in the wake of my Thurs viewing of Matrix Reloaded, i was craving some more action laced w/ a semblence of an intellect , and was having a hard time finding anything interesting to watch. for some reaon i decided to pull this out instead, and i don't know what happened. Maybe it was because the last movie i had seen had sparked my lobes to question the things i was seeing and hearing rather than just passively accept them them . whatever it was, i felt compelled to put my thoughts down. i don't mind admiting when i'm wrong, and boy have i been wrong. for a long time i've always dismissed Superman 3 as the weakest entry of the series. maybe even worse than the queasy cheese-fest that followed it. but after renting it out the other day, my opinion of it has swung around 180 degrees . it could be that i haven't seen it in so long and in that time i've been exposed to more and more complex and subtler forms of art. Before i used to use the first movie as the bench mark to judge the rest. what a mistake. the first movie has such an obvious emotional core to it ( the death of parents, the Christ-like analogies, etc), that for the longest time i thought therefore it must be 'deep'. but i now see these themes were simply crass sentimentality. whereas i took 3's irreverence ( as in the absurd events of the opening credits) as a major strike against it. I now see the brillance and inspiration with which lester constructed it. this is a surreal artifice that becomes the frame to the looking glass thru which the rest of the films distorted events are viewed. this is such a depature from the sanctimonious tone of the first 2 films that the shift is jarring. but the fact that he even attempted it shows Lesters courage and the confidence in his abilities and the material with which he was working. In other words, Superman The Movie is a Norman Rockwell cover, where Superman 3 is a Duchamp exhibit, or a Jeff Koons or Roy Lichtenstein masterpiece. To try to do justice to some of the other subtle, brilliant touches i found this last viewing would take several pages so i'll just relate one of them here: 1) the inadvertent villan Gus Gorman-a highly intelligent, but chronically un-employable black man, whose new found gifts are mis-used by his eventual employer . Ross Webster becomes, in essence, "the great white father" a combination benefactor and exploiter . this is a stunning commentary on 200 years of american history, done so slyly and satirically most people ( including myself) completely missed it. to find an analysis this complex in a 'comic-book' movie is truly remarkable. in fact the whole character arc of gorman is really amazing and well worth viewing with a critical eye. As i found on this screening, things aren't as simple as they first appear in Lesters Universe. believe me, there are many, many more instances of subversive and quick-witted satire that no doubt blew past most people. Sure superman 1 (& II) seemed to be more genuine..buts thats just because we've been trained , like pavlovs dog, to sympathize with any display of sacharine emotion. After finally catching on to the way Lester brilliantly smuggled in satire & commentary, the emotion in Donners film begins to smack of obvious and heavy handed pandering.