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Rated PG
Copyright 1987 Golan-Globus
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 4 November 2001

The Characters:  

  • Superman - Christopher Reeve! At least he learned some hand-to-hand combat skills since the second film.
  • Lois Lane - Still single and still working in the same dead-end job. She is on her way to being an old spinster!
  • Mr. Warfield - Irresponsible owner of a media conglomerate who bought out "The Daily Planet." The front page will no longer run stories about some guy in blue tights, instead we can read all about women who are pregnant with alien babies.
  • Mr. White - Responsible editor for "The Daily Planet;" that is why his newspaper has been operating in the red for three years.
  • Lacy - Warfield's daughter who develops a crush on Clark Kent, but ignore that whole side story, the writers did.
  • Lenny - Duckie no! I think that he was trying to make a statement about plaid.
  • Lex Luthor - Gene Hackman! Brilliant criminal mastermind or not, does anyone else believe that he somehow learned genetics while breaking up rocks in prison?
  • Nuclear Man - Created by mixing Superman's DNA with the sun and he seems more like "Photosynthetic Man" if you ask me. Has his lights knocked out by our hero.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

When a large piece of space junk (ground control missed that?) collides with the orbiting Mir it looks like the Soviets will be training three more cosmonauts. But, what is this? Superman arrives, his cape mysteriously fluttering, and stops the station's orbit from decaying! Then he rescues the doomed space walker who was going to learn about reentry the hard way. Sure, the buzzword is "Glasnost," but why is America's favorite superhero assisting the evil empire? Next thing that you know, he will be helping paint Chinese tanks in Tiananmen Square.

Things are not looking so rosy on Earth though. First off, Clark is going to sell the old farm, right after he finishes hitting a few more baseballs into orbit (he saves the Russians from space junk, then adds some more). "The Daily Planet" has been the victim of a hostile takeover by Mr. Warfield's company and the new emphasis on sensationalism is not sitting well with anyone. Finally, a summit to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons was unsuccessful and schoolchildren are being traumatized by movies teaching them how to duck and cover.

Oh yeah, Lex Luthor escaped from prison with the help of his annoying nephew. It was not very difficult; they only had to trick the two bumpkin guards watching over the work gang. The man is supposed to be a homicidal genius who does not think twice about killing millions of people! Two goons with shotguns!

A young boy writes a letter, asking the Man of Steel to rid the world of nuclear weapons, and mails it to "The Daily Planet." Previously Kal-El had been counseled not to interfere with human history, but we know how well he adheres to that edict. He agonizes over the decision before revealing his true identity to Lois and taking her flying. That seems to help, except afterwards the woman needs to have her memory wiped. Every now and then Lois figures out that Clark is Superman, then he brainwashes her again. It is cruel and she's going to end up with Alzheimer's.

Superman addresses the United Nations before gathering up all the nukes. He loads the weapons of mass destruction into a huge net and tosses them into the sun. Arms dealers the world over are wringing their hands in frustration. However, Lex Luthor sees the chance to rid himself of his nemesis once and for all, plus make some serious cash in the process. He steals a strand of Superman's hair from the Metropolis museum, then does some double helix magic. The results are placed aboard the latest ICBM being tested by the United States (apparently we are obstinate about having our fusion toys). When the Man of Steel intercepts the missile he unceremoniously chucks it into Sol, thus spawning Nuclear Man.

The idea of friendly Russians is tossed aside; Nuclear Man is a barely intelligible Eastern European monster with blonde hair and talons. He requires constant sunlight, otherwise becoming an inanimate object within moments. Clever (and not so clever) viewers will quickly realize that the evident Achilles' heel is going to be his ultimate downfall. Criminal mastermind that he is, daddy should have included a battery backup system somewhere in the designs.

Lois, Lacy, Clark, and Superman's double date is interrupted by Luthor's ultrasonic gloating. When Kal-El meets his evil twin the two immediately begin severe and silly whompage. Nuclear Man lands on the Great Wall of China and destroys a large section, then Superman rebuilds it with blue beams from his eyes! WHAT IN THE HELL? Stuff like this goes on for a little while until the sun demon resorts to scratching (like a girl). The wounds fester, causing our hero to retreat and take refuge in his dingy apartment. Lois arrives, gives Clark a pep talk, then he uses a Krypton energy crystal to heal his wounds and suddenly thinning hair. I kid you not.

With countries desperately trying to stockpile more things that make big booms, the arms merchants are swimming in profits. Unfortunately, Lex decides that owning the business is a better deal than making commission and conducts his own hostile takeover. This consists of Nuclear Man setting some money on fire. The warmongers turn tail and run; I've never seen such a wimpy bunch of scoundrels. Sure, the evil clone is invulnerable, but Luthor is a very mortal human. In real life the arms dealers would hire some snipers.

Round two of the battle commences with Nuclear Man stomping up to The Daily Planet and roaring a lot. Stuff melts, people run for their lives, and a fleet of police cars drives backwards; it is really confusing. Then Superman pushes his enemy into an elevator and closes the door, casting the inside into darkness. Quick as a flash he tows the elevator to the moon and leaves it on the dusty surface. Usually, once he decides on a course of action, the Man of Steel vanquishes his enemy. Not so here, he left the elevator on part of the moon where sunlight falls. The rays filter under the door (no idea why that didn't happen before, on Earth), revitalizing the photosynthetic villain! Superman is pounded and left for dead.

Nuclear Man returns to earth and the story soars to new heights of silliness as Lacy is abducted by the amorous creature. He flies with her into outer space! She does not suffer any ill affects when exposed to vacuum, but looks mighty worried. She looks even more worried when the moon suddenly obstructs the sun and her kidnapper becomes inert. Why worried? Well, for some reason when he lets go she does not drift away, instead she grabs him to prevent herself from falling! Oh, and it was Superman who changed the moon's orbit; no ill effects from that I'm sure.

I had a better idea of how to stop Nuclear Man: lure him into a store that sells window blinds.

Time to settle down and watch one of those movies that make you realize, at some point, the sequels have to stop. Not only are the special effects super awful, like Superman and Nuclear Man languidly flying over still photographs, but the single redeeming plot point of "Superman III" is ignored. Remember Clark meeting his old high school flame and her getting a job at the newspaper? They didn't even bother to explain what happened to her! Did she die of a mysterious disease? Move to Europe? Get a sex change? Instead we have the poorly developed subplot of Lacy desiring Clark, while Lois and Superman are platonic love incarnate.

By the way: nuclear weapons are bad.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Most subway accidents can be directly attributed to E. coli.
  • Kissing causes amnesia.
  • The French run a black market for nuclear weapons.
  • The Cold War was all about the corporate bottom line.
  • Nuclear reactions are dependent on photosynthesis.
  • Exorcism does not work against lava.
  • Things are looking bad when a fire truck catches on fire.
  • City police officers regularly carry rocket launchers in their patrol cars.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 4 mins - It is fortunate that their relative speeds only differed by a few miles-per-hour.
  • 20 mins - So that is how he keeps his hair so neatly trimmed!
  • 32 mins - The evil countries should be protesting. Russia? Cuba? China? Are you guys asleep?
  • 34 mins - "Spies Like Us?"
  • 67 mins - Clark really needs to put a fresh coat of paint on his door.
  • 69 mins - Uh-oh... ...time to kiss her again.
  • 86 mins - You know, they definitely got their money's worth out of this ending sequence.


  • Luthor: "I promise you, Superman will have the biggest surprise of his life. I'll introduce him to his first nightmare: a nuclear man! He'll pierce his skin, he'll make him mortal, he'll become sick!"
  • Luthor: "Just one thing: how did you beat him?"
    Superman: "High school physics, Luthor. While I was recuperating, I had time to figure out that if your foul creature was born from the sun, that had to be his source of energy."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note supermaniv1.wav Lois: "Clark is the oldest living Boy Scout, okay? He's trustworthy, he's helpful, he's loyal, he's obedient, he's..."
Green Music Note supermaniv2.wav Luthor: "You know what I can do with a single strand of Superman's hair?"
Lenny: "You can make a toupee that flies!"
Green Music Note supermaniv3.wav Superman: "And so I've come to a decision: I'm going to do what our governments have been unwilling or unable to do. Effective immediately, I'm going to rid our planet of all nuclear weapons."
Green Music Note supermaniv4.wav Nuclear Man: "You are nothing. I am the father now."
Luthor: "You have my voice!"
Nuclear: "No, you have my voice."
Luthor: "Just remember, I made you."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipsupermaniv1.mpg - 2.8m
Nuclear Man suddenly developed a hatred for walls in this clip. He bails before Superman arrives, but the hero still has to save one clumsy tourist and repair the damage. Can anyone tell me what sort of principle those blue "rebuild the stone wall" beams operate on? Imagination maybe?

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