Today we got our first look of the new Superman, played by Teen Wolf's Tyler Hoechlin, which he'll debut in season two of Supergirl. At first glance Hoechlin has the rugged good looks, the chiseled jawline, and the slicked back black hair that we're accustomed to when we think of the Man of Steel.
The costume is an update from past incarnations, but it's not as big of an update as Henry Cavill's portrayal in DC's cinematic universe. There's something that just doesn't sit right with me with this new version of a character we've all grown up with. While looking at the picture on the left, I wonder why Superman has a five o'clock shadow and looks a little sleepy. I'm also curious why this actor isn't filling out the suit like Cavill does in the movies?
When I think Superman, I think the perfect specimen, a man who looks to be chiseled from marble and placed in a Roman garden for all to marvel at. Let's take a look at some of the Supermen from the past and maybe you'll see what I'm talking about.
George Reeves played Superman in the 1950's, typecast in the role and wasn't really able to get the jobs he strived for before the role as the boy in blue. When you look at the picture of him, the image might look a bit dated and not at all what you would expect from the popular comic book character. The large red underwear is a bit much and just the look of George in costume doesn't give me that feeling of what a Superman should look like. Maybe it was just that era, where the image and physique of a man just didn't match exactly what was being portrayed in the comics.
I see a man in costume, playing a character who could do all the things a Superman could do. The problem with that is the fact that I do just see a man and don't believe what I'm seeing is the real deal. Yes! I know! It's just an actor playing a role, but if done right you just might believe in the possibility of a man who could fly.
George did a great job in the role as Clark Kent, a regular, every day man who works at a newspaper with a secret identity, but a Kal-El he was not.
Christopher Reeves, to many the quintessential Superman and there are no complaints from me with that argument. I was born in the era of Reeves. He was perfect on every level as the character. When you watched him you believed he was a man about truth, justice, and the American way. His Clark Kent was spot on, bumbling and geeky, but always a no show when Superman arrived onto the scene. The suit isn't that far off from George Reeve's costume, but the way Christopher carried himself is what sold me. His personality and magnetism as the character is what made us all believe that he was this unstoppable force towards his enemies, but gentle towards the ones he cared for.
Henry Cavill, the Superman of today's films in the new DC Universe. When you see this man in the suit, you believe in how powerful a Superman should be just by the sheer size of him on screen. You believe that this guy can lift a boulder over his head without breaking a sweat. Cavill is the first actor to play the Man of Steel and look the part without an argument from anyone. The only issue is his Clark Kent, a bit wooden in his dialogue delivery and not as bumbling like the Christopher Reeves portrayal, but overall a solid Superman with room to grow into a better character the further we dive into the Justice League.
The suit, an updated version and way different from anything we've seen before it, is probably the best version we've seen to date in my opinion. The underwear outside the blue is gone, the colors are darker, and the texture is more believable for what a Superman should wear. Thank God they got rid of that red underwear.
Of course there are a few Supermen I left out on this list, but there have been many versions of this character. Superman Returns was practically a film that was paying homage to the Christopher Reeve's era, and the Lois and Clark television show was more of a soap opera than about a superhero.
In my opinion, Christopher Reeves was the actor who gave us what a Superman/Clark Kent should be. He had the look, charisma, and personality to play the hero. As to whether Tyler Heochlin has the chops to play Superman is still up in the air until the new season of Supergirl aires, but I doubt he'll live up to the legacy of Christopher Reeves or fill the suit like Cavill.