I cannot believe I have not yet reviewed Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The first pairing in live action of the two most iconic Superheroes in the world. There was a ton of expectation riding on this movie. The movie was heavily criticized by the professional pundits and under performed at the box office although it still made the studio money. One of the reasons for this is that the studio did not put out the three hour extended cut of the films into the theater. What was released to the theater was a truncated version of the film that was not very coherent in places. Note to film studio. Leave Zack Snyder alone and let him do his job, he knows what he is doing!
Therefore this review will be of the theatrical cut.
All movies do have their flaws…which is simply another way of saying “I would have done it differently” and although this movie is no exception the Pros greatly out weight any Cons it may have. I really enjoyed this movie so without further delay, the Pros and Cons of this film. Cons won the coin toss so they will go first. 🙂
The story, even in the Extended Cut, still has some issues. The scene in the desert where Lois is interviewing a terrorist and then all hell breaks loose, it really isn’t too clear what is happening. One example, Batman brands his criminals and they end up getting killed in jail/prison…but the movie never tells you why they are being killed in jail or the motives for killing them.
Alfred. I think over all Jeremy Irons did a good job but his cynicism got old after a while. Plus, if he thinks Batman was going down the wrong road and becoming something corrupt, then you would think that he would have confronted Bruce long before he did in this movie. It seems Alfred was just as jaded as Batman was in this movie.
Death of Superman. I do understand that his sacrifice was to show the world that he truly is a force for good in the world and that he will use his powers to help and not hurt. However, maybe my objection is more about the elaborate funeral they gave Superman, because it all seems too soon because it really doesn’t feel Superman truly earned the accolades and the grief. In the movie Superman has been around less than two years and there is much controversy surrounding him, he certainly isn’t universally loved.
Death of Clark Kent. This is unprecedented. Sure, they have shown Superman die in the comics and animated movies, but they always have found a way to excuse Clark’s disappearance until Superman returns. This movie paints quite a dilemma where they are acknowledging both Clark and Superman are dead! How can they bring both back without the world knowing Clark Kent is Superman!?
Good Story. Despite the story being muddled at times the story is very interesting and engaging. It really is not a story about Batman and Superman fighting, it is a story of redemption for both iconic characters.
Superman’s character arc. I like the idea in this universe where Superman isn’t a Mary Sue Boy-scout where everyone except the villains despise him and don’t trust him. In the real world we would have people truly fear and distrust Superman so I like that realistic approach and how Superman has to cope with that reality especially in the face of life taking disasters committed to tarnish his name.
Batman’s Character arc. I love how this is an older and cynical and jaded Batman who has gone through many tragedies himself. We see that Robin is dead, Wayne Manor has been burned to the ground and Batman is an outlaw. I loved the scene where we fist see Batman in the room where he just branded the criminal and he is lurking in the shadows. Classic Batman! I also like how Batman comes to once again have faith in humanity restored. The scene where he rescues Martha Kent in the warehouse is the best live action scene of Batman ever put to film.
Special effects. Excellent. I love any time Superman takes flight!! Doomsday is created with such life-likeness! Great eye candy!
Good pacing. Even though the Extended Cut is three hours long the movie flows well without any slow spots at all.
Lex Luthor. I think Jesse Eisenberg was great as Luthor…yes he is Lex Luthor and not the son of Lex as many claim, he was bitter, psychotic and unpredictable.
Wonder Woman. What can I say? She was awesome! Gal Gadot was simply amazing as Wonder Woman and Diana Prince and she stole the show! I also loved the cameo glimpses of Aquaman and The Flash and Cyborg!!
I want to close by speaking of the controversial Martha scene. Sure, it is a bit cheesy but I do understand what they were doing and I think it was a great idea and worked although all it needed maybe was one line of dialogue. That was the moment Batman realized how far he had fallen and that he had become the very thing he had dedicated his life to fighting against. If Batman would have said that to Lois and Superman in some verbal way, I think it would have helped.
I really enjoyed this movie despite some of its flaws. All-in-all a good introduction of Batman in the DCEU and I look forward to more movies with these characters!
Let’s face it. Christopher Reeve left pretty big boots to…and cape..to fill. We now have two movies under our belts with Henry Cavill as Superman so comparisons will be inevitable. I have begun to throw such comparisons away and stopped using the words “better” in my vocabulary when asked to compare the two men (or any actors who have played superheroes) because such comparisons end up being biased and subjective to the point of being futile and unnecessary. Why the need to compare? I can enjoy what each actor brings to the role in the specific movie and story being told.
I understand that many 20 & 30 somethings grew-up with Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of the Last Son of Krypton and given his tragic accident and untimely death makes him and his donning of the big S on his chest as something sacred. However, time does march on, and while I can revere Christopher Reeve as well as the next guy, I think ultimately comparisons fail because it isn’t comparing apples to apples but apples to oranges despite the comparison being between the same characters, albeit, the way two different actors portray the character.
The reasons I feel comparisons are unfair and unwarranted are due to the fact that the makers of these new movies are taking a different approach to the character. They are putting Superman in more real world settings and circumstances. So this Superman, while interested in doing the ultimate good, also faces real problems such as not everyone will love him and like him, he cannot save all and there may be political, physical and social repercussions to his actions. This Superman isn’t the happy boy-scout Reeve’s Superman was. That is not a criticism on either portrayal but a justification why comparisons between the two portrayals are not fair comparisons because each are different.
Recently on Facebook someone made the claim that Reeve’s Superman was the most powerful live action portrayal of the character. To me that was just silly because there were times, due to the special effects of the day, Reeve’s Superman was not able to be shown doing what many of us expect Superman to do. The special effects of the day were pretty ground breaking and they still hold up today.
But when the premise of the OP states that Reeve’s Superman was the most powerful, special effects of the era do come into play, for the makers of the 1978 movie were not able to show or demonstrate the premise that Reeve’s Superman was the most powerful. The premise of the OP calls for comparison and they only way to compare the relative powers of each live action Superman is to judge them by the special effects used to demonstrate the power. Today’s advanced special effects are unlimited and Cavill’s Superman can be shown doing all we expect Superman to do. This makes comparing the two moot and just plain silly.
If I am going to compare Cavill I will compare his to George Reeves. George Reeves from the 50s TV show was not all smiles. His Superman and Clark were pretty tough! Cavill is from that same mold!
In the end Superman will always be my favorite superhero and instead of comparisons I will just sit back and enjoy every incarnation of the character.
A while back I did a post on who was my favorite Superman. Of all the live action portrayals of the Man of Steel which was my favorite. It came down to George Reeves for me because he personified and projected strength. So have Cavill and Christopher Reeve but not to the extent George Reeves did. But what about his later ego, Clark Kent? Who played that part of the character the best. Ironically, I have to eliminate George Reeves right off the top! He played the role very well. However, my problem with his portrayal of Clark was that it was hardly no different from his portrayal of Superman. Clark is supposed to be a “mild mannered” reporter. George’s Clark was a very hard nosed reporter. Sure, there were moments that they portrayed him as being timid but those were very brief and far in between.
I think in order to portray Clark and not to reveal that he is Superman the personalities must be distinct. However, there are always two ends of the spectrum. George was too far at the end of the spectrum where there was too little distinction between the two roles. Christopher Reeve went too far in the other direction! He made his Clark Kent a bumbling fool! That was not always that much fun to watch. Plus, we really didn’t get to know his Clark Kent that well…
...and that is where things have changed! Both Reeves and Reeves came out of a time when Superman was the primary identity and Clark was the secondary identity. In other words, Superman was who he really was and Clark was just a disguise. That changed later in the 80s and 90s to where Clark Kent was the true identity while Superman was the disguise. In this paradigm we get to see a Clark that is much different and not just a throw away character.
The recent Man of Steel movie went in that direction. The entire movie is about Clark Kent discovering who he is. At the end he becomes Superman but Clark is the real person it seems. I cannot pick Cavill’s Clark as the best because we really haven’t seen this Clark play both roles yet. So we do not know how different, if at all, will his Clark and Superman be?
The more I get into my art work the more I find it fascinating in how things are designed. From the design of starships or monster and creatures such as Godzilla and Cloverfield and even superhero costumes. This last subject, superhero costumes, is the topic of this post. I have been watching a lot of superhero movies and TV shows these past few weeks and I wanted to comment on how the costumes have changed.
In the 50s and 60s with George Reeves as Superman, Adam West as Batman, Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman and Christopher Reeve as Superman in the 70s and 80s all had one thing in common: brightly colored costumes. Somewhere in the 2000s this began to change. Superman Returns, which came out in 2006, starred Brandon Routh which was a semi-sequel to the Christopher Reeves movies has a uniform that has a different shade of blue along with a red cape, undies, and boots that are more of a muted wine color rather than bright vivid red.
The Flash, a new TV series set to debut this fall, also has a redesigned costume and one of the main points is the bright red is substituted for a similar muted wine color featured in Superman Returns costume. Last years Man of Steel saw a radically redesigned superman costume. The muted blue was textured, the outer undies are gone and the red cape and boots are muted but not as much as the Superman Returns costume.
Why the trend in muted colors? I think in the name of realism these muted colors make our heroes look less cartoon and animated like than their previous live action predecessors. Don’t get me wrong, I do like these new costumes and their colors. My question is, is this trend permanent or will brighter colored costumes make a return on the big and small screen? My thought is that Hollywood runs in cycles and someday I think we will see a return to brighter colors although I do think we will still see modern designs. I don’t think we will see an exact copy of the Christopher Reeve costume again, although the brighter colored costumes may return.
Maybe the larger question is will we see Superman with outer undies once again?
Ever since his debut in 1938 Superman has had many incarnations. He has been in comic books, graphic novels, radio shows, television shows and theatrical films. Today I want to focus on the live action portrayals of the Man of Steel in both film and television. Many actors have donned the red cape and the blue tights and soared into the sky. I will not be counting the portrayals of Superboy for I see him as a different character. Therefore this leaves out Tom Welling from Smallville for he only became Superman in the final episode of the final season. However, I will say he did a spectacular job throughout the run of the series. The reasons that spurred this article was the most recent Man of Steel movie where Henry Cavill played the dual role of Clark Kent/Superman. Although the film did very well and Henry, in particular, was excellent in the part, I have read on various message boards and through conversations with fans that Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of the iconic character was still the favorite portrayal of many people. Although Man of Steel is my favorite Superman movie to date, I had to ask myself is Henry Cavill my favorite portrayal of Superman? So I did a little soul searching. The first portrayal of Superman on the big screen was by Kirk Alyn who played in 15 serial episodes of Superman between 1948 to 1950.
They were filmed in black and white on a shoe string budget. All portrayals of Superman flying were done in animation. Once Kirk Alyn jumped up an animated cartoon took over, obtained through the process of rotoscoping, until his feet landed once again on the earth. Noel Neill,who would later play Lois Lane in the Adventures of Superman, made her debut as the iconic love interest of Superman. I do not own this serial on DVD although I do plan to pick it up soon. My opinion is that Kirk Alyn did a very good job as Clark Kent but not as good as Superman. It wasn’t because of the lack of special effects either. Alyn just didn’t have that sense of power, authority and strength that the role needed. In 1952 the first Superman television came to the small screen after the success of Superman and the Mole Men had a theatrical release the year earlier. It amazes me how short some theatrical movies were back then. Superman and the Mole Men clocked in at just 67 minutes long! It starred George Reeves as Superman/Clark Kent and Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane. Coates would reprise her role as Lois Lane but for only one season. After season one Noel Neill from the Kirk Alyn serials reprises her role of Lois Lane. A bit of trivia for those who complained that Amy Adams played Lois Lane as a strawberry-blonde instead of a brunette should remember that Neill played Lane as a fiery redhead! The first two seasons of the Adventures of Superman were filmed in black & white and were not only dark in looks but dark in tone.
This was not a show for children! Although you would not see much science fiction in this series, the majority of the shows consisted of Superman fighting organized crime. After the first two seasons the producers realized that children were watching the show, along with adults, and began to show more lighthearted shows along with their more serious fare. However, even the more serious shows never reached the level of seriousness that the first two seasons produced. Having foresight the producers also began shooting the show in color knowing that some day all TV shows will be in color and that these color episodes would be more valuable and could be shown for years to come. Although they were filmed in color from the third season onward they were not broadcast in color until 1965. George Reeves played Superman and Clark Kent virtually the same. Both were tough no nonsense types of characters. Even though the open monologue called Clark a “mild mannered reporter” he really was no such thing. Although in the later seasons they mentioned that Clark could be a bit of a Milquetoast we never really saw him act that way. For myself seeing a tough Clark Kent was a positive draw for me.
The supporting cast was also great and the chemistry between the actors is what helped make the show great. Along with Reeves and Niell, Jack Larson was the definitive Jimmy Olsen and John Hamilton internalized the gruff editor of the Daily Planet, Perry White. The show also featured a character, Inspector Henderson, that was not featured in the comics. He was brilliantly played by Robert Shayne. In the first season there seemed to be a very antagonistic relationship between Kent and Lane and Kent and Henderson. This added to the darkness of the tone of the series. r many the tough yet friendly portrayal of Superman by George Reeves was the way people measured the role for a long long time. Sadly George Reeves life came to an end in 1959 before he could film the last season of Superman. Was it murder or did he commit suicide? We may never know the truth. It would be 20 years until Superman was once again on the big screen. This time the actor to portray him was Christopher Reeve, no relation to George Reeves who did have an “s” on his name. Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of Superman is legendary and iconic. He does seem to have walked off the pages of the silver era Superman comic books and onto the big screen. With the vast improvement of special effects in that 20 years you could really believe that a man could fly.
It is a nice warm and sunny Friday morning as I write this. Late last night it was announced that Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman for the upcoming sequel to the Man of Steel movie. My first reaction was one of disbelief and shock. He wasn’t even on the radar. He wasn’t even mentioned as being in the running for the role. I also honestly thought that they would select a relative unknown and not a big name such as Ben Affleck. I think that is why I am so shocked. But the more I think about it the more I do like the idea. I think he can really pull it off. Today as I write this I am watching the majority of my fellow nerdlings have a meltdown as the interweb explodes with the fallout from this news.
I actually like the guy and his work. Like most of us, I was introduced to Ben Affleck when I saw the movie, Good Will Hunting. An excellent film. He and his friend, Matt Damon, crafted a great story and both acted superbly in that movie. Sadly, Affleck’s acting career had some misses as well as hits while Damon’s acting career really took off. I am also a fan of Kevin Smith’s movies and Ben has acted in several of them, my favorite is when he teamed up with Damon once again for the movie Dogma. Ben also had a highly publicized romance with Jennifer Lopez. Ben also was the star of Marvel’s superhero movie, Daredevil, which was not well received. All of this creates too much baggage in the minds of many fans of superhero movies.
But that is not the whole story. He starred in and directed in last years Academy Award winning film Argo. He also starred and directed the critically acclaimed film The Town. He played George Reeves in the well acclaimed film Hollywoodland. Ben Affleck does have awide range as an actor. He can do comedy as well as serious drama. Not every actor can do that.
I do understand that the last Batman, played by Christian Bale, is the most popular actor to don the Batcowl. So Ben does have some awfully big shoes to fill and hopefully he will not be in Bale’s shadow during his portrayal of the character.
Another point I want to make as my fellow nerds are all upset this morning is that back in the late 80s there was a similar outcry when Tim Burton cast Michael Keaton as Batman. Even I thought that was pretty certain back then that Keaton was wrong for the part he proved all of the nay sayers wrong and did two great performances as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The other thing I find fascinating about the nerd meltdown is that they have a problem with long-term memory. When Heath Ledger was cast as The Joker for the movie, The Dark Night, many fans were all up-in-arms and outraged about that! Today he is, and for a long time will be, the standard by which any portrayal of the Joker will be measured.
I am “borrowing” some points by a blogger Robert Galvan and they are all points that I completely agree with.
Let us go back through the history of movie casting:
- When Robert Downey Jr. was cast as Iron Man, people thought he would be TERRIBLE because of his past. This actually helped his character and made him the face of Iron Man.
- When Christian Bale was cast, people still thought of him as a small actor who would be terrible.
- Heath Ledger was BASHED up and down the street because of his pretty face when he signed on to play the Joker. Now most people now consider him the greatest Joker ever portrayed.
- Daniel Craig as James Bond… people did go crazy about it which most of you should remember, since it was just a few years ago.
- Chris Evans was the Human Torch and was thought of as a terrible actor. Uhh, have you seen London? And now he IS Captain America.
- Chris Hemsworth looks like an Abercrombie and Fitch model and he was in Star Trek, but now he IS Thor.
- Hugh Jackman was a broadway star. How in the hell is he going to be the ferocious Wolverine? Go remove your foot from your mouth now.
As I said, Ben Affleck was not even on the radar as being in the running to play Batman. Many sites on the internet listed whom they believed would be a worthy successor to Christian Bale to play Batman. The favorites were: Matt Bomer (my personal choice), Richard Armitage, Josh Brolin, Armie Hammer, Ryan Gosling and others. I think Affleck as a better choice than Brolin. I just don’t think he has the looks. I now am wondering if these were true rumors, that the studio was looking at these actors, or were they just the dreams of fan boys?
I am more than willing to give Ben Affleck a chance in the role and I think he will do just fine. There are more important things to consider such as the script and the tone of the film. I am more concerned about the script than who they cast as Batman. Look at Clooney in Batman and Robin. While I may enjoy the movie as an homage to the campy 60s show, Clooney did not do a bad job acting as either Wayne or Batman. The problem was people did not want a campy Batman movie, or at least the level of camp that was in that movie. So if Clooney had been Batman in a less campy movie I think people would not be putting the blame for that movie on his shoulders. If they set the tone of this movie like they did with Iron Man then I think Afflack will do just fine.
I am sure the tone of the film will be similar or exactly like the one established in Man of Steel. If that is the case then I really have no worries about Ben Affleck being able to play Bruce Wayne and Batman. I just hope they have a good story to tell and that the script is well written.
The other day I wrote my expectations for the new Godzilla movie. Next up are my expectations for the next Superman movie, Man of Steel, and then next week will be my expectations for Star Trek Into Darkness. I think this will be a new theme. It will be interesting to write of my expectations prior to a movie’s release and then compare that with my actual review.
I am a big Superman fan and I own all of the Donner films on DVD, the animated series, the George Reeves 50s TV show and Lois & Clark. I even liked Superman Returns. Ok, I agree it needed more action but all-in-all it wasn’t too bad. Superman saving the airplane was the best part of the movie.
I actually wanted Brandon Routh to be Superman once again. However, once I learned they had cast Henry Cavill as Superman I was happy with the choice. I think this is the first buff Superman we will be getting. No offense to the other actors playing the role but people like Christopher Reeve and the aforementioned Brandon Routh were way too skinny. I actually was happy that this movie would be a fresh start and not connected to the Christopher Reeve Superman movies.
Well, I had mixed feelings actually. I didn’t mind saying goodbye to those movie and that specific continuity. Even though I own Superman III & IV I will admit they aren’t that good. What I had mixed feelings about was having another origin movie. Sure, Superman’s origins had not been told on the big screen in over 30 years but that wasn’t the problem. We have had so many origin movies over the last few years. Batman, Green Lantern, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, 2 Spider-Man origins, Captain America and on and on. I just didn’t want to sit through another origin story!! However, from all the trailers I have seen it looks like it will actually be a very good origin story. I hope we see a lot of Superman and don’t have to wait more than half the movie before we see the man in the blue suit.
Speaking of the new Superman suit..I freaking love it!! I think it is a brilliant design. I know that there are some fans that do not like it, but I think it looks great. Best suit ever. Many complain about the colors, a very deep blue rather than the a more light sky-blue color of Reeve’s suit. The biggest complaint has been the lack of the outer-underwear from previous incarnations of the suit. However many new designs, Batman for instance, have been going in that direction and I think this design looks fine without them. I love the deep rich colors and the extra-large cape. The only thing I do not like is the yellow in the “S” on his chest, it looks dull and dirty.
My only concern was with the involvement of Christopher Nolan. Now I do not mind a more realistic take on the Man of Steel, I just don’t want them to go as dark and gritty as his Batman trilogy. Superman is a bright character. Some have complained that he is a Super Boy Scout. To some degree he is. Superman Returns depicted him as a Christ-like figure. However, from the trailer I think we will get the best of both worlds. We will see a young Clark Kent struggling with who he is, but I think we will also get a movie with a lot of action an adventure.
I am also glad we have the return of General Zod, first scene in Superman II. It would have been so easy for them to use Lex Luthor once again as the villain but I think he has been used way too often. If this movie is to be a reboot and a fresh start then I am glad they have gone a different route in this aspect. I have not really cared for the depiction of Lois Lane on film so far. Kate Bosworth was pretty good in Superman Returns. She was a cute and spunky and feisty Lois. I also liked Erica Durance as Lois in the long running TV series Smallville. I am very intrigued with Amy Adams as Lois. I think she is pretty and a fine actress and I look forward to her portrayal. For those that complain Amy Adams has strawberry blond hair in this movie may have forgotten that in the 1950s Adventure of Superman TV series Noel Neill also had red hair.
In closing I have high expectations on this movie. From what I have seen from the trailers I think we are going to get an excellent Superman movie!
Now for the conclusion of my review:
The other changed that occurred when the series switched to color was the episodes become more child friendly. The first two seasons were dark and serious and even more violent. This was toned down and we began to see more fun and lighthearted episodes. For example, in “Through the Time Barrier” a A nutty professor uses his time machine to send Clark, Lois, Jimmy, Perry and himself back to 50,000 B.C., along with a notorious gangster who decides he likes prehistoric times. Although the series did get a reputation for child friendly episodes that doesn’t mean they abandoned the more serious themed episodes. The season six episode ‘The Perils of Superman” where criminals wearing lead masks are trying to kill Perry white, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent is as dark as any of the episodes from the first two seasons.
One of the issues that was played down and almost non-existent in the series was the romance between Superman and Lois Lane. It was hinted at and one dream episode examined the topic, but for the most part it is generally ignored. In the first two seasons Lane and Kent actually have a more argumentative relationship. This is gone by the later seasons. In the early seasons Lois often suspects Clark as being Superman but this theme too is dropped in later episodes.
One of the last things I want to talk about is George Reeves portrayal of Superman/Clark Kent. It is one of my favorite portrayals of both Characters. As I have said on other occasions as I have grown older the Superman/Clark Kent secret identity is hard to swallow. Most actors portray each character differently giving some plausibility to the situation. The interesting thing about Reeve’s portrayal of both characters is that he doesn’t play Kent as a weak, baffoon type of character that some have played him. Reeves played Kent as a tough, smart and crafty individual. Superman/kent knows the audience is in on his secret and he plays wonderfully off that. There are times Kent is in peril but we the audience knows that he really isn’t in any trouble and that does add to the excitement of the drama. We wonder what will he do to get out of trouble and keep his identity. George Reeves really did embody Superman and while others have also played the character well, he is the yard stick I use to measure others by.
I also love the world of the 1950s. The Superman comic had him fighting exotic and equally strong and alien villains. The show has him fighting the average and everyday crooks at a time when organized crime was at its zenith. I like the more realistic criminal he faced. It grounds the show more in reality for me. The clothes, the cars and the primitive technology of the 50s and it is all part of the tone of the show that give it its charm. I know many younger people do not like older shows..even ones from the 60s let alone the 1950s…so it may be harder to convince a younger person to give the show a try. I do highly recommend it though. It is a well done show and even the special effects, though not as good as today’s standards, do fit the tone of the show and does not detract from the enjoyment whatsoever. So give Adventures of Superman a try!
The Adventures of Superman. Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! (“Look! Up in the sky!” “It’s a bird!” “It’s a plane!” “It’s Superman!”)… Yes, it’s Superman … strange visitor from another planet, who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men! Superman … who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way! And now, another exciting episode, in The Adventures of Superman!
Superman is by far my favorite Superhero and Adventures of Superman is still a favorite of mine. I have been working my way through the entire series on DVD and it amazes me how enjoyable it is. I will never forget the first time I saw the series. I was in a Catholic school and I was about 10 years old. One afternoon my entire class was taken to the Church basement and no reason was given. When we got there we saw a movie projector set up and chairs waiting for us. There was also popcorn! I still had no clue what we were about to see. I sat with anticipation and curiosity as the room grew dark and the projector tuned on and started to hum. Suddenly on the screen with all fanfare was the title screen for Adventures of Superman!! My head was about to pop with excitement! I was in heaven!! We saw one color episode, “The Seven Souvenirs” and one in black and white, “The Deserted Village.” I was hooked on that show and within a few years when cable TV came to town I was able to view more episodes. Ah, those were some of my most fondest memories.
Produced between 1952 to 1958. The series starred George Reeves as Clark Kent/Superman with Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen, John Hamilton as Perry White, and Robert Shayne as Inspector Henderson. Phyllis Coates played Lois Lane in the first season with Noel Neill taking over role in the second season (1953). I must admit the show is pretty formulaic, with an assorted gangsters and criminals trying to commit some crime which will drag Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen into trouble that will require Superman to rescue them. Even though it is a predictable formula it never grows old or tiresome. The scripts were creative in bringing new colorful characters to keep it interesting. The shows first two seasons were reminiscent of 40s film noir style and absent from the series was Superman’s number 1 arch nemesis, Lex Luthor.
To say that it stuck to a formula does not mean the show didn’t change. It did change over the seasons. One of the changes showed great foresight. The first two seasons were in black and white as all shows and the overwhelming vast majority of TV sets were in the 1950s. After the second season an executive got the bright idea of filming the episodes in color realizing that color TV was going to be the wave of the future and that the color episodes would be more valuable in syndication. He was right. Starting in season three until the end of its run, Adventures of Superman were in full color…even though it would be 10 years or more until the majority of Americans could view it in color. By then color TVs were growing in popularity and availability and the majority of TV shows changed to color.
To keep this review to a digestible level I will bring you part II on Wednesday. Come on back!