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Superman’s Top 5 On-Screen Romances

Lois & Clark
Written by Darren Pattison

Since Superman went cinematic in 1978, the Man of Steel has shared celluloid with an array of fine fillies. The most accomplished romantic in the hero world, Superman and his alter ego Clark Kent have ladies lining up just to be in with a shout of being swept away by the man in tights.

But there’s only one lady on his mind, no wait, there’s two ladies on his mind. Depends on how you count. Without further ado, here are our top 5 on-screen Superman relationships and the actors that brought them to life.

5. Christopher Reeves and Margot Kidder: Superman: The Movie

Superman Lois

In many people’s eyes this duo are the original and therefore the superior Superman and Lois Lane combination. They burst onto our screens in the classic  Superman (1978) and went on to star in all four films in the franchise. Who  can forget Clark putting his hand in the fire while the two were on a romantic break or Lois falling from a helicopter only to be saved at the last second by her hero.

Reeve set a high benchmark that is tough to pass as the ultimate Superman. His look was classic Superman; handsome, lean, tall with huge gravitas that followed him until his unfortunate death in 2004. Kidder was scatty and ruthless as Lois, she pulled no punches and knew how to get what she wanted. And she wanted Superman.
4. Brandon Routh and Kate Bosworth: Superman Returns

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Routh and Bosworth dragged the Superman franchise into the 21st century with the long overdue Superman Returns (2006). The film was greeted with a luke warm reception from fans and critics alike and the lack of chemistry between the two cited as one reason for the deflated response.

I personally loved the film and thought the two portrayed a unique take on the Kent/Superman and Lois Lane relationship. It was a more genuine performance than previous incarnations, bringing the characters from the comic representation into the real world with a more gritty, emotional and thought-provoking depictions of the protagonists. The first kiss between the two had more believable passion than the camp nervous energy of the 70s/80s duo provided and Routh and Bosworth both oozed sex appeal and were the perfect poster couple to relaunch a forgotten and under represented franchise.

3. Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher: Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

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Lois and Clark ran for 4 seasons and featured 87 episodes from 1993-97. It was a whole new approach to the story as it was a lot more Clark-centric than previous chapters in Superman’s history and was a big hit with fans of the superhero. Cain and Hatcher had a playful relationship and Clark was a lot more confident and seemed to encourage the flirting between him and Hatcher’s Lois. Theirs was a comfortable exchange and the attraction between them sizzled as the story hiked up the sexual tension as never seen before on-screen for the characters.

In the early episodes, the “will-they-won’t-they” hook kept viewers tuning in week on week. The traditional Superman dynamic played out in the first two seasons: Lois splitting her love and loyalties between Clark and Supes, back and forth she went as she became increasingly conflicted.  Who did she love and why? At the end of Season 2, however, Lois got to have her cake and eat it as she realised that.. SPOILER ALERT… Yes, Clark and Superman were in fact one in the same! Crazy, I know!  Who’d have thought it.  

A fun and flirty couple, Cain and Hatcher’s version had pizaz and no doubt was an entry point to a whole new generation of fans.

2. Tom Welling and Kristin Kreuk: Smallville

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Perhaps the most romantic version of Superman to date, Smallville is the story of a young Clark Kent as he deals with his ultimate destiny as well as the trials and tribulations of being a teenage boy. It’s hard to envisage the 6 ft 3in, hulking strap of a 24-year-old man that was Tom Welling, as a teenage boy but that was the reality we were presented. The next thing they’d have us believe is that he could fly and see through walls, ha, yeah right!

Smallville’s story was a beautiful concept that I fell in love with as a fan. Clark Kent’s first love, Lana Lang, was the image of innocence and perfection in Kreuk. It successfully showed Clark’s vulnerable side and the problems he faced as human endeavor and romance conflicted with his birthright and true destiny. The on-screen relationship between the pair was poetic as the hormonal Clark lusted after Lana and she, in turn, grew closer to Clark. Lana loved the friendship and support Clark offered but neither of them dared to bridge the gap between friend and lover for fear it would ruin all they had together.

The two did eventually get together, but their individual destinies inevitably pulled them apart.  Well, that and the complete over stretching of what was a thrilling and touching series until about Season 5 when I opted out. I’m not sure why American networks insist on flogging a story to death, although money may well come into it, but after 10 seasons the story, relationship and tone of the series (in my opinion) was bent out of all recognition and as a result lost the innocence and romance that made it so appealing in the first place.

At least Clark and Lana’s love story was sweet and endearing while it lasted.

1. Henry Cavill and Amy Adams: Man of Steel

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Can everybody say “Reboot!” Let me hear it! Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel will be unleashed into the world this year and anticipation and expectation loom large over Superman’s most recent outing. Early indications are good and this reboot hopes to give the Man of Steel himself the same rejuvenation Batman received from Christopher Nolan, but then again that’s what everybody was saying about Superman Returns. The trailer sees Clark and Lois holding hands in the face of an army bearing down on our hero. With love and hope in her eyes the new on-screen relationship looks like it will be as emotional and powerful as ever. It hits our screens on June 14th 2013 and I will be first in line to see another epic love story unfold.

What’s your favourite Superman pairing?

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About the author

Darren Pattison