My Adventures With Superman Review: Sunny Superhero Fun

Arguably one of the best things about the past few decades of superhero glut is the diversity of options available across film and television. Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins delivers a grounded portrayal of Batman’s early days. WandaVision bent reality for a surreal trip through TV history. Ant-Man’s a heist movie with super-suits. For a hard-R look at what people with superpowers might really do, look no further than The Boys. And for the first time since Henry Cavill put on the suit and cape in 2013, there’s a take on Superman that’s actually… dare I say it… fun?

That’s the immediate vibe of My Adventures With Superman, which returns for a second season on May 25th, following the first season’s debut last summer. The Adult Swim series, streaming on Max, finds so much joy in playing with these characters, including a deeply felt love for good ol’ Clark Kent from Smallville.

My Adventures With Superman brings the character back to basics, a quasi-origin story that begins with young Clark Kent (Jack Quaid) knowing he’s different, though unsure why, exactly, he’s able to leap buildings in a single bound. He’s also got other things going on, because he and his best friend Jimmy Olsen (Alice Lee) have just gotten internships at The Daily Planet, where they first encounter a dynamic (slightly more senior) intern named Lois Lane (Ishmel Sahid).

This Clark is perhaps one of the sunniest and most open versions of the character since the days of Christopher Reeve. The colors of his suit are bright blue and red; he believes people are fundamentally good; he’s got a huge crush on Lois but plenty of love left over for everyone and everything else. And Jack Quaid’s performance nails that youthful exuberance and occasional awkwardness — the only potential drawback is the cognitive dissonance fans of The Boys might experience, when hearing the voice of Hughie in a show that is arguably the complete polar opposite of the Prime Video series.

Beyond its innate wholesomeness, Adventures stands out for the speed with which it moves through plot: For one thing, this Lois is maybe a little smarter than past on-screen equivalents, and almost as soon as Superman becomes a public figure, secret government forces begin mobilizing with an eye on him as a threat. Plus, the “adventures” part of the title isn’t an exaggeration — the series features some overarching plot threads, but most episodes feature a stand-alone storyline, ranging from Die Hard-esque action to a jaunt through the multiverse to the worst Thanksgiving ever.

Only two episodes from Season 2 were made available for critics, yet the vibe from Season 1 remains consistent in these early installments, while also continuing to move the story forward (including the reveal of at least one new major villain). It all works so well — from the anime-style design to some great dialogue to the strong supporting voice cast (including Chris Parnell as deadly mercenary Deathstroke/Slade Wilson, which is honestly a genius choice).

Which is why it’s just a little sad, that it feels unlikely we’ll ever get more than two seasons of the series. The potential tragedy of My Adventures With Superman is that it received a two-season greenlight in 2021, when everything about the future of DC Comics adaptations was in flux. Since then, Warner Bros. has brought in Peter Safran and James Gunn to oversee the newly formed “DC Studios,” which will launch in 2025 with the Gunn-directed Superman, starring David Corenswet as the new on-screen Clark Kent.

The intention is for DC Studios to be a unified cinematic universe, as opposed to the sprawling confusion that was the past decade or so of film and TV projects that often overlapped. (Remember when Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen popped by to visit The CW’s Barry Allen? That was a real thing that happened.)

So while Adventures showrunner Jake Wyatt said in 2023 that Gunn liked the show and “we’ve been allowed to do our two seasons with no interference and a lot of approval,” there’s no indication that a third season is a possibility. In this case, it feels like we might as well just appreciate what we’re getting — rather than mourn what could have been.

Hopefully Gunn and Corenswet make note of this Superman’s sunny outlook, though. Because after the dreariness of Zack Snyder’s take — not to mention this increasingly dark world in which we live — the need for a Superman who can inspire audiences has rarely felt more profound. Even with comic book movies in general on the decline, the potential of the genre remains potent. There are so many different types of superhero stories, after all. Surely there’s room for optimism in at least one of them.

My Adventures With Superman debuts May 25th at midnight on Adult Swim, with new episodes also streaming on Max.

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