Film (1983). Dovemead/Cantharus/Alexander and Ilya Salkind. Directed by Richard Lester. Written by David Newman, Leslie Newman. Cast includes Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, Annette O'Toole, Richard Pryor, Christopher Reeve, Pamela Stephenson and Robert Vaughn. 125 minutes. Colour.
Sequel to Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980), this is a movie on a more domestic scale, involving Clark Kent returning to the Midwest for a high-school reunion, where he (as opposed to his colourful alter ego) is fallen in love with by hometown girl Lana Lang (O'Toole). Abetted by his computer-genius pawn (Pryor), an evil business tycoon (Vaughn) with conventional world-takeover plans uses synthetic kryptonite to subvert the now thoroughly demystified Superman, who turns bad, broods in bars, tells a woman in distress "Don't expect me to save you, 'cos I don't do that nice stuff any more", but finally has his conscience awakened by a sweet little boy. Closer to its Comic-strip origins than its two predecessors, and broader, Superman III's best moments are the opening scenes of escalating chaos, at least equal to Mack Sennett's work. There are good sequences throughout, and it is clearly better than its successors, Supergirl and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, if less ambitious (and even sillier) than the earlier films.
The novelization is Superman III (1983) by William Kotzwinkle. [PN]
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