Superman 3 isn’t the worst Superman movie in the series, though it’s probably the second worst. At least it's better than Superman 4, you know, the one where the bad guy can’t move unless he’s in direct sunlight. There's a tough fight. Actually, one of the coolest moments in Superman history happens in part 3. In it, Clark Kent has to fight a dark version of Superman and that’s pretty sweet. Weird, illogical and impossible, but sweet!
"A little higher... riiight there..."
We’re also reintroduced to Clark’s high school girlfriend Lana. I never liked Lois Lane as a kid so Lana was a welcome change. I mean really, Superman has his pick of any woman on the planet and he chooses Lois Lane? The man-woman that works in his office? Don’t dip your pen in the company ink, Clark, especially ink that chain smokes and can’t spell! Lana is a much better choice even though she has a kid and an alcoholic boyfriend.
Also, without Superman 3, we wouldn't have the plot of Office Space. If you recall, the main character manages to steal billions of fractions of pennies from his company’s bank account. Gus Gorman, an amateur computer hacker played by Richard Pryor, manages to do this in Superman 3. Computers actually play a crucial role in part 3, and they aren’t looked at favorably. In fact, computers are downright evil here. Gorman steals money, he creates a kryptonite capable of turning Superman evil, and worst of all, he phishes your Myspace account and posts pictures of you on the toilet. He does all this using his state of the art Apple 2E. But the computer eventually fights back, and even turns an old lady into a robot. Yikes.
In the end, Superman must fight a super computer that Gus "creates". Before he can, one of the villains, a cranky old lady, gets sucked into it. If I were lame enough to have come up with this ridiculous plot sequence, I would have made the old lady fall into the big machine, disappear, and then emerge as a robot. This may have prevented a lot of nightmares. Instead, they show you her full transformation. The scene is actually quite disturbing and reminiscent of all those nasty torture scenes from Saw. First she tries to run, but gets sucked in by a laser beam. Then she screams and tries to wiggle free. Wires wrap around her face and pieces of metal attach to her body. It's noisy and violent and then suddenly she stops moving. Her eyes open and they're metal! Icky! Then the director gets a little confused - she walks out of the personal computing machine not like a robot, but like a zombie. And I think we can all agree that zombies are scary, especially for children.
Despite repeated warnings, Jeremy Piven continued eating fish.
Watch the whole scene here, and laugh at me for being scared by it. I swear man, it was scary in 1983!