Finding the fresh response in obvious situations has become a specialty for Amy Adams, so if anyone can bring new blood to Lois Lane for a Superman movie, it's Adams. She was robbed of awards for "Enchanted" simply because it was a goofy cartoon/live-action hybrid, but I can't think of a better contemporary performance in a piece of comic escapism. Playing a fairy-tale beauty named Giselle, who tumbles down a well in the magic kingdom of Andalasia and ends up peering out from a manhole in Times Square, Adams held to her insight that (as she told me in 2006) Giselle was "completely open, full of conviction and joy and a humor that would go along with that."
When the L.A. Times' Geoff Boucher broke the news yesterday that Adams would be Lois Lane in Zack Snyder's "Superman: Man of Steel," "Enchanted" was immediately invoked across the Internet as the closest Adams had yet come to a comic-book movie. But Adams has been developing many skills that she can bring to bear on Lois Lane.
Will Snyder's Daily Planet go the "His Girl Friday" route of rapid-fire verbal comedy? Well, in "Junebug," Adams turned an open-faced, openhearted pregnant beauty named into that near-impossibility: a lyrical motor-mouth. Once you got into her rhythms, you realized that everything she said had meaning, including a remark to her aging high-school-sweetheart husband: "God loves you just the way you are. But he loves you too much to let you stay that way."
Will her Lois Lane have Margot Kidder's push, grit and sexuality? Well, Adams was no shrinking violet in "Sunshine Cleaning" and "The Fighter," and way back in that underrated beauty-pageant parody, "Drop Dead Gorgeous" (1999), she played the gal who told a competitor "They're never going to let you perform naked. I asked!"
Will Lois simply be Superman/Clark Kent's true love? In Steven Spielberg's "Catch Me If You Can," she played the candy-striper who won the heart of Leonardo DiCaprio's hustler-hero. She was endearingly ardent and focused. When he tried to make a clean breast of things and said, "I'm not a lawyer or a Harvard graduate or a Lutheran; I ran away from home a year and a half ago when I was 16," Brenda simply responded, "Frank, Frank - you're not a Lutheran?"
Playing an idealistic nun in "Doubt" and a striving food blogger in "Julie & Julia," Adams (in my minority opinion) gave the most subtle, exact and feeling performance in either movie. And her crime-scene-cleanup gal in "Sunshine Cleaning" was just as scrappy, passionate and compassionate (if not as celebrated) as her wily barmaid in "The Fighter," Adams has shown she can do anything. She's not perfect: she stumbled badly in the cliched rom-com "Leap Year." Let's hope Snyder's Lois Lane gives Adams room to soar up, up and away.
Photo of Amy Adams at Vanity Fair's Oscar party by Pascal Le Segretain for Getty Images