1987's Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is the last official installment of the Superman movie series which started in 1978 with Superman: The Movie. Released four years after the poorly received (but reasonably profitable) Superman III, this film was an unmitigated flop, both critically and financially.The film's plot revolved around an Anvilicious anti-nuclear weapons message and a risible villain named "Nuclear Man" (no relation to DC Comics hero "Firestorm, the Nuclear Man"). When a young boy asks Superman to rid the world of said weapons, he finds making the decision a challenge but ultimately agrees to do so, and the world's governments approve. Unfortunately, Lex Luthor has escaped from prison with the help of his teen nephew Lenny. Lex becomes a black market arms dealer and takes advantage of Superman's disposal of weapons to create the hero's Evil Knockoff, Nuclear Man. Meanwhile at The Daily Planet, a media tycoon buys out the paper and turns it into little more than a tabloid, while his daughter Lacy Warfield takes an interest in Clark Kent.Superman IV was plagued by a severely reduced budget compared to previous films in the franchise (courtesy of new producer Cannon Films, which bought the franchise from the Salkinds), and it shows in copious amounts of Special Effects Failure throughout. The returns of Gene Hackman and Margot Kidder to the cast did nothing to save this movie. It's also notable as the shortest film in the series at barely an hour-and-a-half. Its running time was cut by the producers for its theatrical release, and while its DVD cut doesn't make it much better by most accounts, it's at least marginally more coherent. One extended action sequence cut from the theatrical release features the "prototype" of Nuclear Man, who closely resembles DC Comics' Bizarro character.
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