As we continue our battle between the Batman and Superman movies within the ‘Batman v Superman – The FilmGeeky Cinematic Challenge’, we now move to 1983’s Superman III.
The film continued with Richard Lester directing (having had him responsible for the large majority of the 2nd film in the series). Writing the screenplay was the returning couple of David and Leslie Newman who had both had increasing roles in the writing since the first of the films.
The film centres around the attempts of businessman Ross Webster (Robert Vaughan) to firstly control the world’s coffee market, via taking over a weather control satellite and ruining the columbian crop, through to then attempting to corner the world’s oil market. To do all of this he enlists computer programming whizz (although at the start of the film, unemployed and only just learning computers) Gus Gorman (played by Richard Pryor).
Gorman makes himself known to Webster having created a computer programme that captures small fractions of dollars from transactions and routes it into his own salary.
Meanwhile, Clark returns to his home town of Smallville as part of his school reunion, and also re-connects with a former classmate Lana Lang (Annette O’Toole).
The problem with the film is that it seems so keen on finding any slapstick laugh that it can get its hands on, it loses any real grasp on a story or point to it.
The only real reason that makes the film of interest now, is the scenes in which Superman, having been poisoned by a form of manmade Kryptonite, turns somewhat bad and interestingly petty. Leading to a scene where he battles himself as Clark Kent, giving both interesting effects, but also Reeve a chance to actually act.
Beyond this, the casting of Pryor in the film, the insane storyline and desperate attempts to play for laughs, leaves this as a film that offers little.