It's a little amazing, really, how quickly the original Superman franchise eroded into bad comedy. This being the ground floor of that descent, it bears little similarity to the original film beyond several key casting choices and a spit curl. Christopher Reeve returns as the title character, of course, with Margot Kidder suffering an expanded role and Gene Hackman back from a one-film exile to ham it up once again as a clueless, underwhelming Lex Luthor. Filling the Richard Pryor "why?!" role from the previous film is Jon Cryer, better known as Duckie in Pretty in Pink, who plays some sort of pointless, meandering male twist on the Valley Girl stereotype that was rolling through culture at the time. I'm still not entirely sure why he was elbowed into the plot. This isn't aggressively bad like Superman III, it's just hopelessly inept. In fact, the core of the story has a lot of potential: Superman, inspired by a letter from a young boy, destroys the world's nuclear armaments and discovers that some problems can't be solved quite so easily. It sputters and fails right on the launchpad, though, and soon falls back on a muscle-flexing brawl with some generic evil menace to solve the problem. Its grasp on physics, and reality as a whole, is so loose it's almost adorable. I'd pat my four-year-old son on the head and smile if he suggested we move the moon around to keep the sun out of his eyes, but for this film that's a legitimate solution. To say its answers make any sense would be an insult to sense itself. The whole thing plays like an easy answer to a complex problem, from the story to the editing to the acting to the effects work. These older superhero movies don't hold up to the rigors of time as a whole, but Superman IV looks particularly bad in a modern setting. Even the hero's indistinguishable costume seems cut-rate and fake, like they'd forgotten to commission a wardrobe department until the night before production. Head-shakingly pointless and dull, this film only seems to exist to kill time. Which, thankfully, it doesn't demand in great quantities. While the original cut came in at over two hours, some greedy last-minute cuts trimmed it down to a slim ninety minutes. Why the late edits? To ensure a few more showings each day at theaters nationwide. Of course.