had more in common with the Adam West version of Batman than any of the more modern superhero movies. Actually, if you do the math, it is literally closer to Adam West too, sigh.

You know, reviewing movies is tough. I could never be a movie reviewer. With that being said, I’ll be watching the director’s cut of this movie and reviewing the differences in a week or three.  I wonder if doing this counts as some sort of disability on my part? Maybe I can get money from the government!

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Superman: The Extended Edition (1978 Movie)

268x0wThe last time I saw this movie must have been back in the 90’s in highschool when I borrowed a vhs tape from the library.  Whoooo, it’s been a while.

I wanted something to watch that had some hope, some decency, something that lacked the darkness that a lot of more modern movies seem to exude.

This was an origin story and this extended edition was 3hours long. I have very vague memories so I couldn’t really pin down what was added to the movie and if that was good or bad. I think the opening with the destruction of Krypton went on longer.  Marlon Brando was very distinctive and it made my enjoyment of the animated movie Megamind even greater as the main character in that pretends to be the villain’s “space dad” and chooses the appearance of a clownish Jor-El. Just thinking about it makes me laugh.

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There was a long sequence of Clarke Kent as a teenager, played by some actor other than Christopher Reeve. It was actually rather tedious.  Then we move on to Metropolis and Lex Luthor is revealed. Gene Hackman plays a very campy Luthor but he’s still smart. It is really weird seeing a super villain portrayed thusly.  He’s nutso enough to send a nuke to drop California into the ocean so all the property he bought in Nevada will become Lexland but he employs a drunk idiot as a henchman and is more concerned about his wig fitting and feeding his mistress to the lions than in actually being cut throat.  It is just weird 🙂

Reeve made a fantastic Superman and it isn’t any wonder that he came to represent the face of Superman himself for decades. Tall, muscular, black haired, clear eyed, with a charming smile. He was everything that Superman was in the comics. It was great to see Reeve switch between Superman and Kent. His voice subtly changed, his posture and even his facial expressions. He really was 2 different people.

I mentioned at the beginning the desire for a lack of darkness. I definitely got that in this movie. Superman isn’t soul searching, wracked with angst and inner turmoil. He’s been told that he has a purpose, from a young age. From both his human father, Jonathan Kent and his Space Dad (hahahahahaa) Jor-El, he has been assured that his life matters in a greater scheme of things. Neither father can tell him WHAT that purpose is, but that gives him something to strive for. It made me realize how hopeless our world has become in the last 40 years.  A whole generation, or two, has grown up being indoctrinated that they are nothing but a speck of dust, that they are an accident, that they not only aren’t significant but that they are insignificant and that their very existence is pointless. It is no wonder suicide rates are increasing, not in number alone but in percentages.  That darkness of the soul is missing from this movie. It was refreshing and really nice to just hear someone tell another person that they have meaning. Our world needs more of that.

The Superman franchise went on to spawn 3 more movies.  I watched up to III back in highschool and I’m seriously thinking about watching all 4 over the next couple of months. I really have no idea what the quality of the sequels will turn out to be. Wish me luck.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Path of Doom (Superman Action Comics #1) ★★★★☆

pathofdoom (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Path of Doom
Series: Superman Action Comics #1
Author: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Patch Zircher, et al
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 144
Format: Paper Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Some dummkopfs are holding some people hostage and Lex Luther, wearing an armored suit emblazoned with an “S” comes to the rescue. He is then confronted by the real Superman, father of Jon and husband of Lois. The REAL Superman. They begin to duke it out when suddenly Doomsday appears from a container and begins his rampage from almost 30 years ago all over again. Lex and Superman team up and manage to get Doomsday out of Metropolis. Lex is left behind to help the citizenry in need and Wonder Woman shows up to help.

Superman has learned from his last fight to the death with Doomsday, at least so he says. But basically it turns into yet another slugfest. Jon is watching on tv and gives a super shout that alerts Doomsday to another Kryptonian and Doomsday sets off to hunt down Jon. Supes convinces Wonder Woman to take Lois and Jon to Watch Tower, the JLA space fortress while he has a plan to deal with Doomsday.

Before he can enact his plan though, a group of humans with some sort of super tech appear, open a gate and begin using energy weapons to push Doomsday through the gate. They almost succeed but then Doomsday simply rips through them all like tissue paper.

With some timely intervention by Wonder Woman, Supes manages to get Doomsday into the path of a Phantom Zone Projector and the world is safe. Or so everyone thinks.

During all of this, a mysterious narrator has been watching everything on screens and at the end, he intercepts the Phantom Zone Projector and captures Doomsday for himself. Who he is, what he wants and pretty much everything about him is a mystery.

 

My Thoughts:

Well, I’d like to first thank Bookwraiths for reviewing this book this last year. Gave me some hope that maybe DC hadn’t totally destroyed Superman. Superman: Doomed was truly an epic fail in the saga of Superman and left me reeling.

This was a return to the Superman who was and always should have been. This was the Superman who fought Doomsday to a standstill and gave his life for those he loved. This is the Superman who clawed his way back from death and kicked the ass of every single other Pretender. This was a Superman who was facing death again and yet would NOT turn away. I have to admit, I almost cried.

So while I loved this return to form for Superman and I had no problems whatsoever believing he and Lois now have a son, the rest of the DC comic world has moved on and made some huge changes and I just can’t accept those changes and enjoy them. This whole multiverse thing? That was supposed to have been dealt with back in the 80’s with Crisis on Infinite Earths. The fact that DC has hashed things up so badly that they have just as convoluted a multiverse AGAIN doesn’t tell me anything good about the state of the plan for storytelling.

The second thing is that I am used to getting a completed story arc in a graphic novel. If you can’t tell a complete story arc in one book, then you have no business telling that story at all. It’s DC’s new business model of selling a whole years worth of comics and all associated comics to get a complete story. I won’t buy into that practice.

I think this is going to be my last comic for the foreseeable future. It used to be that comics were in our world and if you knew the origin of the Hero you could pretty much slot into whereever you started reading. Not any more. With things like Flashpoint, New52, Rebirth, things are so complicated that you can’t just jump on board.

I enjoyed this particular set of comics a LOT and feel like it is an almost circle in regards to Superman and Doomsday. But with everything else I stated, I can’t and won’t be continuing.

Adios Kal. You’ve always been the example of True Manhood to me throughout the years and I’m glad to see you being returned to that state. The world nowadays needs real heroes and I hope you can survive our worlds current penchant for destroying heroes with a sneer and glib mockery.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Red Son (Superman: Elseworlds)

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.
Title: Red Son
Series: Superman: Elseworlds
Author/Artist: Mark Millar, et all
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 160
Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis: 

Superman lands in the Ukraine and a Communist Collective instead of in Smallville, USA.

The Man of Steel promotes communism and once Stalin dies, takes over as President Superman. Lex Luthor, last hope of the Free World, makes it his mission in life to bring down the Man of Steel, even at the sacrifice of his marriage to Lois Lane. Superman is being guided by Brainiac and can Wonder Woman, Boris Wayneski, a newly minted cadre of Green Lantern US Marines and even Superman himself stop Brainiac from completing his nefarious plans?

 

My Thoughts:  Spoilers

I enjoyed this the first I read it but I never recorded that I read it, so this is my first time rating and reviewing it.

I always enjoy the Elseworld stories because they do what all the phracking ridiculous and completely unnecessary reboots attempt, and miserably fail at, doing. IE, bringing us the characters we know in new ways with new stories and new variations. In fact, I would say that is the main fun of these, seeing the familiar turned at a 37° angle, just enough to skew everything but still the same enough for you to recognize.

First off, lets get through the bad. Stalin. For all that Hitler is vilified and made the devil incarnate, Stalin was truly worse. He was a butcher, plain and simple. So, for Superman to admire him was a bit of a let down. I’m not talking about Superman and communism, but Superman and Stalin.  Then there is Boris Wayneski. I don’t even know if that was his name in the book, he was simply the Russian Batman. He was almost a caricature and I would have enjoyed the story more if it had been someone else. However, the frenemy status between Supes and Batman goes way back, so it makes sense why it was included.

The good stuff.

Superman looked good. He looked good in his suit and with the hammer and sickle on his chest. I’m pretty picky about my Supes, as I liked Dan Jurgens version from the 90’s, but this was a creditable job and the art didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

Lex Luthor. He is portrayed as the smartest man alive here. While his quest to overcome Superman takes the lead, the advances he makes in doing so drags humanity upward, in all ways. In fact, his name becomes so great that his descendants take on his name, as L, or eL. You can see where that is going.

And that brings me to the ending. I loved it. I can see it pissing people off though. Superman is NOT from Krypton. He is from Earth, sent back in time to try to change the future created by Lex Luthor and the House of L. Of course, the story ends with his little craft landing in the Ukraine, hence beginning the whole cycle again.

star40full-custom

Superman: Doomed (Superman)

coverThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com

Title: Superman: Doomed
Series: Superman
Author/Artist: Greg Pak, et al
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 544
Format: Paper graphic novel
Synopsis:
Taking place in the New52 timeline. Doomsday has been kept in the Phantom Zone and somehow is allowed out by somebody. He is literal poison to the world and his very presence kills. Superman tears him in half, gets infected and begins a battle with Doomsday over who will control his body.
And it all turns out to be a masterplan by Brainiac to get control of everyone’s minds so he can “change the perception of the universe” and hence, change the universe. Because he misses his dead wife and son. Who he killed.
Yeah…
My Thoughts:

This was first foray into the New52 reboot universe and I didn’t like it. It also relied on the reader knowing the storyline from Reign of Doomsday. At least to explain why Doomsday is still around. Goodness, I hate these reboots.

This was a very messy read for me. The characters I knew were suddenly completely different. Superman and Wonderwoman? Superman and Lois Lane are just friends, not married? I felt like I was reading one huge Elseworlds storyline. Sadly, I wasn’t and this is where things are.
This is a big, glossy book with some gorgeous art. Unfortunately, I had a hard time reading the text and trying to follow the action. There were so few panels used that I had to guess where I was supposed to look next to follow what was happening on ONE SINGLE PAGE. And half the time I couldn’t tell if I was looking at a 2 page spread meant as one, or if I was actually supposed to read it as 2 pages.
The storyline itself just went all over the place and made me wonder WHO was in control at the helm of this idea. Superman and Doomsday argue with each other, Clarke gets angsty, Supes and Wonderwoman are all lovey dovey while making promises of mutual destruction, Brainiac is putting the whole world in a coma while whining about his dead family and there is so much more. It wasn’t a clear, concise storyline. It was a soup with about 67 different cooks all trying to make it “their way”.
It took me 6 months to finally finish this. I just didn’t want to read about it. If this had been from the library I probably would have abandoned it very near the beginning. However, I bought this in February so I was going to get my money’s worth, even if I had to suffer for every page of it. Yankee thrift and all that.
I could probably write a bunch more but it would just be more complaints. To end, I didn’t like this, I didn’t like my foray into the New52 and it will be quite some time before I try out new comics again.