I’ll be up front about this: I’m not a super hero fan. Don’t misinterpret that as being anti super hero; I just didn’t grow up reading comics. I do claim some parts of geekdom (video games and books) but I never got into comic books, Star Wars, Star Trek or Pokemon. Just understand that this critique is coming from someone who is looking for something new to watch but isn’t already allied to the subculture. Alright, moving on.
I want to like Supergirl. Maybe not as much as the true fans, but I can definitely see how Supergirl could bring view a feminine perspective on the whole superhero thing. I enjoyed Xena: Warrior Princess when it was on TV and the old Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, so I figured that this might be somewhere between the two.
Episode one doesn’t quite hit it for me. I know, I know. Got to give it a little bit of time to hit its stride. But let’s point out some of the issue I had with the first showing:
- The writing/acting/directing: I’m not exactly sure which to blame this on, but some lines just sound so cliched:
- Jimmy Olson to Kara when talking about Superman: “He is everything you want him to be and more.” – Yikes
- Quickly followed with: “He told me the biggest risk is never taking any.” …. 0_o.
- Jimmy to Kara regarding her resemblance to Superman: “Anyone ever tell you that you look a little like him right here?” The audience already knows that she’s related to Superman. The line adds nothing except creating more awkwardness on her part.
- Alex to Kara saying: “And thanks to your alien DNA, you can’t get pimps.” At the moment Kara is talking about an existential crisis and Alex is talking about skin care. *cringe*
- Winn to Kara saying: “Oh my god. You’re a lesbian. Oh Kara, that’s why you’re not in me.” Cliched.
- Winn after the initial non-caped Supergirl failed. “A cape aids with aerodynamics.” How does a loose piece of fabric flapping around everywhere aid aerodynamics?
- While getting ready for her date earlier in the episode, Kara says she can stop a bullet. But then when getting ready to stop a bank robbery, Winn asks if she’s sure she’s bullet-proof. She responds, “I hope so.”
- Hank Henshaw’s line: “We realized we weren’t alone in the universe and we soon might be getting more… immigrants.” The way it’s delivered makes it carry a lot of negative connotations.
- Alex talking to Kara: “…I was the star. And then, I mean, how can compete with you, with someone who could touch the stars.”
- Hank and Alex’s exchange regarding Supergirl: “I don’t trust aliens.” “There’s no one I trust more.” *eye roll*
- Kara to Hank: “I started this. You have to let me stop it.”
- Hank and Alex’s exchange regarding Supergirl: “She’s not strong enough.” “Why? Because she’s just a girl? It’s exactly what we were counting on?” Nice underhanded way of calling Hank sexist.
- When Alex questions Hank if Kara was the reason she was recruited: “Yeah.. you are why you get to stay.”
- “Up, up and away.” Yeah, I know it’s a nod to the source, but really?
- Art direction
- Maybe this is a reference to something else, but the picture Kara picks up in Jimmy’s office of Superman looks Photoshopped with the coloring.
- Supergirl’s flying leaves something to be desired, especially when she makes the initial transition from hovering to forward flight. (And once again after she get’s her suit, this time transitioning from flying to hovering)
- The shot of Kara doing an overhead lift of the falling plane looks to be a composite. She’s standing too still under the plane.
- When Kara pushes up into the plane to lift it higher above her head, the metal deforms unrealistically.
- The wire work of Supergirl getting punched into the air by Vartox is meh. Shortly followed with Supergirl doing a two foot flying kick that looks even worse.
- One of the last shots of Supergirl up in the sky looks like they sped up the film and she’s just standing against a backdrop with a fan blowing on her face.
- The acting
- Kara’s laughter after Jimmy Olson asks her name. We get it, you’re suppose to be a nerdy/geeky assistant who becomes more. Seriously, I think the point was already delivered in the way she dresses.
- Kara saying “Wow” after leaving Jimmy Olson’s office. The previous awkward exchange already showed that she was infatuated with him. This snippet added nothing.
- Kara and Alex’s exchange about who has a more pressing engagement is petty (purposefully so?). Also, Alex has to be on a plane in two hours for an international flight. Anybody that travels knows that picking out a something for her sister to wear really doesn’t give her enough time to get to the airport.
- Kara date was extremely short and the exchange within it felt forced. Not acted like it was supposed to be forced but like the actors forced their way through it.
- Alex’s *itchiness toward Kara after coming home from the flight, asking, “Are you okay?”
- Kara’s crying after mom’s holograph disappeared.
- Odds and Ends
- When the plane is going down and Kara uses her X-ray vision, why is no one using the deployed masks or in a brace position?
- Also, why is the pilot circling the city if an engine’s caught fire? Why not immediately make an emergency landing?
- I guess since there are no more phone booths, all heroes now have to run through alleys to change their clothes.
- Why did Kara start on the wing of the plane? If the plane’s going down, logic would say to get directly under it.
- What’s with choosing “She’s a Bad Mama Jama.” Doesn’t quick fit the tone for Kara’s first official work as Supergirl.
- Kara stating, “You’re plane. They were trying to stop you.” How did she know that?
- The DEO helicopter is a really bad shot.
- Vartox landed so conveniently next to his ax, which is quite nicely standing on end, after getting ejected out of his truck.
The one bright spot in the whole episode was Calista Flockhart. I think she was cast well.
I’ll probably come back and edit this for readability, but at least my initial thoughts are out there. Let me know what you thought about the episode.