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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.
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!
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!
I loved the Superman movies from the past as they were classics. I watched em as a child & adolescent & recall loving the 4 movies. I got a chance to see the first 2 & realize how raw & old fashioned it was in it's technical side of digital & computer graphics of these ages. Just seems so out of date comparatively speaking but to be fair it was made in a different era of films & have to judge it accordingly thus being objective, I still enjoyed the 2 movies I saw. Most of u guys know the story so no need to go into that so I'll just say this is a classic that I'll always enjoy even more that I bought the 4-disc set at about $10 brand new. Can't beat that!
I give this 4 stars because: 1) The first film is a masterpiece, 2) The second film is entertaining but flawed and does not rise to the level of the first one, 3) The third film, outside of Christopher Reeves' excellent performance, was a disappointment and should have been the last in the series. 4) However, the Cannon-produced/botched fourth film makes the third one look like Gone With the Wind. Movies three and four provide a sad epitaph to what should have been a great series of films.
In the copy I was sent, Superman II is unplayable. As far as I'm concerned, all four movies are worthwhile viewing. I remember seeing Superman I when it came out in the late '70s. It had an overwhelming effect on me. I walked out of the theater utterly mesmerized Superman had been merely a comic-book & radio "hero" when I was a kid during the '40s. The TV program in the '50s was second-rate to me - but in this film Superman was NOT fiction, he was very REAL!!!
I am about the same age as Superman, having been born in 1935, so I have read many of the comic books (unfortunately kept none of them) including many of the other heroes of the time that also came out. My favorite actually was Capt. Marvel, who was the most popular of all the super-heroes at the time. The radio programs I really enjoyed & have never forgotten the voice used for Superman - it sounded like the voice a super hero should have.
I am really very disappointed a movie has not bee filmed starring Capt. Marvel.
Four discs on one spindle thing, nothing else. If you like the Superman movies and don't care about packaging and bonus materials, this is a no brainer. My kids love all the films, even the fourth one, because they are kids and easily impressed. If, like most people, you think Superman IV is terrible, don't worry, this set is still a good price for three movies. Think of the fourth as an unwanted bonus, like those detergent samples they used to send in the mail. Or do they still do that? I haven't seen one in years. Seems like kind of a security risk (anthrax, etc). Anyway, this was a good purchase.
Well there is another new superman movie next year. Hate it allready right? How dare they.That's how we felt when they announced some guy named Christopher Reeve would replace the late George Reeves as the man of steel. Well the kid did a good job in the first 2 installments. The last 2 not so good. Dispite Richard Pryor. Overall all 4 movies for the price of one? SUPER!