Supergirl (1984)

supergirl poster 1984 movie
3.0 Overall Score
Story: 2/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 5/10

Helen Slater, Lucy Lane

Faye Dunaway, plot

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  Supergirl

Studio:  Artistry

Genre(s):  Comic Book/Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  July 19, 1984

MPAA Rating:  PG

supergirl dragonfly argo city kara helen slater

Great…you made a winged demon of death, Kara

Kara Zor-El (Helen Slater) and her family are among the survivors of Krypton, living in a pocket galaxy in Argo City.  When Kara’s mentor Zaltar (Peter O’Toole) and Kara accidentally lose Argo City’s power supply the Omegahedron on Earth, Kara goes on a desperate mission to retrieve it before it is too late.  Kara discovers on Earth that she has special abilities, and like her cousin Superman, Kara can be a hero.  Adopting the identity of Linda Lee, Kara goes undercover to find the Omegahedron.  Unfortunately, the Omegahedron has fallen into the hands of a would-be sorceress named Selena (Faye Dunaway) who intends to use its power to take over the world…and only Supergirl can stop her!

Directed by Jeannot Szwarc, Supergirl is a comic book movie based on the DC Comic series.  The film is a spinoff of the Christopher Reeve’s Superman series (following Superman III in 1983) and was received poorly by critics and the box office.  The film was nominated for two Razzies for Worst Actor (Peter O’Toole) and Worst Actress (Faye Dunaway).

supergirl street light helen slater

Beware of my street light of justice!!!

I can remember watching preview material for Supergirl (pre-internet) on Entertainment Tonight or some Hollywood show and being kind of excited.  In the ’80s, there were barely any superhero movies and something like a Superman movie was a big deal.  Like most people, I was let down by Superman III, and I didn’t see Supergirl until video…and there was a reason it bombed.

I love Superman and Superman II, but I’ll be the first to admit that they have this weird cheese factor to them.  It kind of gives both movies a comic book feel, but it also gives it a hokey feeling that hasn’t aged well.  Supergirl’s entire plot seems to bath in this hokey writing and style, and it really lets down the character and Helen Slater.

Helen Slater is actually a pretty good Supergirl.  She gets the character’s innocence and optimism.  Unfortunately, she’s paired with Faye Dunaway who makes it total camp and is a non-threatening villain obsessed with a boy.  Peter O’Toole feels like he’s just there for the check and Hart Bochner is the generic boy-toy lead.  Peter Cook bumbles his way as Nigel, and Marc McClure reprises his Jimmy Olsen role.  Simon Ward and Mia Farrow play Kara’s parents, and Maureen Teefy is good as Lucy Lane (she was cast after Demi Moore backed out).  Plus, you get the comic relief (as if you needed anymore) of Brenda Vaccaro.

supergirl villains selena faye dunaway peter cook brenda vaccaro

…and you thought Superman III’s villains were lame

The movie actually falls in step with the other Superman films visually, but once again, time hasn’t been good to it.  The chromachy work is cheap looking today and with a magic based villain, you have a lot of weird mystic “stretching” points like in the ending…plus, you get the really dull Phantom Zone portion.

Supergirl is a very unbalanced movie with a lead character that deserves better treatment (though she was the first big screen female superhero).  Supergirl did get another chance with the Supergirl series which started in 2015, and Helen Slater got another chance by playing Linda Danvers’ mother this time.  She also appeared in Smallville as Clark Kent’s mother Lara-El.  With the movie bombing, this Supergirl never had another reason to leave Argo City…which is too bad.

Related Links:

Superman:  The Movie (1978)

Superman II (1980)

Superman Returns (2006)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by

Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn’t afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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