3 of the Best vs 3 of the Worst is exactly what it sounds like – 3 of the best examples of either an actor, film series, genre, etc. versus 3 of the worst. It’s also an opportunity for you to have your say on my choices and whether you would have placed something ahead of my best or my worst. Today is actors who have played Superman…
Having recently seen Man of Steel and being bombarded with all the promotional material that goes with it, it got me thinking about all the other versions of Superman on-screen. There haven’t been many but I’ve managed to pick six to make a 3 of the Best vs 3 of the Worst that I’m sure will be as controversial as always. I don’t see myself as a huge Superman fan but I know what I like. So here we go…
3 of the Best
3 – Tom Welling
I’m going to start controversial but in my defense, for ten years, Tom Welling has been Clark Kent. Not the bumbling, “clumsy-on-purpose” Clark Kent of the comics or the films, but Superman without the cape. He has grown into the righteous, forthright and morally incorruptible character that we associate with the comics and when he did finally become Superman in the series finale, I kind of wanted a season of him in the cape and the tights.
2 – Henry Cavill
Again with the controversy but he actually did a decent job as Superman. Not so much Clark Kent but his Superman was fair, commanding and powerful without being too distancing. When he has his meeting with Lois in the interrogation room, it felt very Superman, and he channelled the person in the number one spot better than the actor who was hired to actually portray him. I want to see Cavill as Superman, just in a better film than Man of Steel.
1 – Christopher Reeve
I never really appreciated Reeve’s Superman until more recently. I always saw him as too weedy and “human” to portray the powerhouse from the comics. Seeing the films though, its clear why he is a whole generation’s version of Superman. He plays him with great authority and a comforting, assertive smile. His Clark Kent is the one to follow and imitate and he clearly sets the benchmark that Cavill is close to reaching.
3 of the Worst
3 – George Reeves
This one is a harsh choice. I’m not hugely familiar with Reeves’ Superman but from what I’ve seen, he is a very “stunted” Superman. He doesn’t have the freedom that the others do and he is hardly comforting or approachable. He seems more like a hard-nosed detective from a traditional 50’s show than a representation of the most famous superhero in the world but he is a product of the time the show was filmed.
2 – Brandon Routh
I feel sorry for Brandon Routh. He wasn’t awful as Superman. He does a great job of imitating Christopher Reeve and looks enough like him to be passable. He has some great Superman moments but he never really convinces. He never seems like the man to take control of a situation or for everyone to get behind. While I watch Routh, I can never shake the feeling that he is “pretending” to be Superman rather than portraying the character properly.
1 – Dean Cain
Dean Cain’s Clark Kent is the best. Better than Reeve and better than Welling. He is sensitive, clumsy but in a more believable way and he hides his powers while using them fantastically. There is a reason why ninety percent of the Lois and Clark (New Adventures of Superman) were about Clark Kent rather than Superman. When Cain became Superman he never made a great transformation. He was nothing more than a smiley face and a stern look. He was never a convincing Superman and was always Clark Kent, even wearing the blue and red.
Overall, a difficult list this week because there are so few to choose from. I was reluctant to include George Reeves at all but there was only one other person on the list I missed out (Kirk Alyn) and I hadn’t seen enough of his show to make an informed judgement. I’m sure the order will be the controversial, debatable aspect so bring it on… I welcome the comments (gulp).