Like the previous films this is one of two halves, in the first movie the action was divided between pre- and post-Metropolis with the second half being superior, in the sequel it was between two directors, one being better than the other. Here it is between good superhero drama and an over-indulgence in comedy elements. Like those previous films when the humour is based on good writing it works yet like them at least half the runtime still relies too heavily on set pieces that add nothing to the plot, it's just that this time around they are slapstick rather than action based so they are silly rather than exciting. Worse still this goofiness is rarely funny and it constantly undermines any drama that had been built up, especially as the villains are a major source of it (they are also annoying and their scheme is stupid, although the same can be said about the first movie). These parts are at least well directed and generally the two halves are kept together better than the first two entries by tighter plotting.
The stories for both Clark and Superman are good, the latter producing a third perfect character performance by Reeve, the former being a touching romance which continues the series' spot-on casting with O'Toole's delightful Lana Lang. It's a shame then that they are in a movie that doesn't seem to want to do them justice; the feeling that the character deserves to be treated as iconic and with verisimilitude is lost, making Superman III the worse of the franchise so far.