Supergirl joins her fellow DC superheroes at home on The CW and Superman truly returns.
Sometimes good things do happen. The saving of Supergirl and changing networks is one such example. We’ve previously stated that her character is inherently good. This is far better portrayed in her show than the last two Superman films have portrayed Superman. In the first season, Kara/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) would occasionally IM her big cousin and ask for advice or receive words and emoji’s of encouragement. We thought it was a nice way to show he existed, but we never thought he would appear.
But Superman has returned.
When we first saw Tyler Hoechlin as Superman we weren’t fans. How do we feel now that we’ve seen him in the role? It’s best if I describe the opening scene he’s featured in. Mild mannered reporter, Clark Kent clumsily bumps into a pedestrian on the street of Metropolis as he talks to his boss Perry White on the phone. He promises to have his story done and then sees that the Venture, a private space shuttle, is falling towards the earth after an engine failure.
This intercuts to Supergirl in National City as she sees the same footage. A news anchor in each city says that they hope their respective heroes are seeing this.
Cut to an alleyway as the glasses are thrown off and the buttoned up shirt is ripped open to reveal the ‘S’ on Superman’s chest. We expect that. But so far so good.
Then we see Superman get a running start before he leaps into the sky. The effects here are on par with Superman Returns, which has a similar scene this admittedly favors. But what’s different is the tone. This is… natural.
Supergirl is first to arrive. She grabs the nose of the Venture as Superman flies, yes, faster than a speeding bullet and calmly says, “Need a hand?” I can’t fully describe this to you, but it’s perfect. It’s… right. Supergirl replies with, “Hey cuz!” and he effortlessly says, “Good to see you.” Kara then follows with “This looks like a job for both of us.”
“Absolutely.” says Superman.
And they do save the shuttle. Spoiler! Afterwards they even ‘Say hi’ to some civilians. It’s all so right. This is Superman and his cousin Supergirl teaming up for the first time.
There are moments where multiple things align and the only way it can be described is magic. There was some magic in this.
Does Tyler Hoechlin look like Superman compared to others that have played the role? Henry Cavill, Brandon Routh, and even Tom Welling all inhabit the physical appearance and stature of the character more*. But none have had the chance to play the character in his truest form. This is where Hoechlin gets tricky; he’s a perfect Clark Kent and Superman, but is the smallest and most peculiar good looking actor to play the part yet. What seals the deal is how well the writers of Supergirl understand what makes these characters so special. Superman isn’t a hero forced into the role begrudgingly. No, he’s believes in truth, justice, and the American way naturally. It’s who he is. That’s what made the first season of Supergirl such a delight. They got it. It was just… right. The writing elevates Hoechlin, who brings his all. And it works.
As a fan of Supergirl I fear that she could be overlooked this season with her big cousin sticking around. It’s a Catch-22 as we finally have a proper Superman that is charming, heroic, selfless, confident, fun, and reeks of genuine boy scout. But it’s also paramount that Supergirl continues to be a positive influence and role model to our younger female audience. What I have faith in is that the showrunners already know this. If they can get the inherent nature of these two characters so easily then they know the tropes to avoid as well.
You can watch the Season 2 premiere of Supergirl here.
*It goes without saying that no one will ever embody the character of Superman the way that Christopher Reeve did. He is, was, and always will be the definitive Superman.