The Evolution of a SuperheroMarch 18, 2011 —
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s [insert actor’s name here]. The Superman character has been portrayed by over five actors (cartoons not included) on television and in film, and soon there will be another name added to the list.
While my favorite Superman will probably always be Tom Welling’s Clark Kent on Smallville—I mean, just look at him—I am interested to see Henry Cavill (recently in The Tudors) take on the role. What’s always interesting is to look at how the different films and shows develop the story behind the hero.
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was a truly great series starring Dean Cain as Clark and Terri Hatcher as Lois. This show didn’t focus at all on Clark Kent’s upbringing-how he got to our planet, who his family was, or when he started to wear his suit. Instead, it begins as Clark works at the Daily Planet in disguise (you all know the tale). In this story, like most of the stories, Superman and Lois fall in love while Clark and Lois fall in love. Only after they begin to have a relationship does she discover that these men are the same man. Smallville, on the other hand, tells the story of how the hero gains his abilities and it allows the audience to see the man before he becomes a hero.
It’s currently the 10th and final season of Smallville and it’s just now aligning with the story presented in Lois and Clark/ most of the other Superman tales. Clark and Lois meet because of the character Chloe, who is not present in the prior television series, but does exist in the comic series. In recent episodes Clark has alluded to the fact that he wants to disguise himself in glasses that will somehow change his appearance and possibly wear a red and blue cape-suit-outfit. Last season, the show brought us into the future where Clark sees himself as a Superhero who saves the world time and time again, which reassured anxious viewers who awaited the classic story. One major difference that I’ve noticed between these shows is death of the character Jimmy in Smallville. It was great to see this character introduced to the series, as he is quite alive and well in Lois and Clark, but Smallville kills him off unexpectedly! Was this the show’s way of saying: Hey, we aren’t exactly like all of the other Superman stories. WE ARE DIFFERENT!?? I don’t know. Rumors say that Jimmy’s younger brother is in fact the “real” Jimmy Olsen that we should expect to see working at the Daily Planet. Only time will tell.
Lastly, I wonder why there is yet ANOTHER movie about Superman planning to be released. We’ve heard the story many, many times. Same goes for the Spiderman tale, which will be retold as THE AMAZING Spiderman—I won’t even mention the Broadway rendition. It’s already gained too much media attention.
While I do love my share of superheroes…there comes a time when it all just becomes a little redundant.