Comic Book Movies 101: Supergirl

I was under 10 at the time and easily impressed by any old shit that came along. And despite the fact that I was let down by Christopher Reeve not putting in a cameo appearance (save that work for Marc McClure why don’t they), I enjoyed this romp first time round. But whilst I kept watching Superman III on a regular basis, I never really saw Supergirl again after its initial video release.

I think part of the charm for me first time round was that my older brother owned the current Howard Jones album which featured in this film’s soundtrack – and could well be one of my first conscious acknowledgments of popular music being used within a film (I don’t recall much in the way of known music being used in the previous three films?).

Retaining the light and comical tone, it was girl-power time for both heroes and villains. This (bizarre at times) film delves into coming of age and, er, black magic, as our protagonist arrives on earth – attends an all girls school, floats about in the countryside crying “weeeeeeee!” in a one with nature montage, and falls in love with the sleaze-ball from Die Hard (minus the beard, and the bullet in his head).

Faye Dunaway steps in as the main villain, assisted by a woman with a voice like a craggy OAP cat. Also into the mix is the devious, but mis-led, Peter Cook who practices the dark arts, but is not impressed by human cigarette lighters.

Supergirl comes in to her own and takes on our witch villain. But before she gets there she will have to take a low budget trip to the Phantom Zone which turns out to be a lot bigger than the first two Superman films suggested. There is mentor (or dead meat cameo) in waiting, peter O’Toole frankly probably too embarrassed by it all (unless he was too drunk to notice).

Hart Bochner (the afore mentioned Die Hard sleaze-ball) gets all my sympathy. As he has a love spell put upon him by our wicked witch – only for it to backfire and work only own Supergirl (or at least her counterpart. Watching this guy turn into a poetry spewing stalker is one of the most embarrassing and cringe worthy things I’ll ever see. This could be why he chose to play a sleaze-ball a few years later – and even went on to play the villain in the second Urban Legends film (Which he was actually pretty good in).

Overall this is much more fantasy than say the science-fiction of before. But at least they tried to go in a different direction.  Just a bit of a shame that this direction dates badly and doesn’t really help the franchise grow commercially… as evidenced by the budget of the fourth Superman film next.

Steven Hurst

Share this!