Re: DC Superheroes in Film (Theatrical and Streaming)

Had the pleasure of watching Black Adam yesterday.  Good Lord that was terrible.

Re: DC Superheroes in Film (Theatrical and Streaming)

Watching Marvel's WHAT IF? with the full motion animation, lush and dense environments, smooth camerawork, hyperkinetic editing, compelling shot composition, immersive soundscape, high energy voice acting -- and I have to wonder, why exactly are those DC Universe Original Animated movies still being made? They look stiff and immobile compared to WHAT IF?

The original BATMAN and SUPERMAN WB animated cartoons used simple character designs for smooth animation on a TV schedule and budget, but the DC Original Animated Features choose a mid-point of realistic designs, a moderate level of motion, and as recently as CATWOMAN: HUNTED, the overall effect is stiff cardboard cutouts moving back and forth on a two dimensional plane. There's never the sense that the actors are in the same room; they feel like they were recorded on separate dimensions of existence

The DC Universe Original Animated features look like amateur student films. They diminish the DC brand as cheap and rushed. I don't think it's due to any lack of talent; the movies are probably being made in too little time with too few resources. I don't understand why they're allowed to exist. They can't be that profitable and they're at best average.

Re: DC Superheroes in Film (Theatrical and Streaming)

ireactions wrote:

Watching Marvel's WHAT IF? with the full motion animation, lush and dense environments, smooth camerawork, hyperkinetic editing, compelling shot composition, immersive soundscape, high energy voice acting -- and I have to wonder, why exactly are those DC Universe Original Animated movies still being made? They look stiff and immobile compared to WHAT IF?

I'm pretty sure the new DCU is ending the unrelated animated movies (at least the constant stream of them).  And unlike What If...?*, future DCU animated films will be entirely voice-acted by the original live action voices.

* Just needed to mention that smile

Re: DC Superheroes in Film (Theatrical and Streaming)

While the recasting for WHAT IF is mostly fine, it's certainly preferable to have the performer who originated the live action role continue in the animated tie-in. The contracts for WHAT IF weren't in place, but they sound like they will be on James Gunn's animated films for DC.

Re: DC Superheroes in Film (Theatrical and Streaming)

Yeah Gunn is doing it the right way, and Marvel couldn't have anticipated something like this at the time.  As I said in the other thread, I don't really fault What If.  It'll just be fun to have that level of continuity in the DCU.

Re: DC Superheroes in Film (Theatrical and Streaming)

ireactions wrote:

Watching Marvel's WHAT IF? with the full motion animation, lush and dense environments, smooth camerawork, hyperkinetic editing, compelling shot composition, immersive soundscape, high energy voice acting -- and I have to wonder, why exactly are those DC Universe Original Animated movies still being made? They look stiff and immobile compared to WHAT IF?

I said that the DC Universe Original Animated features all looked cheap and amateur. However, I have to say, that was a generalization and there is a more nuanced opinion to be had. There have been a number of standouts: the JUSTICE LEAGUE NEW FRONTIER feature had a slick, simple set of character designs with smooth animation. GREEN LANTERN: FIRST FLIGHT looked very nice, probably because being set in space meant the artists didn't have to do too many characters or cityscapes. GOTHAM KNIGHTS was beautiful, probably because the format of short stories suited the budget of these projects.

However, for every NEW FRONTIER, there seem to be four or five mediocrities like SUPERMAN: MAN OF TOMORROW, a strangely inanimate feature that lacks music and motion and has a tedious visual presentation of Superman's feats. And this cheap looking film was meant to be the debut of the new run of DC animated films.

I note that RETURN OF THE CAPED CRUSADER and BATMAN VS. TWO FACE, both recent animated sequels to the 60s BATMAN show from Warner Bros. Animation, look beautiful. While not at the full motion level of WHAT IF where the camera can move through the environment, these two films clearly had fight choreography and a sense of visual intensity that is not to be found in SUPERMAN VS. THE ELITE. And I notice that the BATMAN: HUSH feature is very close to the same level of RETURN and TWO FACE, but CATWOMAN: HUNTED is stiff and lifeless.

Another thing I noticed is that a lot of the poorer films like SUPERMAN: MAN OF TOMORROW, SON OF BATMAN, BATMAN VS. ROBIN, BAD BLOOD, and CATWOMAN: HUNTED have strangely stilted voice editing. A character says a line, there's a half-second to a full second pause, and then another character voices their response. There is a conspicuous lack of conversational interaction and pacing. It's very obvious the voice actors didn't record together. But then in GREEN LANTERN:  FIRST FLIGHT, BATMAN: HUSH and the two 60s films, there's overlap and reaction in the performances even though it's likely those actors didn't record together either.

It seems to me like everyone involved is very talented, but Warner Bros. wants a certain number of features each year and allocates time and budget based on predicted unit sales. A sequel to the 60s BATMAN TV show featuring Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar and William Shatner will sell better than a SUPERMAN feature. My guess would be that the Adam West project gets a larger budget for animation and a lengthier schedule, not only for visual quality, but so that the editors can edit and mix together the voice tracks to create reactions, interruptions, overlapping dialogue and other elements of natural conversation.

Meanwhile, SUPERMAN: MAN OF TOMORROW gets less money and a shorter schedule, and less time to create the illusion of conversation in the sound editing process. There are probably any number of these animated films that, due to the release schedule, didn't get the refinement and care they needed.

A lot of these projects seem to have had a lot of time and money put into the box art and into booking 'name' actors for a few days of recording, but significantly less put into scripting, animating, recording and editing. I hope that under James Gunn, DC animated projects will find a way to achieve a higher level of artistry and quality.

Re: DC Superheroes in Film (Theatrical and Streaming)

Having made a general claim about the low production quality of the DC Universe Original Animated Features movies, I felt compelled to interrogate that by watching some more of them.

I watched BATMAN: GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT, a vision of Batman where he adopts his superhero identity in the late 19th century as Gotham is menaced by a serial killer targeting prostitutes. The script is an extremely strong piece of work, the acting is compelling, the voice mixing is solid and avoids the detached quality of SON OF BATMAN and BATMAN VS. ROBIN where it never sounded like the actors were in the same room or even in the same dimension.

But the animation! I was astonished that in 2018, Warner Bros. released an animated feature where the animation looked like stop motion that was missing a few frames. A shot of Pamela Isley walking down a street looked more like she was teleporting for each step. The animation was so bad that I was compelled to do the previously unthinkable: I broke into my sister's apartment. I forced the lock, cut the alarm, went to the fridge, helped myself to a soda, activated her popcorn maker, then sat down at her living room TV to watch GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT.

Her TV has a motion smoothing feature that mine doesn't, while she's turned it off (I've taught her well), I turned it back on to watch GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT. I was impressed to see that raising the 23.97FPS to 60FPS smoothed out all the animated movements and GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT suddenly seemed several notches more capable. The strangely abrupt movements of the film now looked fluid and flowing. It still wasn't a Disney cinematic feature because the designs and surroundings still had the sparseness of a TV budget project, but it looked like a professional project instead of a student film animatic.

Motion smoothing is quite rightly loathed for making live action film and TV look like videotape, but non-CG animation as a medium of illustrative reality where movement is approximated. Motion smoothing augments the approximation and makes it more vivid. I know motion interpolation, as pneumatic explained it in the SLIDERS DVD thread, is not truly 60fps and there can be all sorts of artifacts and distortions. But I can't help but think Warner Bros. Animation could've made their the lower budgeted movies look better just by running the final cut through motion interpolation to up the frame rate.

It wouldn't have any effect on the lousy voice mixing or lack of music or dull scripting in some of the weaker installments, of course. And a lot of the better-animated films wouldn't gain much: NEW FRONTIER, GOTHAM KNIGHTS, BATMAN: NINJA and the Adam West features already looked smooth. But GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT deserved better, HUSH would have benefitted from a better frame rate, and I think I'd like to watch SUPERMAN: MAN OF TOMORROW with motion smoothing and try to give it another chance.

Re: DC Superheroes in Film (Theatrical and Streaming)

I'm watching THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN (2018) and REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN (2019). It's not great, a passable but never phenomenal adaptation of the storyline. It's unfortunately sabotaged by the DC animated films before it, and, strangely, Jerry O'Connell, whom I'd forgotten had been voicing Superman.

This run of films, called the DC Animated Movie Universe (DCAMU), was established in JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE FLASHPOINT PARADOX (2013) where the Flash's time travel antics create this DC timeline that served as an ongoing continuity for most of the animated films from 2014 - 2020. The first installment was JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR in which Superman was voiced by Alan Tudyk and Jerry didn't even play Superman until the DCAMU's Superman's second appearance in THRONE OF ATLANTIS.

The DCAMU team seems to have little enthusiasm for Superman. Jerry's Superman debuts in February 2014 in the Justice League ensemble and isn't Jerry; he doesn't appear again until January 2015's THRONE OF ATLANTIS and is finally Jerry; Jerry's Superman has small roles in JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. TEEN TITANS and JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK; he doesn't get a movie of his own until July 2018 and it's THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN, which kills him off.

In addition, THRONE established that Superman and Wonder Woman were dating; DEATH OF SUPERMAN refers to an offscreen breakup and Clark is now dating Lois, and has to establish the Clark/Lois relationship in the very same movie where Clark dies. We have spent so little time with Jerry O'Connell's Superman that his death means very, very little.

Jerry is... peculiar. His voice doesn't have the natural authority and confidence that I associate with Superman; it has a comedically unsteady, dramatically uncertain quality to it. He doesn't instantly convince as Superman. In addition, Jerry's Superman is written as so uncertain and self-doubting that Jerry only gets a few instances to play the confident, self-assured Superman.

When Jerry is called upon to play Superman as more like Tyler Hoechlin than Quinn Mallory, Jerry excels... but his hyperconfident Superman voice sounds so little like his unsure Superman voice that it almost feels like a different actor, and Jerry doesn't do particularly well at combining these two sides of Superman into a unified character. The problem may not even be Jerry, but whatever circumstances in which he recorded his dialogue and the direction that he received. Certainly, the script is not on his side.

Very, very strange. THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN and REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN again seem like two cheap animated films where more time and effort was spent designing the blu-ray box art than making the films.

Re: DC Superheroes in Film (Theatrical and Streaming)

I watched JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. TEEN TITANS... and I was struck by how even the least heroic Titans in this 2016 animated feature were more heroic than the live action team in TITANS.

The plot of JLVTT is that 14 year old Damian, a reckless loose canon of a superhero, the current Robin and the son of Batman, is sent to spend time with the Teen Titans to learn how to work with others. Damian is an arrogant loudmouth who needs to prove himself better than everyone else on the team and assumes he can't be beaten even when he can; he's not a hero as much as a braggart who needs to prove himself the equal of his heroic father; he cares more about being superior than being a hero.

At the midpoint, the Teen Titan named Raven is attacked by her father's demons. Damian barely knows Raven and has treated her with contempt; he instantly rises to the challenge of defending her against a demon army, against the Justice League when they come to take custody of her, and even the Justice League when they are possessed by demonic forces. The rest of the Titans find Damian obnoxious and arrogant and frightening and immediately rally behind Damian as he defends their friend.

It occurred to me when watching it that Damian is a borderline sociopathic bully who only doesn't qualify as a bully because he barely acknowledges his peers, and yet, he's more heroic than the entire live action cast of TITANS put together. On TITANS, Dick Grayson was keen to leave Raven to her troubles. In the second season, Rose Wilson approached the Titans for help as she was being hunted by Deathstroke; the 'team' immediately began debating how to abandon Rose and declaring how they didn't consider her their problem. In contrast, JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. TEEN TITANS doesn't seem to have any trouble making Damian a hero and Damian is hilariously loathsome.

JLVTT is a passably mediocre movie. It's written by Bryan Q. Miller of SMALLVILLE fame (who also wrote the Season 11 comics for SMALLVILLE). The script is solid, but executed in a visually undistinguished way. There's a sequence where Damian and Beast Boy compete in playing the game Dance Dance Revolution.

As someone with little enthusiasm for dance, I can say right away that the characters of Damian and Beast Boy would each demonstrate a different dance language: Damian would be all precision and endurance and technically proficient but stiffly militaristic because he's afraid of losing his dignity; Beast Boy would be expressive and chameleonic and joyful and with no concern for how he appears to others when dancing. However, the movie just shows completely generic dancing for both characters because DC Universe Original Animated Features don't have the budget for anything more complex.

And yet, the visual lack of merits aside, the Teen Titans of this exercise in pedestrian production have the benefit of actually being heroic, which is something a lot of grimdark DC productions can't seem to pull off consistently.

Re: DC Superheroes in Film (Theatrical and Streaming)

I started watching JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK. Then I remembered: I'd seen half of the movie with my niece a few years ago, but then we got distracted by her mother coming home from the airport with luggage and we turned the TV off to help her unpack. And then...

IB: "What were we doing before your mother came home?"

LAUREN: "Were we watching CONSTANTINE?"

IB: "No, it was a cartoon."

LAUREN: "Oh, right! We were watching a DC animated movie where Matt Ryan is the voice of Constantine. Should we finish it?"

IB: "I think we got to the part where the villain shows up and the villain's either Dr. Fu Manchu or a racist Chinese caricature that's as racist as Dr. Fu Manchu."

LAUREN: "I don't think we need to finish watching that."

Re: DC Superheroes in Film (Theatrical and Streaming)


Apparently James Gunn's Superman film will feature LuthorCorp.  Gunn has previously said that his favorite on-screen Luthor is Michael Rosenbaum's version (now he said it directly to Rosenbaum on his own show so maybe he was being overly nice) so I have to assume this is a reference to Smallville or at least an admiration for the Smallville version of Lex's backstory.

I do love the Rosenbaum Lex, and I do love the idea of Lex taking his father's company and reshaping it into his own image.  As a fan of Smallville, I think it's cool that the show is influencing the next generation of DC films, however small.  Welling is also my favorite Clark so if Gunn's version can also be more like him than the Cavill version, even better.

Re: DC Superheroes in Film (Theatrical and Streaming)

How does Tom Welling's Clark differ from Henry Cavll's Clark in your view?

Your thoughts interest me.

Re: DC Superheroes in Film (Theatrical and Streaming)

ireactions wrote:

How does Tom Welling's Clark differ from Henry Cavll's Clark in your view?

Your thoughts interest me.

*Please note that my fundamental understanding of Clark Kent / Superman is partially created by the thoughts of an accused rapist.  And I guess partially by a guy we all know who ended up being an extremist.*

To me, Clark Kent shouldn't give up on people.  Clark never gave up on Lex in Smallville even when Lex showed his true colors.  Clark wasn't naive about Lex - I don't think Lex would ever surprise Clark.  But I think Clark still had hope that his friend would return some day.  I think this is one of Clark's superpowers in Smallville - he has the ability to see the good in people and he refuses to give up on anyone, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Cavill's Clark seems a lot more distant.  He doesn't seem to have any friends at all.  He has Lois, but that seems like his only friend.  He doesn't seem like he's friends with Perry.  He's never shown outside of work with any of his colleagues.  I guess Bruce is the closest thing to a male friend, and they barely have any scenes together.  So when Clark goes evil in the "Knightmare" scenario, there's more evidence that he's just really mad ("She was my world and you took her from me") than any sort of mind control.  It's less Anti-Life Equation and more Anakin Skywalker.

In fact, Cavill's Superman reminds me of Anakin.  He really only cares about one thing (Padme/Lois) and as soon as  he loses that, he goes full evil.  He's heroic, but he doesn't seem to be in it for any particular reason.

And that's my thing with Cavill.  I think he's a really good actor, and he does a lot of heroic things but look at him in the scenes where he's saving people.  He looks distant, cold, uncaring, alien.  I feel like Welling's Clark genuinely wanted to help people.  I think he would have fun being Superman.  I think he would smile as he was doing it.  Even if he was concerned, I think he'd put on a brave face.

A lot of people point to Cavill's Superman killing Zod, but I don't think that's a problem.  I can't remember all 217 episodes of Smallville, but I know most of the Monsters of the Week ended up dead.  All of the season-long villains ended up dead.  Even some of Clark's friends ended up dead.  Smallville's Clark wasn't perfect or a saint, but I think he tried.  If the Battle of Metropolis had happened to Smallville's Clark, I feel like he would've either been seriously injured trying to save innocents, or he would've tirelessly worked to clean the city up until everything was done.

There's no evidence that Clark helped after the city was basically destroyed.  The city is cleaned up so someone must have done it, but I can't imagine that Bruce would've been so angry if Clark had spent weeks super-building the city back up.  The movies imply that Clark just sorta left when it was over (although Clark does stick around after the bombing in the Capitol so maybe that's not what happened - either way it's just something that Snyder didn't seem to care about).

So I'm okay with Cavill killing Zod.  My issues with Cavill are:

- Cavill doesn't really seem like he cares about people or saving them.  He does it, but it seems like it's a job, not a calling.  I think his view is the same as Snyder's - this is dangerous work and people are going to die (and that's okay).  I don't think Smallville's Clark would think that way.

- Cavill seems more alien than human.  I think Smallville's Clark embraced his humanity, even when he was exploring his alien origins.  I think Clark would think of himself as human, even after he found out he wasn't.  Just like an immigrant might consider himself to be American, even if he was born elsewhere or had foreign-born parents.  I think Cavill would consider himself to be a Kryptonian living on Earth.  And I think this connects to the first point.  I think Smallville Clark would think of saving fellow human beings.  Cavill Clark would be saving people that are either "under his protection" or, worse, inferior beings.

I will say that I also don't think Smallville's Clark would've been so adversarial against Bruce.  Bruce is undoubtedly an idiot in BVS because he does almost not detective work.  I think an intelligent Bruce would've found out who Superman was and would've gone back to Smallville to do some research.  BvS Bruce turns around when he finds out about Clark's mom, but I think Bruce should've *interviewed* Clark's mom long before a fight.

Likewise, I don't think Smallville's Clark would've been so adversarial.  There would be no reason to.  Clark doesn't need to intimidate Bruce or destroy the Batmobile or threaten him.  Clark knows that Bruce knows how powerful he is.  And since Smallville Clark wouldn't give up on Bruce, Smallville Clark would always come from a place of diplomacy.  He would've been talking the whole time.

Please note that this is all based off memory of Smallville (which I haven't watched since it came off the air) and Man of Steel (which I haven't seen since it came out).  I'm essentially writing off Clark's characterization from BvS (which I haven't seen since it came out) or Justice League (either version) because Clark is barely in it.  Maybe there are tons of examples of Smallville Clark acting like Cavill Clark.  But I know there aren't many versions of Cavill Clark acting like Smallville Clark.

I'm interested in your response as well.  Especially since I would be willing to bet you remember the actual Smallville Clark better than my headcanon, which could be being overly generous to Welling.

Re: DC Superheroes in Film (Theatrical and Streaming)

I don't think your memory is off, but I would offer some nuances. You may think I'm contradicting you at first, but once you get to the end of this, you'll find that I agree with you.

Speaking strictly in terms of the writing: the SMALLVILLE version of Clark Kent's character didn't hold together very coherently. The most glaring fault in the way Clark was written throughout the series was actually summed up by you when you remarked, "Throughout Season 8, Clark is trying so hard to save Davis Bloom from his fate as Doomsday. If Clark had tried as hard to save Lex as he tried to save Davis, I don't think Lex would have gone evil."

For most of Seasons 1 - 7, Clark's confidence in human nature seems nearly non-existent. Even when he loses his powers, he maintains The Secret towards Lex; he joins a football team of bullies and psychopaths; he has no dedicated ambition to use his power to save people and never seems to go on patrol -- there is something very lacksidasical and callous about how someone with Clark's powers self-isolates on a farm for most of Season 7. The only thing he seems to care about is Lana.

Season 8 rebooted Clark's character significantly to who he probably should have been by Season 2: he is actively pursuing his goals of serving the world as a superpowered first responder, he is going on patrol, he is building a network of allies and support staff, and Lana is in his past.. However, this drastic improvement also created some oddities in character-continuity.

In Seasons 1- 7 Clark having killed any number of supervillains by throwing them into sharp objects or turning their powers on them or heat visioning them or electrocuting them in the heat of combat. Season 8 abruptly has Clark not only declare that he doesn't kill, but acts like that's always been the case, particularly when Clark judges Oliver Queen as morally bankrupt for (supposedly) blowing up Lex Luthor with Luthor's own bomb, to the point of kicking Oliver off the Justice League (only for everyone on the League to take Oliver's side once Clark isn't looking).

The result is that Clark looks like a hypocrite even though, paradoxically, this was probably the first time the writers had really tried to stay true to the comic book character. It's very strange: the show consistently insists that Clark believes in the decency of all human beings and has a high moral standard, but in actuality, Clark is distant and aloof and guarded and didn't practice in Seasons 1 - 7 what he preaches in Season 8.

Henry Cavill's character seems to have all of the flaws described above: Clark kills in the heat of combat and if angry, he might well do it again. He fights with rage and fury when his mother or Lois are threatened and is otherwise tightly wound and coiled up. As a child, Clark saved a schoolbus full of children and was told by his father that perhaps he should have let them all drown.

Clark's father was later caught in a tornado and commanded Clark to stand by and do nothing to save him lest his powers be exposed to the public; Clark complied. These experiences have left Clark doubtful and shaken, untrusting and suspicious of others. His father didn't trust the world to treat Clark well or to see his powers used for good.

When Clark throws a punch against a superpowered alien invader, it devastates small town buildings, shatters skyscrapers. In MAN OF STEEL, Clark is undoubtedly surrounded by 200,000 dead people in the wreckage of the fight with Zod when he flirts with Lois and kisses her, implying a certain disconnection from human experience.

We could assume that, in MAN OF STEEL, Clark spent weeks after the Kryptonian attack digging out bodies and survivors and rebuilding the city just as he was trying to find survivors of the Capitol in the ULTIMATE EDITION of BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN... but we never see it and it's never discussed.

And, as with SMALLVILLE, this version of Clark was drastically rebooted into a distinctly altered personality. The depiction of Clark in JUSTICE LEAGUE under Joss Whedon's direction and writing is noticeably very different: Clark in JUSTICE LEAGUE is indulgent, happy to let some little boys interview him for their podcast, and answering all their questions with thought and sincerity.

He describes kindly how the S-insignia is not an S, but a river, that winds and flows, representing the flow of hope. When asked what his favourite thing is about Earth, Clark genuinely ponders the question and smiles brightly as he answers.

Later, Clark bursts into the battle against Steppenwolf, but just as quickly flees when he hears the cries of civilians in danger and turns his attention to them first, engaging in a friendly competition with the Flash to see who can save more people.

Ultimately, the writing of Tom Welling's Clark and Henry Cavill's Clark, at least to me -- have a lot of the same problems. Both depictions suffer from a distinct lack of proactive compassion and empathy whether it's for guest-stars, extras and potential collateral damage, or their local communities. They are focused on juvenile soap opera crap (Lana or Lois) instead of saving lives.

Both versions of Clark display little to no trust in human nature, hide from their problems and struggles, are motivated by a fixation on a woman, and are passive until they are reactive. However, Welling's Clark is a defensive fighter who seeks to contain and immobilize while Cavill's Clark seems to fight with decades of pent-up frustration and fury.

But -- that's the *writing*. The memories that Slider_Quinn21 has shared of Tom Welling and Henry Cavill seem to be less about the writing and rather the impression that these two actors left on Slider_Quinn21's mind. And in terms of the performances, these two actors could not be more different.

Henry Cavill is a very aloof, guarded actor who, when playing troubled characters (like Clark in a Zack Snyder movie), holds his characters at a distance from their actions and their supporting casts. Cavill's characters are burying their secrets, insecurities, demons and fears away from the world while still bearing the weight of them. Cavill adopts a distant and somber presence for this.

The result is that Cavill's Clark can seem really joyless -- except when Cavill is performing a Joss Whedon script where he has to save civilians and tell jokes, and suddenly, Cavill's aloofness is replaced by a glowingly warm, commanding charisma.

Tom Welling, however, is not aloof or guarded. Tom a paradox: he is an introvert who wears his heart on his sleeve. Tom is a low-key, quiet soul who likes to buy out the stock of children's toy stores and spend weekends in his garage putting them in gift wrap so that he can distribute them to low income families come Christmas.  Tom's inherent thoughtfulness, compassion and decency of character is not a performance, but a genuine expression of his true self.

As a result, Tom Welling's screen presence exudes a superhuman level of patience, goodwill, trust, caring, kindness and belief in the fundamental decency and positive potential of all human beings. There is a delicate caring to Tom's onscreen persona that the camera picks up: the carefulness with which he walks and speaks to others, the humility with which he listens, the patience that he conveys, that makes Tom seem superhumanly kind even when the writing isn't on his side.

MAN OF STEEL and BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN 'suffered' from excessive budgets where Superman's powers are most memorably rendered in Superman punching supervillains, smashing them through walls and buildings and cities. The most memorable images of Henry Cavill's Clark are him flying and punching as buildings (presumably filled with people) are reduced to rubble. This does not create the impression of a great humanitarian.

Despiet Joss Whedon's efforts, Henry Cavill's Superman will be remembered as a cold, distant, troubled Superman of war.

SMALLVILLE had the 'advantage' of a low budget at a time when digital effects were very costly. As a result, SMALLVILLE was limited to only showing Clark's powers in one specific area: the supersave. While Clark was not very proactive in Seasons 1 - 7, he did use his powers at least once an episode, and Clark's feats were always in rescuing people: shielding passengers from their exploding cars, ripping innocent people out of the path of bullets, pulling people out of crashing trains, catching girders before they pulped a human being, yanking people away from fires, catching people as they fell, etc..

As a result, the most memorable images of Clark across 10 seasons is Clark rescuing someone whether it's his parents or or Lex or Chloe or Pete or Lana or some random guest star of the week. Saving people is what Clark did most frequently onscreen in SMALLVILLE. Saving people is where SMALLVILLE put the bulk of the budget. As a result, the common memory people have of SMALLVILLE's Clark is that he is a compassionate protector and rescuer, and the fact that he was a little lax and uncommitted to the job before Season 8 is easily forgotten.

And ultimately, while the first seven seasons of writing let SMALLVILLE down, I think Tom Welling and the special effects artists put in the work to ensure that SMALLVILLE's Clark will always be remembered and loved as for their vision of Clark Kent as a superhuman paramedic, firefighter, first responder and as a character of empathy and compassion.

Ultimately, I think both Welling and Cavill suffered from writing that didn't suit them or their roles, but Welling spent more time saving people and had a more naturally compassionate screen presence (because that's what he's like in real life), so he seems much nicer than Cavill.

It would feel a lot easier to ask Tom Welling's Clark to do your podcast than to ask Henry Cavill's... although Henry Cavill's Clark will do your podcast too, which demonstrates how if the writing is there, the actor can incorporate it into the character.

Re: DC Superheroes in Film (Theatrical and Streaming)

I think that's totally fair.  I have considered doing a rewatch of Smallville, but it isn't something that I've been able to do.  There's so many new things that I want to watch that I struggle with going back and watching something that I've already seen.  My wife and I have been *very slowly* watching shows we think the other will like since our marriage started (as in we've watched 1.5 shows in 6 years), but Smallville is on the short list of shows we could do.  Considering how slow we are (or, more appropriately, the long gaps we do in between month-or-so binges), that might be the last show we do before we die big_smile

I know that Clark was a bit of a soapy character, but I still remember him being friendly and caring.  I think often to the final scene of "Run" where Bart and Clark race.  I think Clark genuinely wants to help Bart and genuinely wants him to stay.  I struggle to consider Cavill's Clark being that open or friendly.  Not only do we not have any scenes of Clark hanging out with anyone (other than his mom or Lois), but like you said, Cavill comes off as guarded.  He's probably the most introverted Clark we've ever had, and it just isn't what I want my version of Superman to be.

I'm not saying being introverted is bad, I'm just saying that my head-version of Superman is someone who is both eager and happy to approach basically anyone with a smile and something kind to say.  I think about the girl from All-Star Superman who was going to jump off the building and Superman talks her down.  That feels more like Welling's Clark.  I'm not saying Cavill's Clark wouldn't have saved her, but I wonder if he'd be less likely to approach and if he'd have to save her after she jumped.

The problem, to me, is that I don't think Snyder likes the traditional Superman.  He likes Batman, and he wrote a Clark that's a little bit brooding.  Who has a little bit of a darkness to him.  Who thinks its more cool to be a superstrong alien than a normal guy from Kansas.  That's why his Superman is in three movies and 1) dies in one and 2) ends up going evil.  I think a kindhearted, good-natured Clark doesn't interest Snyder, and that's why we don't get much of that.

And even if that's not true, the characterization of Clark that we're shown paints that picture to me.  Maybe Clark rescued a bunch of people after Metropolis.  Maybe he has tons of friends that he hangs out with.  Maybe he's outgoing and kind and friendly.  There's just not anything in the films to really prove that, outside of the fact that people seem to love Superman in that universe.  Lex, Bruce, and Wallace Keefe (the amputee that works with Lex) seem like the only people who don't trust him.  I don't think they'd love him if he was always cold and brooding like he appears whenever we see him.

And it's absolutely not fair to compare Welling's Clark and Cavill's Clark because their screentime is drastically different.  We get a couple hundred hours of Smallville, and Clark is on screen for most of that.  Cavill gets a lot of screentime in Man of Steel, but he's a secondary/tertiary character in BvS and he's dead for most of Justice League (even the 4-hour version).  So we spend so much more time with Welling than Cavill.

And I'll say this.  Cavill looks the part.  Maybe more than Welling and definitely (at least to me) more than Corenswet.  I think you're right that Whedon's version allows him to be more like a traditional Superman, and he carries it off.  To me, this is an issue with Snyder's interpretation of the character and not Cavill's performance.  I think if you'd reversed the characterizations, Cavill could've been great.  I also don't know if Welling would've been good in Snyder's version of Clark, but I just haven't seen Welling in enough roles to know.

Re: DC Superheroes in Film (Theatrical and Streaming)

I vaguely recall seeing Welling in the first 10 minutes of a Netflix/Hallmark movie that I elected not to finish watching because it looked awful. He was wearing a lab coat and he was a doctor in a hospital and my first thought was that Clark was undercover on assignment for the Daily Planet and Lois was hiding behind one of the counters. Tom was standing so tall and authoritatively that I just kept seeing Clark.


I finally got around to watching the Season 3 premiere of SUPERMAN AND LOIS and I was struck by how in the crazy Superman fight scene between Superman and a superpowered nutjob, Tyler Hoechlin's Superman is quick to move the fight out of downtown Metropolis and into an unmanned construction zone. Little things like these make Zack Snyder and Henry Cavill look worse and worse.