Superman is the greatest superhero in the world, and that makes writing for him very difficult. There is Superman, a ‘God’ amongst men, and there is Clark Kent, the bumbling journalist. This juxtaposition formed by a single character is difficult to decipher as writers often find themselves focusing on one side over the other. The character is both the greatest being on the planet and yet somehow incredibly flawed. In Zach Snyder’s Man Of Steel, Superman is portrayed as Godlike, while Clark Kent isn’t introduced until the end. In Donner’s Superman, Clark Kent is considered a mask while Superman is the true identity. Through Bill’s monologue in Kill Bill Vol.2, even Quentin Tarantino calls Clark Kent the alter ego criticizing humanity’s worst traits while Superman is the true identity.
Already renewed for season 2, Superman & Lois shows how off the mark their interpretations are while also giving us a true homage to the character.
The two-hour pilot takes place in the far future away from the CW Arrowverse and other CW shows. As someone who never watched beyond Arrow Season three, this was very welcomed. It begins with an introduction narrated by Superman himself; it shows his entire childhood and his growth into Superman. It then follows one of the greatest montages of homages I’ve ever seen. Max Fleischer’s Superman suit, the green car from the cover of Action Comics #1, the boy who says, “Cool Costume!” and his lovably earnest response, “Thanks! My Mom made it for me”, are all little gifts that Greg Berlanti & Todd Helbing, creators of the series, are giving to fans. This is my first introduction to Tyler Hoechlin‘s Superman, and he captures Superman’s hopeful and cheery disposition in that one line. His narration continues even further, explaining his introduction to Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch), their marriage, and finally and most surprisingly, the birth of their twin children, Jordan (Alex Garfin) and Jonathan. (Jordan Elsass)
Superman & Lois isn’t just a Superman show, as the name suggests. This is about a Clark Kent who settled down with Lois Lane. Tulloch’s Lois is a great portrayal of the character. She is strong-spoken and intelligent. She isn’t afraid to use her sharpness to speak out against corruption without putting down anyone in the process. Lois speaks to Clark as a partner, as an equal, and doesn’t forget to remind him that his role as a father to their twin sons is just as important as Superman. The twins are both teenagers now. Jordan has a troubling history of anxiety and depression; he starts off being portrayed as a stereotypical loner while his brother, Jon, is a popular and gifted athlete, clearly a stark contrast. The initial fear is that these two boys are expected to be pigeonholed into their roles but prove to be multifaceted, showing many degrees of emotions for their families and one another.
The plot is simple enough, the twins don’t know what their father really does. Meanwhile, a mysterious enemy known as The Stranger is attacking nuclear power plants. Clark is struggling to be there for his family while having to save the world from impending destruction. The key thing here is that Clark isn’t the best father. All the power in the world can’t make up for the lost time. He misses an important therapy session with Jordan, who continues to ice him out in every talk. He seems at a loss and incapable of reaching him. He seeks out Lois, who questions their decisions to hide the Superman persona from them. They question whether or not his Kryptonian DNA will affect one of their sons. They suspect it’s Jonathan. More tragedy strikes the family, which leads to them going back to Clark’s hometown, Smallville, where the series will be taking place. Here we see what direction the series is going; in a way, it’s celebrating the roots of Superman while establishing new paths for the mythos to grow. In between the family drama, The Stranger allows the series to show off its great action. The effects, and Superman’s new suit, are stunning. The fight between Superman and The Stranger holds up against the battles seen in Man Of Steel. Superman is being hunted by someone who knows a lot about him, knows his weaknesses, and wants to kill him. It raises many questions about The Stranger’s origins, and the ending drops a huge hint about what is yet to come.
Superman & Lois felt like I was watching a great Superman movie. Surpassing any of the recent incarnations. It truly explores both Clark Kent and Superman’s world, expressing that both sides are equally as important to the character. With Lois and their children joining him on their new path, I can’t wait to see what lies ahead in their journey as a family. With the ever-looming threat of The Stranger, and even a greater reveal from one of the twins, Superman & Lois have a lot on their plate, and I’m excited to see what comes next.
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