The DC Extended Universe of movies began with Man of Steel, a movie that introduced Superman to a modern world. It was an attempt to start fresh with the character, and to make him relevant for today’s audiences. However, many fans who were familiar with Superman, whether that was from the comic books, the Christopher Reeve movies or various animated cartoons, agree that the depiction of Superman we had on the big screen was a far cry from who and what the character was always supposed to be. While Henry Cavill was a great choice to bring the character to life, the character was missing exactly that. Life.
Then, two years ago, a new Kryptonian made the jump from comics to screen – the small screen. Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl proved popular from the start, a source of inspiration to young women and men everywhere. But it wasn’t just that this take on Kara Zor-El was a great character all on her own that led to her popularity. In fact, as time went on, it became increasingly clear that this Supergirl was a much better Superman than the one we had on the silver screen. Today, CBR lists 15 reasons that Benoist’s Supergirl is truly the Superman we deserve.
15. SHE DOESN’T SEE HERSELF AS A GOD
On her television show, Supergirl has proven many times over that she is just a regular girl, with regular problems. She doesn’t have an existential crisis about what her presence on Earth means. Instead, she has simply embraced the fact that she is there to help others, and she returns to her as-normal-as-can-be life whenever she is done for the day.
The DCEU’s Superman doesn’t have that clarity. He acts as a god among men, detached from those he saves. Statues are built in his image, and he keeps humanity at arm’s length. He doesn’t abide by the rules of the world’s governments and that leads to a lot of friction. But Supergirl knows what’s in her jurisdiction, and she knows how to respect the authorities of mankind, and the forces that govern them.
14. SHE ACTS LIKE A REPORTER
From the very first episode of the series, Kara Zor-El has been working at Catco Worldwide Media. Although she was Cat Grant’s assistant for the first season, it didn’t take long for Kara to prove her worth and mettle and earn a job as a full-fledged reporter. But even then, under the supervision of a new boss, her work wouldn’t be easy. Being a reporter is actually tough work.
When it comes to the DCEU, Clark Kent basically got a job at the Daily Planet just because, in the closing moments of Man of Steel. He didn’t earn his position, or work to get it. The position was just there for him. And even when he had the job, we barely ever saw him working as a reporter, because he was too busy dealing with Batman and the rest of the world’s issues with him.
13. SHE DOESN’T BROOD, SHE SMILES
Over the course of two movies, you could probably count on one hand the number of times Henry Cavill’s Superman cracked a smile. While the actor perfectly embodies the character off-screen, he wasn’t allowed that luxury on-screen. Instead, we had a Superman who spent most of his time brooding intensely, as he pondered what to do next, resulting in a very dark representation of Superman.
As for The CW’s Supergirl, the Last Daughter of Krypton is all about smiles and joy. Hers is a character who takes joy in what she does. She flies in the skies of National City, protecting its citizens in a cheerful and friendly manner. This is a characteristic that is all Superman, and yet the television series manages to convey that a whole lot more than the big screen movies do.
12. SHE CAN HANDLE KRYPTONITE
It didn’t take much for Batman to defeat Superman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. All it took was a chunk of Kryptonite turned into bombs, and a sharp k-spear. Once powerless, Superman didn’t have much in the way of fighting. He tried to hold his own, but he was mostly just beaten to a pulp. Now sure, this is understandable, considering Kryptonite is a Kryptonian’s only weakness.
But Supergirl, knowing that, took things even further with the help of her adoptive sister. In fact, Kara took fighting lessons while under Kryptonite’s effects, just so she could practice being weakened by it, so she could try to pack as much of a punch, even without her powers. She might still be weak around the green rocks, but Supergirl can handle it much better.
11. SHE DOESN’T SMASH THROUGH EVERYTHING
One of the major complaints that came out of the DCEU’s depiction of the Man of Steel was that he had little to no regard for his surroundings. Collateral damage wasn’t an issue for him, as he smashed through countless buildings in order to defeat Zod, Doomsday, and even, to an arguably lesser extent, Batman. Sure, the fights were massive and intense, but some of those buildings were downed unnecessarily.
The CW’s Supergirl is one who is much more aware of the infrastructure surrounding her. Sure, the destruction of public property is inevitable when superpowers clash, but she tries to keep it to a minimum. The odd building or car can get smashed, but cities aren’t leveled under her watch. Besides, she has also been known to fight away from the city, in secluded or abandoned areas, to make sure to avoid unnecessary devastation.
10. SHE PUTS EFFORT INTO HER DISGUISE
In her television series, Kara Zor-El borrows a page from the classic Superman mythology to turn into a bumbling, clumsy and frail individual when she is in her civilian identity. With her hair always neatly tied and her glasses on, she plays the part to make sure that no one can put two and two together and figure out who she really is.
But when it comes to the DCEU, Clark Kent is pretty much the same whether he is in or out of his Superman costume. He doesn’t act differently, doesn’t hold himself in a weaker manner, nor does he appear like he is truly wearing a disguise. He pretty much looks like Superman, only with a dress shirt and glasses on. The clothes are only part of the disguise – the manners complete it.
9. SHE IS NOT ABOVE STOPPING PETTY CRIME
For more than two seasons, Supergirl has gone about saving anyone she has come across who needs help. From helping a plane land to stopping a bunch of bank robbers on the run, there isn’t anything that happens in National City that is above Supergirl’s involvement, a true testament to her resolve to help mankind in any way she can. The true definition of a Superman.
When we travel to the DCEU, however, we witness a Superman who is much more detached in his involvement. He saved the world from an alien invasion, he got involved in a space launch that went sideways and he saves Lois Lane. A lot. This Superman doesn’t take much time to listen to what is happening around him and get involved wherever he can. Chalk another win up for Supergirl.
8. SHE IS HOPE
The symbol Superman and Supergirl wear on their chest, the crest of the House of El, stands for hope back on Krypton, and this is what both characters try to inspire for mankind. It just so happens that Kara is a whole lot better at it than Kal-El. In fact, although Superman may be painted as a savior in the DCEU, rarely does he stand for hope. Rarely does he stand to inspire humans to be better, other than in his sacrificial death.
This is another area where Supergirl shines. When it comes to helping others, Supergirl understands what she stands for, and what she can inspire. Fighting or feats of strength will not always be her first course of action. Sometimes, she understands that her words can be just as powerful, whether she is talking down a villain or inspiring others to stand up for themselves.
7. SHE DOESN’T HESITATE TO PUT HERSELF IN HARM’S WAY
When Zod’s forces came to Earth in Man of Steel, they demanded that Kal-El give himself over to them, threatening the entire world until he would make his presence known. And yet, Clark, knowing full well the danger that hovered in the skies, took his time to wonder what he could do, and even paid visit to a priest to ask for guidance.
For her part, The CW’s Supergirl doesn’t hesitate to put herself in harm’s way, especially not when there is an alien invasion at Earth’s doorstep. It doesn’t matter which villain is calling her out, or which threat the humans face. They are under her protection, and Kara will not hesitate to rip open her shirt and fly to their rescue — because she knows what she is, and she knows that she can help.
6. SHE DOESN’T LET HER FAILURES DEFINE HER
Superman shocked the world in the DCEU when he paid a visit to the Capitol in Dawn of Justice. When a bomb went off inside, he wasn’t quick enough to save everyone, and he let that defeat weigh heavily on him. In fact, with the world’s response towards this outcome and his ineffectiveness, Superman went on a bit of a self-imposed exile, journeying to the mountains, returning only when Lois Lane would be in danger.
On Supergirl, Kara Zor-El has also seen her fair share of failures. This is normal, considering it’s part of what makes a hero a hero – to see how they overcome their failures. While Kara gets knocked down, when the world tries to shut her out or when Catco turns against her, she doesn’t take no for an answer. She doesn’t run away and she doesn’t give up being a hero. It’s part of what makes her exactly who she is.
5. SHE’S A TEAM PLAYER
Even when he knew that there was a vigilante crime-fighter in the streets of Gotham, Clark Kent decided that the Bat should stop. Even when both Wonder Woman (who he didn’t even talk to) and Batman joined in to help fight Doomsday, the Last Son of Krypton barely did anything to help protect his allies. He ran off to help Lois, and he concocted a plan to kill the creature without telling anyone — something that led to his death.
For her part, Supergirl knows the value of friendship and alliances. She has surrounded herself with friends and fellow heroes that can be there to back her up and vice versa, from the entire DEO, to her sister, to Martian Manhunter, Mon-El and even the Guardian, from time to time. These are relationships that help define Kara not just as a team player, but as a good friend.
4. SHE SAVED THE WORLD MORE THAN ONCE
In the DCEU, Superman has managed to save the world all but once – from General Zod and his invading forces. After that, he didn’t have many big threats to face. The only other global danger would be Doomsday, who Superman managed to defeat with the help of Batman and Wonder Woman. But it’s fair to say that, even without Superman, the other two heroes would have surely found a way to slay the hulking beast.
Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl, however, has dealt with these kinds of threats nearly on a weekly basis. Sure, not every villain she has faced had the capacity to destroy the world, but she did manage to stop an invasion of Kryptonians, as well as an incursion of Daxamites. She defeated the White Martians, and she has stopped the threats of villains like Livewire, Metallo and Reactor. And she’s not showing any signs of slowing down.
3. THE WORLD ACTUALLY LIKES HER
Even though Superman managed to save the world in Man of Steel, he immediately became a divisive entity, with many people calling for sanctions and regulations on his actions. It reached a point where he was almost as reviled by some as revered by others. His actions sparked international debates, which resulted in the US government seeking to get Superman in front of a tribunal.
Supergirl’s is a much different world, one where not every single one of her actions is the source of debate. In fact, she takes no political stance, choosing instead to fight for no one and everyone. This has resulted in the President of the United States endorsing her and the citizens of National City embracing Supergirl as their very own protector. Kara isn’t a source of conflict, but of heroism and inspiration.
2. SHE DIDN’T DIE IN HER SECOND YEAR OF SUPERHEROING
Superman came to Earth. He saved the world from the invading forces of Zod. Then, he spent the better part of a year stirring trouble on the worldwide political stage. Then, a new threat arrived in the form of Doomsday, and Superman died, sacrificing himself to save the world. Sure, that was quite the heroic move, but it was one that was entirely too soon in the Man of Steel’s career.
For her part, Supergirl has now been active as a superhero for over two years, and she didn’t die yet. Sure, she came close quite a few times, even once almost succumbing to the Black Mercy, but she has always pulled through. Showing her strength and her resolve, Supergirl has proven that she is the one true Superman by being a superhero longer than the DCEU’s version.
1. SHE DOESN’T END LIVES, SHE SAVES THEM
Henry Cavill’s Superman shocked the DC fandom when he decided to put an end to Zod’s life by snapping his neck. If there is one rule that Superman, the idealist superhero has, it’s that he doesn’t kill. It’s not what he represents nor what he believes in. He is the hero who finds a way. Always. The DCEU didn’t even stop there, with Superman killing a warlord threatening Lois’ life. And that’s not even mentioning all the people in Metropolis’ fallen buildings.
On television, Supergirl, much like the true Superman, doesn’t believe in murder, no matter how far a villain can take things. It was true of her aunt, and of Metallo, and of Livewire. They were all dangerous threats, and still she never once opted to end their lives. Instead, Supergirl roams the skies as the ultimate superhero, and the ultimate version of Superman, one who puts life first. Always.
Would you like to see Benoist’s Supergirl join the DCEU? Let us know in the comments!
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