• Tag Archives Lois Lane
  • Canister X Movie Review #134: Batman v Superman (2016)

    batmanvsupermanBatman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
    Written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer
    Directed by Zack Snyder
    Runtime 151 min.
    4 out of 5

    After witnessing the battle between Superman and General Zod in Metropolis, Bruce Wayne takes it upon himself to ensure the Man of Steel isn’t a rogue alien who might one day enslave the human race. In the meantime, Lex Luthor has sworn to ensure humanity’s survival by securing for himself Kryptonite, which is later discovered to be the one thing that can weaken Superman. Worse, Luthor has a secret project tracking metahuman activity across the globe, which prompts Diana Prince to obtain the confidential data he has on her. To complicate matters, Luthor has also acquired the body of General Zod and creates from it an unstoppable killing machine—Doomsday, a being more powerful than even Superman. It’s going to take Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman to take down the beast lest the city—even the planet—is destroyed by this destructive force.

    Okay, this is a first impression review, with some processing time after.

    Batman v Superman is a comic book movie, and not in the campy sense. It has the feel of DC’s direct-to-video animated features and there’s an atmosphere to the movie that superheroes belong in the world created.

    The downside to the flick is it doesn’t work as a stand-alone film. There’s no strict A to B to C to the story. It’s more an introduction of story elements that will all play out in future DC movies instead. It’s like the first part of a giant graphic novel, and it is my hope that years down the road when all the other DC movies are released, what we will have is one massive story instead of what is usually given to us in today’s superhero flicks: each one a self-contained tale with subplots running through them that culminate in team-up adventures. If indeed DC’s plan is to make one giant movie, then that’s something never attempted before and never in the superhero genre. If this is the case, that’s brilliant and should be applauded. It’s jarring for moviegoers, but once they catch onto what’s going on, they’ll no doubt be amazed. After all, we do like our epics both on the big screen and TV.

    Superman/Clark Kent. Once again, Henry Cavill delivers as the Last Son of Krypton. In fact, I think his performance is a step up from his previous outing in Man of Steel. That first flick was about Superman finding his footing, and while there is still some of that here, it’s more about the world finding its footing now that Superman is on the scene. You can tell Superman has become a beacon of hope to the world despite how some might view him as a threat. He’s bigger, stronger, and carries with him that air of awe and wonder Superman should. We’re not supposed to relate to this god-like being, but instead look up to him as something and someone to aspire to, and Superman is very much coming into that form as the flick goes on. As for the Clark Kent side, reporter Clark in this flick was pretty much just Average Joe. There wasn’t all that much involved in creating a clear line between Superman and Clark Kent, that strong sense of two separate people. I wish there was, but I also see how Average Joe works better in the reality established in these movies than someone who’s an over-the-top nerd. At the same time, it would’ve been nice to see Clark trip over his own feet or bump into a desk or something to really give off that whole there’s-no-way-this-guy-can-be-Superman thing. There was also one scene I had so hoped for in this movie that never came and that was the classic Clark ripping his shirt open to reveal the S. Perhaps in another movie.

    Batman/Bruce Wayne. When Ben Affleck was cast, I got behind it right away. I’m an Affleck fan and knew he could deliver on what would be a worn-out Bruce Wayne, which would eventually give way to a worn-out Batman. What can I say? Affleck did a superb job. He did the playboy thing—though he could’ve played up the douche bag part a bit; yet at this point in his life, a cocky playboy might not be in the cards for him—and also did well when it was just him and Alfred. As Batman, this is the Batman we’ve been waiting for. Finally, oh finally, we got to see the comic book Batsuit and a Batman who’s fighting and action was the stuff that made the Arkham games so darn good. He also played the detective, which was never really in the other movies. And the bat-atmosphere? That part where he’s hanging in the corner in the dark and the light shines on him? Spooky and gorgeous. I also enjoyed the final fight and how Batman was portrayed. His limits as a human being with gadgets was shown, which is good, because I’m tired of stories where Batman somehow saves the day instead of the beings that are so much more powerful than him. I’m really excited for the forthcoming Bat-flicks with Ben Affleck in the lead.

    Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. Small hero part in this movie, comparatively speaking to the two male leads. As Diana Prince, Gal Gadot was mysterious and intriguing. There was also a sense of detachment about her which, once you learn who she really is, makes perfect sense since she’s from Themyscyra. When the Wonder Woman reveal happened, she stole the show. Sorry Superman and Batman, you were outshone big time. She had a heroic entrance—which is so important in superhero movies—a killer score, and was completely badass when she got down to business and helped in the fight against Doomsday. What was also interesting is while the movie didn’t get too much into who she was, she stilled carried her own weight and felt fleshed-out anyway. Of course, this could all be in my head since I know who Wonder Woman is and enough of her backstory to fill in the gaps. With the Wonder Woman movie in production as of the writing of this review, I know I’ll be one of the first in line when it comes out. She was that good.

    Lex Luthor. If Jesse Eisenberg is good at one thing, it’s playing the prideful I’m-smarter-than-everybody-else-in-the-room guy. And, yeah, that’s who Lex Luthor is. He’s a genius, and despite what he tells the public, has a contempt for humanity because he thinks he’s above it. Of course, the paradox is that he himself is human. In that regard, Jesse Eisenberg did a fine job. However, I still feel he was too youthful for the role since Lex is older than Superman in other incarnations, and Lex—as crazy as he can be sometimes—is more of a reserved crazy than someone more animated. It was this animated part that brought Lex down, in my opinion. Crazy is fine. Smart crazy is even better, but this kind of Joker-esque displays that happened now and then were out of place. Maybe given the ending Lex’s personality will change and he’ll be more reserved. We’ll see.

    Lois Lane. Amy Adams works for me. She does the hard-nosed journalist thing quite well, and the standard Lois Lane thing of getting herself into hot spots so only Superman can come to the rescue. I don’t mind this trope so long as it isn’t all the time. Her role in this flick wasn’t a main one like in Man of Steel. She was more part of Superman’s support team despite her entanglement in some of the later conflicts in the movie.

    Alfred Pennyworth. What can I say? Jeremy Irons did a good job as Alfred, who is also Batman’s co-combatant. Sure, he didn’t don a costume and get out there and fight bad guys, but helped Batman from the Batcave as a sort of special ops overseer. More importantly, he acted as Bruce Wayne’s conscience and wasn’t afraid to go up against him when he disagreed with something. As much as Robin’s job is to keep Batman grounded, it’s Alfred’s job as well, and since he is older than Bruce, he can provide wisdom in areas Bruce isn’t familiar with. Good choice having Jeremy Irons in the role.

    There were a few moments in the film where I wished things had gone in a different direction, but that could just be my taste as opposed to my ideas being better.

    Unfortunately, WB and DC marketed this movie as one thing and what it was was something different. Once you get over that hurdle and see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice for what it’s meant to be in the greater DC Universe, then a lot of pieces fall into place and it’s highly enjoyable.

    Go see it.


  • Canister X TV Review #8: Smallville, Season 8 (2008 – 2009)

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    Smallville, Season 8 (2008 – 2009)
    5 out of 5

    If any one season of Smallville made me feel like I was deeply immersed in Superman mythology and was watching a true, live-action version of a DC comic book, Season Eight was it.

    Not only is Clark Kent and Lois Lane working at the Daily Planet, but Doomsday, the monster that killed Superman in the comics, is the over-arcing plot this season. He comes in the form of Davis Bloom whom, we learn, experiences these mysterious blackouts as he transforms into the Kryptonian beast and murders anyone that crosses his path.

    To make matters worse, Davis has a soft spot for Chloe and despite her best intentions, giving in only sets off a chain of events that screws up her relationship with both him and Clark.

    Also introduced this season—and taking the place of Lex Luthor—is Tess Mercer. At first she’s as loyal to the Luthor name as anyone, but when she learns what kind of a man Lex Luthor truly was, everything changes and we encounter a woman who is just as evil as her predecessor.

    I have to admit I was unsure how Smallville was going to work without Lana Lang and Lex Luthor as key characters, and for the first few episodes, the show did feel a little empty, but that was more than made up for with the breakneck pace the show took and the dark path it led its viewers down while creating the Doomsday saga. With Tess Mercer and Doomsday as the central villains, you forget all about Lex Luthor and instead try to read between the lines to see how he’ll one day return as Clark’s rightful foe, while watching Tess and Doomsday lead the world into destruction.

    I was really happy with how this season turned out after my initial skepticism. The episodes were great, the appearances of other DC alumni like Zatanna, Maxima, Jimmy Olsen, the Legion of Superheroes and more just made Season Eight fantastic.

    Like I always say, this show just keeps getting better and better and I cannot wait to see how everything pans out from here on in. Too cool.

    Recommended.


  • Canister X TV Review #4: Smallville, Season 4 (2004 – 2005)

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    Smallville, Season 4 (2004 – 2005)
    5 out of 5

    This season was like a breath of fresh air after Season Three, which was so dark and gritty and full of angst. This season also marked the entrance of one of the critical figures in the Superman mythos: Lois Lane, played by Erica Durance. She’s tough as nails, Tomboy-ish and reminded me a lot of Teri Hatcher, who played the character in Lois and Clark.

    We also got to meet Bart Allen, on day to become the Scarlet Speedster, the Flash.

    The over-arcing storyline of the season involving the three stones was played out nicely and, when I first saw what they were for, was geeking out all over the place. Of course, the cliffhanger season finale didn’t help anything and brought yet another long summer as I waited for the Season Five premiere to show what happened next.

    The only episode that bothered me—aside from the few that just seemed like filler—was the episode entitled “Blank,” where Clark loses his memory and the most recent person to learn his secret has to show him who he really is and what he can do. They did this in Lois and Clark and this episode almost seemed like a repeat despite the story being different.

    This was a great season nonetheless. Superman rocks, and looking back and seeing Season Four in the grand scheme of what had gone on before and what has gone on since makes it work really well. This season definitely was a turning point in the series, the first step in taking Clark from teen to adult.

    Go see it.


  • Canister X Movie Review #85: Superman: Unbound (2013)

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    Superman: Unbound (2013)
    Written by Bob Goodman
    Directed by James Tucker
    Runtime 75 min.
    4 out of 5

    When Brainiac shows up and threatens to destroy Metropolis, Superman and his cousin Supergirl must rise to the occasion and put an end to a foe that has deep ties to Krypton.

     

    This was a good flick. Hey, it’s Superman and lately DC’s been pulling out all the stops and every time Supes gets the DVD treatment it’s done really well. Supergirl’s presence added a new dimension to the Man of Steel’s animated movie exploits. Giving a quick showcase of her past, what happened to Kandor, and how those events created the motivations behind the Supergirl of this movie proved that sometimes less is more. Also understanding where she was coming from gave Superman a glimpse into a part of himself that he wasn’t really ready to face: the need to sometimes go hard on bad guys for the greater good. Yet, being true to who he was, he was also able to soften Supergirl around the edges, which just goes to show how much you can learn from family.

    The animation was smooth, the colors were clear, the action was great and the art was fantastic. The slightly too-long-of-a-face aside, I like the way Superman looked in this. The Clark Kent was so-so. More of a fan of the thick glasses than the more stylish ones, but whatever. In the animated series he had two thin circles for frames and that was it.

    Lois looked good, too. My only gripe is, while I understand these movies are being made more and more for adults, there are parents out there who buy these flicks for their kids because a) they’re superheroes, b) it’s cartoons, and having Lois giving Brainiac the finger wasn’t cool. Though I doubt it’ll ever happen, there should be some sort of bold labeling or disclaimer on the package aside from the MPAA rating that lets parents know if there’s content inside that is inappropriate for kids. This “giving the finger” is why I won’t let my kids see this movie now. Something for DC to think about.

    As a Superman fan, I’ve been loving all this attention the Man of Steel has been getting lately and since Batman was the focus of so many shows and animated features, giving the Last Son of Krypton a shot and a large amount of screen time helps balance all that out. I also hope DC has plans in the works for other animated movies for other characters, JLA stuff aside.

    What can I say? DC and Warner Bros. keep knocking these flicks out of the park. Now, if they translate this awesome sensibility and sensitivity to the comics to the big screen on a consistent basis, then superhero fans will truly be living in a new golden era of superhero cinema.


  • Canister X Movie Review #84: Superman Returns (2006)

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    Superman Returns (2006)
    Written by Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris
    Directed by Bryan Singer
    Runtime 154 min.
    3 out of 5

    The Man of Steel had vanished for five long years.

    The world moved on.

    So did the one person everyone thought never would: Lois Lane. She even wrote about it in a Pulitzer Prize-winning article entitled, “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman.”

    But that’s not all that changed. Lex Luthor had swindled his way out of a double life-sentence with a new plan: create his own continent and wipe out all the others.

    He just wasn’t prepared for one thing—Superman returns.

     

    It’d been almost twenty years between Superman movies when this one came out, the last being Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Expectations were high, the hype was through the roof, a star director (Bryan Singer) was attached to it, huge names played some of the key roles . . .

    The payoff: an embarrassing movie.

    I remember feeling ashamed of my hero when I walked out of the theatre. Being a lifelong Superman fan, I thought Superman Returns would nail it and kick a certain red-and-blue wallcrawler off the box office charts.

    I was wrong.

    The story of Superman Returns is okay. It’s nothing new, pretty much a rehash of Superman: The Movie, just updated with a different spin.

    There are also several terrible and nonsensical moments in the film: Superman’s son, Superman in the hospital, Superman lifting a massive island made of kryptonite and flying it into space even though just before that scene being around kryptonite made him virtually mortal.

    It was tempting to give this movie two stars, but Brandon Routh’s portrayal of the Man of Steel saved the day. He did a stellar job as both Clark and Superman. Aside from Christopher Reeve, he’s my favorite boy in blue.

    Kevin Spacey did an all right job as Lex Luthor—evil, funny, selfish, manipulative, king of understatement. But he wasn’t evil-evil, unlike Michael Rosenbaum in Smallville. Though I realize they’re different continuities/series, you’d think a grown-up Lex would be darker than his younger counterpart.

    Warner Brothers et al. erred with this film because they didn’t remember the secret to Superman: people don’t want to relate to him. He’s an icon, an ideal. He’s not Spider-Man. We want to be amazed, put in a state of awe. People only want to relate to Clark Kent, not his cape-wearing alter ego. They blurred the line between the two when it should have been crisp and clear, and that is where this movie failed.

    Hopefully the sequel will not be a drama, but a serious yet fun superhero movie, one filled with wonder, eye-popping action and a story worthy of the Man of Steel. I just hope they don’t use kryptonite as a weapon against Superman. If they do, they’re going to have to use a whole planet’s worth to make a dent seeing as how a kryptonite island didn’t stop him.


  • Canister X Movie Review #83: Superman: Doomsday (2007)

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    Superman: Doomsday (2007)
    Written by Duane Capizzi
    Directed by Bruce Timm, Lauren Montgomery and Brandon Vietti
    Runtime 78 min.
    4 out of 5

    Digging deep beneath the planet’s surface, Lexcorp accidentally unearths the merciless killing machine known as Doomsday. Immediately, the behemoth of rage goes on a rampage, destroying everything in its path, and all efforts to stop it fail.

    The Man of Steel, learning of the destruction and deaths in Metropolis, takes it upon himself to bring the monster down before more lives are lost.

    The battle is epic.

    The action is huge.

    The consequences are dire.

    Superman fails, falls . . .

    Dies.

    Adapted from the biggest and most shocking comic book story of all time, Superman: Doomsday is the emotional and action-packed tale of the life, death and return of the world’s greatest superhero.

     

    This story is dark, and not just because Superman dies. This isn’t a kids cartoon. The themes are mature (i.e. Lois half-naked in the Fortress of Solitude), Lex Luthor, distraught over Superman’s absence in his own weird way, is the most evil Lex ever seen in a cartoon and the things he does at some points in the film make you go, “Man, that’s evil. Not just evil. Hugely evil.”

    What was most astonishing was the swearing. I never would have expected that from a Superman cartoon.

    On the plus side, the battle between Superman and Doomsday is the greatest slugfest this reviewer has ever seen in a superhero cartoon (and I’ve seen nearly all of them). The story is solid and packs a lot in given the amount of time Warner Brothers seems to allow for these direct-to-DVD animated movies of theirs.

    The animation is dynamic, the coloring bold, the art in the style of the Justice League cartoons.

    This DVD includes a few special features, most notably the enthralling documentary on the life, death and return of Superman, chronicling the death saga from conception to fruition, with interviews with the many artists, writers and editors on the project.

    A very awesome movie.


  • Canister X Movie Review #82: Superman: Brainiac Attacks (2006)

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    Superman: Brainiac Attacks (2006)
    Written by Duane Capizzi
    Directed by Curt Geda
    Runtime 75 min.
    3.5 out of 5

    When Lex Luthor proposes an alliance with Brainiac to take down the Man of Steel, Superman must pull out all the stops to stop the seemingly unstoppable Kryptonian cybervillain. Meanwhile, Clark Kent examines his relationship with Lois Lane and considers telling her who he really is, but after she is poisoned, the clock starts ticking as Superman must try to find a cure while also stopping Brainiac and Luthor.

     

    I love the animated style developed by Bruce Timm. It worked wonders on Batman: The Animated Series and then later they did Superman: The Animated Series the same way, and then after that they did Justice League and Justice League: Unlimited. It’s a great style and this flick was done in that style.

    This movie was pretty good. Wasn’t awesome, wasn’t terrible, was just above down the middle, I’d say. Brainiac is a cool villain, a very powerful one because he’s nearly unstoppable. Throw in some Lex Luthor action and have them go up against the Man of Steel and you know Superman is in trouble.

    Everyone was who they were supposed to be in this, except Lex Luthor. He wasn’t as dark and serious as he was in the animated series and acted out of character. That’s too bad because Luthor is a big part of Superman’s world so you want to get him right.

    Tim Daly—I love that guy as Superman. He has the right voice, the right delivery and every time DC does an animated movie and he’s voicing Superman, it makes those movies all the better as a result. Too bad he’s retired as of this review and his son, Sam, has taken over. Maybe he’ll come back one day.

    I won’t spoil it, but it did have a satisfying ending and, since this was Superman’s last solo animated adventure in the Superman: The Animated Series universe, it brought a smile to my face. I won’t spoil it here. You’ll have to see it for yourself.

    Containing all the elements that make Superman such a beloved character—the Lois-Clark-Superman triangle, Lex Luthor, the Fortress of Solitude, Perry White and the Daily Planet, even Metropolis—Superman: Brainiac Attacks is a fun movie, kid-friendly and is a great addition to any Superman fan’s movie shelf.


  • Canister X Movie Review #79: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

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    Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
    Written by Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal
    Directed by Sidney J. Furie
    Runtime 134 min.
    3 out of 5

    The world is on the brink and Superman takes it upon himself to rid the planet of all nuclear weapons. Of course, war is big business and Lex Luthor sees an opportunity to use the Man of Steel’s quest for peace as a way to make big bucks. By promising various war moguls that he’ll destroy Superman for a cut of the profits, he puts a genetic stew made from Superman’s own DNA aboard one of the rockets he knows Superman is going to throw into the sun. After the Man of Steel does, Nuclear Man is born, a being bent on the destruction of Superman and to do Lex Luthor’s bidding.

    Will Superman stand against this solar villain or will he fail and let the world fall along with him?

     

    This was the last box office outing for the Man of Steel for almost twenty years. I remember my parents taking me to the theatre to see it when I was just six and a half. At the time, sure, I loved it. It was Superman, it was at the movies, and I had no clue what the story was about. Just Superman fighting bad guys and that was all that mattered.

    Nowadays . . .

    As a general premise, it’s a basic idea: save the world, your main villain doesn’t want you to and thus creates something powerful to defeat you.

    But something gets lost in translation and there are so many laughable moments in the movie that it’s the worst of the Superman movies when it could have been the flick to redeem the franchise after the misfire that was Superman III.

    The special effects are terrible. I don’t understand how the SFX from the movies nine years earlier were better. Most of the flying scenes were like a cut-out of Superman against a still back drop. Even in one of them, when he’s flying along the river, you can see the wake of the boat from the camera crew.

    The fight choreography was overly-dramatic and something you’d see in a school play.

    It seemed they either tried too hard with this movie and it all fell apart, or they just didn’t try at all.

    As always, Christopher Reeve was amazing as Superman. That’s who he was.

    Margot Kidder was back as Lois Lane in this one and you can see glimpses of the connection she and Superman had in Superman I and II, but nothing comes to fruition in this. Granted, this movie didn’t have any romantic elements other than one scene where the two fly together, which was just repeated footage cut over a multitude of backgrounds. (They fly around the whole world in that sequence in record time, too.)

    There is a lot wrong with this movie with plenty of story and continuity inconsistencies, never mind the introduction of new superpowers that are not in the comics or other films (i.e. Superman rebuilding the Great Wall of China just by looking it).

    There were, however, some things right with the movie. One of my favorite parts is when Clark and Superman are invited up to Lacy Warfield’s (Mariel Hemingway’s) penthouse. Clark has to keep coming up with ways to disappear and become Superman and vice versa without tipping Lois and Lacy off that the two are one and the same. This was well done and the ways he does it are very creative.

    Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor—yes, he is the greatest criminal mind of our time and for good reason. He does the part just as well as he did back in Superman I and II. Who else would come up with a way to destroy Superman that would also make him stinking rich in the meantime?

    This is one of those movies that if you go in and see it for what it is, you’ll be fine with it. Won’t change your life, but you’ll be fine with it. If you go in expecting a stellar superhero movie, especially one that could stand toe-to-toe with the super flicks of today, then you’ll want to look elsewhere.


  • Canister X Movie Review #77: Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006)

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    Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006)
    Written by Mario Puzo, David Newman and Leslie Newman
    Directed by Richard Donner
    Runtime 115 min.
    5 out of 5

    Superman is back, and when he inadvertently releases three inmates from the Phantom Zone, he has to go up against three supervillains every bit as powerful as he is. Complicating matters, Lois Lane is getting wise to the possibility that Clark Kent might not be who he claims to be and that, just maybe, beneath those glasses is the Man of Steel she so desperately loves.

    As the two become close and spend time together, the three Kryptonian villains arrive on Earth and wreak havoc and destruction. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor seizes the opportunity to cash in on the aliens’ arrival and tries to exploit their powers for his own gain.

    With the fate of the world hanging in the balance and Superman nowhere to be found, will the Earth fall to General Zod forever?

     

    This version of Superman II, the Richard Donner cut, was made possible by the outcry of fans. Eventually, the studio and Richard Donner—the director of Superman I and the original director of Superman II—responded and thus this version of the beloved super movie was born. Tracking down loads of old footage—most of which was shot when Superman I and II were filmed simultaneously, but then later discarded since with a change of director came a change in vision—fans finally got Superman II as intended.

    This version is way better, in my opinion. Better paced, better story—well, it’s the same story but the “new” scenes are better and more well-written than the 1980 Superman II ones—and lots of heart and Superman fun.

    For performance reviews, see my 1980 Superman II review as the actors did just as well in the alternate scenes shown in this flick.

    While, yes, you can watch this movie after Superman I, you’ll notice some overlap but don’t let that distract you. When there was a change of director behind-the-scenes, it affected even the cut of Superman I that made it into theatres.

    While attending a panel with Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) back in 2007, I asked her how this version of Superman II came about. Aside from giving a detailed backstory—however, I can’t remember the specifics, it was so long ago—I do remember her saying that had it not been for the screen test footage that was used in the Lois-finds-out-Clark-is-Superman scene in the Niagara Falls hotel room, the one where she shoots him with a blank, the Richard Donner cut would’ve been released in theatres. I don’t know if this is fact or wishful thinking on her part, but I know I would’ve paid to see this on the big screen. Easy. Obviously, the official Lois-finds-out-C