Hey kids! It's time to play: Superman or Not Superman!
The Last Son of Krypton has been portrayed by a myriad of actors on the stage, on radio, on television, and in the movies. However, not all of these thespians has truly embodied the essence that is the Man of Steel. Let's take a look.
First up: 50s television star George Reeves. Superman or Not Superman?
Yes. To millions of children across North America, George Reeves was Superman. He may have been the 'thug' Superman, but his smile won the hearts of all. When Clark winked at the end of the episode, it was a delightful breaking of the fourth wall that made us all wink back.
Next up: 90s television star Dean Cain. Superman or Not Superman?
Yes. When I read Mr. Cain's disparaging remarks about George Reeves (that George wore a padded costume) I wasn't sure whether or not I would embrace Mr. Cain as Kal-El. (It should be noted here that George was a former boxer and didn't need to wear padding - unlike the Batmen of today's movies - it was the producers who made that decision.) Dean Cain went above and beyond in his dual roles of Superman and Clark Kent. That winning smile was hard to resist.
Now let's look at: 2006 movie actor Brandon Routh. Superman or Not Superman?
Oh, so close. Brandon is almost Superman. But no. Not Superman. A valiant effort. But his effort as Superman was bogged down by too many other issues to give an accurate judgement. Lois Lane. That's all I'm saying. Okay. WRONG. I'll say that, too.
It's time for the latest cape-wearer: Henry Cavill. Superman or Not Superman?
NO. No, no, no. Not Superman. A thousand times: Not Superman. It is possible that Henry may rise to the status of Superman if he were given a script that wasn't so full of angst, anger, and sadness. Superman is sure of himself. Superman is fun. Henry's Superman is neither of those.
And now, in case you thought I'd forgotten: 70s and 80s movie star Christopher Reeve. Superman or Not Superman?
Yes. Christopher Reeve was the truest embodiment of Superman that the screen has ever seen. Dean Cain came close on the small screen (he was excellent), but Mr. Reeve understood the character of Superman down to his molecules. A winning smile that won the world.
So, now you know. A winning smile, a light touch, and the ability to laugh, all make for a great Superman. A true Superman. Superman is a lighter character and should be treated that way. That's what garners the biggest receipts at the box office and the highest ratings on television.
Thanks for playing: Superman or Not Superman!
I have not mentioned Kirk Alyn because I do not have sufficient experience with his serials from the 1940s.
The animated versions have also not been looked at, but Tim Daly deserves mention for his voice work because his portrayal of Superman was marvellous.
Tom Welling in Smallville was not mentioned because 'no tights - no flights' does not a Superman make. Besides, we are talking about Super 'man' here, not wimpy, angst-ridden - uh, sorry - Super 'boy'.
Just once I'd like to see a movie where Jonathan and Martha Kent are alive at the end of the film. I'd like to see them in their hardware store, having sold the farm. Ideally, by the time this movie would be filmed, I'd like to see Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher playing the elder Kents.
Extra bonus points to Dean Cain for showing up on Supergirl. If you haven't seen Supergirl on CBS, I urge you to do so.