Buy Superman III (Deluxe Edition)
||Christopher Reeve, Jackie Cooper, Marc
McClure and Margot Kidder are joined by new cast members Annette
O'Toole, Annie Ross, Pamela Stephenson, Robert Vaughn and Richard
Pryor. The film was the last Reeve/Superman film produced by
Alexander Salkind and Ilya Salkind. It was followed by Supergirl
(produced by the Salkinds) in 1984 and the non-Salkind produced
sequel Superman IV: The Quest for Peace in 1987.
The film was less successful than the first two Superman movies,
both financially and critically, but was still the fifth highest
grossing film of 1983. Following the release of this movie, Pryor
signed a five-year contract with Columbia Pictures worth $40
In this third installment, Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor), an unemployed
ne'er-do-well, discovers a knack for computer programming. After
embezzling large amounts of money from his most recent employer's
company payroll (through a technique known as salami slicing), Gorman is
brought to the attention of the company CEO, Ross Webster. Webster
(Robert Vaughn), a wealthy man who runs a large conglomerate called
Webscoe Industries, is obsessed with the computer's potential in aiding
him in his schemes to rule the world, financially. Joined by his sister
Vera and his "psychic nutritionist" Lorelei Ambrosia, Webster blackmails
Gorman into helping him.
Meanwhile, Clark Kent has convinced his newspaper to allow him to return
to Smallville for his high school reunion. En route, he extinguishes a
fire in a chemical plant containing numerous vials of unstable Beltric
acid, which, in gaseous form, would obliterate the entire population of
the Eastern seaboard. During the fire, intrepid photographer Jimmy Olsen
is injured with a broken fibula; Superman saves the plant (while
neutralizing the acid threat) by freezing the surface of a nearby lake
and dropping the enormous icy mass onto the plant.
In Smallville, Clark is reunited with childhood friend Lana Lang
(Annette O'Toole). Lana is now a divorcee with a young son named Ricky
(Paul Kaethler). Clark and Lana begin to share affection for each other,
though Lana's former boyfriend Brad (Gavan O'Herlihy), Clark's childhood
bully and now an alcoholic security guard, is still vying for her
In Metropolis, Webster attempts to monopolize the world's coffee crop.
Infuriated by Colombia's refusal to do business with him, he orders
Gorman to command an American weather satellite, Vulcan, to create a
hurricane to decimate the nation's entire coffee crop. Webster's scheme
is thwarted when Superman flies into the eye of the hurricane,
neutralizing it and saving the year's harvest. Perceiving Superman as a
threat to his plans, Webster then orders Gorman to use his computer
knowledge to create synthetic Kryptonite, remembering Lois Lane's Daily
Planet interview from Superman, during which Superman identified it as
his only weakness. Gus attempts to create a synthetic version of
Kryptonite, but, after the computer fails to analyze an "unknown"
element in Kryptonite, he improvises by replacing the unidentified
element with tar (not an actual element on the periodic table), garnered
from a pack of cigarettes.
Lana convinces Superman to make a personal appearance at her son's
birthday party, but Smallville turns it into a hometown celebration for
Superman. Gus and Vera, disguised as an U.S. Army Lieutenant General and
a WAC officer, give Superman the chunk of kryptonite as a gift, and are
dismayed to see that it appears to have no effect on him. However, the
compound begins to produce symptoms: Superman becomes selfish, focusing
on his lust for Lana, which causes him to delay in rescuing a truck
driver from his jackknifed rig. Superman begins to question his own
self-worth, and, as the Kryptonite takes effect, Superman becomes
depressed, angry, and casually destructive, committing petty acts of
vandalism such as blowing out the Olympic torch and straightening the
Leaning Tower of Pisa. Ross, seeing this, creates new plans and orders a
supercomputer to be built.
Superman sullenly assuages his depression with a drinking binge, but is
overcome by guilt and undergoes a nervous breakdown. After nearly
crash-landing in a junkyard, he splits into two personas: the evil,
selfish Superman and the moral, righteous Clark Kent. The evil Superman
and Clark Kent, the embodiment of Superman's remaining good qualities,
engage in an epic battle. Although Clark is initially overpowered by his
alter ego, he eventually takes the upper hand, feverishly strangling his
evil identity until it fades from sight. Thereafter, he is restored to
his benevolent former self.
After defending himself from an MX missile, he does battle with Gorman's
supercomputer, which, after attempting to suffocate him, severely
weakens the Man of Steel with a ray of real Kryptonite. Gorman,
guilt-ridden and horrified by the prospect of "going down in history as
the man who killed Superman", manages to destroy the deadly weapon with
a firefighter's axe, whereupon Superman flees. The computer begins to
malfunction by becoming self-aware, defending itself against Gus and
draining power from nearby electrical towers, causing massive blackouts.
Ross and Lorelei are able to escape from the control room, but Vera is
pulled into the main entrance of the computer and transformed into a
cyborg. Empowered by the supercomputer, Vera attacks her brother and
Lorelei with beams of energy, which weaken and immobilize them.
Superman returns with a small vial of acid derived from the chemical
plant he saved earlier in the film; the intense heat emitted by the
supercomputer causes the acid to turn volatile, destroying the machine
and turning Vera back to normal. Superman flies away with Gus, leaving
Webster and his cronies to face the authorities. After dropping Gus off
at a West Virginia coal mine, where he gives him a job reference,
Superman returns to Metropolis and reunites with Lana Lang, who has
decided to relocate to the big city and finds employment as Perry
White's new secretary. Flying away into outer space, he smiles to
indicate that all is well.
* Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent / Superman: After discovering his
roots and origins from his native planet Krypton, he sets himself to
fulfill his destiny and help those on Earth. After beating former arch
enemy Lex Luthor twice, Superman meets a new villain: Ross Webster, who
is determined to control the world's coffee and oil supply.
* Richard Pryor as Gus Gorman: A bumbling computer genius who is forced
to work for Ross Webster and destroy Superman.
* Robert Vaughn as Ross Webster: A villainous multimillionaire who is
the head of his company. After failing to take over the world's coffee
supply when Superman stopped him, Ross is determined to destroy the Man
of Steel before he can stop his plan to control the world's oil supply.
* Annette O'Toole as Lana Lang: Clark's old high school sweetheart who
reconciles with Clark after seeing him again during their High school
* Annie Ross as Vera Webster: Ross' sister and partner, both in his
corporation and villainous plans.
* Pamela Stephenson as Lorelei Ambrosia: Ross' assistant and sweetheart.
Lorelei acts unintelligent to fool people but is in fact quite smart,
outwitting both Ross and Vera multiple times.
* Margot Kidder as Lois Lane: A reporter at The Daily Planet who has a
long history with both Clark Kent and Superman through the first two
films in the series. However, Lois remembers nothing due to her amnesia
from when she kissed Clark Kent at the end of Superman II.
* Marc McClure as Jimmy Olsen: A photographer for The Daily Planet.
* Jackie Cooper as Perry White: The editor of The Daily Planet.
* The computer program that Gus Gorman created,
which took the fractions of cents left over from financial transactions
and interest compounding and transferred them to a dummy account has
been referenced in certain aspects of popular culture. In the 1999 film
Office Space, the characters use the same computer program and mention
how "they did it in Superman III" and claim it's "an underrated movie,
actually". However, the concept of what Gorman's program did had been
around for some years before then.
* An animated version of Brad Wilson appeared in Superman Adventures #26
and #33. Like the movie, he antagonized Clark in their teen years. In
issue #33, he attempts to prove that Clark is Superman, only to be
convinced that Lex Luthor might be the Man of Steel (with help from
Batman). The issue ends with Brad accepting a job at WayneTech
Industries (courtesy of a request by Clark).