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Sidney J. Furie
Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder
Writing Credits:
Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal

The Man of Steel crusades for nuclear disarmament and meets Lex Luthor's latest creation, Nuclear Man.

Box Office:
$17 million.
Opening Weekend
$5,683,122 on 1511 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Dolby Vision
English Dolby Atmos
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
French Dolby 2.0
German Dolby 2.0
Italian Dolby 2.0
Castillian Dolby 2.0
Latin Spanish Monaural
Castillian Spanish
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:
Castillian Spanish
Latin Spanish

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $134.99
Release Date: 5/9/2023
Available As Part of “Superman 5-Film Collection”

• Audio Commentary with Co-Screenwriter Mark Rosenthal
• 15 Deleted Scenes
• “Superman’s 50th Anniversary” Vintage Special
• Trailer
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Superman IV: The Quest for Peace [4K UHD] (1987)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 16, 2023)

After the silly comedy of 1983’s Superman III, fans thought the series couldn’t sink any lower. 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace proved them wrong.

Inane and moronic, Quest flops. This feels too bad, as Quest actually boasts some elements that might have allowed it to become a decent film.

Three main plot lines occur, each of which affects Superman/Clark Kent (Christopher Reeve) in a different way. Of global significance, Supes decides to ignore the non-interference directive sent to him by his Kryptonian relatives/mentors.

They told him not to direct alter the course of human events. Hmm… isn’t that what he does every time he rescues someone? Apparently Supes interpreted this to preclude more history-changing events, such as ridding the Earth of all nuclear weapons, but he changes his mind and performs this action.

At the same time, Superman’s old arch-nemesis Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) escapes from jail with the aid of his moronic Valley Boy nephew Lenny (Jon Cryer). Since Supes has rid the planet of nuclear weapons, Luthor decides to kill two birds with one stone.

He becomes involved with the illicit trade of such bombs partially to rake in the dough, but he does it mainly to enact the downfall of his foe. Luthor also creates a new ultra-powerful dude: the creatively named Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow).

He’s as strong as Supes, and apparently his razor-sharp nails can poison our hero as well. NM’s one Achilles heel? Without sunlight, he collapses into a heap.

While Superman rids the world of nuclear weapons and Luthor plots his enemy’s downfall, another matter concerns alter ego Clark Kent. A Rupert Murdoch style media mogul named David Warfield (Sam Wanamaker) buys the Daily Planet and instantly turns it into a muckraking tabloid.

He installs his daughter Lacy (Mariel Hemingway) as the head and instructs her to keep an eye on the bottom line. Instead, she espies Kent and immediately tries to woo him. This leads to some alleged comic hijinks, especially when Lacy and Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) double date with Supes and Clark.

From what I understand, Reeve didn’t want to do another Superman flick after the debacle of the third edition, but the film’s producers lured him back with the promise to use his creative input. As such, Reeve got a story credit for Quest; apparently he pushed the nuclear disarmament aspects of the tale.

While his heart was in the right place, these parts of the film seem appalling in their corniness. As a whole, the movie feels mawkish to an extreme - the scene in which Supes lectures the United Nations came across as downright embarrassing.

I also feel bad for Hackman. He acquitted himself well in 1978’s Superman and 1981’s Superman II.

Along with Marlon Brando, he actually made it acceptable for “serious” actors to play comic book roles. However, Hackman’s turn in Quest has “paycheck” written all over it. He mails in his work as he seems to try as hard as possible not to actively embarrass himself.

Unfortunately for Hackman, he gets saddled with Cryer. Lenny was clearly envisioned as a replacement for Otis (Ned Beatty), Luthor’s sidekick from the first two films.

I don’t know why Beatty didn’t reappear here, and I can’t say if the producers attempted to hire him and he declined or if they always intended to omit Otis from the story. In any case, Lenny shows virtually no characteristics that differentiate him from Otis.

In fact, composer Alexander Courage - best known as the writer of the theme from Star Trek - simply appropriates Otis’s music from the first film and uses it for Lenny. Cryer brings an actively grating presence during Quest, as he adds nothing to the flick and strongly detracts from any positives it may offer.

Granted, I’m not sure what those positives might have been. Actually, Nuclear Man could have become a good villain, and it should have been fun to see Luthor again, especially after the tepid baddies of SIII.

I can’t fault the good intentions of Reeve’s anti-nuclear message. In addition, the new ownership of the Daily Planet should have provided some sparks in that milieu.

That’s a lot of “should haves” and “could haves”, all of which add up to diddly in the final product. Unfortunately, Quest brings an absurdly amateurish production, and the story gets told in an incoherent, disjointed manner that renders any possible positives moot.

Quite a lot of footage got shot for Quest but not used past test screenings. I have no idea if this extra material would have formed a more cohesive product, but it couldn’t have hurt.

Even for a fantasy film, Quest seems absurdly illogical. I usually turn off the part of my brain that questions those aspects of these kinds of films, for I think many of them just have to be accepted.

For example, when my then-girlfriend and I saw Shrek, she complained due to a scene in which a character removed an arrow from his body but no blood appeared. I pointed out to her the fact that she happily accepted the concept of a talking donkey but strangely had trouble with this other bit of artistic license.

Unfortunately, Quest ends up filled with “talking donkey” elements that make it even harder to stomach. For example, in one scene Nuclear Man takes Lacy into space with him.

It’s bad enough to see hair and capes waving in the air-free environment, but the simple fact that she couldn’t survive in such a place makes the scene excessively absurd.

I won’t gripe about movies that show explosions in space, for I understand that they provide a necessary dramatic impact. Quest, however, simply crosses the line of reasonable liberties and becomes stupid.

To add insult to injury, Quest features easily the worst effects of the series. You need to see the flying scenes to believe them.

Sure, those elements of the first film don’t seem as convincing now as they did in 1978, but they still feel reasonably positive. The shots from Quest wouldn’t have looked good in any era.

The characters appear as though they’d been cut from other frames and simply plopped onto backgrounds, and I’ve never seen such heavy bluescreen artifacts. A very obvious blue halo surrounds the actors at all times. Shouldn’t the effects have improved as the series progressed?

Unfortunately, nothing about Superman IV seems superior to any of the prior entries. For those who thought Superman III was as bad as it could get, think again.

Quest suffers from an incoherent narrative, flat acting, ridiculous logic flaws and some of the worst special effects ever captured on film. I hate to report that the Christopher Reeve era of the Superman franchise went out on such a poor note, but Superman IV ends up as the dregs.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio C+/ Bonus B

Superman IV: The Quest For Peace appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Probably the most attractive of the four Christopher Reeve movies, Quest consistently looked pretty good in this Dolby Vision presentation.

Sharpness was usually positive. A few minor examples of softness occurred, and most of those stemmed from visual effects shots. As a whole, though, the movie offered a fairly crisp and detailed image.

Moiré effects and jagged edges presented no problems, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws weren’t an issue, and grain felt light but natural.

Colors looked rich and vivid. The hues felt well-rendered, and HDR added range and impact to the tones.

Black levels were deep and dense, and shadow detail seemed to be appropriately heavy but not excessively opaque. HDR brought extra punch to contrast and whites. The transfer wasn’t quite impressive enough for “A”-level consideration, but it earned a solid “B+”.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack offered a mixed bag. While the soundfield opened up matters, it also came with issues.

In particular, foley elements popped up in inappropriate places and felt unnatural. The mix accentuated these effects too heavily so they distracted.

Other odd effects occurred as well. For instance, the United Nations scene featured applause from the left and front but not from the right, even though the clapping should emanate from all sides.

At least music showed good spread around the spectrum, and some effects blended well. Nonetheless, the too loud and weirdly locate foley turned into a problem.

Audio quality worked reasonably fine, though. Dialogue was fairly warm and natural, and I detected no problems related to edginess or intelligibility.

Effects varied due to those awkward foley elements. Other components came across as pretty accurate and rich, though.

Muaic fared best, as the score appeared lively and full. Given its age, this never turned into a bad mix, but its awkward moments left it as a “C+”.

Note that apparently the Atmos remix used the wrong music cues at times. I admit I don’t know the movie well enough to discern the times this happened, but I wanted to mention it.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray from 2011? The Blu-ray featured a blah stereo track, so even with its drawbacks, the 4K’s Atmos acted as an improvement.

The Dolby Vision visuals brought the expected format-based improvements, and that meant superior colors, accuracy and blacks. The 4K acted as a step up over the Blu-ray.

As we move to extras, we open on the 4K disc with an audio commentary from co-screenwriter Mark Rosenthal. He provides a running, screen-specific discussion. The track looks at the story and its development, deleted sequences, budgetary issues and the many problems that affected the production, cast and characters, sets, locations and effects, and a mix of other production concerns.

Most commentaries offer an annoyingly rosy view of events. That certainly isn’t the case for Rosenthal’s chat. He gives us a uniformly dark view of the production as he details the issues that ensured Quest would be a mess.

However, lots of complaining doesn’t ensure a fine commentary. Indeed, at times Rosenthal’s grousing becomes a little too much to take, as he’s so relentlessly negative about the production.

Perhaps a movie as crummy as Quest deserves that, but I still think the negativity grows somewhat tiresome. In addition, Rosenthal goes silent quite a lot, and those gaps make the track move more slowly.

Don’t get me wrong: there’s more than enough interesting material here to make the commentary worthwhile. I just wish it offered a more dynamic and less crabby look at the flick.

More extras appear on the included Blu-ray copy. In addition to the film’s trailer, we find 15 Deleted Scenes that fill a total of 31 minutes, two seconds.

We see “Clark’s Morning” (1:25), “Jeremy’s Letter” (0:33), “Superman’s Visit” (1:09), “Nuclear Man’s Prototype” (5:27), “Metropolis After Hours” (2:31) “Lex Ponders” (1:33), “Flying Sequence (Extended Scene” (2:35), “Battle in Smallville” (2:49), “Battle in the USSR” (1:12), “Nuclear Arms Race” (2:08), “Superman’s Sickness” (0:59), “Red Alert” (5:24), “By My Side” (0:20), “Clark and Lacy Say Goodbye” (0:58) and “No Borders” (1:49).

Since apparently 45 minutes of footage was sliced from the original director’s cut, I guess we don’t get all of the footage here. Nonetheless, we find most of it, and it’s interesting to see.

That doesn’t mean these clips are actually good, of course. Indeed, most are just as terrible as the footage in the final cut.

Among the more intriguing elements, we see Luthor’s first attempt at Nuclear Man, a strong but moronic dude the flick plays completely for laughs. Luthor gets a lot more screen time in these shots; he’s not nearly as much of an afterthought.

Most of the other scenes tend to expand upon existing sequences and simply flesh them out a little better. At least we get some resolution to the opening notice that the Kent farm is for sale, but the “No Borders” ending with Supes and Jeremy in space is completely idiotic.

They make the story moderately more intelligible, but I expect that the movie would remain pretty terrible even if they’d been retained. It’s nice to see these scenes as a curiosity, but they can’t redeem this atrocious film.

Originally found on the 2006 Superman II DVD, the Blu-ray places a 1988 “vintage special” here. Hosted by Dana Carvey, Superman 50th Anniversary runs 48 minutes, 10 seconds and offers comments from Reeve, actors Kirk Alyn and Jack Larson, mentalist The Amazing Kreskin, musician Lou Reed, journalist Jimmy Breslin, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, and artist John Byrne.

Hal Holbrook appears as the lead in “An Evening with Superman”, and we also get characters played by Fred Willard, Carol Leifer, Jan Hooks, Peter Boyle and others, all of whom pretend to live in Metropolis or otherwise have a connection to Supes.

“Anniversary” plays things mostly for laughs. Even the speakers who don’t appear in character act as if Superman really exists and reflect on his work and existence.

This motif starts as silly and doesn’t improve from there. I like the compendium of pieces from the various movies and comics, but the goofy premise makes this a less than useful program. A more straightforward view of the subject would have worked better.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace becomes an unmitigated dud that does nothing other than taint an already sullied franchise. It manages to make Superman III look good by comparison, but that turns into its only substantial achievement. The 4K UHD presents very good picture and some useful supplements but suffers from erratic audio. This becomes a fairly positive release for a terrible film.

Note that as of May 2023, this version of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace appears only in a “Superman 5-Film Collection”. In addition to Quest, it brings 4K editions of Superman, Superman II, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut and Superman III.

To rate this film, visit the prior review of SUPERMAN IV

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main