Ranking the live-action portrayals of Lois Lane

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Lois Lane is an icon, and with her introduction into the Arrowverse, we ranked all of her live-action portrayals.

For as long as I can remember, Lois Lane has always been a central figure to any Superman story. To some, she’s “just a love interest”–a narrow and often condescending point of view when framing any leading lady. But Lois has become an icon in her own right, one of the first examples of a career-driven woman in media and someone who humanizes Clark in a way no other person has come close to doing.

We’ll be seeing Lois Lane back in live-action when she makes her Arrowverse debut in the “Elseworlds” crossover. Played by Elizabeth Tulloch, Lois will be joining the action to figure out what’s going on and why reality has been warped for our heroes. However, we can’t look forward to a new version of the character without looking back at all the great Lois Lanes who have come before.

As one of the most recognizable characters in the DC Comics universe and in pop culture, I took a trip down memory lane and ranked all of the actresses who have played Lois Lane across every live-action movie and TV adaptation.

American actor George Reeves (1914 – 1959), as Clark Kent, sits on desk beside Noel Neill, as Lois Lane, in a still from the television series, ‘Adventures of Superman,’ c. 1955. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Courtesy of Getty Images)

7. Noel Neill, Superman, Adventures of Superman, Atom Man vs. Superman

Noel Neill had the distinction of being the very first actress to play Lois Lane in a live-action adaptation. She appeared primarily in two Columbia film serials in 1948 and 1950, Superman and Atom Man vs. Superman, respectively, before taking over as Lois in Adventures of Superman. Neill’s Lois wasn’t written as being as active as her character was meant to be. Still, the serials highlighted the fact that Lois was a reporter ready to do her job, while noticeably being stuck in a room full of men. The serials played up on the fact that Neill’s Lois didn’t know who Superman was, but there was always a glimmer of hope that she knew that he and Clark were one and the same.

6. Kate Bosworth, Superman Returns

There isn’t much to say about Kate Bosworth’s Lois except that she tried her hardest with the material she was given, but she was ultimately miscast for the role. As a film, Superman Returns had a lot of issues, issues that robbed Bosworth’s Lois of agency. Still, this version of Lois Lane was far too bogged down by the weight of Superman’s absence that diminished her spirit and optimism. Even in scenes showing her drive for her work, Bosworth didn’t play Lois as someone who was passionate about her job, but as someone who was fed up with it, her character often on the verge of giving an eye roll (mostly towards Clark, whom she treated like crap and not like a friend and colleague).