Supergirl (1984) Review

Rating: 1.5 Stars

The following review contains spoilers.

This review is for the International/European Cut of the movie.

Overview:

Some portion of Kryptonians survived the destruction of Krypton, living in a crystal floating somewhere in “inner space.” One day, Kara Zor-El is hanging out with the mad artist (and apparent founder of the crystal city) Zaltar, when she accidentally uses his magic wand to create a giant bug, which gets loose, tearing a hole in the crystal walls, and the resulting depressurization sucks the Omegahedron (the power source of the city) out into the nothingness. Within a few days, the entire city will run out of power and everyone will die. Kara, wracked with guilt, steals an experimental ship and follows the trail of the Omegahedron all the way to Earth.

Before Kara arrives, a would-be witch and generally toxic person named Selena finds the Omegahedron, and realizes she can use its power to give her magic a boost and take over the world. Kara follows soon after, suddenly wearing a Supergirl costume for some reason, but loses the Omegahedron’s trail when Selena stores it in a lead case. Kara soon meets some truckers who immediately try to sexually assault her, which leads her to conclude she has to look and dress more conservatively if she doesn’t want to be attacked (this is seriously the director’s explanation of why this scene is in the movie). She magically changes her hair and clothes (even imagining a backpack into existence) and joins an all-girl boarding school in the area. There, she befriends Lucy Lane, the younger sister of Supergirl’s cousin’s work friend, Lois Lane.

Selena is immediately distracted from her plan of world domination by her desire to bone a hunky gardener she saw when she was driving down the street one day. He escapes the pretend haunted house she lives in before the love potion takes full effect, wanders the streets, is attacked by sentient construction equipment, and saved by Supergirl, who triggers the love potion and turns him into a pseudo Shakespearean romantic. We then spend many long scenes being asked to believe in a romance between a grown man who has been drugged beyond sense and a teenage girl who doesn’t know what a tree is.

Eventually Selena, with the help of Supergirl’s evil math teacher/warlock, sends Supergirl to the Phantom Zone. Supergirl escapes, with the help of a doomed Zoltar, and uses her speed to create a tornado that funnels Selena into the waiting jaws of a shadow dragon or something. Supergirl finally reclaims the Omegahedron, sadly says goodbye to all her new friends, and returns to finally save her crystal city home.

Best Parts:

When Supergirl first arrives on Earth, she discovers she can fly, and performs a kind-of-ballet/kind-of-circus-acrobat flight routine that is rather beautiful. Her subsequent flight over the countryside reminded me a lot of the Disney Park ride “Soarin’ Over California”, but not in a bad way.

I actually think it’s kind of funny when the idiot gardener starts spewing romantic poems.

They recreate the Superman-and-Lois romantic first flight from the first Superman film with Supergirl and her gardener boytoy, except he’s unconscious, and she’s carrying him in bumper car shaped like four football players, and it’s kind of awesomely insane. She takes him to a lake far away from the action, planning to leave him there for his own safety, and then he’s hit in the head by a coconut. He actually spends most of this movie unconscious.

Lucy Lane’s idea of a romantic date with her boyfriend (and grown man), Jimmy Olsen, is lunch at Popeye’s.

Selena lives in a haunted house at an amusement park. She has a plastic cobweb on her refrigerator.

Selena’s sidekick, Bianca, is way, way less annoying than Otis or Lenny Luthor. I would go as far as to say she’s not annoying.

“A bird of free and careless wing was I, through many a smiling spring. The cold repulse, the look askance, the lightning of love’s angry glance.”

“Squirt?”

Worst Parts:

Supergirl isn’t terribly heroic. She needs to find the Omegahedron or her entire world will die, but spends a huge amount of the film’s running time going to math class and playing field hockey and the like. When her signal watch goes off during class, telling her the Omegahedron is in a car passing by the school, she pretty much ignores it. Later seeing hunky (drugged) gardener wandering the streets about to be hit by a car, she just shrugs and heads back into Popeye’s.

There doesn’t seem to be any particular arc to the movie. Supergirl doesn’t learn anything or overcome any notable challenges. It just feels like a bunch of things that happen and then it’s over. There is heavy foreshadowing at the beginning that Zaltar deliberately manipulated events to lose the Omegahedron and send Kara to Earth for some reason, but nothing ever comes of it, and Zaltar dies trying to escape the Phantom Zone (after sentencing himself to the Phantom Zone).

It’s just sort of lame and boring. It really doesn’t need to be more than two hours long. There is no sense of urgency at all.

“What’s a dingleberry?”

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