Brandon Routh, who currently plays Ray Palmer/The Atom on CW’s Legends of Tomorrow, will reprise his role as Superman for the Arrowverse’s upcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline. Routh’s breakthrough role was as Clark Kent/Superman in 2006’s Superman Returns (a movie I would argue does more right than it does wrong), but since that reboot never quite clicked with audiences, it remains this weird outlier where Routh only got to don the cape once…until now.
The CW has released the first image of Routh in his Superman attire for Crisis on Infinite Earths, and it’s a big surprising. While I assumed they would put him in something similar to his Superman Returns attire, they’ve instead gone with a heavy influence from the 1996 mini-series Kingdom Come. The Elseworlds tale basically has traditional superheroes deemed as out of touch, but also in conflict with newer metahumans who are amoral and sometimes the offspring of the beloved superheroes.
What this means for the plot of Crisis on Infinite Earths remains a mystery, but the costume looks…well, it’s a network TV show, folks. Maybe one day someone will make a Crisis on Infinite Earths movie or a Kingdom Come movie, and they’ll have a really striking budget, but this is the CW, and while it’s certainly better than what a superhero show could do ten or twenty years ago, it still doesn’t look ideal.
That being said, I think in the end, the look of this CW Superman won’t really matter because it’s neat to see Routh back in the costume. As a fan of Superman Returns and his take on the character, I’m curious to see what he’ll do with it here. This is as close as we’ll ever get to a sequel to Superman Returns, and I’m glad Routh gets to play the Man of Steel again.
Here are the airdates for Crisis on Infinite Earths:
- December 8, SUPERGIRL 8pm ET/PT
- December 9, BATWOMAN 8 pm ET/PT 9
- December 10, THE FLASH 8 pm ET/PT
- January 14, ARROW 8 pm ET/PT
- January 14, DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW 9 pm ET/PT