Saturday, May 14, 2011

Smallville finale shocker: no actual shots of Tom Welling as Superman!

Obvious spoiler warning: I'm not going to get into every plot detail of last night's Smallville finale.  The big climactic moments were disappointing for two reasons.  First, as usual with television superhero shows, the big action climax was painfully puny, especially for the payoff of ten years of mythology.   Basically, Clark flies through a possessed Lionel Luther (does that count as murder?) and then a CGI blue thing that is supposed to be Superman quickly flies into Apokolips and quickly moves it about three inches to the left, saving Earth.  The most emotionally potent moment of the finale was its opening and closing bookends, which had Allison Mack reading a comic book to her young child seven years into the future, a four-color tale of how Clark Kent became Superman and saved the world.  It's a weird breaking the fourth wall moment, but it served as a reminder of just how potent, primal, and powerful the Superman mythology really is.  

The climactic Lex Luthor monologue (dear god was there a ton of 'monologuing' last night, the episode seemed pitched to those who had never watched an episode of the show and/or had no understanding of the Superman mythos at all) hit all of the expected notes, but it felt like an inferior and less emotionally powerful version of the finale of Unbreakable ('Now that we know who you are, I know what I am!").  But the bigger problem is that Clark has basically been acting as Superman for at least the last few years of the show, if not the entire series run, so his 'transformation' into Superman is merely a case of getting a new set of duds and a new nickname.  So here's the million dollar question: Why didn't we get to actually see him wear those duds?  Sure we get a few CGI far-away shots of Superman.  And we get a few closeups of Tom Welling's face with a cape billowing behind him.  But we did not get a single full-body shot of Tom Welling dressed as Superman.  Any guesses as to why this was?  Was Warner Bros so worried that fans would be 'confused' with the new Superman: Man of Steel movie coming out next year that they forbade the show from showing Welling in costume?  Please share your guesses below, because I'm at a loss as to why the show's producers would cheat the fans out of the very iconic moment that they have been waiting for over the last ten years.  Screen grabs from Comic Book Movie of just what I'm talking about are below (obvious spoilers). 

Scott Mendelson


lwr said...

my gut says Wb. they have no idea how to handle their Comic characters, hence all the " different universes" for the likes of batman, superman, and green lantern. my guess is that since they are stupid and think that we are stuoid and would not know thatthere hvae been as many suoermans as james bonds( or at least batmen).

Kola said...

Firstly, you read comicbookmovie ?! WTH? I didn't think anybody reputable was influenced by those trolls. Secondly, I wouldn't be surprised with the movie division once again messing with Smallville. The movie people forced them to use Impulse instead of Flash, because a Flash movie was in development. And elements like Johnathan Kent's death to line up with the Superman Returns movie. The movie division just seems to like dicking around with Smallville for whatever reason.

Lastly, the finale really worked for me. I got the emotional payoff that I wanted. As you point out, it didn't work as an action movie, and if that had been what I was looking for I would have been disappointed. But I wanted resolution and the emotional beats really worked for me. It's ironic, but I wanted Returns to be an action movie, (and for $200 million I think we deserved that). So, I was grumpy at how small-scale and emotionally focused it was. However, Smallville's finale shared the same focus, and yet, made me completely happy! Weird but true. I got the emotional payoff and resolution that I wanted.

Scott Mendelson said...

I Googled pics of the finale and found the above treasure-trove at the Comic Book Movie website, so I made a point to credit them accordingly. And thanks for calling me 'reputable'.

brentc07 said...

You seriously found the Chloe reading the comic bookends the most emotionally potent? I can list a ton of scenes and moments over that.

alittler said...

I watched the first few seasons of this show before I realized I never gave a crap about anyone that was not played by Allison Mack. My sister, being such a fan, meant that I kept up with the series generality until the 7th season - still not giving a crap. I decided to give this last season a shot because, well, it is the last season.

This episode felt like the last few seasons of 'Lost', leaving me to constantly check my watch to see how much time it had left for something to actually happen. Nothing actually happened. With Darkseid being the ultra-mega villain of the entire series, we were somehow supposed to be satisfied with the mere 1.5-2 seconds of screen time he actually had?

Are we supposed to believe that a couple of madly in love early-twentiers, who are madly in love and met each other lovingly at the altar, decided to wait 7 years after before remembering that they were once at a wedding?

I do not see how anyone can receive any emotional payoff here, the scene with his parents were cute, but where did his love for his farm turn so sharply into wanting to sell it? I remember the episode where he got the deed, he was not into it. The episode before this was almost as pointless as the deed bit and the Luthor bit - his mind was changed within that episode, and all Luthor did was act as a cheap excuse to not show Darkseid again. And for what? There was all this build up, all tis crap about magnetic tattoos and all for a small planet?

And regarding Apokalips, what the hell? Since when can, a) satellites not tell when crap is coming to Earth, b) can satellites not tell the difference between planets and asteroids and, c) be so easily moved by a newly minted Supe? Planet x gravity = heavy.

It was terrible in ways that, considering the last half-decade of episodes, I should not be surprised. I don't even like Superman and I am still pissed.

Helping Hand said...

Apparently you didn't even watch the finale since it was stated they knew it wasn't a meteor, but didn't want to panic the public with the truth. You are so self-centered and limited in imagination that say you literally can't "see how anyone can receive any emotional payoff here"? You are the arbiter of your own opinions, but getting upset at others for having different opinions is the mark of a child. Sorry people disagree with you. Sorry that upsets you. Sorry you can't wrap your head around it. Sorry that people receiving the emotional payoff they wanted genuinely bothers you. In the future, stop second guessing others and concentrate on what you like or don't like. Otherwise, you are in for a life of continuing misery.

alittler said...

Ah yes, the good ol "He is right, apparently you didnt even *" comment, quoting ones self would have an entirely different feeling if I had to, and if it was was not in text right there;

"And regarding Apokalips, what the hell? Since when can, a) satellites not tell when crap is coming to Earth, b) can satellites not tell the difference between PLANETS AND ASTEROIDSs and, c) be so easily moved by a newly minted Supe? PLANETS x gravity = heavy."

Psst, I did not even call it an asteroid.

Lolz said...

Apparently your embarrassment has reduced you to gibberish?

Lauren said...

I loved the finale. I was not expecting the vows in the doorway scene. It is one of the most beautiful moments I've ever seen in any show or movie. I about cried at the last Kent family barn scene. Their relationship was the heart of the show. So much of the show and the finale was about fathers and sons. Lionel's twisted relationship with his children, yet still dying for Lex. It was never Lionel's ambition to live forever. Interestingly, it was always his plan to leave a legacy greater than himself. This was apparent even in the pilot and early episodes. He was always planning for after his demise. It was also fitting that both of Clark's fathers were there in the fortress to see the birth of Superman. They had done all they could and now their son was literally going to fly from the nest. I liked that the first person to see Superman was Lois. That smile they shared was incredible. How can a smile be great acting? I don't know, but I swear it was one of the finest pieces of acting either has ever done. Such a range of emotions and meaning packed into those smiles.

jan said...

I have been watching smallville since i was 10 and i was worried that they would just end it disappointing me like they do all other tv shows. dont know if that plays a role in it but i am completely satisfied with the way smallville ended.


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