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Who Is The Best Superman On-Screen? Looper Readers Have Chosen

While four Superman film stars made appearances in the DC multiverse adventure "The Flash" — in addition to Nicolas Cage, an actor whose Man of Steel movie never materialized — there are plenty of other performers who have played the legendary superhero in a live-action setting.

Depending on the time period in which they were born and raised, there is no doubt that fans are partial to a particular Superman actor. So, to get a better understanding of the popularity of seven prominent Superman actors — George Reeves, Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh, Henry Cavill,  Dean Cain, Tom Welling, and Tyler Hoechlin — Looper asked fans in a Facebook post who their favorites were.

As of this writing, 286 comments were posted on Looper's Facebook page, with some of those comments receiving replies. While many of the posts named more than one actor, the Superman star who got the most mentions far and away — or make that "up, up, and away" — was Reeve, who first played the character in "Superman" in 1978. Receiving the second most mentions for favorite Superman was Henry Cavill, who kicked off his run in the role in 2013's "Man of Steel."

As for mentions of favorite Superman actors on the TV side, Cain — who played the Man of Steel on ABC's "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" for four seasons on ABC starting in 1993 — received a fair amount of love from fans; as did Tom Welling, who played Clark Kent/Superman on The CW-The WB's "Smallville," which had a 10-season run beginning in 2001.

Some commenters like Faizal Stalin simply couldn't decide, noting, "I love Superman, regardless [of] who's inhabiting the role as each brings his own unique take."

The first actor to play Superman, Kirk Alyn, also got a few mentions

While Looper's post inquiring about fans' favorite Superman actor concentrated on seven live-action stars in film and television, fans were quick to point out some alternatives. Among them is Kirk Alyn, who is among the actors who played the role of Superman for the shortest length of time.

Alyn's contribution to the Superman universe is major, considering he was the first actor to play the character in live-action with the 1948 movie serial "Superman," and reprised the role for the sequel Atom Man vs. Superman in 1950. George Reeves then kicked off his turn as the classic character in the 1951 film "Superman and the Mole Men," before moving over to ABC-TV for the series "Adventures of Superman" the same year.

Batman film actor Ben Affleck even got a mention in the Looper post since the actor portrayed Reeves in the guise of Superman in "Hollywoodland," a 2006 drama that chronicled the actor's mysterious death on June 16, 1959, at age 45.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Nicolas Cage's unrealized version of Superman also was mentioned by users in Looper's post, as participants like Paeng Geromo included a GIF of Cage in his Superman test costume with the comment, "The What If version."

David Corenswet is the next actor on the Superman hot seat

Since Looper posed the best Superman question to fans on Facebook on June 4, 2023, no mentions were made of the next actor to play the role. That's because the announcement that DC found its Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane in David Corenswet and Rachel Brosnahan didn't happen until June 27.

With that news still fresh, there's no indication of how the actor will approach the lead role in director James Gunn's reboot of the character in "Superman: Legacy." In a prophetic interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2019, though, Corenswet said his vision of Kent/Superman was the opposite of Henry Cavill's portrayal, meaning he was hoping to bring a lighter feel than Cavill's darker interpretation of the character.

It may be some time before any significant amount of information comes out about the Corenswet movie, but a Gunn tweet in early 2023 alluded to his interest in the "All-Star Superman" story. Whatever the case may be, Corenswet's Superman suit design is sure to cause a buzz and stir a debate of whether those red trunks should be left in the past — and if it will be a key factor when he is considered in a best Superman fan survey in the future. For the time being, fans who wrote their thoughts in the Looper post didn't seem to mind.