After ten years of ups and downs, yesterday evening Clark Kent finally donned the tights and flew becoming Earth’s greatest protector, Superman. If you’ve been watching for the past decade it was a bittersweet ending to a show that’s sole mandate was “no flights, no tights.” While many people will be sad to see the series come to an end, I found the show’s final scene to be a perfect way to bring the series to a close. I wanted to hear what you all thought about finale and where the Superman franchise will go from here.
For the naysayers, no one can refute the fact that Smallville was on the air for an astonishing ten years, making Tom Welling the actor with the longest run playing Clark Kent. That’s something to be proud of, and it makes Smallville an American mainstay whether or not everyone agrees. Looking ahead Warner Bros. has big plans for Superman starting with next year’s The Man of Steel, which is supposed to be completely different than all Superman movies, and TV shows that came before it. The end result will be quite interesting if all the rumors about it are correct. It’s supposed to be a much more action-orientated film compared to the Christopher Reeve movies, and the recently released Superman Returns.
Returning to Smallville, last night’s finale was a two hour episode that was essentially thirty minutes long. I say that because the first hour and a half was dealing with season ten’s loose ends. For anyone who hasn’t watched this season, this whole portion of the finale could be ignored. The typical Smallville annoyances such as huge battles being over in two seconds remained intact throughout. This has always been in no small part due to the budget constraints, but the last thirty minutes made up for it, big time.
If I have one complaint it’s that we never get a great shot of Tom wearing the tights, and I think that’s in large part because he would have had to work out for weeks on end for what would have amounted to literally one shot at the very end of the show. As a result we’re treated to some low-budget CG, and what appears to be a shirt of the suit. I really don’t want to spoil anything, but you’ll understand what I mean once you actually check out the episode. Was that a little disappointing, you bet it was, but the way the final scenes were handled was very impressive just the same.
As a longtime Superman comic reader, the show has always taken liberties with characters and various plot points, but the way everything came together felt quite natural at the end. Lex became the man he was destined to become, and Clark became Superman. What else is there to ask for? Like I said countless times already, the last few scenes are where you finally get to witness Smallville become Superman if only for three minutes. That alone should make millions of people around the world happy, but are you one of them?
So where do we go from here? Clearly making a Superman movie isn’t an easy thing to do. Brian Singer thought he was onto something with Returns, but it appeared as though people wanted something different, something new from the franchise. Even I, who thought the movie was well done, believed it was Superman 3 and it should have stared Christopher Reeve. Is that really the best approach for a generation of new fans who likely didn’t get into those classic movies? I doubt it, and that’s why moving forward this new Superman movie won’t have anything to do with the previous films.
To answer my own question, I think the only way to make Superman more relatable and therefore more enjoyable as a movie is to do what the television shows have done, focus the attention towards Clark. Clark was raised a human for twenty years before he realized his true potential and found his place in the world. You don’t just suddenly ignore where you came from. Sure Clark becomes the mask, but as Smallville proved with yesterday’s finale, in order to become the greatest hero the world has ever known, you can never forget your roots. I think that message needs to come out very clearly in the movie, that Clark can be our savior, but at the end of the day he is also a man. Oh and for goodness sakes give the man an adversary he can hit. I’m a little tired of enemies he simply pushes or objects he lifts out of the way. I want to see a real Doomsday style battle where someone can stand toe to toe against him and actually threaten him. Mix these elements together and I guarantee you, you’ll have a winner on your hands.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to let us know what you think the future of Superman holds. Did you enjoy last night’s finale? Were you like me, understanding with the budget constraints, but still enjoyed the last moments of the show? I want to hear from you, so tell me!