DEATH OF SUPERMAN [Film Review]: But This Film Gives Him Life.
I went into Death of Superman with fairly low expectations, due to their recent string of animated movies which have been lackluster (Batman and Harley, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight). But what occurred in my viewing was that I actually became a fan of Superman. Peter Tomasi‘s script here is the first Supes story, other than Grant Morrison’s run, where I enjoyed.. Superman.
So, how do you retell a story, but using updated characters and environments? You don’t change much. Instead of the Justice Society fighting Doomsday first, you have the Justice League. You make Clark Kent and everyone look like their New 52 counterpart. You make the stories and plots that lead up to this the same as The New 52; but at the same time, keep the core story sound with all the same beats. Take for example, Jonathan Irons aka Steel. In the comic he was a construction worker who decides to create armor and use a hammer. In this, he was a construction worker with a degree and gets hired as S.T.A.R. Labs as scientist.
Each superhero shows up and displays their powers only to succumb to Doomsday, thus proving Superman is the only one who can beat Doomsday. But, what made this different is in how the Universe cared for Superman. Instead of the recent string of the brooding Superman (DC Movie Universe), this Superman is the one I remember. Hopeful, caring, and naïve.
They made him be the Superman of the 80’s, but with the look and history of The 52 version. He wasn’t all head down doom and gloom — almost whispering when he talked. No, this Superman was cheerful. He was the Superman from the old Superman Animated TV show. But don’t get it twisted when the fight starts with Doomsday…he gets serious.
And the fight is crazy good. Not just with Superman, but overall and it’s pretty freaking gory. This might look like a kids show, but directors Sam Liu and Jake Castorenawhen don’t hold back. Doomsday curbstomps a police officer and they show the blood, you know this is Teen rated TV movie. Oh yeah, and body parts of an Atlantean he dismembered…or a grizzly bear’s head in a tent. The cursing.. orrr the whole smashing — hood first – of a policecar on an officer (and that was the lead up!).
So yeah, Doomsday beat everyone…including Wonder Woman. I mean, she tried and fared much better than Flash, Green Lantern, Cyborg, Batman, and Hawkman. Oh, did I fail to mention Hawkman was in this? One of my favorite DCU characters in this show got me stoked. Then, Doomsday beats his ass.. hard. As comic fans, we know how this played out.
Spoiler Alert: Superman dies.
Uh, the damn title gives it away. But the way they portrayed the fight.. they could have shown this on film without it looking corny. When Superman punches with all his might and the motion effects from it. It would look so dumb, but when animated… it’s awesome.
Overall, I came out liking.. loving this and its lead up to the Reign Of Supermen storyline — even without the violence. The backstory and subplots being told really made you care for Superman. It makes you wonder why isn’t this Superman being portrayed by Henry Cavill? Why? There is such a disconnect between the animated side of DC and the LA side. And sadly (more like gladly), I prefer the animated side. 4.75/5 Bibles.
Warner Home Video’s Death of Superman releases on July 24th.