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The Curator of Schlock #49 by Jeff Shuster

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

(It’s not that bad)

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Now we’ll wrap up Patriot’s Month with Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. When I think of the red, white, and blue, I think of Superman. Granted he dresses in red, yellow, and blue, but he also supports Truth, Justice, and the American Way! Unfortunately, Rocky Balboa’s “We ain’t so different!” speech at the end of Rocky IV must softened many hearts because Superman IV is all about ending the nuclear arms race. Psh. A little nuclear winter never hurt anybody.

1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace starts off with Russian cosmonauts not realizing the gravity of their situation when a piece of space junk knocks poor Yuri to his doom. Never fear. Superman (Chistopher Reeve) saves poor Yuri delivering him safely back to the space craft.

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You know, I remember back in the 80s how terrified we all were that the Soviet Union would the first to land someone on Mars. We were afraid that the red planet would really become the Red Planet. Thank goodness for the end of the Cold War. Now no one has to ever land on Mars!

What else? The Daily Planet is being taken over by David Warfield (Sam Wanamaker), a newspaper tycoon who specializes in tabloid journalism much to the chagrin of Clark Kent (Christopher Reeve), Lois Lane (Margot Kidder), Jimmy Olsen (Marc McClure), and Perry White (Jackie Cooper). Lacy Warfield (Mariel Hemingway, who happens to be Ernest’s granddaughter and portrayed Dorothy Stratton in Star 80) is the new boss’s daughter and she has a thing for mild-mannered Clark Kent. So Lois Lane is in love with Superman and Lacy Warfield is in love with Clark Kent.

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This is interesting situation that allows Superman and Clark Kent to go on a double date with these two ladies and hilarity ensues. Superman uses his heat vision to roast a duck for Lois so we can add duck-roasting to his list of super powers. One thing I never liked about these movies was how they kept inventing super powers for Superman. Like how he can all of the sudden speak in any language. I remember on Smallville he could barely speak a full sentence of Spanish. Yes, I watched Smallville. All ten seasons and it was excellent! I got to see what would happen if Clark Kent took out a bad guy with a bowling ball on that show, and it exceeded my expectations.

Back to Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Some schoolboy named Jeremy wants Superman to get rid of all the world’s nuclear weapons. I would have thought this was a pretty good idea back in the day provided the United States of America was excluded from this arrangement. Superman is mum on the matter until the new Daily Planet shames him into making a public statement. The floating heads in The Fortress of Solitude tell him to say no and find a new planet to rule, but Superman can’t let little Jeremy down so he tell the United Nations he’ll throw all of the nuclear weapons into the sun. And Superman does just that and everything is jim-dandy. The end.

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Oh wait. I forgot to mention that Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) breaks out of prison. He and his nephew, Lenny (Jon Cryer) decide to create a super villain out of Superman’s DNA mixed with a bit of nuclear radiation. He’s called Nuclear Man and he likes to “hurt people.” How can Superman defeat such a monster? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out.

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You know speaking of Jon Cryer, was anyone else upset over the ending Pretty in Pink? I mean, yeah, I’ll concede that Blane wasn’t like the other rich kids at school and was worthy of Andie’s affection, but where did that leave Duckie? I bet the guy never found true love again. It’s not fair!

Five Things I Learned from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
  1. Clark Kent can’t hit a curve ball.
  2. Urban sprawl is ruining America’s farms
  3. Lois Lane can’t speak French very well.
  4. The dark side of the moon isn’t so dark.
  5. Richard Pryor is a more credible villain than Nuclear Man.


Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102) is an MFA candidate and instructor at the University of Central Florida.