Before I begin, there is something I should make clear from the start: I’m a big Superman fan. I don’t collect the comics, dress up with a cape, sport an ‘S’ tattoo or anything like that, but I did grow up watching Superman: The Movie and its sequels and those early viewings made a huge impression on my youthful self. The first Christopher Reeve film is also my favourite movie of all time and is unlikely to be displaced.
Now that you know that, you might wonder why I still think that Supergirl, the 1984 film starring Helen Slater, is a great movie? The plot of the film is incoherent, the villain is too tame, much of the acting is terrible… I could go on and on about the many flaws but, get past all of that and you still have one trump card to play with – Helen Slater is Supergirl.
Much like Reeve is Superman, Helen Slater struck an awesome pose as the Girl of Steel and, as a young boy, I was in awe of the blonde beauty who played her. Watching the longer Directors Cut of the film again as a 30-something, I’m still amazed by how well Slater portrayed the grace of Supergirl and the naivety of Linda Lee. It is hard to watch the whole film without wincing at some of its hokiest moments but any ill-feeling I have towards those involved is tempered by their choice in actress.
Watching the trailer from the time is a little cringe-worthy but serves Slater well:
Whilst I didn’t notice it in the 80’s, the soundtrack to Supergirl is also excellent and a great accompaniment to the character. Jerry Goldsmith doesn’t quite equal the majesty of the Williams’ Superman score but he had a good stab at it and I will happily listen to the 6 minute overture again and again.
You can listen to the full score on Youtube below, though I encourage you to buy the 1993 Silva CD for the best listening experience.
I really wish the movie had been a success at the time, we might have been able to avoid The Quest for Peace by having a Superman/Supergirl team-up!