After two major hit movies, the third entry in the Superman movie series was definitely viewed as a letdown. Indeed, compared to both the commercial success of the first two films as well as the quality of the films themselves, it is indeed a weak sequel. However that doesn't mean it's outright bad.
The third entry has Supemran / Clark Kent (Christopher Reeve, once again playign the aprt to perfection even if thw writing and the film itself are less than stellar) returns to Smallville, his hometown, where he hooks up with old flame Lana Lang (Annette O'Toole). Meanwhile, a down on his luck computer geek named Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor) has used his keyboarding skills and with the help of an evil industrialist (Robert Vaughn), plans on buildiding his "Super" computer and turning it into a weapon. Of course, Superman naturally gets in their way, and now they must achieve kryptonite and get him out of the way. They do indeed achieve it, but it does not kill him. However, it splits him into two separate personalities: Clark Kent and Superman, with Supemran being the foe, Clark now must get control of his other half before it destroys him in time to stop them from destroying the world with the "Super" computer.
First of all, let me start off with the good aspects of the film. Reeve is once again fantastic as Superman. He manages to overcome the film's flaws and turn in another magnifificent performance. It's also nice to see Samllville revisited, and the subplot with him and Lana was nice.
Now for the bad. Richard Pryor for the most part wasn't all that great. He was a truly brilliant comedian, but he's just out of place in a Superman movie. With him in it, the film automatically becomes more of a comedy (take a look at the opening credits sequence) and he just doesn't make a great villian. Next, Robert Vaughn's Webster is one of the worst villians ever. I know a lot of people complained that Hackman's Luthor was campy and over the top, but Vaughn surpasses him by MILES. And his henchman are much more annoying than Luthor's Eve and Otis. The score by Ken Thorne is autrocious, and you automatically yearn for John William's truly astounding score from the first two films to swell up out of nowhere. Add to that a cheesy soundtrack of original songs from Georgio Moroder and it just adds to the film's campiness.
I can go on and on about more positives and negatives, but I'll just say that "Superman III" is worth checking out, even if you will be a little disappointed by the end.