Superman IV 7.1: A Stake in the Ground

Everbody knows that Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is the worst film of the 1980s, or the worst Superman film, or at least the worst Christopher Reeve Superman film, or whatever. It’s just the worst! This is common knowledge that everybody agrees with except for me.

Longtime readers of Superheroes Every Day will know that my coverage of Superman III is taking a long time, because dealing with the bowling scene takes a lot out of a person. And I have to say, the closer that I look at III, the better IV seems. Look, just hear me out.

And the way that you can hear me is to listen to the latest Signal Watch podcast, where I talk with host Ryan Steans and co-guest Stuart Ward about nuclear disarmament, Ninja Turtles, volcanoes, fourth graders, and the ethics of treating Lois Lane’s brain like an Etch-a-Sketch. It is a battle for the fate of the world, and you’re invited to a ringside seat!

Okay, back to Superman III
4.26: Walking the Dog


— Danny Horn

10 thoughts on “Superman IV 7.1: A Stake in the Ground

  1. Superman IV sneak peek. Nice.

    This movie is nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be. Yeah, it’s low budget, but it’s earnest and charming like a Superman movie should be. The UN scene is worth the price of admission alone, plus the return of John Williams!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. That was a very wide-ranging discussion. You almost (but not quite) convinced me to watch it. I will at least check out some clips online. I think you’ve made “Supergirl” an even tougher sell, though.
    I do intend to watch “Electric Boogaloo” since Cannon sounds like “The Producers” in real life.
    One point: American patriotism in the 1950s was no more “wholesome” than it is now. That was the era of Joe McCarthy and his anti-Communist crusade.


  3. I think Superman IV is very underrated. In addition to its timely storyline – which, unfortunately, has become timely once again in 2023 – you have Reeve, Kidder, and Hackman giving their best efforts, and I think you can tell that everyone involved in the movie *tried*. I like Superman III and its humor very much, but IV attempted – notwithstanding its meager budget – to restore the grandeur, majesty, and solemnity of Superman I and II.

    Ultimately, I think there’s a more interesting movie hiding in IV. Specifically, there is an interesting ethical concept at play that the movie doesn’t really explore in depth. Everyone at the U.N. cheers when Superman announces – without seeking anyone’s consent! – that he’s going to eliminate all of the nuclear weapons on Earth. If we’re okay with Superman confiscating nuclear weapons from all of the nations on Earth, by force if necessary, why stop there? Conventional weapons – bombs, tanks, warplanes, etc. – kill plenty of people and are used in warfare. Perhaps Superman then decides he should disarm all of the world’s nations of conventional weapons, as well. While he’s at it, maybe Superman should also force everyone to use clean energy? And so on and so on. Before he knows it, he’s gone down a slippery slope, and Superman becomes a “benevolent” dictator and ruler of the world. At that point, I’m not sure how far removed he is from becoming a General Zod-esque figure – someone he fought to save the planet from being subjugated by an absolute ruler.

    Finally, for what it’s worth, there’s a petition on to remaster Superman IV and restore the original 134 minute cut. I signed it and contributed to it, because I’d love to see this diamond in the rough get the TLC it has always deserved.


    1. I think there’s a graphic novel that was mentioned about Superman becoming a benevolent dictator in the podcast, but I thought the title was Kingdom Come.

      I have heard about someone’s efforts to remaster S4 and have seen samples of the work on YouTube in the past. I am not sure, but it may have included missing or removed footage, too.


  4. Thanks so much to everyone who gave the podcast a listen! It’s always fun to do with Danny and to get his POV. I did not expect “Superman IV may be better than Superman III” but the bowling stuff alone IS a solid argument. Now everyone encourage Danny to start a podcast.

    Liked by 2 people

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