On Supergirl, Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) wants to be a hero. She wants to live up to her Kryptonian destiny and protect mankind, and in doing so, she's incredibly proactive about this hero business. Kara, of course, learned from the best: her cousin, Superman (Tyler Hoechlin). Here is a superhero who revels in helping others. He's the kind of guy who saves the day and poses for pictures with fans after the dust clears — just as superhero auteur and Supergirl developer Greg Berlanti intended.
"It's a very hopeful and optimistic show," Hoechlin told EW. "As an actor, you always love these deep, dark, complicated, conflicted characters — there's a challenge and that's something to really dig into. This was something that was fun. It's pure fun, and it's Superman as I think he was intended to be, which is just an incredible symbol of hope to kids that they can do anything, and that they can be good people, and that good people can triumph over evil."
This isn't Hoechlin putting provocateur Zack Snyder and fellow Superman actor Henry Cavill on blast for their broodier interpretation of the Man of Steel in the DC Extended Universe; he's just stating the facts. Cavill's Clark Kent is burdened by everything, even his own extraordinary existences. And that's OK. Snyder created a world grounded in the shadows, while Berlanti would rather see his heroes glisten in the sun, blind optimism abounding.
In Supergirl's second season premiere ("The Adventures of Supergirl"), it's refreshing to see Hoechlin enthusiastically embrace both Clark Kent in all of his clumsy, geeky glory and Superman without losing their individual idiosyncrasies. When Clark tells his boss he'll have the story on his desk "lickety-split," you know that's the Kansas farm boy talking.
"Clark is the side of that that is — you know, you don’t have to be dark and brooding, and always in this state of masculine toughness," Hoechlin said. "You can still just be a sweet, gentle person and have that side of you that comes out when it's needed and called upon."
Unlike his big-screen counterpart, Hoechlin's Superman sits in the "very hopeful and optimistic place" that Berlanti has created, a place where superheroes face adversity with positivity and teamwork — a place where the only acceptable reason for pouting is dropping your ice cream cone on the sidewalk. And we're more than OK with that.