Considering the standards set by the first two "Superman" films, SUPERMAN III is a disappointment. The story's mythic qualities had worn thin by the time this film was made, so the makers had to rely on Richard Pryor as their audience grabber. Christopher Reeve plays the reporter-superhero

as a confused guy trying to figure out the dual aspects of his personality. Deciding to give up doing nice things for the world, he takes up with old girl friend Lana Lang (Annette O'Toole), but he finally gets his act together when bad guy Ross Webster (Robert Vaughn) and computer-whiz Gus Gorman

(Pryor) try to use corporate holdings to take over the world. The result is a tired gag-fest, with fight scenes that owe more to video-game technology than the Man of Steel's superpowers. As usual, Pryor steals the show with a manic performance that rises well above the material. Reeve is

competent, although not quite up to his earlier SUPERMAN work, but Richard Lester's direction injects nothing new into the material, giving the feeling that he views the whole thing as an exercise in comedy set pieces. After Lois Lane discovered Clark Kent's identity in SUPERMAN II, the legend

lost something.