Supergirl - Movie Synopsis/Review/CritiqueThe following is a Synopsis, Review and Critique of the 1984 movie "Supergirl".
Warner Brothers 1984
Directed by Jeannot Szwarc
Produced by Alexander and Ilya Salkind
Written by David Odell - Music by Jerry Goldsmith
by Wallace Harrington (email@example.com)
[Following Superman III, which generated far less revenue than either Superman I or II, Christopher Reeve informed producers that he had tired of the role and had no interest in reprising the Man of Steel. The Salkinds, who owned rights to the entire Superman family, wanted to continue reaping profits from the franchise and decided to try Supergirl as a venue. Similar to the casting of Christopher Reeve as Superman, the producers held a much-publicized search for the actress to play Supergirl, which ended in Long Island when the moviemakers announced that they had chosen Helen Slater, a blonde, blue-eyed actress who had the look of an all-American cheerleader filling the role, and the costume, very well. After being chosen for the role, Slater was interviewed by Starlog magazine and said that her biggest concern with the role was that, "In the comics, Supergirl is quite, um, buxom... so I hope people won't come to the film expecting that."
Since Christopher Reeve would not appear in the film, the Salkinds had writers introduce various differences into Kara's origin to explain Superman's absence in the movie. As in the comics, Argo City survived the explosion of Krypton but instead of floating in space, the city was located in another dimension, described as an "Inner Space". Perhaps this also explained the very different Kryptonian architecture seen here as compared to the earlier Superman movie. Ultimately, though, the audience is told that Superman is on a peacekeeping mission millions of light years from earth.]
In the darkness of Inner Space floats Argo City, last surviving city of the exploded planet, Krypton. From a distance, the city appears like a desolate island, lit only by four glowing satellites. Inside is another matter. In the light, a young girl named Kara, barefoot and wearing a summer dress, flits from place to place. The former inhabitants of utopian Krypton carry on, nearly carefree. The young attend school, and the elders busy themselves with the problems of survival; all except Zaltar, the artist. When Kara turns her attention to him, he is using a wand to magically create a sculpture.
"Oh, it's beautiful. What's it going to be, Zaltar?" asks Kara. "A tree!" boasts Zaltar, "like they have on earth." "Earth? Earth!" screams Kara excitedly. "Where my cousin Superman is?" "One day soon I might venture there as well," proclaims Zaltar. "But how?" asks Kara. "On that," says Zaltar pointing at a spherical ship, "through there!" "The binary chute," screams Kara. "but the pressure..."
Ignoring her, Zaltar turns back to his creation and produces a glowing orb, which makes his tree come to glittering life. There are two power sources in Argo City, one is the omegahedron which Zaltar holds in his hand. Looking at it with wonder Kara asks, "The Guardians let you have it?" "Not exactly," smiles Zaltar. "You stole it?" questions Kara. "No, I borrowed it... for the afternoon... for inspiration," says Zaltar touching the wand to Kara's wrist and creating a bracelet.
Just then, Kara's mother, Alura, arrives. "Kara, I've been looking for you everywhere." "Ah, Alura, we've just been inventing... miracles," says Zaltar. Zaltar hands Kara the wand, "Let your imagination explode," and scoots her away to play. Turning to Zaltar, Alura inquires, "My husband tells me that you speak of leaving Argo City. For where?" "Alura, you and Zor-El have a life together. You have each other; you have Kara," says Zaltar. "But how could you," asks Alura, "You founded this city. It's yours." "As far as the eye can see," says Zaltar, "but, I cannot contain myself to Argo City." "You are starting to repeat yourself with all this airy glittery stuff," says Alura. "Exactly," says Zaltar. "That's why I'm going to Venus tomorrow, or the next day at the latest."
Off on her own, Kara playfully creates a huge dragonfly with the wand. In an effort to hide the powersource from Alura, Zaltar rolls the omegahedron to Kara which bumps into her leg. Holding the device, Kara gives life to the insect, which flutters, then flies off, and suddenly smashes through the sheath enclosing Argo City's atmosphere. The air of Argo City rushes out into the vacuum and in its wake, the omegahedron is whisked away as well. Zor-El, Kara's father and brother of Jor-El, rushes to prevent Kara from being swept along with the omegahedron into "Inner Space". Hurriedly, Zaltar uses the wand to mend the rip in the protective shield. When a semblance of order is restored Zor-El screams at Zaltar incredulously, "You took the omegahedron?". "No, I lost the omegahedron," states Zaltar matter-of-factly. "The city can't survive for more than a few days without the omegahedron. The lights will grow dim and the air will grow stale."
Watching the ensuing argument, Kara slips into the spaceship Zaltar was planning to use to escape Argo City and initiates the flight command. The ship lifts up and shoots out through the "binary chute". Pointing to the ship as it disappears, Alurra screams , "She will die." "Oh no she won't. She will be safe, through the binary, through the warp, a pathway from inner space to outer space," proclaims Zaltar. "I must be sent to the Phantom Zone. Your suffering will be short. Mine, forever."
The tiny ship speeds through the binary chute following the omegahedron. Looking down at her wrist, Kara sees that the crystal in her bracelet flashes as she nears the power source.
On earth, a strange man and woman are engaged in a picnic. Wistfully, the woman looks up to the sky. "Such a pretty world," Selena says, "I can't wait until its all mine." "You're too impatient," snarls Nigel. Suddenly, a whistling noise breaks the tranquility and a strange sphere whizzes through the air landing in the dip as the two dive for cover. Rising slowly, Selena retrieves the ball and senses the great power it contains. "What is it?" asks Nigel. But instead of answering, Selena turns from Nigel and starts toward the car. "You won't get very far without these," shouts a perturbed Nigel, holding up the keys. But Selena holds the sphere and the engine starts. On the radio, Selena hears that Superman has just left on a peacekeeping mission to a galaxy several light years away.
"What about me," asks Nigel jingling the keys at her. Turning her back on him, Selena says, "I think that I've just outgrown you," and drives off, leaving Nigel to clean up the mess. Just then, Kara emerges through the chute. The tunnel to inner space emerges through Lake Michigan and Kara enters our dimension through the surface of the lake. Now dressed with the symbolic emblem of the House of El, the red S enclosed in a pentangle, Kara flies into the air as Supergirl. Relishing her newfound abilities, she performs a lyrical ballet in the air. Supergirl acclimates to flying until she turns, and with a dip, flies across the surface of the lake splashing water like an innocent school-girl, then rises up fly over a waterfall, above a herd of racing horses and toward the large city in the distance.
Selena arrives to her home, a converted amusement park, screaming for her roommate, Bianca. "The city has turned off the water again," says Bianca. "I don't know how we're going to pay the bills." Holding up the omegahedron, Selena says, "I have been chosen. The world, at last, is my oyster." Above the city, Supergirl stares at her wrist as the bracelet has begun to blink.
Landing lightly in the middle of a darkened street, Supergirl looks at the lights and the sights in amazement. Coming down the road a tractor-trailer, bellows it's horn, slows to a stop and two guys get out of the truck. "Hellllooo," says Ed, a thin man (played by Matt Frewer best known for his portrayal as Max Headroom). "Hello to you," Kara replies. The second driver, a burly man named Bill (Bill McAllister), walks around Supergirl eyeing her, then lifting her cape to look at her legs. When Ed makes a move toward her, Supergirl lifts Ed by his chin and holds him in the air. Turning to the other driver, she asks "Why are you doing this?" "It's just the way we are," says Bill. Supergirl then blows Ed into a fence with her super-breath. Angered, Bill pulls out a knife and circles Supergirl ominously, but Supergirl melts the blade with her heat-vision, and kicks Bill in the groin, sending him to fall next to Ed. Looking around, bewildered, Supergirl lifts off. "Eddy," says Bill, "I think maybe we should keep this to ourselves." [There were many angry reports in local newspaper concerning the attempted rape depicted in this scene.]
That same night, Selena holds a party. Nigel attempts, in vain, to persuade Selena to show him the omegahedron but she steadfastly refuses. Standing, Selena lights Nigel's cigarette with her finger. Nigel warns Selena that this power is more important than the cigarette-lighting parlor trick. "Look into this mirror, Selena," says Nigel. As she stares at her reflection, a monster slowly appears in the mirror behind her reflection. "What is it," she screams. "Over reaching ambition," snarls Nigel. "Take heed."
As the sun comes up, the warm rays waken Kara, asleep in the forest. A small rabbit hops, unafraid, near her. Breaking the tranquility of the moment, a softball flies through the bushes. Sitting up, Supergirl sees two group of girls dressed in green and red uniforms, playing on a field. On the next pitch, a girl hits the ball over the fence. A handsome man, who had been working on the grounds, picks up the ball and throws it back onto the field. While all eyes fall on this man, Kara comes up with a plan. Seeing this as a way to blend in while looking for the omegahedron, Kara begins walking toward the school. As she passes the first tree, her blond hair becomes brown and a white blouse replaces her tunic and cape. As she passes the next tree, her short blue skirt lengthens and becomes green, and as she passes the next tree she gets a green jacket and a backpack to look like the average private school student.
Kara enters the Midvale School and makes her way to the main office. Entering the office, Mr. Danvers, the head master looks up. "Don't we teach you to knock?" he asks. "Yes sir, I mean no sir," bumbles Kara, backing out of the room and now knocking on the door, she re-enters the room Danvers stares at her. "Who are you? I have never before, in my life, seen you," he says. Looking around the room, Kara sees a print of Robert E. Lee, and thinking quickly says, "On this planet I am known as Lee, Linda Lee." "Linda Lee. Where's your letter of recommendation?" At just that moment, Nigel, who coincidentally is the mathematics instructor at the school enters imploring Mr. Danvers to help him quiet his unruly class.
While Danvers leaves the office to assist Nigel, Kara speeds to a typewriter and creates a letter at super-speed, then files it in the records cabinet. As Danvers comes back into the office, Kara says, "My cousin probably wrote you. Perhaps you have his letter filed under 'K' for Kent." "I don't recall any letter from anyone named Kent," says Danvers and is amazed when he goes to the file and finds the letter. Reading the letter aloud, Danvers continues,"she is an orphan... an orphan? Don't expect any special treatments here." "No sir," says Kara. "One way or another, we're all alone on this miserable little planet," says Danvers.
Heading off to the dorm, Danvers leads Linda Lee to a door. Knocking, he is greeted by a disgruntled voice. "I'm not decent, Mr. Danvers," she says. "Nor will you ever be," says Danvers, pushing his way in. "This is your new roommate." "I'm supposed to have a single this year," says the girl. "We don't always get what we want," replies Danvers. "Thickens our skin." "Who wants thick skin?" asks the girl.
Turning to the girl Danvers begins the introductions. "Linda Lane, this is Lucy Lee." "No, you mean Linda Lee, this is Lucy Lane," says the girl. "Oh, you two know each other," asks Danvers. "No, we've never met," says Kara. "But we've known each other for ages," says the girl. "Her cousin and your sister, what's her name, the one that keeps calling?" "Lois?" the girl asks. "Yes, they work together at the Planet."
Danvers leaves the two girls to acquaint themselves and Lucy plops on the bed, reading a Hulk comic book. "Who's your cousin," asks Lucy. "Clark Kent," says Kara. "Clark Kent's your cousin!" exclaims Lucy. "Do you know him," asks Kara. "Do I know him? Does my sister know him? That's the real question." Looking at the wall, there is a poster of Superman. "Do you know him," asks Kara. "Superman? Sure. My sister has something going with the big guy."
Classes resume the next day, and Kara joins Lucy in her computer class. The frustrated Nigel attempts to teach programming to the girls who have no real interest in the subject. Outside, Bianca is driving the car through the campus while Selena is reading Tarot cards in the back seat. "The cards say that people will do anything for love. So I'll make everyone love me," proclaims Selena. "No way! You're an awful person," explains Bianca. But just then Selena sees the same handsome groundskeeper that had thrown the ball back onto the field the day before. Strangely, the omegahedron starts glowing. Selena decides that this has to do with the young man, and begins to hatch a plot to entrap the hapless man.
As the bell rings for class to end, Nigel turns on the class, picking out Linda Lee. "Class, Miss Lee will compute the population of China in the year 2030." Without blinking, Kara recites the correct answer to an amazed Nigel. As the student hurries to exit the room, Nigel stops Kara. "Miss Lee, have you been going through my papers?" he asks incredulously. "Oh, no sir," she exclaims as Lucy pulls her from the classroom.
During Phys. Ed., the girls play field hockey. Myra (Robyn Mandell), one of the other students on Lucy's team slams into her knocking her down. It is pretty obvious that Myra has no affection for the rest of the students at Midvale. Later, in the lockerroom, while others talk in the shower about the good looking man they had seen at the softball game, Kara's super-hearing overhears Myra and Muffy (Jennifer Landor) planning to turn off the cold water and scald all of the girls. Using her heat-vision, Supergirl ruptures the pipe causing the two girls to get soaked. The rest of the girls laugh hysterically as the two are humiliated running, soaked, through the lockerroom.
Luckily for everyone, a three-day weekend is about to begin. Lucy tells Kara that she lives only five miles from the school and asks if she'd like to stay with her and go out with her friend Jimmy Olsen, who will be visiting from Metropolis. But Kara is more interested in searching for the omegahedron and makes an excuse so she can have time to scour the maps around Chicago to plot her path.
In her home, Selena casts a new spell. "Take a spider off its web and shut him up in two sides of a nut. Boil in oil, into which has been placed several strands of the web. Put two drops into water. He who drinks the water will be in love with the first person he sees so long as the spider is shut in the shell or one days goes by, whichever comes first."
As she completes the incantation, Ethan, the handsome man from the school, drives up. Selena has hired him to work on the grounds of her house. After entering the house, Selena offers Ethan a beer, and surreptitiously puts two drops of the potion into the drink. "Are you seeing anyone?" Selena asks coyly. "At present, I'm enjoying a single status," says Ethan gulping down the beer. In seconds, he passes out. Looking down at him Selena murmurs, "Sleep well. And when you wake, feast in my life and be all mine." The doorbell interrupts her dream. "Is that the Jehovah's Witness again?" No, it's Nigel.
While Nigel again warns Selena about the possible darkside of the omegahedron, Ethan wakes and staggers away through Selena's house. He wanders the street of Midvale not appearing to focus on anyone or engage the spell. Selena is amazed when her powers allow her to use her mirror to see great distances. Going to the hiding space of the omegahedron, she sees that it has gotten physically larger. Using her new powers, she takes control of a bulldozer which she hopes to use to capture Ethan and return him to her before he can see another woman.
Supergirl, who had been flying over the city trying to home in on the omegahedron, lands and changes to Linda Lee. Inside a Popeye's Restaurant, Lucy and Jimmy Olsen are eating a hamburger and see Linda walking across the street and run out to invite her to join them. But all of them focus on Ethan wandering down the middle of the street followed by the earthmover which is also crashing into building and cars.
Finally looking up, Ethan sees the bulldozer, but falls down and is captured by the machine. Lucy decides that she has to act and races to the machine, jumping into the cab in hopes of stopping the run-away. However Selena's powers are too strong and when the machine crashes into a gas station, knocking down power lines and starting a large fire, Lucy is knocked out.
Seeing the chaos outside, Linda rushes to change and flies to the roof as Supergirl. Using her heat vision, she seals the ends of the power lines, then flies through a water tower putting out the fire. As the machine heads on, Supergirl flies by and rips off the bucket holding the unconscious Ethan. This breaks Selena's spell and the now lifeless machine rolls to a halt. Jimmy runs to Lucy to make sure that she is all right.
Landing, then lowering the bucket to the ground, Supergirl quickly changes back to Linda Lee. Watching all of this in her mirror, Selena screams, "No, don't look!" But, when Linda opens the bucket and frees Ethan he immediately falls in love with Linda and kisses her tenderly. Confused by all of this, Linda Lee says, "I have to go," and rushes off.
Infuriated, Selena storms around her house. "She must be one of the students at the school. Nigel must know her. At the wrong place at the wrong time." Pulling out the omegahedron, she begins casting a new spell. "What are you doing,"asks Bianca. "What good is a sword if it can't be unleashed," Selena yells, and casts a spell which creates an invisible demon to seek out and destroy Linda Lee. The demon rips through the house and tears a hole in back wall. "Next time, remind me to do this outside," says Selena surveying the damage.
Linda returns to her dorm, and looks out her window to see a storm brewing in the distance, not realizing that this was a demon and it has found it's prey. Tearing up trees, ripping through fences, squashing small buildings, and crushing a car, the monster inexorably moves toward the school. Seeing the damage, Linda flies through the window changing to Supergirl, and lands at the entrance of the building. Standing defiantly before the building, Supergirl pronounces, "Leave this place and do no harm." In response to the order, the demon throws her against the walls of the school smashing into a soda machine. Again Supergirl takes off to attack the demon but falls back as if she hits an invisible wall.
Looking into her mirror, Selena smiles confidently, "I think he can take care of her," but Supergirl looks carefully around her then grabs a lamppost. Flying up into the storm cloud, several lightning bolts strike Supergirl, in turn charging the lamp. Supergirl flings the lamp at the demon and when it strikes it the creature it illuminates it and electrocutes the beast. "Who is that," screams Selena. "Everytime I send a man to do a woman's job." "You know, I think I recognize the costume," says Bianca.
Selena opens the lead shield of omegahedron and Kara's bracelet starts blinking again. Leaping into the air, she follows the signal to Selena's home and lands, quickly changing back to Linda. Selena watches warily until Ethan pops out of the shadows carrying flowers and candy for Linda. Trying to avoid him, Linda moves away, and when Ethan tries to lift her he is confused when he can't even budge her. They move to the amusement park rides and sit, and when Ethan begin to kiss Linda, Selena strikes, setting all of the rides in motion.
Changing rapidly, Supergirl lands behind Selena. Selena snaps, "I am the Ultimate Siren of Endor!" Supergirl counters, "I am Kara of Argo City. Daughter of Allura and Zor-El, and I don't scare easily." "No?" questions Selena, "Well try this," and she teleports Ethan into the bumper car ride.
While Supergirl tries to decide what to do next, Selena casts a spell which allows her to appear as multiple images surrounding Supergirl. Grabbing some fence posts laying on the ground, Supergirl arches the posts into the air and when they fall they surround Selena like a tight fence. Now safe from Selena, Supergirl grabs Ethan's bumper car and flies him away from danger. Watching them disappear into the distance, Selena nods and the fence posts bend like butter before her. "Now I'm really upset," she screams.
Supergirl carefully lands near Lake Michigan. When Ethan opens his eyes he is still dazed. "where's my Linda," he asks. Out of the sky comes a coconut that Selena has cast toward them. It knocks Ethan out, but Supergirl opens the nut to feed Ethan.
Relenting, Selena asks Nigel to mentor her master her new powers. "Deliver him," says Nigel. "She'll follow." Looking down, he opens the nut allowing the spider to escape. Breaking the spell, Ethan wakes. "You must use this, Selena," says Nigel "The Burundi Wand. Pure evil."
Confused, Ethan again asks where Linda is. "Linda can take care of herself," says Supergirl, "and I have to go." "So do I," says Ethan, but as he starts off Supergirl flies after him to stop him from going back to Selena's clutches. "You just flew over my head," he says. "True or false?" "Superman's my cousin," offers Supergirl. "So you can leap tall buildings? Bend steel bars." Supergirl smiles and nods. Again, they kiss, but this time Ethan realizes that Supergirl and Linda is the same girl. Suddenly, Ethan is teleported away. "Nigel, you are so wonderful, you deserve... me," says Selena as she grabs the wand and turns it to imprison Nigel. Waving the wand, she creates a mountain with a fortress castle at the top where she waits for Supergirl.
Following a beautifully filmed flying scene, Supergirl flies up Selena's mountain and enters her castle, calling Ethan's name. She sees him chained to a wall, but a force field keeps her from reaching him. Out of the shadows, Selena appears. Using the Burundi Wand, Selena casts a spell which sends Supergirl to the Phantom Zone. It's not very clear from where Selena learned of the Phantom Zone, or even how she managed to send Supergirl there.
In the Phantom Zone Supergirl is without her powers, and falls bleeding to the ground. "Where am I," she screams. Wandering through the barren wastes she falls into quick sand. Struggling, she frees herself but collapses at the shore, losing consciousness. Mysteriously, a hooded man arrives, and picking her up carries Supergirl to shelter. When she wakes she finds that it was Zaltar that had saved her. "A squirt," he asks drunkenly. "Zaltar! It's me." "No!" he screams. "Where are we," asks Kara. "Nowhere," says Zaltar distantly. "I've been here forever, and I shall be here forever. There is no way out of here. That is the point of the Phantom Zone."
Back on earth Selena plans the takeover of the world, while Supergirl looks for a way out. "If there's a way in, there must be a way out," says Kara. "Yes, well, forget I mentioned it," says Zaltar. "Have a squirt?" he asks. Determined Supergirl convinces him to at least try to escape. Looking at her he says, "The Rift. We could die trying." "We won't," extols Kara. The rift appears like a large tornado with huge, ripping winds, but still Supergirl and Zaltar begin to climb. "To move mountains, you must make sacrifices," screams Zaltar. However, Selena has been watching Supergirl's attempt at escape and tries to impede their progress by intensifying the wind and throwing fireballs through the vortex. As the winds increase, Supergirl looks up and sees the opening, but Selena casts a spell of Demon storm. From her precarious position, Supergirl fears that she cannot go on. "You can!" insists Zaltar lifting her up. Now safe, Supergirl can only watch as the wind then rips Zaltar from his hold, flinging him into the void. "I am with you," screams Zaltar as he disappears into the vortex. Gritting her teeth, Supergirl climbs higher, emerging through the barrier. With her powers returned, she speeds back to the castle to again face Selena.
Selena has already taken over part of the United States and has Kara's friends as hostages. After returning to the castle, Supergirl sees her friends imprisoned and starts across the room to free them. First, red-hot sabers come through the stone slabs. Using her super-breath, Supergirl quickly freezes the blades then opens the cages holding Jimmy, Lucy and Nigel. With her friends free, Supergirl turns to Selena. "The omegahedron, Selena. I want it." "Then, Supergirl, you shall have it," wails Selena. Using the wand, Selena causes the floor to buckle and waver. Falling to her knees, Supergirl crawls toward Selena. "You have no friends, Selena. You treat everyone as if they were put here to serve you!" challenges Supergirl. "More or less, I think they were" agrees Selena, "You included."
Again invoking the Burundi wand, Selena screams "Power of Shadow... Appear!" and she summons a huge demon. "Power of Shadow... Destroy her!" Flying up to confront the demon, Supergirl is captured in its grasp and it starts crushing her. "I can't," she screams. Zaltar's voice fills her head. "You can!" Using her amazing strength, Supergirl frees herself from the demon and Nigel screams to her, "Confront her with it. It's the only way." Using her super-speed, Supergirl circles Selena and the wind she creates lifts Selena before the demon. Magically, Selena, the demon and Bianca all fade away through the mirror to the Phantom Zone.
Walking to her, Ethan hands Supergirl the omegahedron. Looking at him, then the omegahedron, Supergirl scans around the room. "I have to go. I have to return this to where it belongs. And I must ask you all something." "It's all right, Supergirl. We never saw you," says Jimmy Olsen. "We never even heard of you," says Lucy. Turning to Ethan, Supergirl tells him that Linda had to leave; he only nods in understanding.
In a flash, Supergirl takes off. Her figure whisks across the sky as all the work of Selena - her castle, the mountain and all of her evil - disappears. Looking up, Ethan whispers, "Good-bye, Linda." Clutching the omegahedron, Supergirl flies over the lake then dives beneath the surface entering the binary chute leading to Inner Space. Within seconds, Supergirl emerges, flying to Argo City to return the omegahedron and light Argo City to the brightness of a new star.
If this follow-up to the Superman trilogy had been successful, Helen Slater may have had a major career, since she gave an excellent performance as the "Girl of Steel", and her ballet-like flying scenes were the highlight of the film. However, there are several reports claiming that The Supergirl Movie was a complete economic failure for Warner Brothers, netting them very little money. These reports also suggested that because the movie failed to provide Warner Brothers their expected profits, DC killed Supergirl in the Crisis on Infinite Earths comic storyline. Once DC had killed the character in the comics, the producers of the movie, who had been considering making a sequel, lost interest in any further projects.
The American theatrical release of Supergirl ran approximately 1 hr 45 min, however, there are several reports of versions including a purported 44 minutes of unused footage which showed Supergirl testing her powers, of Supergirl being caught by the school matron after returning to her dorm from fighting the "invisible" monster. Supergirl was still in her costume and the matron told Kara to change into her school uniform, then flipped Supergirl's skirt, sending her to her room. There was also a scene in which Zaltar carried the unconscious Supergirl, put her in the bed and touched her face. An out-of-print Japanese laser disc does exist which runs 2 hrs 4 minutes and contains several scenes not in the American version, however it does not contain all of the missing scenes. ABC television produced a special called Supergirl: The Making of the Movie, which detailed the making of the film which was shown in 1985.
Wallace Harrington (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rating: 3 out of 5
While Jerry Goldsmith's score is very good, it had nowhere near the breadth and scope of John Williams wonderful music in Superman. The basic theme of Supergirl is a good one, both powerful and dynamic, however it simply keeps repeating itself. There is no story to this soundtrack, just the same theme repeated over and over again. The theme was certainly one of the strengths of the movie, but one time through was enough.
Rating: 4 out of 5
The highlight of this film was the wonderful flying scenes filmed with Helen Slater. Where Christopher Reeves emblazoned a power in his flight, Helen Slater's flying sequences were poetic; a ballet in the air. The ending scenes, which include Supergirl flying through the air and landing at Selena's lair, is as good, if not better, as some of the special effects from the first Superman movies. Other than this, the rest of the special effects looked pretty impressive. I found the Phantom Zone to be an interesting interpretation. In fact, throughout most of the movie, the special effects looked very realistic and believable, even though the movie didn't seem to use them a great deal.
Helen Slater as Kara/Linda Lee/Supergirl
Rating: 4 out of 5
In terms of looking like the character, the casting crew did it again. Helen Slater looked like she had jumped right out of the pages of the comic books for Supergirl, just as Christopher Reeve looked like he had come right out of the Superman comics. She also acted naive and alien enough to convince the audience that she was from a different planet. Although not quite as energetic as the Supergirl from the comics, she was more mature and kind. The only part that I disliked about her acting was the rather shabby Linda Lee performance, certainly not featuring any of the depth of Reeve's Clark Kent.
Faye Dunaway as Selena
Rating: 2 out of 5
Selena was an extremely boring and uninteresting character to start with. Dunaway also added no individuality to the character, making her the stereotype villain, who wants to take over the world. Although, it certainly wasn't all Faye Dunaway's fault, since she just got stuck with a terribly written character, the villain remains the lamest and worst of all the villains from the Superman-related movies. She had nowhere near the appeal of great villains such as Lex Luthor, and Gus Gorman was even more interesting!
Marc McClure as Jimmy Olsen
Rating: 3 out of 5
Why not? There certainly weren't any other characters important to this movie! I found Jimmy to be, through the course of the movies, the exact type of idiotic moron that he should be. For that he should receive the award of excellent, but the only problem was that the scriptwriters could never get him into an interesting part. He was always in the background, and in Supergirl, he's nothing more than a connection to the Superman movies. Perhaps if his character hadn't been so badly distributed through the movies, McClure could have stretched his muscles into the Jimmy Olsen character.
Rating: 2 out of 5
The problem with this story were gigantic plot holes, and an overall story that made little sense. For instance, when Supergirl is sent to Earth in the spaceship, she climbs out to be fully clad in the Supergirl outfit, whereas before, she was in her Kryptonian clothes. What happened here? Then at the end, she goes under the water and all of a sudden arrives back at Argo City with full superpowers. How did this happen? Also, the entire time she didn't meet Superman. The story tried to give good reasons as to why she couldn't see her cousin, since Christopher Reeve wouldn't do it, but it created a giant gap throughout the entire film and the film just didn't feel right without the presence of Superman. I found that the movie kept trying to tie itself to the Superman movies, yet it was a completely different film, and the references to Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Superman, and even the appearance of Jimmy, all seemed to be distractions, that didn't fit into the story very successfully. However, the biggest thing that made this story really bad was the magic. I've always hated the introduction of magic to any superhero. It's one thing when you know which super powers the hero has, but when you throw magic into the mix, anything can happen, and, to me, writers use it to make the absolute impossible happen and it doesn't have to make any sense. It is an easy way out of situations where uncreative writers can't think of a better way. Plus, you definitely shouldn't have magic in the first movie of any superhero movie for the reason that you don't show the hero's or heroine's superpowers and what they can and can't do. If they had made a worthy opponent, either intellectually so, or a physical challenge, the movie would have been much more interesting and could have helped the slow plot progress and be more exciting.
Closeness to the Comics
Rating: 4 out of 5
Although I do not keep up with the Supergirl comics, I found that the character was successful in most of the aspects that I recognize from Supergirl. In terms of an origin, the story looked quite familiar. Pre-crisis fans will note that, just as in the comics, Supergirl is a survivor of Argo City, a section of Krypton that flew off into space when Krypton exploded. Unlike the comics, however, the audience, unless they already know, has no idea where Supergirl comes from. Argo City's connection to Krypton is not explained, and the beginning of the movie would have been easier to understand for those who were not regular fans of Supergirl, if they had shown Krypton exploding and Argo City flying off into space. In terms of the superpowers, a trick that the Superman movies couldn't get right, Supergirl has all the correct powers that she's supposed to have, and her costume looks identical to the one found in the comics. Of course the villain, Selena, to my knowledge, was never in Supergirl's rogue gallery, and there was no meeting with Superman, which made the movie weaker.
The Whole Experience/Superman III
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
It certainly wasn't a terrible movie and it had its moments, which is more than I could say for Superman IV, but it had an extremely weak, slow and inconsistent story line, which made very little sense, and the character interaction was treated very poorly. The special effects helped to a large degree, and the music was fun to listen to once in a while. The movie still needed a lot though, and it just never got off the ground.