Warner Bros. // 2010 // 929 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 22nd, 2011
Flights and tights.
It's been ten years of glimpses, promise, red herrings, canonic oddities, and male baldness but here we are, a decade since Smallville first hit the airwaves and Clark is finally ready to seize his destiny.
But there will be angst. Oh yes, there will be angst. Nothing is easy for mild-mannered Clark Kent (Tom Welling). He is tantalizingly close to realizing his destiny as Earth's greatest hero and possibly marrying Lois Lane (Erica Durance), but things keep getting in his way. First it was Lex Luthor, then it was Doomsday, and most recently Zod started messing with Clark's life. Now he faces his biggest challenge yet: Darkseid, the extraterrestrial super-menace who threatens to seduce the population of Metropolis into total darkness and possibly crash a huge-ass planet into Earth.
The final season of Smallville is a perfect microcosm of the series -- at least my engagement with the series, which conveniently hailed back to Season 8, just when things shifted full-time to Metropolis and away from Dawson's Creek. It's an uneven affair, dotted with genuinely iconic and affecting imagery, and laughably moronic plot points. The good news? Unlike some other seasons, this finale pretty much nails it, offering virtually everything fans have been clamoring for since Clark first stumbled in front of Smallville High his freshman year. Even better news: No Lana Lang. After so much waiting and hoping, that's a major check mark in the positive column.
Actually, there are a lot of things that work here, most notably the Lois/Clark dynamic. Say what you will Lana fans, Lois and Clark are an iconic America pop culture duo. For the most part, the writers treat this pairing with the right amount of respect, doling out some memorable moments (the end of "Homecoming") and ensuring that episodes feature substantial advancements in their arc.
Unfortunately, some of the more painful engagements are also Lois/Clark centered, including the ridiculous "Isis," where Lois's body is taken over by a deity and the baffling "Prophecy," which has Jor-El endowing Lois with Clark's powers for some reason. That last one brings up all kinds of questions about Jor-El. If he has the ability to arbitrarily grant someone super-powers, what's he doing freezing his balls off on an ice cube instead of actually doing something helpful? Plus, this was the penultimate episode, and arguably the clunkiest of the bunch. Bewildering.
But really it all boils down to the finale, and the two-hour story pretty much delivers. The writers don't pull any fast ones, ensuring Clark's destiny is indeed fulfilled. Granted, some of the CGI-infused craziness got a bit muddled, but I'm willing to look past that and give everyone their props. Superman's arrival is indeed quite cool, and the very last sequence is pitch-perfect, with the exact right final scene.
There you go, ten years in the books. Superman can't seem to catch a break in most of the media he's featured in. Look, he's yet to appear in a playable video game, and only two of his five feature films have been good. Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain's Lois and Clark had some charm, but was brutally corny. And that leaves Smallville, a series that sported some inconsistency, but always managed to conjure up enough fun moments to keep the rich mythos humming. Season 10 is just as inconsistent, strewn with questionable CGI, hokey line-reads, and goofy plot devices. But when it counts, the Man of Steel rises to the occasion.
Another outstanding technical treatment from the Warner Home Video Blu-ray brain trust: the 1.78:1/1080p high definition transfers are fantastic, stunning in their detail and dripping with color. The double-edge sword applies, of course, with the enhanced resolution undercutting the low-fi visual effects, but this presentation blows the broadcast HD out of the water. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is suitably loud, blowing out the bombast nicely during the more kinetic scenes. Extras: Commentary on two episodes (not "Homecoming" or "Finale" for some reason), deleted scenes, a music video, and two featurettes: the first looking at the making-of "Homecoming" and the second examining Lex and Clark's father/son relationships.
There are speed bumps and potholes on the way to destiny, but Smallville sticks the landing. Terrific Blu-ray.
Not Guilty. Up, Up, and Away! (For realz this time.)
Review content copyright © 2011 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 929 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Episode Commentaries
* Deleted Scenes
* Music Video