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For all its cynicism and tackiness, this probably comes closer to the unconscious Dada of old DC comics and the 50s TV show than any other entry in the series. Director Sidney J. Furie (Iron Eagle, The Boys in Company C) does such a downscale number on the lugubriously upright material (the Man of Steel decides to rid the world of nuclear arms at the syrupy behest of a 12-year-old child) that it's hard to tell where cut-rate literalism ends and cartoon contempt begins. Furie pays no more attention to the laws of physics than the average DC storyboard (e.g., Superman's cape billows in the nonexistent outer-space breeze), and the unremittingly cheesy effects and what-me-worry? approach to dialogue (Superman to the local paesanos after capping a Mount Etna eruption: “It was nothing . . . have a nice day”) make a Bizarro-world shambles of the script's Boy Scout intentions. By ordinary movie standards it's awful, but fans of cinematic dementia should have fun for about half an hour. With Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Mariel Hemingway, Jackie Cooper, and Jon Cryer; Golan-Globus produced.

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