Smallville Review – “Finale”

In 1978, Richard Donner directed the world’s first good superhero movie. In 2001, a prequel of sorts first hit the airwaves. On Friday, May 13, 2011, that series ended after a 218 episode run.

Cast and Crew Information

Tom Welling as Clark Kent / Superman
Erica Durance as Lois Lane
Annette O’Toole as Martha Kent
Justin Hartley as Oliver Queen / Green Arrow
Cassidy Freeman as Tess Mercer
Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan
Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor
John Glover as Lionel Luthor
John Schneider as Jonathan Kent
Aaron Ashmore as Jimmy Olsen
Terence Stamp as Jor-El
Steve Byers as Desaad
Christine Willes as Granny Goodness
Michael Daingerfield as Gordon Godfrey
Laura Mennell as Janet Dawson (whose name may or may not be a nod to Janet Stevens and Micahel Dawson from the crew of the 1978 film.)
Alessandro Juliani as Dr. Emil Hamilton
Michael McKean as Perry White

Written by Al Septien, Turi Meyer, Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders
Directed by Kevin G. Fair and Greg Beeman

Premise

It’s the day of Lois and Clark’s wedding, and Darkseid arrives. He brings Apokalips with him.

High Points

  • “I have this friend… He’s good at impossible.”
  • The numerous references to the world’s first good superhero movie, with particular emphasis on the John Williams score.
  • I’ve always felt that Superman solo stories are hard to do well because of his power levels, and that Superman works best in the way he inspires others. In contrast to “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” he’s a character with effectively absolute power and virtually no signs of corruption. Although it was corny at times, particularly ending the mid-finale fight, this defintely captured that feel.

Low Point

  • The “previously on” bit worked better on Buffy’s 100th episode.
  • Where the heck did Lex come from?
  • That was the form and fight with Darkseid? I expected more.

The Review

The series finally took those last few steps. It feels original in the context of the show, but it was really the moment we’ve spent the last ten years waiting for. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects were decent. It’s hard to make a good Superman on a TV budget, and I feel that they didn’t quite pull it off. Granted, they kept the budget down by using Brandon Routh’s suit, which wouldn’t necessarily fit Welling (and seemingly didn’t), but both Superman and Darkseid were blatantly CGI at all times. The red sky was a nice touch “in the middle of a crisis,” though. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story felt rushed. Michael Rosenbaum agreed to return so close to the last minute that I don’t think they had a chance to set that up properly. Although the scenes between Welling and Rosenbaum have always worked well, the presence of Lex with the weight of his history just served to further undermine the presence of Darkseid. There are some fantastic moments in here, but they could have used a little more meat to connect them together. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting is one of the stronger elements. These people have been playing these parts for as many as ten years, and in most cases, it shows. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is well done. This crew has been working together for a long time, and this end was always their strength. The transition from original score to John Williams score was the perfect choice, and perfectly timed. The formatting of the closing credits doesn’t hurt either. My only complaint is how short the Superman/Darkseid confrontation was, but that’s a greater problem at script level than production level. I also strongly suspect it boils down to budget on an already expensive show. After all, it has now tied Stargate: SG1 for the largest number of seasons for a North American genre show, and beat their episode count by five. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response started out surprisingly weak for the first half of the show. It started to turn around a bit at the midpoint confrontation. As ham-handed as the scripting was, it started to tie into my favorite aspect of the character, which worked far more readily near the end. Those last ten minutes or so were exactly what I was hoping for. Then again, the John Williams Superman march is one of the most frequently played tracks on my iPod, so that alone would work wonders for me. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it was a decent ending. I hoped for more, and I think I’d have had it had they either spent more time introducing Lex this season, or spent more time building Darkseid. As it stands, I feel like both got shortchanged. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Finale receives 31 out of 42.

7 replies on “Smallville Review – “Finale””

  1. hikaricore says:

    I liked the part where everyone started running from Oliver simply because he tried to hand Clark the wrong ring. The wedding guests seemed mostly random and I spotted very few if any heroes there so how did any of them know what was going on? “Oh no Green Arrow is handing the groom a ring everyone run for their lives”… what horrible directing. Mostly it was all rushed but that one scene just stood out and irritated the hell out of me.

    • Fozzy_Bear says:

      As I recall it: Chloe noticed the error and clearly warned Clark by her expression and body language. Once Clark knew the plan, the jig was clearly up… And at that point , Oliver’s eyes whent black-on-black. – Once the folks on the front row started to bail, it’s no stretch that the people in the back started leaving without needing to know what caused the others (who could see better then they could) to freak out.
      But maybe I’m not remembering it all that well.

      Either way, I absolutely agree; The John Williams score was an EXCELLENT element.

      .

      Just my opinion, I could be wrong.

  2. JD DeLuzio says:

    Rushed? Rushed? I thought the story was almost completely incoherent. We had several laugh-out-loud moments at our place, in scenes that clearly weren’t supposed to be funny.

    Man, Apokolips took a long time getting to earth.

    However, it was good to see the mid-thirties (though in show terms, mid-twenties) Clark finally decide to be Superman.

  3. I’m just going to say, if they do a spinoff series after this focused on Green Arrow, I will totally watch that.

    • I vote for a Zatanna spinoff. Serinda Swan for the win!

    • Fez says:

      I concur on both counts (Especially Zatanna). Give the other heroes a chance to shine, they had plenty of others on the show over its entire run, more than enough to make a pseudo-JLA-like show. I’m sure the actors would love the work, and it would have retained a good chunk of the audience.

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