Which actor looks the most like Superman to you?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by JonnyQuest037, Sep 12, 2010.

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Who looks the most like Superman?

  1. Kirk Alyn (1940s movie serials)

    1 vote(s)
    1.2%
  2. George Reeves (The Adventures of Superman, 1952-1958)

    3 vote(s)
    3.6%
  3. Christopher Reeve (Superman movies, 1978-1987)

    65 vote(s)
    77.4%
  4. John Haymes Newton (Superboy, 1988-1989)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Gerard Christopher (Superboy, 1989-1992)

    2 vote(s)
    2.4%
  6. Dean Cain (Lois and Clark, 1993-1997)

    8 vote(s)
    9.5%
  7. Tom Welling (Smallville, 2001-Present)

    2 vote(s)
    2.4%
  8. Brandon Routh (Superman Returns, 2006)

    3 vote(s)
    3.6%
  1. Nardpuncher

    Nardpuncher Rear Admiral

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    I'm not sure but I think the term "All-American" comes from sports and refers to a high school or college team or something.

    So usually when it's used I get an image of a guy from the 50s with a letterman jacket on. And yes, he's a white guy.

    Does that then lead to the conclusion that I don't think Hawaiians or other ethnicities are Americans would be putting the cart in front of the horse. When you think about it I don't think of a woman either when I hear "All-American".
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    There are decades of comics showing Wolverine as 5'3" and extremely hirsute, but people seem to accept Hugh Jackman in the role. And did Michael Keaton look even remotely like Bruce Wayne? The guy's only 5'9" and needed plastic muscles to compensate for his lack of real ones.

    A TV show or movie is a different reality from the comics, so there's no reason not to change things. Each adaptation has made numerous changes from the comics. They've offered widely varying interpretations of the backstory, the character relationships, the appearance of Krypton, the appearance of the Fortress of Solitude, etc. Lois and Clark was already a highly revisionist show in a lot of ways -- downplaying the superheroics in favor of romantic comedy, redefining Lex Luthor as a handsome, curly-haired romantic interest for Lois, turning Perry White into an Elvis fanatic, having no Fortress of Solitude (except as Clark's childhood treehouse), etc. So why be bothered that they did something else different from what the comics did?
     
  3. Nardpuncher

    Nardpuncher Rear Admiral

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    First, Wolverine is nowhere near as popular as Superman, so not many people outside of comic circles knows that he's 'supposed' to be short.
    Also, just because Michael Keaton played Batman doesn't mean everybody liked him as Batman/Wayne or thought he was the best choice.
    Same with Dean Cain and the fact that Lois & Clark was trying to steer away from the Superman stuff and aim for the romantic aspect. I never watched it and I don't think it was high in the ratings.
     
  4. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, from a purely physical standpoint, those guys were miscast. That's not to say that they both didn't do a good job with what they were given, though. Heck, I loved Jackman in the first X-Men movie, but I still thought it was hysterical that Professor X had a hairier chest than him. :guffaw:

    Depends what you're changing. For me, if they get the BIG stuff right (general appearance, characterization, motivation, general details of the origin, etc), I try not to sweat the details.

    Lois and Clark always bugged me because it seemed generally distainful of the characters & seemed to go to great lengths to mock them at any opportunity. So it was a failure of an adaptation in my book. YMMV, of course.
     
  5. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Dean Cain. It's not even a contest.
     
  6. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm with Christopher Reeve, but I can envision young Bruce Campbell too.
     
  7. ClayinCA

    ClayinCA Commodore Commodore

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    It depresses me thoroughly that Dean Cain has more votes than George Reeves; even though I myself voted for Christopher Reeve (who will always be my Superman), Reeves is a close second for me.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's just numbers. A lot of the people posting here probably grew up with Lois & Clark as their first or primary introduction to Superman, whereas The Adventures of Superman is harder to come by these days. So even though Cain bears probably less resemblance to the Superman of the comics than any other listed actor save Routh, they see him as "their" Superman.
     
  9. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And yet, Christopher Reeve is far and away the winner so far. I wonder - could that be attributable to catching Superman the Movie on TV or DVD? Or would it be Gen X-ers like me (I was 6 years old in 1978) skewing the results?
     
  10. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Excuse my ignorance, but how exactly does a human "look like an alien"? :lol:

    And what does a so-called "exotic" look have to do with it? What does "exotic" even mean? Non-white? Non-European? Non-Anglo-Saxon? And how does looking like that help an actor seem more like an extra-terrestrial? Do people from other parts of the world seem less human? :cardie: :rommie:

    To me, all of the guys above look equally human - and I'm afraid that any other human actor they hire is going to look human, whether he's "exotic" in someone's eyes or not. ;)
     
  11. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    My primary introduction to Superman was the Superfriends cartoons, and I've seen every Superman on that list except for Kirk Alyn and contrary to the general consensus around these parts I think Dean Cain makes a great Superman because I'm not just looking at his face. Cain is the only one that actually looks like he's built like Superman. Routh is a stick. Welling is an emo athlete. The only thing that Chris Reeve has going for him is his haridresser was smart enough to put a spitcurl in his hair. And, I'm sorry all you George Reeves lovers...he wore padding!

    Dean. Cain.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Whatever you may think of Reeve's build, his body language captured Superman in a way no one else has approached. His ability to transform from Clark to Superman just by changing his posture and attitude was striking. And his experience as a glider pilot let him make the flying sequences convincing by giving the impression that he was actually shifting his weight and moving his arms to maneuver. Compare him to Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas, and Jack O'Halloran in Superman II. They just look like they're hanging from wires and sticking their arms out. Reeve looks like he's flying under his own power. That's why the slogan for the first movie was "You Will Believe a Man Can Fly."

    Of course, few of the other Superman actors have really gotten as much of a chance to demonstrate flying skills, since the use of flight effects tended to be more limited in the various TV shows, whereas both Alyn and Routh had their flying shots done via animation. I guess there was a fair amount of flying in Lois & Clark, particularly in later seasons, but it was generally the same principle as George Reeves used, lie the actor down on a plank in front of a screen -- except it was a greenscreen rather than a rear-projection screen. I'm sure they and Superboy used some wire work, but I don't recall either show enough to say how much. But if the actors sold it at all, it was probably by emulating Reeve's precedent.
     
  13. Jetfire

    Jetfire Guest

  14. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I could accept all that and leave it at that if the thread question was about body language and acting. It isn't. It's about a specific look, and in terms of specific looks, the closest Reeve gets to the way Superman has been drawn over the decades is that spitcurl.

    As Seigel and Shuster created him, Superman is essentially a circus strongman in colorful tights and a cape. Frankly, none of the guys listed here looks anything like a strongman, or much like the modifications of the initial image made by different artists since. What I'm saying is, Cain comes closer than the rest of them. Yes, Reeve made you believe a man can fly. Cain makes you believe that he can also lift a roadster over a ganster's head and throw it into a mountainside.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, you must pay more attention to men's bodies than I do, because I never noticed the difference in physique. If anything, I was surprised to learn that Cain was a former football player, because he never struck me as particularly muscular or burly. He always seemed to me like a fairly "soft" Superman, befitting the show's romantic-comedy approach.

    And I'm surprised by your rather aggressive negativity toward Reeve. Now, for a long time, I'd soured on the Reeve movies (until my recent reappraisal of Richard Donner's work with the character), but I always felt Reeve embodied Superman, looked like Superman, better than anyone else. Yes, there are differences in his facial structure, but there's more to a face than its structure. A face is a dynamic, expressive thing. And the expression, the attitude on the face of Reeve's Superman -- the combination of utter confidence and strength with easy gentleness and boyish openness, so that you recognized his power and authority yet trusted utterly that he was a protector rather than a threat -- that is what Superman should be, regardless of the shape of his nose or the circumference of his chest.
     
  16. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I agree with Christopher about Chris Reeves...he was my first onscreen exposure to Superman and I thought like Christopher said he did an outstanding job of capturing the essence of the character of Superman. He was great as the bumbling Clark as well.
     
  17. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You're right. You couldn't be paying that much attention because the difference in physique between the two is fairly obvious.

    I'm not negative specifically toward Reeve. I loved Superman-The Movie and Superman II and liked Superman III. What I'm negative toward is Hollywood's seeming attitude that it's impossible to teach a bodybuilder how to act well enough to be the lead in a summer superhero blockbuster, which seems to be why we keep ending up with smaller guys like Reeve and pencil-sticks like Routh playing Supes on the big screen. I want to see someone that looks like Superman off-screen play him on-screen. Just once.

    But fine, if you're going to insist on talking about portrayal instead of looks, let's talk about portrayal. I still wouldn't pick Chris Reeve. Why? Because everything you talked about in Reeve's portrayal was done twenty years earlier and for about a decade on TV by George Reeves. And done better, without George being a glider pilot and his having to stretch out on a table with that stupid wind sound effect behind him. Anything that Reeve brought to the character he built onto it by standing on Reeves's shoulders.

    Just being able to nuance the character doesn't make Reeve the best Superman, by any standard.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Oh, come on. George Reeves played Clark and Superman exactly the same. And he didn't even have the opportunity to demonstrate the kind of physical performance in flight that Reeve did, because he wasn't on wires. It's a ludicrous comparison.

    And I completely disagree that Superman should be built like a bodybuilder. For one thing, muscle bulk is not an indicator of strength. Bodybuilders enlarge their muscles for show, nothing more. Real, working strength doesn't require bulk; the physically strongest people are generally lean and wiry, not bulging.

    For another thing, when would Superman even get the opportunity to exert himself enough to build up really big muscles? For him, lifting a car is as easy as lifting a pencil for me. He wouldn't need to be excessively muscular to do his job.
     
  19. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I would say that it's a lot easier to get an actor into shape over the course of six months than it would be to teach a bodybuilder how to act in six months. Despite what some folks seems to think, Superman is not the easiest part in the world to play. Not just anyone can do it.
     
  20. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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