HomeOur ObsessionsDCThe Daily Planet Dynamo: Ranking the best and worst of Lois Lane

The Daily Planet Dynamo: Ranking the best and worst of Lois Lane

She might not be able to fly, punch people through buildings, or shoot lasers from her eyes (wait, can Superman even do that?), but when Lois Lane is done right, the character is spectacularly smart, strong, and self-possessed – she’s a woman who could save the world with words if she really wanted to.

The Daily Planet Dynamo: Ranking the best and worst of Lois Lane

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Who even really cares? Today we’re here to talk about Superman’s better half and The Daily Planet’s fiercest reporter – Lois Lane.

As a culture, we’re understandably obsessed with the heroics of the Kid from Krypton, because the guy is a swoonworthy supernova and all-round good guy with some spectacular superpowers. However, despite not possessing any “super” powers, Lois is undoubtedly a different type of hero with her own spectacular set of strengths.

She might not be able to fly, punch people through buildings, or shoot lasers from her eyes (wait, can Superman even do that?), but when done right, the character is spectacularly smart, strong, and self-possessed – she’s a woman who could save the world with words if she really wanted to. But that’s not to say every depiction of the character has got it right over the years. Here’s our ranking of the best and worst depictions of Lois Lane in film and on TV.

9. Superman Returns (2006)

Firstly, Lois would never write an article about why the world doesn’t need Superman – that’s clickbait if ever we saw it and Lois is way classier than that. But secondly, in Superman Returns, Lois is reduced to being little more than a love interest and a mom – something that isn’t helped by Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush) reeling off lines as if her Uber arrived ten minutes ago and she has somewhere way better to be.

8. Man of Steel (2013) & all the other DCEU films

We don’t even know where to start with this hot mess of a depiction. Lois started out as an ambitious, tough-talking investigative reporter in Man of Steel (which we thought was cool, obviously), but by the end she was little more than a little lady who needed to take care of her big, important, super boyfriend. It’s an absolute waste of a great character and a phenomenal actor – Amy Adams (Sharp Objects) – and Lois Lane deserves far better.

7. DC Super Hero Girls (2015 – )

Voiced by Alexis G. Zall (Ouija: Origin of Evil), Lois’s design in this sweet kids animated series is wonderfully adorable, but the character is also crafted with depth and strength. In DC Super Hero Girls, Lois is a witty, skilled reporter for the school newspaper with a resolute commitment to telling important stories. She’s exactly the sort of role model you want young girls to see on TV.

6. Adventures of Superman (1952 – 1958)

When played by Phyllis Coates (Goodnight, Sweet Marilyn) between 1952 and 1953, Lois was depicted with a feisty noir edge, full of conviction and tenacity for scoring a great lead.

When Noel Neill (Campus Sleuth) took over the role until the show’s end, the character maintained that same audacious nature, but also showcased a greater sense of gallant wit and intelligence that made her unafraid to call men out for their bullshit, all while getting weak at the knees for the Metropolis Marvel.

5. Justice League: Unlimited (2004 – 2006)

There’s an emotional weight to the voice acting of Dana Delany (Tombstone) that really brings clarity to Lois’s identity in this animated series. The character is sharp and outspoken and completely unafraid to let Clark know he’s being a gigantic goober about this whole “saving the world” thing whenever it looks like his judgement is being clouded. It takes a big woman to take on such a super strength titan, but this Lois can more than handle it.

4. Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993 – 1997)

Though Teri Hatcher’s (Desperate Housewives) portrayal of Lois is definitely the sexiest depiction of the character ever seen on screen, her sexuality is never used to diminish her strength or drive. Instead, she maintains her headstrong approach to journalism while still capably dealing with the fact that her bookish dork of a man is actually a total jock from another planet.

3. Superman: The Animated Series (1996 – 2000)

Before lending her voice to the character in Justice League: Unlimited, Delany also voiced the most dynamic, lively, and sultry version of Lois ever seen on screen. As well as being ludicrously smart (dropping ever-so casual references to Nietzsche) and oddly sex-positive (her dialogue brims with sassy innuendo), Lois also dazzles with feminist ferocity with Delany lending an exquisite noir edge to her performance.

2. Smallville (2001 – 2011)

The young adult exploration of Clark Kent in high school didn’t exactly offer the best Superman storyline for fans, but it did provide a sparkling depiction of Lois. Erica Durance (Saving Hope) plays the character perfectly as a fearless and flawed young woman figuring out life while allowing her indomitable drive to thrust her towards the career of her dreams.

She’s sharp and witty, flirtatious yet guarded, focused yet fallible, and enjoys a series-spanning romance with the boy she calls “Smallville” without allowing it to derail her identity. Lois might not rock a cape or super powers, but in Smallville she’s a total hero.

1. Superman (1978) and the many sequels

Margot Kidder’s (The Amityville Horror) witty yet vulnerable performance as The Daily Planet go-getter secured the character feminist icon status among fans. She’s committed to being treated fairly and equally within a male-dominated industry and is an absolute boss on every possible level.

However, that doesn’t make her some cold-hearted career obsessed shrew. Lois is warm and compassionate and she’s able to let her guard down enough so that she can openly swoon and fall in love with the strongest (and geekiest) dude in the universe without ever sacrificing her own sense of self.

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Amy Roberts is a freelance writer who occasionally moonlights as a hapless punk musician. She’s written about pop culture for websites like Bustle, i-D, and The Mary Sue, and is the co-creator of Clarissa Explains F*ck All. She likes watching horror movies with her cat and eating too much sugar.

amy@filmdaily.co

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