Christopher Reeveâ€™s reign as The Man of Steel comes to a rather ignominious end with this, his fourth outing. Not that Reeve is bad, in fact he clearly still had a lot of affection for the character, and the basic idea is a good one – Superman taking on an almost godlike role in order to save mankind from itself â€“ itâ€™s the execution that lets it down.
Sidney J. Furie was once a director with talent, producing, amongst others, The Ipcress File, here though he displays none of the flare he once showed. The Quest for Peace is the work of a talentless hack, the Superhero equivalent of Plan 9 from Outer Space but without that films charm. Superman decides to rid the world of nuclear weapons and the world governments (and I mean ALL of them) say â€œgee thanks Mr Superman, without you to throw the nasty bombs into the sun weâ€™d never have thought of getting rid of themâ€.
Rather than pit Superman against the worldâ€™s leaders, the filmmakers give us, once again, Gene Hackman as comedy villain, Lex Luthor. The problem is heâ€™s just not funny anymore. Batman, Spider-Man, and The X-Men all get new villains in each new outing but itâ€™s like Superman has only got one bad guy. Someone should really buy the producers of the Superman films some comics, after all Bryan Singer continued this preoccupation with the bald headed master of menace in Superman Returns.
Luthor isnâ€™t the only villain though, but the less said about Nuclear Man the better. Played by Yorkshireman Mark Pillow (with voice provided by Hackman) he looks like heâ€™d be more at home in Spinal Tap. He does provided the funniest scene in the film though, flying off into space with Mariel Hemingway. Even little kids know thereâ€™s no air in space but apparently Hollywood filmmakers donâ€™t.
Itâ€™s little wonder the franchise stalled for almost twenty years after this travesty, with Superman finding success on the small screen in the intervening years with Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Smallville. Maybe Last Son of Krypton isnâ€™t cut-out for the bog screen.