Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) Movie Review

Title: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.
Rated: PG.
Director: Sidney J. Furie.
Screenplay by: Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal.
Story by: Christopher Reeve, Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal.
Release Date: 1987.
Runtime:  120 min.
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi.
Cast: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, Jon Cryer, Sam Wanamaker, and many more!
Budget: $17,000,000 (estimated).
Opening Weekend (US & Canada): $5,683,122.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Previously in Christopher Reeve’s Superman saga:
Superman Extended TV Cut (1978).
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006).
Superman III (1983).


It always hurts to see a hero reach new lows. Without an opportunity to get back up again, you are left to appreciate their existence with all the good and bad that they’ve accomplished and suffered through, often wishing that you could feign ignorance regarding all the bad to soothe your mind. Unfortunately, from 1978 to 1987, Superman has seen his reputation tainted by corruptive company intrusion into directorial creativity and conflicted thematic visions. It would take almost two decades after his last appearance before another actor could bring back some Truth, Justice, and the American Way for fans around the world. Serving as the final movie where actor Christopher Reeve wears the blue suit and red cape, this fourth movie (excluding the Supergirl spin-off) seeks new direction from Sidney J. Furie, steering clear from a comedy-centric approach, to revisit familiar themes of love, identity, and belonging through one of the most ridiculous plots to grace the silver screen.

What is Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) about? With the Daily Planet taken over by David Warfield, Clark, Lois, and Jimmy find themselves confronted with a journalistic vision that relies upon lies to create drama and increase sales. This includes spewing lies about Superman amidst the nuclear arms race across the world. Forcing his hands, Superman reflects upon the future of Earth and if he should, once again, intrude into their lives and affect their fate. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor concocts a plan to take down Superman once and for all, this time looking to create the perfect weapon capable of rivaling the strength of the Man of Steel: Nuclear Man. Affected by personal turmoil due to his love life and the weight of political warfare upon his shoulders, Superman needs to take a stance on his role as an alien among humans.

50 thoughts we had while watching Superman IV: Quest for Peace | SYFY WIRE

This was a hideous, despicable, and blasphemous adventure starring Superman. At heart (if it even had one), it is inane and baneful for the rational mind. Overlooking the number of scenes that it had to get rid of (almost 45 minutes of deleted content), where I can only imagine how much more mediocre it could’ve been with rumours of a second (original) Nuclear Man part of this disappointing story, it makes no sense that anyone could dare greenlit this narrative garbage fire where not a single character seemed remotely invested in their role. How does one even think that it would be a fun idea to toss in another love triangle (or is it a quadrilateral?) would be interesting, especially when they suddenly completely erased Lana Lang (from Superman III) from the picture?

The political landscape roughly and superficially explored throughout this movie, with Superman having his hands forced into meddling into human affairs, made for a truly unbearable experience. In a failed attempt to promote global peace through a concerted effort to eliminate nuclear weapons, you can’t help but wonder how such ludicrous subordination was even possible. One could probably argue that the fear of a godly alien played a role in this event but only the joy of leaders was shown without exploring a single bit of this so-desired politicking. However, plot holes are the least of this movie’s troubles. It also sought to enter the realm of insanity with the introduction of Nuclear Man.

10. “heartburn” GIF - Superman IV Quest For Peace Villain - Discover &  Share GIFs

Listen. When you got some of the weakest special effects to support your most forgettable (unfortunately, it’s going to be hard to forget this villain for a while) villain, you should rethink your whole movie from the very beginning. Nuclear Man’s origin story is one of the most cringe-worthy concepts of all time and it doesn’t help that his first odyssey to Earth can be summed up by meeting his daddy and telling him to take a hike, falling in love, and playing around with Superman. But that’s not where things really get screwy. It’s when you realize how superpowers are portrayed in this calamity. From Nuclear Man’s evil nails to Superman’s unexplained ability to erase memory and undo things through his heat (?) vision (see above gif), there’s just no room for any kind of appreciation for this chunk of excrement.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) is a catastrophic nuclear failure brimming with questionable plot holes and messy themes that dance, stumble, and fall to the chaotic and pitiful rhythm (or lack of) of this cinematic disaster.

Superman IV: The Quest for PEace (1987) is available for purchase and on select streaming services.

Have you read any Superman comics?
Have you seen Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)? Will you? What did you think about it?
Share your thoughts with me!



35 thoughts on “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) Movie Review

  1. Yep, just when you thought Superman III was as low as it could go, the franchise clubs you on the head and does this to your unconscious body 😦

    Your gif of Nuclear Man is pretty much how I felt during this whole thing. I’ve heard that Reeves was a big pusher of the nuclear disarmament storyline but I can’t back that up with any fact. Either way, this movie killed the Superman franchise deader than a doornail for a very long time….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I wasn’t told beforehand that the 4th one was the worse, I wouldn’t have believed it myself. I do hope there’s no proof to attach that whole plot to his name… I want to believe that he’s the same guy who gave us the timeless Superman I/II movies. But man, I can’t imagine what a fan of Superman must’ve gone through during that period. To wait almost 2 decades till Superman Returns came out for any Superman-related stuff on the big screen! Insanity.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, no, here we go with another old Superman movie… I can’t remember if I watched this one. It seems likely I did, but it’s not ringing any bells in my halls of memory. Sounds like that’s a very good thing this time around. 🙂 Are you done with Superman yet?!?!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s the plan! 😀 I do have a couple more old DC movies to go through again and review before I get to that “wrap up” post but I definitely plan on doing it once I’m up to date with all the DC movies. I’ll then move over to go through all the Marvel movies all over again to review those that I didn’t hahah

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I actually enjoy this movie. Not because it’s good. Oh boy is it a terrible movie. But Superman IV: The Quest For Peace is hilariously bad for me. The over-the-top cartoonish villain. The dreadfully bad special effects because Cannon Films decided to siphon off half of this movie’s budget to their other projects (something they were known for). The very poorly thought-out politics written by someone who has the understanding of an average 10-year-old. The awkward attempts at comedy and drama. The deleted scenes you can find online about the first Nuclear Man, who is sadly the closest thing we’ve had to a live-action Bizarro on the big screen. It’s all hilarious to me, and to some of my friends as well.

    Whether or not you could enjoy Superman IV very much depends on three things. 1, can you enjoy terrible movies ironically? 2, are you able to accept a failed attempt at a Superman movie as the joke that it really is? 3, can you enjoy completely over-the top performances that are impossible to take seriously? Even if you say yes to all three of those things, you have to be in the right mood, and I’d sooner recommend something like Plan 9 From Outer Space, Troll 2, The Room, or Birdemic for your first terrible movie, over a failed attempt at a franchise you tend to enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reminds me of that discussion we had about how we can enjoy these kinds of movies and you’re right. You have to be in the right frame of mind to want to go through this. Anyone who goes into this thinking it would be anything like Superman I or II are those that are more likely to suffer from their experience. However, regardless of the reason why we want to watch this. It is indeed awful on so many levels. It’s more of a parody than anything else in the end and it doesn’t even WANT to be one and that’s why it’s so bad!


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