Sunday, October 10, 2010

Episode Three: The Last Son of Krypton - Part 3

The conclusion of the premier trilogy follows Superman as he uncovers Luthor's plot and deals with his own burgeoning celebrity.  Luthor's trying to sell his Lex-O-Suit to a rouge, Russian-esque state named Kaznia, under the guise of theft.  This will of course trigger even larger contracts with the US military once his suit is in the hands of the enemy.  Lois figures this one out, but so does Clark and that allows him to save her butt... for the second time in these three episodes.  This time she was pretty ballsy about the whole thing though.  Superman saves the day, and delivers a warning to Lex Luthor: "I'll be watching you, Luthor".

Evan:  The final section of the mini-movie is the best one yet, as Superman fights giant robots and saves the day. While the action scenes were fun... Superman has to deal with his own mess from the end of the previous show as well as stop Luthor's battlesuit, the real gems in this episode were the character moments.  Being the very start of Superman's career, the show establishes the status quo with some iconic scenes: Superman grants his first interview to Lois Lane, Superman floats at the window watching Luthor, Superman discusses him problems with his adoptive parents.  I loved all of these, especially the final stare down with Luthor.  By setting up Lois and Clark as the only two to get under Luthor's skin, and Superman standing up to Luthor in a way that makes him flash his greatest weakness - that wonderful temper - the show makes me excited about a future that moves beyond Superman fighting Luthor in a giant robot for no reason every week.

Lois really stole most of this episode for me.  From her casual throwaway that she used to date Lex, to her manhandling a drunken dock-worker that's obviously been an informant for her in the past, to her willingness to just cold knock a dude out with a crane, she was a hurricane of general amazingness.  Even through she ended up in her usual captive role, she managed to get there more honestly than her lame "backing over a brick" cliche from the last show.  I'll give it to her as insane rather than incompetent.

I really, really enjoyed a bored-out-of-his-mind Clark paying lip service to Jimmy's photos. I miss the bow tie less and less.  I actually want to see more of the two of them.

I've always loved the happy, bright moments in comics.  If the rest of this show is like this episode, I'm going to absolutely love it.

Kristin: Let me start with my delight in the fact that Superman is not a complete pushover, either as Superman or Clark Kent, as he can easily be characterized in order to deepen the expanse between the hero and his alter-ego. Mild-manners are not a way for Clark to disguise his heroic identity and I'm not sure Superman is ever vulgar or brash enough to convince me that "mild-mannered Clark Kent" is supremely different. The way that Clark holds his own with Lois at the office and kicks some serious Luthor ass via the silent treatment followed by a one-liner makes me very happy. I'm hoping that his personality develops a little further past parries, grunts and simple statements, but for the first three episodes of a superhero cartoon I'm fairly pleased.

I'm not so sure he should be a better reporter than Lois, though. Which he almost is in this episode. Although it is Lois who shows some real guts in her attack of the Luthor story, which I suppose is better than most love interests can say. I think the repartee is nice between them, but I think that letting Lois do the journalism and Superman the heroism allows her a niche beyond girlfriend that is rarely filled. She becomes a function of the story instead of an archetypal romance. Her being the voice of Superman to the public is vitally important to me buying the fact that the world simply accepts this alien being on their planet with extraordinary capabilities without any sort of limitations or questions asked. She gets to be those questions. And in turn, she gets the notoriety as well as the establishment of a more personal relationship with Superman, making the romance more interesting and natural. I like that the show is establishing the link between the two. We know that Superman needs Lois Lane almost as much as Metropolis needs Superman.

Lex Luthor... Hmm, I'm not certain what to make of him yet. I made the comment to Evan that I thought it suitable that the only match for the strongest being in the world would be the smartest (hence, Luthor.) but I wish he appeared less physically intimidating than he does. I'm not sure how he is classically depicted besides the baldness, but it would seem to me that a better counterpoint might be a physical frailty. Sure, there's illness, but why is he animated like a body-builder? If it's a stylistic thing, it's a shame, as I believe that it ruins a bit of the fun. If it's always done this way, I wonder why.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in Canada!

Final Thoughts:  Nice to see some personality developing from all the characters.  It feels like the developers wanted to get through the intro as much as we did.

Evan's Episode Rating: 9/10 (Lois Lane Ratio: 0 incompetent / 1 insane) - Again, I hope they're all this much fun.

Kristin's Episode Rating: 8/10 - I like that the characters are all upping their game. Now they need a game to play!

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