The first thing that you notice about Ross Webster, as a Superman villain, is how chill he is. Well, technically, the first thing that you notice is that he’s the guy from the old spy show, and then you notice how chill he is.
And as a predatory corporate raider in 1983, he has reason to be chill. He’s only a couple years into the Reagan administration, an era when concepts like “I want to control all of the oil” were back in vogue as acceptable topics of conversation.
Continue reading Superman III 4.16: The Man from The Man from UNCLE
So obviously there isn’t an actual news story in Clark Kent going back to Kansas for his high school reunion. How could there be?
This is a man whose entire life is newsworthy. Just the fact that he exists is a civilization-stunner on its own, upending everything that we know about aviation and muscle mass, among other things. He’s constantly monitoring the world around him to detect the slightest hint of calamity, and then dives straight towards it for a photogenic rescue, full of human interest. He is everybody’s favorite news story, twenty-four hours a day.
So where is the news angle on a brightly-decorated high school gymnasium in a state that, for Superman, is literally flyover country? The only headline that I see in this room is Hayseeds, Appleknockers Have Pleasant Rube Reunion, and that’s not going to make much of a dent in newsstand sales in Metropolis.
Continue reading Superman III 4.12: Mission: Smallville
She’s only got three minutes, and she lands four solid jokes, which is four more than practically anyone else in the movie. Lois Lane — up until this point, the single most important human being in the world — has been suddenly and mysteriously called away to Bermuda, for a surfside adventure that’s probably way more interesting than anything we’re going to experience in Smallville. She is with us, and then she is gone, like a forgotten promise, and Superman III has to stumble along without her.
Obviously, this is a dreadful mistake. If Warner Bros had asked people in pre-market testing whether they wanted Lois Lane to appear in the next Superman movie, 94% of respondents would have said yes, and the other 6% wouldn’t have understood the question, because it’s such a stupid idea that you’d think they must be asking about something else.
Continue reading Superman III 4.8: The Loss of Lois
It’s an appropriate word to begin Superman III, history’s first superhero sequel. Superman II doesn’t count, of course, because the original Superman movie was planned as a two-part story. So this moment — the beginning of film #3 — is the first time the filmmakers have to skip over the origin myth, and start a brand new story from scratch.
And it begins, naturally, with a negotiation over how much money we’re going to give to Richard Pryor.
Continue reading Superman III 4.3: Enter Gus