The main reason for this is the good casting, in my books. Slater as 'Supergirl' is a great choice as she not only looks the part but does a decent job portraying the character too. The Salkind's made the right choice in going with an unknown just as they did with Reeve and for me it really shines through. The casting of Dunaway as the evil 'Selena' is again another great choice because Dunaway does the bitch thing really well and she also has a brilliant presence as the evil sorcerer, a perfect fit.
Marc McClure back again as 'Olsen' gives the film some needed credit and believability within the Superman franchise and Maureen Teefy is also solid as 'Lois Lane's' younger sister. Everyone else is your standard background fluff and could of been played by many, harsh but true. Such a shame the Reeve cameo never happened as that would have been sweet.
The rest of the film is naturally pretty obvious plot wise but it does exactly what you would expect for the franchise. What I like about this is the fact all the effects are still just about on par with the Superman films, Slater flying, hovering and performing super feats looks fine, it doesn't look hokey (for the time). Doesn't have the overall shine of course but it still does the job well if you ask me, apart from the 'Argo City' sets at the start maybe.
We also get some nice background work/info on 'Argo City', 'the Phantom Zone' (finally) and the Omegahedron serves well for the story, it all ties in within the whole franchise nicely. What I mean by that is, it looks as if it could fit within the 'Superman' films without an issue.
Looking back now it is of course hammy but its still a fun adventure, I enjoyed it more when I was a kid admittedly. Supergirl looks cute but cool in her outfit and does a much better job of disguising herself with her alter ego of 'Lisa' than Superman did, at least she actually looked different. Kinda yearns for the Superman score but I guess that wouldn't be right I suppose.
Only thing, 'Argo City' is in space right? and on 'Krypton' right? so how does it still exist for this film?. Also at the end Supergirl flies into the sea to get back there, soooo is 'Argo City' under the sea? is there a portal she went through down there? is 'Argo City' in another dimension? am I being thick here of what?? kinda lost me on that one.
The flying scenes were decent and the casting of Helen Slater was a good one. The problem was that the script was silly and the villain was a joke. Most of the action scenes were a little weak as well.
One of the cool things in the flick was the first look inside the Phantom Zone.
The music was also very good and gave a nice feel to the overall movie.
There were some slow depressing scenes on Krypton and in the Phantom Zone, but the superfeats on Earth were spectacular. It's all very nice. Helen Slater makes a great Supergirl. Faye Dunaway and Brenda Vaccaro are great super chick baddies. The castle in the sky was genius. There's enough variety of action scenes to keep this movie very interesting and enjoyable for me. A hell of a lot better than Superman IV.
Eventually, sorcery (Superman's other weakness) was eventually going to have to be brought into the series, so I can forgive that lameness, most certainly. That's not what makes this a bad film. It's a combination of probably the weakest romantic plot (not subplot, which it really should have been), a chronically unenthused (to put in nicely) Peter O'Toole (Lawrence of Arabia, Troy, The Tudors), an overabundance of non-practical effects (which technology of the time was just not ready for), nearly unbearable banter, and the flimsiest plot built off of characters being inconceivably stupid that make the film so bad.
But then, that's really the entire film.
At least Supergirl's alter-ego had more thought put into it than "adds/removes glasses" and Selena was an... Acceptable, I suppose, villain. But ultimately Supergirl sits with aforementioned Superman III and Quest for Peace as entirely missable.
Yes, it really is as daft as that summary suggests, and just as bad, unbearably bad. There's a certain level of bad cinema which came to prominence in the eighties. Movies were seen as a way to make a quick buck by producers like Dino De Laurentis, Golan & Globus, and the Salkinds, owners of the Superman franchise. They're a similar breed to the sort of billionaires who buy football clubs today, in fact De Laurentis is currently the owner of Napoli's football team.
The script is written by David Odell who went on to write the big screen adaptation of "Masters of the Universe" and it really is garbage. Slater does her best and Dunaway enjoys camping it up but they can't save this film from cinema hell. The effects are shockingly poor, Slater flying in front of some of the worst bluescreen backdrops ever filmed. The comic approach of "Superman 3" is carried on here and the attempts to generate laughs are punishingly unfunny.
How can Superman have a living cousin? Wasn't Krypton destroyed in "Superman: The Movie"? Well conveniently a piece of the planet was cast into space following it's destruction. O'Toole has kept it thriving thanks to an orb which provides the energy to keep it sustainable. Kara loses the orb and follows it, leading her to earth. Cook and Dunaway are members of a witches coven and when Dunaway finds the orb she sets about using it to fulfill her wicked desires. Even writing this is giving me a headache.
So does Supergirl enlist the aid of the Man of Steel? Nope, he's away rescuing another planet, inconveniently for Supergirl but conveniently for Christopher Reeve who refused to appear in this turkey. He was saving himself for Superman 4. Whoops.
It's boring and for an action film, that is really bad, none of the scenes were intense. The story isn't focused, and Supergirl as a character is never realized. The villain is horrible, she is just some amateur witch, even that part of the story doesn't make sense. The love interest is just some douchebag gardener, seriously, everything in this film is awful and doesn't make any sense, I hope this film doesn't deter the movie studio from making an actual Supergirl film.