There hasn’t been another person more constant in Superman’s life than his longtime love interest Lois Lane, who over the past several years has taken on a more prominent position in the Man of Steel’s story. Much of her early appearances in Superman comics consisted of being a damsel in distress or a means to demonstrate her famous boyfriend’s growth at the expense of her own agency. This shifted in films like the original Superman, Superman Returns and now Man of Steel.
Superman Returns continued the light-hearted series of films made famous by Christopher Reeve, with Kate Bosworth assuming the role of Lois Lane, while Man of Steel charted a grittier path, with Amy Adams taking over and introducing audiences everywhere to a redheaded reporter. Each had a depiction of Lois Lane that felt fully developed, rather than being thought of as the Big Blue Boyscout’s romantic partner; but whose was better?
10 MAN OF STEEL: FEARLESS
Lois Lane isn’t a secretary at the Daily Planet fetching Perry White coffee, she’s a no-nonsense newspaper reporter who gets out on the beat and finds the hard-hitting scoops. She isn’t afraid of Superman and more importantly, she isn’t afraid to put herself in harm’s way to understand him.
She’s intrigued by Superman and where he comes from in Man of Steel, as well as the global threat he may pose, and she never lets her personal feelings get in the way of locating the truth.
9 SUPERMAN RETURNS: NOSTALGIC
While the spectacle never disappoints in Superman Returns, it’s the heart of the film that captures fan’s imagination. It soars on the basis of nostalgia and fond memories of Richard Donner’s Superman, and features a Lois Lane to match.
Bosworth’s Lois Lane has the resourcefulness of Margot Kidder in the Christopher Reeve films, as well as a certain spunk, which she uses to challenge and confront Superman after he shows up on a rooftop after a five year absence.
8 MAN OF STEEL: NOT DEPENDENT ON SUPERMAN
A key component to depicting Lois Lane effectively is to give her agency, and her portrayal in Man of Steel feels independent of Superman. Her character is both in service of the storyline, and fulfilled as a character who is developed on her own.
She doesn’t need Superman to save her, and doesn’t go looking to catch his attention. She has her own story arc that doesn’t rely on him coming to her rescue, because she’s more than capable of taking care of herself.
7 SUPERMAN RETURNS: RESOURCEFUL
In Superman II, Lois Lane and Superman conceived a child, and the offspring of Superman featured in Superman Returns has his father’s superhuman abilities. Lois raises and protects Superman’s son in the many years he’s absent, eventually finding a loving partner in Perry White’s son Richard.
Her fiance isn’t the antithesis to Superman, he’s very similar except in one respect; he’s there when Superman isn’t. He shows up, and Lois picks a man who makes an effort when it counts, not in saving the world, but just one family.
6 MAN OF STEEL: WELL DEVELOPED
Lois Lane is one of the most well developed female characters in comic books, and her strength transcends genre fiction. Margot Kidder showed audiences exactly why Superman would fall for a gutsy veteran career woman, and Amy Adams made a valiant attempt to follow in her footsteps.
She may not perfectly match Kidder’s aplomb but she doesn’t need to. Kidder’s Lois may have kicked a gun out of a robber’s hand, but Amy Adams is no slouch either when it comes to some of the action in Man of Steel. She feels like a real person, and not a comic book character.
5 SUPERMAN RETURNS: HAS HER OWN LIFE
In Superman Returns, Supes spends quite a bit of time spying on his old flame, using his extraordinary powers to observe her having dinner with her fiance Richard White and her son. He watches her lead a life separate from him, with people who care about her.
The sequences aren’t just to show Superman what he’s lost, but to highlight what Lois has gained, in a life apart from Superman, and one that isn’t defined by his presence influencing every aspect of it.
4 MAN OF STEEL: CHEMISTRY
Amy Adams has a salient charm and charisma that bubbles out of her core even when she’s being the self-possessed Lois Lane, and her percolating personality when paired with Henry Cavill’s thoughtful strength makes for some super-sized sparks between Superman and his lady.
They don’t try to replicate Margot Kidder and Christopher Reeve’s chemistry either, but instead create their own, and the relationship feels organic and rarely forced.
3 SUPERMAN RETURNS: STRONG MOTHER
While Man of Steel never got to delve into what would happen if Lois Lane and Superman had a child together, Superman Returns picked up where Superman II left off, when Superman and Lois conceived a boy with the same incredible super powers as his father.
It was an interesting choice to depict Lois as a mother, navigating not only single motherhood but how to keep the secret of her child’s identity from the world and Superman’s enemies. It helped to demonstrate another side of her toughness, even if some fans felt that at 22, Kate Bosworth looked too young to have a five-year-old son.
2 MAN OF STEEL: INTELLIGENCE
Man of Steel is a reboot, and therefore begins with the premise that Lois Lane has no idea who Superman is (or Clark Kent for that matter). Eventually, she pieces together the clues and figures out his extraterrestrial origins, and tracks his movements by his compulsion to participate in heroic deeds.
Later, in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, her investigation of the unique bullet in the notebook and Wallace Keefe’s involvement demonstrates her capacity for critical analysis, something which eventually saves Superman when she foils Lex Luthor’s plans.
1 SUPERMAN RETURNS: NOT SUPERMAN’S PR AGENT
Lois Lane didn’t want to write another piece on Superman after he left, and her critically acclaimed article hit him like a slug of kryptonite. She was done with him after he abandoned her five years previously, and only followed him again at the insistence of Perry White. She was through being Superman’s PR agent, and instead wanted to focus on Lex Luthor’s power outage.
Correctly, the power outage is in fact the real story, which ends up being sourced to his schemes for world domination. Lois’s reporting acumen and sagacity make her mature and astute.
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