Monday, March 23, 2015

I Missed The Part Where He Steals Fractions Of Pennies

I finally saw Superman 3 over the weekend. Look, there is not a damn thing on television if you don't enjoy watching college basketball, and if I wanted to watch guys dribbling aimlessly before throwing up a shot with no chance of going in, I'd bring a mirror with me to the basketball court.

Anyway, Superman 3. It's not good in any artistic sense, but I like it in the same way as Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. It feels like they realized they were dealing with a concept that tends easily towards the fantastic, and went with it. Sure, a weather-monitoring satellite can be turned into a weather-controlling satellite from a computer. A corrupt businessman is totally going to have a ski slope on top of his skyscraper. If you make cigarette tar an ingredient in your homemade Kryptonite, you make Red Kryptonite. You can totally make a massive computer shut down by removing one screw. It's bizarre from the outside, but it seems to fit with the internal logic of that world.

It's a Silver Age Superman story, which I'm generally not a fan of. To be fair, Superman doesn't save the day with some deus ex machina power like super-willpower, and he doesn't spend a bunch of time playing tricks on his friends to teach them some lesson. Those are two of the elements I hate the most about Silver Age Superman, so leaving them out helped. Plus, it avoided the first two movies massive over reliance on Krypton. He has powers because he's from Krypton, but he's Superman because he was raised on Earth (something the movie nodded at when Evil Superman has his fight in the junkyard with his good side, represented by Clark Kent). I don't need a bunch of portentous speeches from Marlon Brando in my Superman movie.

It's still odd to me Richard Pryor was in a Superman movie. I'm just trying to figure out how they came around to that idea. He wasn't bad in it, though I doubt they really used him to maximum effect. I'm not sure whether full force Richard Pryor would work in a Superman movie. Still, there's an interesting core to the character. He's mostly a pushover, a person with undeniable skill, but no real drive to do anything with it. But he'll show these flashes where he understands when to leverage his talents. When he recognizes Webster is too invested in his big plan to throw Gus in jail, if he can just give him something that'll keep him happy and working instead. It's just that most of the time, Gus doesn't have any concrete goal of his own he wants to work towards. Also he's always looking for shortcuts. Talented, but undisciplined and unmotivated, but at least a sort of decent person at heart.

I think Gus and Lorelei would have been much more successful criminals if they hadn't been working for Webster. I don't mean in this movie (Webster's overwhleming greed and megalomania make for a pretty good villain), I mean in general. Gus is a computer savant, but he never considers the implications of what he's doing, and he's easily intimdated. Lorelei is a genius, and smart enough to keep it under wraps so nobody gets suspicious or threatened by her. She wouldn't try to push Gus around, and he wouldn't make her feel threatened,so she wouldn't have to hide. Those two could have been a great buddy crime team, and I'm sure they would both have been endlessly supportive of each other.

I like that after everything, Superman tries to get Gus a job. Gus doesn't take it, but it's very Superman to still want to help someone, even though that guy helped try to kill him multiple times.

The part where Gus' ultimate computer grabs Webster's sister and converts her into, a host body, a cyborg soldier for it, something. That was more intense than I was expecting, though I was a little distracted by the fact she reminded me of Livewire a little. I know she wouldn't exist as a character for about another decade, but that's what the shiny blue skin made me think of. I guess it was more likely to be a Brainiac reference, a melding of a super-intelligence with flesh.

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