Pop quiz – what’s the worst superhero movie of all time? Batman & Robin? Catwoman? X-Men: The Last Stand? Not even close. Long before the batsuit got nipples and Bret Ratner decided to make the X-Men totally hardcore, the genre was almost destroyed by those crazy cousins from Israel, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus and their company The Cannon Group. As much as everyone loves Christopher Reeve as Superman, he happened to star in two pretty awful superhero sequels. Superman III was bad (as was the spin-off Supergirl), but nothing was quite as cringe-worthy as 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. So what happened?
If you’ve been watching DC Films Revisited, you’ll know that in our episodes on Superman III and Supergirl, we came close to reaching the nadir of the franchise. Still, truly the series hit rock bottom when the Salkinds sold the rights to perhaps DC’s most beloved character to Cannon Films, who made Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). Everyone, including star Christopher Reeve, went into this with good intentions, and initially, this was supposed to be a lavish, timely sequel. But when the budget got slashed in half at the eleventh hour, what we ended up getting was a superhero movie that’s so bad it permanently killed the franchise and is often cited as one of the worst movies of all time. Not even Gene Hackman, who returns as Lex Luthor thanks to a hefty paycheck, can salvage this 89-minute franchise killer. Indeed, Cannon Films wound up being Superman’s kryptonite. Is it as bad as they say? Join us this week on DC Films Revisited!
DC Films Revisited is written, edited and narrated by Tyler Nichols. Chris Bumbray and Adam Walton produce, with Berge Garabedian as the executive producer. Check out other episodes below and let us know in the comments if you think Superman IV has any redeeming qualities.