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Movie Review: "Supergirl" (1984)

Updated on December 25, 2012

After the mess that was "Superman III", the next worst thing to ever happen to the franchise was a spinoff movie called "Supergirl", which follows the character of Superman's younger relative, Kara. The titular character is played by Helen Slater in one of her first roles ever. Admittedly, the actress has had far better roles than this one. However, she does a good job at portraying a regular girl from another planet, I'll give her that for this film. While Kara is the niece of Superman, this movie itself is actually the older sister of "Catwoman" (2004).

The main villain, Selena, is played by Faye Dunaway -- She's certainly no Lex Luthor. She's a witch who is obsessed with world domination. Normally, I would be complaining about why Lex Luthor needs to be in every single "Superman" movie, but after what I've seen here, I'd rather take Lex over this crazy woman. Anyway, the biggest problems with "Supergirl" is that the film is downright cheesy, from the dialogue right down to action scenes. To top it all off, the script is very convenient, a little too convenient actually, so convenient that I actually found a few ideas for building my cat treehouse from this movie.

1. The Stupid MacGuffin

The plot revolves around an object known as the Omega Hedron, a small ball with lights coming out of it that provides Kara's homeworld power and air. Without it, her people would die. So to get Kara off of this new Krypton-like planet and onto Earth, the Omega Hedron gets lost out in space and she sneaks on a new spacecraft to get it back.

However, the Omega Hedron gets to Earth first and ends up in the hands of the crazy magician herself, Selena. She's not quite sure how to use it just yet, but she can pretty much do whatever she pleases. What's her first plan you ask? To woo some random guy off the street to be her sex slave. Seriously.

You know, one may have to question the purpose of this Omega Hedron. It's supposed to be a source of power for Supergirl's home planet, right? So why is it all of a sudden a magic genie lamp in the hands of Selena when on Earth?

2. How Convenient

When it comes to convenience, "Supergirl" is a movie that is full of it. After crashing on Earth and turning into Supergirl, Kara decides the next best thing to do is to blend in with the crowd by going to college. That's right, she's on a mission to save her homeworld, a very timely mission, and she's going back to school. She disguises herself by darkening her hair, changing her name, and donning some ordinary clothes.

Then she just walks right into the admissions office with a fake recommendation letter from her cousin Clark Kent. One moment later and she's a student! Forget about checking for identification, paying any entry fees, or coughing up any past diplomas or certifications. Nope, Supergirl gets to skip all those headaches. I'd love to know which college this is. Wait a second, what does disguising yourself as a college student and taking classes have to do with finding the Omega Hedron again?

Wait until you see who her roommate turns out to be... none other than Lois Lane's sister, Lucy Lane. How convenient. And guess who Lucy's love interest is? Jimmy Olsen himself! Gee, what's next? Lex Luthor is Selena's father? Other than Superman and Supergirl, does every character in this movie have to be related to each other somehow?

Looks like this movie attempted to beat Stephen King to the punch.
Looks like this movie attempted to beat Stephen King to the punch. | Source

3. Maximum Overdrive

So after Selena attempts to trick some random guy named Ethan into drinking her magic love potion, he finally does but it doesn't kick in right away, thus allowing him to escape. Ethan wanders the streets like a drunk and nearly getting himself killed in the midst of ongoing traffic.

Selena hasn't given up on him yet, so she performs the 'Maximum Overdrive' spell to try and get him back. This involves using the Omega Hedron to possess a huge tractor trailer to act on its own and try to capture Ethan for her. Eventually, it succeeds. Mind you this happens in broad daylight and nobody around even bothers to help poor Ethan. Nobody except for Supergirl herself.


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      myka 4 years ago

      I've seen this a few times & it's a tremendously flawed film . Everything from the script to Dunaway's chewing scenes & O'tool's acting like he's in a Shakespeare play & Jeannot Szwarc's terrible direction is almost saved in the presence of Helen Slater . She's the only reason to watch it. It's beyond cheesy ,But when Slater is on screen you can't take your eyes off her. Only if they had a director & screenplay for Slater to work with it could have been really something to see.

    • Mr Deltoid 1966 profile image

      Rich 5 years ago from New Jersey

      During my misspent youth, I saw this movie + Superman 3 and Santa Claus the movie in a theater. I was disapointed by one and all. But have to say it was better then Superman III(and 4!!!)

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      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      Pretty good review as always, and much better than the one that I wrote on yahoo a while back, then later copied and pasted it on here. Of course, I wrote mine when I was still in high school, so I don't know if that counts or not. lol. Anyway, I think you make a lot of valid points, and I certainly don't disagree with you that the film was awful.

      By the way, Supergirl has gone through many incarnations over the years, but she's usually known to be Superman's younger cousin, and NOT niece. Just pointing that out.

      Also, it's kind of a shame that Donner was fired halfway through Superman II's production. as i know during a lot of behind the scenes interviews, he mentioned that his original plans were to introduce both Brainiac and Mr. Mxylplytk (or however you spell his name) into the third Superman movie, while introducing Supergirl as Superman's sidekick so to speak. Apparently, what he was planning was that he'd introduce Supergirl in Superman III, then launch her own spin off movie from there. However, as luck would have it, the Salkinds felt he was spending way too much money producing the first two movies of Superman, so he got axed as we both know; hence we get this abomination along with Superman III & IV.

      What can you do right?

      Anyway, keep up the good work, and sorry for requesting this movie, as i didn't realize you already published a review on this film when I made my request in your "Shark Night 3d" review.

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      Lloyd  6 years ago

      The movies had flaws in it I agree. Yes the whole love triangle thing was dumb but Helen Slater was great was Supergirl just the same.

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      Phoebe Pike 6 years ago

      Interesting review of the movie. I personally haven't seen this one yet. Though I have been more of a Batman girl, then a Superman, or in this case Supergirl, girl.