Why You Should Be Watching Supergirl

When I first heard there was a Supergirl TV show in the works I was skeptical. Supergirl has never really held her own as a solo comic book character. Her comic series tend to get cancelled quite a lot but she’s a popular character when she shows up in ensemble books so it’s surprising they took a risk on a high budget solo series for her. I’m really glad they did though because it’s one of my favourite TV shows on right now and here are some reasons you should be watching too.


They’ve Started Their Own Continuity

In the show Kara Zor-El is the cousin of Superman who was sent to watch over him on earth when he was a baby. However, something went wrong and she was lost in time for a while meaning when she arrived Clark had been there for 20+ years and he didn’t need her protection anymore. Her comic origin is a much more ridiculous and complicated story involving a shrunken city in a bottle (Yes really) so I can understand why they went with their own version. This leaves them free to develop their own universe without all the baggage Superman brings with him. He still exists in their world but they keep National City pretty separate from Metropolis. They have also inserted Supergirl into some classic Superman storylines and situations. Surprisingly they’ve picked a lot of the more “out there” stories and characters to deal with in their first season. The greater DC universe is filled with aliens but this is the first live action thing to even mention them outside of Kryptonians. 

It Respects The Source Material 

Now this is not to be confused with being overly serious about your story like Batman Begins or Man of Steel. In my opinion trying to make everything gritty and down to earth loses the very thing that makes comics so great. They’re fantastical, you routinely see things that could never happen in the real world. For some reason TV and movie execs used to think people weren’t ready to accept the wonderfully stupid world of comics. Thanks to shows like Supergirl, Flash, Arrow and the Marvel movies they’re starting to realise that there are literally decades of amazing storylines just waiting to be adapted. 

Supergirl embraces it’s silly history, it’s not afraid to put bad guys and heroes in their actual costumes with their original origins. They’ve done what many people have tried and failed to do (looking at you Zack Snyder) over the years and made Superman’s villains interesting in live action form. It’s been a complete breath of fresh air not having them rehash the same old Lex Luthor crap every other Superman movie and show seems obsessed with. Supergirl has been working her way through an interesting mix of costumed aliens, robots and meta-humans. She’s teamed up with the Martian Manhunter, had her DNA stolen to create a Bizarro Supergirl and even wrestled with a mind controlling alien plant in an awesome re imagining of the “For The Man Who Has Everything” comic storyline. These are all the types of things comic fans have wanted to see Superman do for years but no one’s had the guts to do it outside of cartoons.

It’s Full of Positive Characters


One thing that immediately stands out about DC’s TV shows is that the main character is always surrounded by an incredibly supportive group. They really emphasize the value of friendship and working together. I think it’s important for younger fans to have these kind of positive heroes as role models. Too many young DC fans are going to grow up having only watched the misguided movies from Zack Snyder and thinking that these worst versions of DC Superheroes are the norm.

Supergirl is also one of the few powered female superheroes we have on film right now. She flies around going toe to toe with super powered aliens, regularly saves her male friends from danger and they don’t make a big deal out of it. James Olsen doesn’t sulk because he’s been emasculated or make a joke about being saved by a girl, he thanks her for her help and they go on being friends. She also has a much less overtly sexualised costume compared to her comic counterpart, her friend Winn makes her a less practical outfit in the first episode but Kara promptly rejects it.

It’s About To Become Part of a Bigger Universe 

They recently aired an episode where The Flash made a cameo appearance on Supergirl because the parent company CBS owns them both. The set up for the episode was that Flash accidently creates an interdimensional portal and ends up stranded on Supergirl’s Earth. This was such a good reward for long term fans of both series. Seeing Flash and Supergirl excitedly geeking out about each other’s universe had me grinning ear to ear the whole time and it’s actually the thing that inspired me to write this post. That’s what fans want to see when superheroes meet up, we want them to be friends and to help each other. Not try to murder each other (Looking at you again Snyder). 

We didn’t know at the time this episode was announced but it was actually the start of something bigger. Season 2 of Supergirl is moving channels in the US and will be joining The Flash and Arrow on The CW channel. This will mean that they’re free to cross them over whenever they want. If there’s anything comic fans love it’s a good crossover and I’m so excited to see what happens when the three tv shows are finally allowed to meet up. 

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Batman v Superman: The Day My Hero Died 

This was a deeply disappointing movie for me to watch. I’m a practically life long DC and Batman fan, I was born in ‘88 so I didn’t get to see the ‘89 movie until it was shown on TV. My earliest memory of the Batman is watching it on a rainy Saturday afternoon at my Grandparent’s house and having so many questions about this mysterious dark knight. 

I was also the perfect age when Batman: The Animated Series started in ‘92 and this excellent portrayal is what I consider to be my Batman. Brought to life by the voice actor Kevin Conroy, this Batman was kind and altruistic but knew when and how to dispatch thugs when he needed to. Batman was a true role model for our generation and he’s been a constant presence in my life. But that’s not the Batman I saw on screen in Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice. What I saw was my childhood hero turned into an unrepentant murderer and that’s not okay with me.

*Spoilers for Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice*
  

Injustice

Batman kills a lot in this movie. Just off the top of my head: he blows up multiple cars full of people with mounted machine guns on the Batmobile, shoots multiple people with pistols and heavy machine guns in a post apocalyptic dream sequence, knocks a thug’s grenade out of his hand and leaves them to explode and shoots another thug’s flamethrower tank with an assault rifle again resulting in a fiery explosion. 

To me this felt like complete betrayal of everything the character stands for and I want to go into a bit more detail on that.

As a character Bruce Wayne’s defining moment is undoubtedly the mugging turned murder of his parents. They were shot and killed in front of him which is what started him down the path to becoming Batman. He wanted to rid the streets of the kind of scum who indiscriminately destroy human lives figuratively and literally. He values human life and is always ready to give people a second chance to leave their life of crime behind. No one man should decide who lives or dies and Batman does everything in his power to ensure criminals are caught and sent to jail alive.

Weapons on the Batmobile aren’t something new, over the many incarnations he has used projectile weapons but they are usually used to disable a vehicle or destroy obstructions. He should never use them to shoot a car until it explodes. 

Fair enough, the post apocalyptic Batman we see is a dream sequence but in my opinion it adds nothing at all to the story. It was a pointless inclusion. There should not be footage of Batman in a major movie gunning down hordes of soldiers with an assault rifle. It’s just not right.

In the final Batman scene he infiltrates a warehouse full of thugs which was their big chance to make it right but again he murders some of them. Now granted the thug with the grenade was mostly responsible for his own death but the Batman I know would have at least tried to minimize the damage caused by that situation. The last guy he comes to is pointing a flamethrower at the hostage Batman’s trying to rescue so it’s a desperate moment but a better Batman would have used his knowledge to disable the weapon hopefully without blowing the guy up.
  

World’s Finest    

Maybe it does sound unrealistic for Batman to dispense vigilante justice without taking a life but that’s the point. Batman is supposed to be the best of all of us. The pinnacle of humanity. A man who over his comic history has faced down god-like beings from other worlds and bested them. He should never even want to pick up a gun in the first place after what happened to his parents. By avoiding killing he can also ensure that he doesn’t orphan anymore of Gotham’s children himself.

This is what happened when my Batman was forced to pick up a gun in desperation:

He quits. Because if he let himself slip down that path there would be no coming back and the symbol of the Batman would lose its meaning.

With Great Power…

Director Zack Snyder not content with just destroying Batman also drags the Man of Steel’s good name through the mud too. 

Superman never shows any remorse in this movie for the events of 2013’s Man of Steel movie. We find out that he never made any statement or public apology for levelling a good chunk of Metropolis in the 18 months between movies. He doesn’t show and remorse or internal conflict over the murder of General Zod on screen.

Superman is another character that famously doesn’t kill because he is basically a god compared to a regular human. He knows that if he kills a human people would be terrified of him because he’s so powerful. So when he snapped Zod’s neck in the climax to Man of Steel a lot of his long time fans felt their character had been betrayed too. They had hoped that in the next film he would take responsibility for his actions and be held accountable but that does not happen.

He just emotionlessly flies through the whole movie and again in the climax a lot of buildings get levelled except this time they cram in some clumsy lines about the areas being after 6pm so nobody is at work in the financial district.

They do set up a scene where Superman is supposed to appear in front of congress to explain himself but just as he’s about to talk a bomb planted by Lex Luthor blows up the entire building. Then Superman just flies away and this is never addressed again! Snyder literally substitutes much needed dialogue for an explosion, it’s ridiculous. 

Doomsday

On top of all of this it was just a mediocre movie for me. It hits nowhere near the highs of Marvel’s Avengers but it’s not as bad/boring as Green Lantern either. All I was feeling was disappointment while watching this. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by Bruce Timm’s excellent animated universe but I don’t think it’s too much to ask to have a good Justice League movie in my lifetime. Sadly Zack Snyder is directing the future DC movies and they’re due to start filming soon so I guess I’ve got a few more years to wait.

Ending on a positive here are some shows I would 100% recommend over this movie if you’re curious about the DC universe: Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Young Justice, Arrow, Flash. 

(Most of these animated shows are on Amazon Prime Video right now)