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"Four Film Favorites: Superman" is best for completists who want to own all of Christopher Reeve's appearances as the Man of Steel in one convenient, low-priced package. Others will be better off owning just "Superman: The Movie" and "Superman II" and ignoring both subsequent films.
Indeed, this collection might be called "Superman: The Diminishing Returns Collection."
It starts, of course, with "Superman: The Movie," which vaulted Christopher Reeve from obscurity to stardom, made us believe a man could fly, and established the superhero film genre as we know it today. The film blends action, light comedy, and cliches from both romantic comedies and newspaper movies.
"Superman II" wasn't so much a sequel to "Superman: The Movie" as a continuation of it. It continues the stories of Lois Lane's relationships with both Superman and his civilian identity of Clark Kent; of archvillain Lex Luthor; and of the three Kryptonian criminals Superman's birth father, Jor-El, exiled to the Phantom Zone, from which they escape to challenge the Action Ace. In addition, it also continues the light comedy approach to Superman and the excellent special effects that made the first film memorable.
Then, the downhill skid begins with "Superman III," which drops the actors, characters and plot threads of the first two films for new villains Robert Vaughn, as a typical mad billionaire who wants to control the world's crops, and Richard Pryor as a befuddled computer programmer who tries to aid him. After Luthor's scheme to sink California and the Kryptonian criminals' attempt to take over Earth by brute force, it's tough to care about Vaughn, Pryor or their plan. And Annette O'Toole fared much better as Martha Kent in the later "Smallville" TV series than she does here as Superman's boyhood sweetheart, Lana Lang.
Last and certainly least, the wheels fall completely off the wagon with "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace," which is distinguished by bargain-basement special effects of the type usually seen in the hapless no-budget films that get riffed on "Mystery Science Theater 3000." And it's not just the special effects that suffered from the nickel-nursing approach of Cannon Films, which had purchased the Superman rights from Alexander and Ilya Salkind. A scene that was supposed to feature the Man of Steel walking down New York's 42nd Street to deliver a speech at the United Nations instead became a stroll through an industrial park in England (!!!), with trained pigeons added for atmosphere (!!!). It's certainly well-intentioned, based as it is on Reeve's idea that Superman should be involved in nuclear disarmament, but good intentions are merely pavement on this particular path to cinematic hell.
Since the first two Reeve Superman films more than compensate for the weaknesses of the final two, I give this release four stars, with the provision that it's best for those who want all four films.
Back when Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, and Space Academy were wowing kids of all ages with unheard of special effects for the time, along came Christopher Reeves as Superman! In Superman The Movie, it shows the origins of the Man of Steel and how he came to Earth as a baby and grew up in small town America to move on to Metropolis and finally become Superman! Lex Luthor, played by Gene Hackman, gains nuclear bombs and decides to nuke California! In Superman 2, my personal favorite, 3 villains from Krypton, Superman's home planet which was destroyed and why he was evacuated to Earth, escape from the Phantom Zone, a Kryptonian interdimensional type of prison/jail and Superman must fight them to the death! All 3 have the same abilities as Superman and with Lex Luthor at their side, it turns into one of the best superhero fights in movie history! In Superman 3, get out the laugh meter as Richard Pryor guest stars as a funny yet dangerous computer expert that designs a supercomputer that gives AI a whole new meaning. A rather murderous meaning. No Brainiac included but probably not needed. In Superman 4, we get to see one of the few times when Superman is nearly and permanently defeated by an opponent. Lex Luthor uses DNA research to create a form of Superman of his own and picks a fight with Superman. The results are shocking! Definitely a close fight! Looking past the third movie, this is a good collection for people who like superhero action, especially movie 2 and most of movie 4. All are rated PG for minor violence, language, and innuendo.
I recieved the DVD of the 4 films of Superman starring Christopher Reeves and it was in good condition, I received it on time and I gave it as a gift to my grandson so we could watch it together. These superman films, in my opinion are the best supermans especially for children. They don't have a darkness, wicked and depressing tone to them. I believe that Christopher Reeves is the best superman, his portrayal of the bumbling Clark Kent is natural. The dynamic portrayal of Superman is powerful and captivating. His voice is gentle and sincere, when he is on the screen no one is watching anyone else but him. So parents and children alike enjoy watching him play out the adventures of good vs bad (evil) through all 4 films. My grandson is almost 3 and there are a few scenes where I sped up the film, he is not mature for some scenes. Since my grandson has seen superman, he wants to do good and help people. He even wears a little superman shirt to daycare. He is helping the kids at daycare when they drop their toys, or need help in anyway. Before this film, he didn't know the difference of good and bad (evil). The behavior of the bad guys, Lex Luthor and his group, my grandson knows now "not" to take things from other people, not to go with bad people, and not to hurt people. So my family enjoyed these 4 films.
Before I get into the films, I must say that I'm really not a big Superman fan. Not of the comics, other live action versions, cartoons, toys, videos games, and etc. I've never gotten into them and probably never will. All I know is enough of his origins, his background, and characteristics to say that he's an okay superhero. I DO however think that Christopher Reeve was an excellent actor and in my opinion, he IS Superman! He's what made Superman cool in my opinion. If it wasn't for Christopher Reeve playing the hero, I wouldn't even like Superman. I only like these 4 films and Superman because of Christopher Reeve. When I watch these films, I don't think of any version of Superman, except the one I see on the screen. All I think about is the fact that here's a great actor making a hero I normally wouldn't think is awesome, into an awesome and a very likable hero. Christopher Reeve plays the part perfectly. He was dedicated to the role, he has the perfect skills to play the perfect Clark Kent and Superman and the difference between them, he has the perfect look, and attitude in general. The plots of the movies and his performance mix together flawlessly. So I only like this version of Superman, no more, no less. So now that that's done, into the dvd set. This is a 2 disc set. Disc 1 is two sided with the first two films with some extra features and disc 2 is another two sided dvd disc with movies 3 and 4 and again with some extra stuff. The special effects were fantastic for their time and still hold up great even for todays standards, the music is great, the action is awesome, and the actors make it happen. It's almost like a separate Superman franchise in itself. If you like Christopher Reeve and Superman, just Superman, or if you're like me and you're not a Superman fan, but like Christopher Reeve, I very much recommend these 4 films. Even with the negative reviews about movies 3 and 4, I still say that in my opinion, compared to EVERYTHING else that is Superman related that Christopher Reeve is not involved in, movies 3 and 4 are superb. Thanks for reading.
This budget, 2 disc, DVD-18 set has the first four Superman movies starring the late Christopher Reeve.
Superman The Movie(1978): Jor-El of the doomed planet Krypton sends his son Kal-El to Earth so he'll have a chance to live. On Earth, he's adopted by Johnathan and Martha Kent. Kal-El is given the human name Clark Kent and he grows up to be Superman. Superman must save the people of California after Lex Luthor is planning a diabolical, real estate scam that'll kill millions of people! Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. They also created Slam Bradley.
Superman II(1980): Kryptonian outlaws General Zod(Terence Stamp), Ursa , and Non are endowed with superpowers and they try to conquer Earth! Clark Kent must regain his superpowers in order to save the world.
Superman III(1983): Superman III was a sign that the magic in the Superman film franchise was vanishing! The script tries to capitalize on comedian Richard Pryor and Superman is a co-star in his own movie! Pryor plays Gus Gorman, a computer genius exploited by a rich megalomaniac(Robert Vaughn). The Man of Steel must save the world from Gorman's psychotic supercomputer! Superman III isn't a total failure. Annette O' Toole is superb as Lana Lang and Christopher Reeve was in good shape at the time. Superman's Jekyll and Hyde duel in an automobile graveyard is riveting!
Superman IV The Quest for Peace(1987): This film was so bad that it took 19 years for another Superman movie(Superman Returns) to get made. Also, over an hour of footage was cut out before the film reached movie theaters! Superman IV's visual effects are very cheesy and the film's damsel-in-distress is somehow able to breath in the vacuum of outer space! Superman also recycles too many ideas from the last three movies. Lois Lane attempts to speak French and Superman and Lois fly around the world as 'Can You Read My Mind' plays on the soundtrack. Still, Christopher Reeve gives a sincere performance as the Man of Steel. Alexander Courage does a good job adapting John Williams' Superman music into his own music score.
This budget Superman DVD set will make you believe that a man can fly!
I used this product for my DVD player. What I like about this DVD is that it has the four Superman movies starting with 1978 Superman Original and the other three Superman movies during the following years later. The picture and audio quality is great.
As a big Superman fan I was excited to purchase this set and relive my wonderful childhood experiences. Superman 1 & 2 are great, 3 is so-so but 4 is HORRIBLE. I guess I was too young to notice the very poor dialogue and visible wires hanging from Superman when I first watched Superman 4 when I was a little kid. Everything about #4 seemed very rushed and silly. They definitely should never have made the movie in the first place. I think I'm going to let my 7 year old son watch all of them then throw #4 away immediately after watching it so he can grow up without knowing the truth!