Supergirl (1984)

Supergirl (1984)

“Such a pretty world; I can’t wait until it’s all mine.”

Superman’s cousin (Helen Slater) is sent to Earth to retrieve a missing talisman known as an Omegahedron, and finds herself confronting a power-hungry witch named Selena (Faye Dunaway).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Faye Dunaway Films
  • Mia Farrow Films
  • Peter O’Toole Films
  • Strong Females
  • Superheroes
  • Witches, Wizards, and Magicians
  • World Domination

This fourth installment in Ilya and Alexander Sarkind’s Superman franchise is a tedious disappointment. Beautiful, feisty Helen Slater is perfectly cast as Superman’s cousin (known as “Linda Lee” on Earth), but she’s saddled with such an inane, uninteresting storyline that she never really has a chance to shine. None of the plot developments in the movie make much sense or are even remotely plausible: for instance, while we somehow believe that Superman’s crash landing in Smallville and adoption by the kindly Kents was “meant to be” (and part of the scope of his larger legacy), Supergirl’s descent onto a girls’ boarding school (where Lois Lane’s younger sister happens to attend — how convenient) is simply sloppy screenwriting. Meanwhile, Dunaway’s obsession with getting a hunky gardener (Hart Bochner) to fall in love with her rather than Supergirl merely perpetuates the stereotype that what all women really want is a “good [sexy] man” (and Bochner himself is such an uninteresting clod that we never really think he’s good enough for Supergirl, anyway). Dunaway’s over-the-top performance is unintentionally campy, but there’s little humor to be had at her expense — and Brenda Vaccaro as her sidekick fares even worse. Unfortunately, Supergirl is a disappointment all the way around.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Helen Slater as Supergirl
  • The impressive sets of Argo City (Supergirl’s home planet)

Must See?
No; this one is only must-see viewing for diehard Superman fans.


One thought on “Supergirl (1984)

  1. First viewing. Skip it. I’m guessing that even Superman fans who haven’t (already) seen it have heard this one’s a dud – though I’m sure some will still seek it out.

    The script is, indeed, sloppy – and, worse, it’s just downright terrible. The film would be lucky if it were campy but it doesn’t even rate that. (For one thing, Dunaway would need better bad dialogue to help her in the camp regard – but everything that comes out of her mouth is or borders on blustery and is still dull. Sort of fresh off ‘Mommie Dearest’, what she’s doing is merely Joan Crawford-lite.)

    Slater is not to be faulted. Yes, she’s “beautiful, feisty” and rather charming. She and director Jeannot Szwarc both do what they can in a hopeless situation but the film becomes tiresome all too soon… in spite of some impressive effects; even in spite of Peter O’Toole taking his glorified cameo role seriously. 😉

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