Eye For Film >> Movies >> Smallville: Season Three (2003) Film Review
Smallville: Season Three
Reviewed by: Stephen Carty
Bigger, richer and altogether more stylish… but enough about Tom Welling’s hair, what’s year three of Smallville like? Well, following on from last time’s excellent two-part finale, we get a just-as-excellent two-part season opener. Dark, eventful in a good way and full of great fanboy moments (Clark in a phonebox ripping his shirt open springs to mind), the first few instalments set the scene for a third series that’s every bit as good as its predecessor.
Returning home, Clark (Welling) feels more isolated than ever as he distances himself from Lana (Kreuk) while trying to escape his destiny. As for Lex (Rosenbaum), though his father (Glover) suggests that they run Luthorcorp together, he’s held back by some psychological problems which bring back repressed memories. Elsewhere, Pete (Jones III) feels the weight of Clark's secret, Chloe (Mack) tries to escape Lionel’s clutches and the Kents (Scheider, O'Toole) deal with the consequences of the deal with Jor-El (Stamp, voice)…
Sadly, the season remains mired by Kryptofreaks and standalone episodes that push the reset button at the end of each week. Pete drag racing, a girl trapped asleep, a magnetic boy with (sigh) a fixation on Lana… and so on. Sometimes the odd silly idea provides great moments (seeing that red cape in Hereafter, Lionel’s chilling confession to Chloe in Truth), but on the whole there are too many episodes that feel like leftover Buffy.
Still, the production values are impressive as ever and the cast (particularly Welling) continue to elevate even the strangest material. And, even when things get a bit OTT, the Luthors' power-struggle is constantly good value while the Kents (spot on as ever) are always on hand to deliver that human touch. Best of all though is Glover’s appear-behind-you Lionel Luthor who gets more nefarious by the minute. Don’t agree? Just check out the jaw-dropping opera-assisted final minute…
In terms of season highlights, there are plenty. We’ve got one of the series' best instalments thus far with Memoria (Rosenbaum on top cathartic form). Then there’s the Jeph Loeb-written Christopher Reeve-starring episode Legacy (you’ll believe a man can elevate a show by appearing in two scenes). As far as the geekboys are concerned though, the pinnacle may be the near-perfect hour-long introduction of future boss Perry White (“He’s hiding something Chief”… “Don’t call me Chief!”). Throw into the mix Clark developing his hearing ability, some consistently enthralling arcs and Rutger Hauer as Metropolis Crime boss Morgan Edge and you have yourselves some super material.
Undoubtedly flawed and brought down by self-contained filler, series three still contains more than enough teen of steel greatness. Is it a bird? No. Is it a plane? No. It’s the best series of Smallville yet.Reviewed on: 27 Sep 2009