Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) Review

Director: Sidney J. Furie

Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Science-Fiction

Runtime: 93 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG

IMDb Page

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, while no masterpiece, isn’t quite as bad as its reputation would suggest. In the fourth installment in the saga, Superman (Christopher Reeve) sets out to rid the world of nuclear weapons, only to face sunlight-powered supervillain Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow, voiced by Gene Hackman). While not a colossal waste of time, this movie was such a failure that it temporarily killed off the Superman film series.

Let’s start with the good. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is an endearingly earnest flick, which stands in stark contrast to the meta superhero pictures of modern times. Superman is quite the do-gooder here, and is serious about his, uh, quest to save the Earth from potential nuclear war. Sure, it’s sort of cheesy, but it’s nice to see an action-adventure feature extolling these sincere, strait-laced virtues.

The special effects in this movie aren’t as terrible as many people say they are, but they certainly won’t have you writing home about them. There are a few numbskull moments (wait, since when can Superman create bricks out of thin air…and, wait, how is that character breathing in outer space?), and these seem to be the pieces of content that many reviewers pick up on most. It’s decidedly kiddier than previous entries in the franchise, yet this probably won’t bother the children watching.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace probably gets a worse rap than it deserves. It benefits from being shorter in runtime than the older films and being tonally consistent. Nit-picker types will have a field day with all of its flaws, but I’ll commend it for not being boring dreck. I can’t really recommend it, though, unless you want to watch the entire Superman series.

My rating is 6 outta 10.

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