Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I’m always kind of right on the fence on this one, but mostly I have enjoyed Smallville. The slow evolution of Clark Kent into Superman, the early experiences with so many characters that would go on to be important figures in the Man of Steel’s life, like Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, Brainiac and Kara Zor-El…

And I have to admit, it’s so perfectly bittersweet with Lex. For those first few seasons, part of you really wants to cling to this idea that maybe, MAYBE Lex and Clark really COULD be friends. But you know, deep down, even if this possibility exists at some point in time, it’ll never be. Which of course, just makes it all the more painful when they slowly take that downwards plunge into complete enmity.

Of course, there are a few things about Smallville that you have to accept. The constant WB/CW Dawson’s Creek fan treatment, complete with cheesy soap-opera romantic storylines is bearable. Besides that, there’s a large number of DC characters that are re-imagined to better fit the scope of the show. I thought what they did with Doomsday was interesting, at least. Bizzaro, I would have liked to have seen a little bit more of that up is down, good means bad thing that we love about him.

And than there’s the solid last few seasons of jumping the shark. Between Hawkman and the JSA to the frickin’ WONDER TWINS being in the show (who lacked comic book counterparts for a long time- they were actually super-friends originals), DC has admittedly sold out a bit lately and just sort of crammed any interesting character they can think of into the show. It’s sort of like "let’s just ignore this whole timetable thing and let young Clark meet a whole mess of people!"

Still, I’m not complaining too badly. I loved seeing Zatanna, Black Canary, Maxima…and I was geeking out when Manhunter showed up. The Legion is a nice touch too- I could be wrong, but I think their first introduction really WAS in a Superboy comic/story of some kind (or at least, it was in a Superman comic but it involved them going into the past to meet him. Or something. Who can keep track with the DC continuity, these days?).

And maybe part of why I’m not complaining is this- at least Smallville GOES for it!

There’s so much "cool" in the Superman mythology- Zod and the Phantom Zone, different colored Kryptonite, Kandor… In the past, I have heard people complain that a character as powerful as Superman is boring. Really, I think what has always hurt Superman is that film-makers and TV writers alike haven’t just bit the bullet and given our boy something to DO.

Take Superman Returns- a wholly depressing movie.

Now, they made some choices here- and I have to give Bryan Singer that. It takes guts to be like Superman and Lois are going to have a kid. And Superman is going to give him up, just like his father gave him up." Still, I’m of the opinion that you should leave a Superman movie feeling GOOD about your life. You should be all like "Wow! One man can make such a DIFFERENCE in the world!!" Instead, the primary message in Superman Returns seemed to be: “Life is not fair. You will never be with the person you really love- and maybe, for your children’s sake, that’s for the best.”

Even the COLOR in the movie is depressing. It’s gray and dark, overcast. I just don’t get it. Now, the casting was great- Parker Posey and Kevin Spacey, Brandon Routh and Kate Bosworth; I couldn’t ask for better. Still, this vision- Superman done Richard Donner style. I love the old Superman movies (even three, which everyone else seems to hate). And I’m not knocking on them because I really do think they do a good job of taking it OUT there. The Fortress of Solitude, the Phantom Zone- Superman is very alien. The second movie is so great because it really shows you that.

So I’m not going to say these movies didn’t do their job. It’s just that maybe they’ve already done what needs to be done, for Superman? The Donner movies are about Superman fitting into his new home- Earth. If we aren’t going to DO a reboot of the entire thing, than maybe another movie showing Superman struggling against Luthor (not that I’m suggesting you not have Luthor in these films) was sort of…old hat.

It’s time for something BIG. Something Star Wars-ish. Off planet. Or at least, potential destruction OF the planet, kind of thing. What about Warworld? I think Mongul is a terribly great, terribly underused Superman villain. Thing about it- his ship, a small planet-sized Death Star equivalent, just shows up, orbiting the Earth one day, eclipsing the Sun. Then, he addresses the free world, telling them that he and his followers have come for Kal-El, the last son of Krypton, who will fight in his gladiatorial arena for sport. Failure to comply will result in Warworld launching nukes (yes, it can do this- and those nukes are the size of skyscrapers) all over the planet.

A guy who can take a punch from Superman without flinching, has his own battlestation/monument to intergalactic conflict, and was made famous in one of the most acclaimed Superman stories ever ("For the man who has everything." Really, brilliant stuff.).

Yeah, the film’s climax- Mongul sentences to Superman to death through the Black Mercy. And we, the viewers, get a peek at what Krypton (possibly) looked like in its hey-day! Tell me that isn’t a feature film worth seeing!?