|They couldn't even get his cape right for the poster.|
5. Lester Hates Melancholy
Unlike Richard Donner, whose Superman film begins with a 1 hour tribute to the sadness of everything forever, Richard Lester crafted a movie that was able to end with a crazed robot woman fighting Richard Pryor as Superman is zapped by a green kryptonite laser from a supercomputer that doesn't understand acid.
4. Richard Pryor's Funny Hat
|A Real Screenshot from Superman III|
Pryor is stuck in a sanitized film where he is not free to explore his character or share his signature, brilliant use of expletives. Instead, Pryor plays a computer criminal/unemployment scam artist. The film begins with a lengthy scene where Pryor, at the unemployment office, is told that he has scammed the government too many times and that he will not receive another check. Immediately following this news, he finds out that he can take a class on computers. Within days, Pryor has learned how to generate tornadoes in Colombia, South America via satellite
It's safe to say that Richard Pryor's character adds, simultaneously, nothing and everything to this movie. Without him, we would have had a dull, meandering tale where Superman kind of falls in love with a single mother after attending a high school reunion. With Richard Pryor we get a dull, meandering tale where we believe that Richard Pryor can fall off of an 80-story building on skis and live. I pick Pryor. And his scenes, while disarmingly un-Pryor-esque, are still absolutely the most interesting and entertaining sections of the film. Well, almost...
3. Superman Gets Extremely Drunk
There is a scene in Superman III where Superman gets very drunk, flicks cashews at a bar mirror, and tells a kid that he hates him. Also, he straightens out the leaning tower of Pisa just to piss off the guy selling the souvenirs out front. Yep, Superman turns into exactly how you would act if you were from Krypton. His hair gets streaks of gray, his cape gets darker, and he tells a woman who is about to jump off of a building that she "should go ahead." Apparently he's not in the saving lives business anymore.
The best part about all of this, other than everything I have told you so far, is the explanation behind this sudden change in character. Apparently, Superman becomes a total douche because he is given Kryptonite that only damages his sense of morality. Because that totally makes sense. It's sort of like how when poison doesn't kill you, it makes you hit people in the face. Whatever the reason, that ten minute period of the film might be the best thing ever.
2. Computers Are Magic
Once you get past the hilarity of believing in the existence of Superman more than the plausibility of the computers in this film, you should sigh a deep, deep sigh of relief. This is because you are watching a movie that literally believes that computers are magic. And that is refreshing. There was once a time where computers were these magical plot devices that only existed to do unbelievably evil, and unbelievably awesome, things to everybody. Well, technically, this was a plot device that was revisited in Live Free or Die Hard, but I think that movie at least acted like those things were plausible-- Olyphant using the internet, and not a normal word processor, after all.
1. Superman Beats the Crap Out of Clark
|In the Ear!|
Yes, I know that Clark isn't real. He's even more not real than Superman, but he still reflects the human side of Superman. And the human side of Superman is a wet blanket. When we see Clark die in a horrible junkyard automobile compactor incident, we rejoice. It is as if the hand of God has backhanded Clark into a premature death because he is just an embarrassing man to watch. However, once Clark breaks out of his Fortress of Gimpitude, he unleashes a furious assault on evil Superman ends with him vaporizing Superman with his choke hold.
The only thing manlier than vaporizing Superman with your choke hold is ordering all the bacon and eggs in the entire restaurant because your steak isn't big enough.
I think you should all give Superman III another shot. Because, strangely enough, it is actually kind of awesome. It may not be the epic epicness of Donner's efforts, but it is really, really not trying to be. Instead, it is just a bunch of short films tacked together to create one infinitely hilarious cult classic.