"The Death of Superman" Animated Release Talkback (Spoilers)

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The Death of Superman - Discuss and Rate this DC Universe Movie!


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James Harvey

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Toonzone
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#1
Witness the epic slugfest in this major animated feature from Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment! Discuss the animated feature, the bonus features - all of it - right here!


The Death of Superman
Studio:
Warner Bros. Animation
Release Date: July 24, 2018 - Digital; August 7, 2018 - Blu-ray/DVD

Synopsis: The Man of Steel meets his ultimate match when Doomsday comes to Earth – hell bent on destroying everything and everyone in his path, including the Justice League – in the all-new, action-packed The Death of Superman, part of the popular series of DC Universe Movies.

The all-star cast is led by Jerry O’Connell (Crossing Jordan, Stand By Me), Rebecca Romijn (X-Men, The Librarians) and Rainn Wilson (The Office) as the voices of Superman, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor, respectively. The potent trio is joined by the DC Universe Movies’ returning voices of the Justice League: Jason O’Mara (The Man in High Castle, Terra Nova) as Batman, Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Rent, Daredevil) as Wonder Woman, Shemar Moore (S.W.A.T., Criminal Minds) as Cyborg, Nathan Fillion (Castle, ABC’s upcoming The Rookie) as Green Lantern/Hal Jordan, and Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs, Ugly Betty) as The Flash.

Producer Sam Liu (Gotham by Gaslight, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract) co-directs The Death of Superman with Jake Castorena (Justice League Action) from a script by New York Times best-selling author Peter J. Tomasi (Green Lantern: Emerald Knights). Executive Producers are Sam Register and James Tucker (Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay, Justice League Dark).

The Death of Superman Bonus Content:
-A Sneak Peek at DC Universe's Next Animated Movie, Reign of the Supermen – An exciting look at the next film in the two-part saga that brings the epic and emotional story of a world without the Man of Steel to life.
-The Death of Superman: The Brawl That Topped Them All (Featurette) – Experience the battle between Superman and Doomsday like never before as creators of the iconic comic and the new film explore the nuances of “The Greatest Fight” with the help of a martial arts expert.
-From the DC Comics Vault: Legion of Superheroes, “Dark Victory: Part 1” – After eliminating Imperiex, Brainiac 5 takes over his army and plans to take over the universe. With Superman thought to be dead, the other Legionnaires must stop him before it is too late!
-From the DC Comics Vault: Legion of Superheroes, “Dark Victory: Part 2” – The Legion faces Imperiex in a final battle, while a traitor lurks in their midst.
Note: Bonus content may vary between Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD editions.

Discuss the The Death of Superman animated release here!

Please note this talkback is for both the The Death of Superman animated feature and all aspects of the assorted home media releases. Discussion for both are now housed in one single talkback discussion thread. Spoilers are also allowed, so those who have yet to see the movie may want to avoid this thread until they have.


Related Threads:
-The Death of Superman Subsite (Spoilers)
-Superman: The Death of Superman Classic Comic Talkback (Spoilers)
-Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay Animated Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
-Teen Titans: The Judas Contract Animated Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
-Justice League Dark Animated Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
-Justice League vs Teen Titans Animated Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
-Batman: Bad Blood Animated Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
-Batman vs Robin Animated Features Talkback (Spoilers)
-Justice League: Throne of Atlantis Animated Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
-Son of Batman Animated Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
-Justice League: War Animated Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
-Superman Doomsday Animated Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
-Justice League Unlimited "Doomsday Sanction" Talkback (Spoilers)
-Legion of Super-Heroes "Dark Victory, Parts 1 - 2" Talkback (Spoilers)

Note: Remember, we appreciate and encourage discussion, but please keep your posts civil, relevant and insightful. Please do not post any improper or inflammatory material, as we will issue warnings if we believe it necessary. And remember to keep the discussion ON-TOPIC!
 

Ahsoka

Well-Known Member
Jan 7, 2002
17,914
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#2
I see a few poll votes but no comments? Given what this movie is about I would've assumed more people would be talking about it. Anyways it's a really good movie. It's not perfect but the story is really good and the animation is some of the best the line has had for some time. The big fight with Doomsday was really great and I was surprised at times at just how great the animation was. My main gripe with the movie was how they handled they moved from the Superman/WW relationship to the Superman/Lois relationship. It seems like there should have been more done to give us a better idea at that last relationship ending and the new one starting. That's my only gripe really.
 

BigFatHairyDeal

Defender of the Universe
Sep 7, 2004
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#3
I have polarized feelings about this. Aspects I really liked, whereas other things rubbed me the wrong way.

For a DoS story, this is pretty good. Of course, that raises the question of whether there should've been another DoS story, to which I would normally say no, but I am okay with this particular instance because we're getting a proper Reign of the Supermen movie. I'm pretty annoyed that DoS has become something of a quintessential (if not THE quintessential) Superman story for other media. Doomsday has his place in history, and I like the idea of the character, but the character himself is hardly a character at all. People complain about MCU villains, and Doomsday, other than his schtick, is far worse than any MCU villain. Anyway, time to get off the soapbox about DoS, and onto the actual movie.

So stuff that I liked... well, for starters, I think for a movie of its length, it does a good job of adapting the many books that consist of the source material. Where the movie deviates, it sometimes works as an improvement. Specifically, I like that it's the real Justice League, and not the Justice League-lite that Doomsday stomped in the comics. Something good for this animated continuity was that we get a formal introduction to Superman cast, e.g. Jimmy, Bibbo, Daily Planet, etc.

My backhanded compliment of this movie is that it's a JL title that's not Batman-centric...

One specific thing I thought was interesting was the action scene toward the beginning of the movie. I call this scene a reverse Worf Effect, named after the TV Trope. In most cases, we learn that the villain is a really tough guy by taking out the de facto tough guy in the room. The movie does something different. We all know Superman's going to die in the end at the hands of Doomsday, so we learn how tough Doomsday is right away by seeing how nearly physically unstoppable Superman in the very first fight scene. Let me emphasize that this is a far better way to go about things than the traditional Worf Effect, though you could say the traditional Worf Effect is in play when Doomsday beats the crap out of the rest of the JL.

And now, onto my absolute favorite part of the movie. I believe the writers were so clever that they did this intentionally, but in case it wasn't intentional, then this is the greatest accident in animated WB history. After the 2013 Man of Steel film, a huge controversy brewed among fans and moviegoers upon seeing Superman kill Zod by breaking his neck. The uproar is well-known among this community, I'm positive, so I won't go into it any longer. In the (overly abundant) retellings of Superman and Doomsday's fateful battle, it was either specifically shown or heavily implied that Superman stopped Doomsday by bludgeoning the beast to death (or at least the extent to which Doomsday can die) with one final epic blow. That doesn't change in this movie, but here we get one additional graphic detail: Superman's mighty punch smacks Doomsday so hard that it breaks Doomsday's neck. My goodness, I laughed so hard that I had to pause the film. Again, I have faith that the writers and storyboarders are so cognizant of the buzz surrounding Superman in other media that they specifically decided, as a result of the response to Man of Steel, that Doomsday was going to die of a broken neck. If I'm wrong, I don't want to know.

Now, for the stuff I'm not so high on. The first is that it's ANOTHER DoS story, and IMO it's not such a seminal story that it needs this much retelling. Sorry, if I'm going to give credit to the movie for responding to something that happened in the DCEU by making Superman break Doomsday's neck, then the fact that the DCEU also went back to the well and had Superman die in battle against Doomsday, it's not a good look for this battle to happen again so soon, or even 11 years after the animated movie line kicked off with this same story. I guess at least it's not another origin story...

Also, for better or for worse, this movie is written with long-time Superman fans in general, and not necessarily people who follow just the animated line. I suppose that latter group is a small group, with members few and far between, but I think to some degree you have to write the movies so that fans fill the gaps based on their expectations created by other media. So, we somewhat abruptly learn that Superman and Wonder Woman broke up, and Superman's (err, Clark) has been involved with Lois Lane for some time. I get it, that's the traditional pairing, and probably the more popular one, but at least as far as this continuity goes, it does feel shoehorned into place. It's as though we gotta have Supes and Lois together to make the final scene match the comic books. I'm sort of on the fence about whether or not you should do it. Perhaps you should, but I think it did come at the expense of this continuity's storytelling. Like it or hate it, this Superman's characterization was not insignificantly based on his attraction and relationship with Wonder Woman, and I think such a quick dismissal of it wasn't the best way to handle it. On top of that, there's a lot of skipping out on actually building up Superman's relationship with Lois. I also think it's weird that the movie's writer, Tomasi, actually borrowed a line he used from the Superman/Wonder Woman book. Anyway, that was just odd to me.

Oh, and the Kents are alive. I'm partial to at least one of them having passed, so I wasn't exactly excited to see this. It's hardly a dealbreaker, though, and I suppose if you're going to DoS 1992 style, make sure Ma and Pa haven't kicked the bucket.

Apologies for the rambling message. Reign better be good, or else my retrospective review of this movie will probably trend downward.
 

Otaku-sempai

Well-Known Member
Sep 10, 2010
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Lackawanna, NY
#4
My main gripe with the movie was how they handled they moved from the Superman/WW relationship to the Superman/Lois relationship. It seems like there should have been more done to give us a better idea at that last relationship ending and the new one starting. That's my only gripe really.
That was probably inevitable, though, when the decision was made to tell this story in the context of the in-continuity animated films, where the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship had previously been established. There is only so much time in these that can be dedicated to personal development.

I can't add much more until the movie is physically released and I can actually watch it.
 

Capt.Traphouse

Sexiest Thing Since Sex
May 26, 2015
564
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846 2
63
NY
#5
Eh. 6/10

I enjoyed seeing Ma and Pa Kent, they are two awesome and important Superman characters that aren't used as much as they should be. Their scenes were great.

The fear of bringing Lois into Superman's world would be more compelling if we actually saw Lois in an real capacity before. This movie had a hard job, showing us Clark Kent and why his world matters when before he wasn't a factor in this universe. His life and relationship feel rushed because it had to be. It's sad.

Bibbo is annoying which is sad as he is pretty cool in the comics. Was not a fan in this. Sir, go manage your business. He's supposed to be an everyman we're supposed to identify with but I don't particularly think he added anything. I think his inclusion and praise of Superman would have been better and more organic if he appeared before in these movies. This like everything else, was rushed.

Manheim was great, love Intergang. I'm glad they're appearing more.

I personally never liked Doomsday because I find him fundamentally uninteresting like others here. However, the fight was great and it was cool seeing him battle the League. Hawkman is the Yamcha of the group lol. I liked seeing the entire League fight and Wonder Woman had an excellent fight that was long and developed unlike her relationship with Superman.

Not a fan of this Lex Luthor, he had absolutely no charm like in JL and Young Justice, he was just a smug and arrogant jerk. I mean, he is this but he's at least charming, charismatic and cunning in the other shows I mentioned. Here all he does is literally lose until the end. I would have loved to have seen Mercy do something as well.

"This city will never love you for hating me." - Brilliant, loved it. This was a great scene. Luthor's anger afterwards was perfect. Good job on this.

Clark calling a taxi instead of a Lyft or Uber is woke, Superman supporting unionized labor over the Gilded Age "Gig Economy" is deep. I like that DC. A real hero.

Steve Lombard was great to see. You would think a guy like him would be out of a job after #MeToo.

The Batman and Wonder Woman merchandise joke was great!

Anyway, it felt like this movie was just a launch pad for other movies. It was too rushed to real focus on the relationships like it stated it would and I would have liked to have seen Clark's, Lois's and everyone's lives and interactions fleshed out a little more. The fight itself was cool, Doomsday did his job of being a giant wall and Luthor just smugged around, got beat up and went back to smugging.

The movie tried to tie a difficult balancing act, writing a movie for casual Superman fans while also writing it for hardcore Superman buffs. A bit too much is abruptly introduced for it to work. Despite what the haters say (even from other DC fans), Superman is cool. This movie was like a sushi burrito, good but overpriced and leaves you wanting something more filling. Show us rather than tell us Superman's world. I actually think it could have been a bit longer. Have Superman stop another villain like Livewire (She needs to appear) while showing him saving Lois, Jimmy and Bibbo, make us understand why these relationships are the way they are.

l like the attempt and look forward to more Superman stories as Batman is awesome but like other DC heroes breathe.
 

DarkAngel

Lord Vader
May 1, 2001
6,124
Ratings
46
48
Ohio
Visit site
#6
For a DoS story, this is pretty good. Of course, that raises the question of whether there should've been another DoS story, to which I would normally say no, but I am okay with this particular instance because we're getting a proper Reign of the Supermen movie.
That's part of my excitement, looking forward to Reign. The other aspect is that while I liked Superman: Doomsday a lot, I was really bothered by the odd decision to not show cuts/external bleeding or damage to Superman's costume. It was all the more glaring that releases not that much later, such as Batman/Superman: Apocalypse, did present a bruised/battered Superman in tattered costume, making the "death" battle in Doomsday seem lamer. And, I'd been wanting to see a longer take focused mainly on the death part of the storyline and bringing in other elements from the comic storyline.

People complain about MCU villains, and Doomsday, other than his schtick, is far worse than any MCU villain. Anyway, time to get off the soapbox about DoS, and onto the actual movie.
We have to have the right comparison for Doomsday. He rocks as a physical force that can decimate in a fight. That's what purpose he served in this story, and he was perfect for it.

Specifically, I like that it's the real Justice League, and not the Justice League-lite that Doomsday stomped in the comics.
Agreed. Besides their inclusion in the action, I also really enjoyed some of the quieter dialogue scenes, whether between Superman and WW or the JL meeting where Supes asks whether Flash had revealed his superhero identity to Iris.

One specific thing I thought was interesting was the action scene toward the beginning of the movie. I call this scene a reverse Worf Effect, named after the TV Trope. In most cases, we learn that the villain is a really tough guy by taking out the de facto tough guy in the room. The movie does something different. We all know Superman's going to die in the end at the hands of Doomsday, so we learn how tough Doomsday is right away by seeing how nearly physically unstoppable Superman in the very first fight scene. Let me emphasize that this is a far better way to go about things than the traditional Worf Effect, though you could say the traditional Worf Effect is in play when Doomsday beats the crap out of the rest of the JL.
Yeah, I would say Doomsday taking out the JL (which was the filled with B and C-listers) would be the Worf Effect, driven in later when Lois asks for the cavalry and Supes says he's it. I saw the opening sequence with Superman to be the typical approach of opening JL animated movies with them in action against some random foe before getting into the larger story. In this case, I'd have preferred if they cut that out to allow more time/development for the latter half of the movie.

And now, onto my absolute favorite part of the movie. I believe the writers were so clever that they did this intentionally, but in case it wasn't intentional, then this is the greatest accident in animated WB history. After the 2013 Man of Steel film, a huge controversy brewed among fans and moviegoers upon seeing Superman kill Zod by breaking his neck. The uproar is well-known among this community, I'm positive, so I won't go into it any longer. In the (overly abundant) retellings of Superman and Doomsday's fateful battle, it was either specifically shown or heavily implied that Superman stopped Doomsday by bludgeoning the beast to death (or at least the extent to which Doomsday can die) with one final epic blow. That doesn't change in this movie, but here we get one additional graphic detail: Superman's mighty punch smacks Doomsday so hard that it breaks Doomsday's neck. My goodness, I laughed so hard that I had to pause the film. Again, I have faith that the writers and storyboarders are so cognizant of the buzz surrounding Superman in other media that they specifically decided, as a result of the response to Man of Steel, that Doomsday was going to die of a broken neck. If I'm wrong, I don't want to know.
I didn't think of that when I watched it, but you may be right about the intent behind it. It felt like there were other nods to MoS/BvS scattered throughout, too.

My main thought was "aw, man" when Supes and Doomsday connected on the simultaneous punches, thinking the fight was over. So after that, I was just glad we got a bit more. But, great observation. I think you're right.

Now, for the stuff I'm not so high on. The first is that it's ANOTHER DoS story, and IMO it's not such a seminal story that it needs this much retelling.
Like I said above, I'm glad to get an extended take on it and to have the chance for Reign to be done. That has me excited. The Death and Return storyline was what first really drew me into comics, so it does stir a lot of positive emotions in me to and reminds of those days, and the various collectors editions, and the different guys sporting the S-shield, and just the overall excitement of it.

So, we somewhat abruptly learn that Superman and Wonder Woman broke up, and Superman's (err, Clark) has been involved with Lois Lane for some time. I get it, that's the traditional pairing, and probably the more popular one, but at least as far as this continuity goes, it does feel shoehorned into place. It's as though we gotta have Supes and Lois together to make the final scene match the comic books. I'm sort of on the fence about whether or not you should do it. Perhaps you should, but I think it did come at the expense of this continuity's storytelling. Like it or hate it, this Superman's characterization was not insignificantly based on his attraction and relationship with Wonder Woman, and I think such a quick dismissal of it wasn't the best way to handle it. On top of that, there's a lot of skipping out on actually building up Superman's relationship with Lois. I also think it's weird that the movie's writer, Tomasi, actually borrowed a line he used from the Superman/Wonder Woman book. Anyway, that was just odd to me.
This kind of gets into one of my gripes. They took a lot of time in the early going to be delving into Clark/Lois while also gradually building up to the Doomsday reveal and the beginning of his attacks. It then felt like we got less development of the Superman/Doomsday fight and less of the awe/weight over the fact that the unthinkable is happening and Superman's going to die. I think part of the problem is what you've already referenced...its not so unthinkable as we've seen multiple takes on it by this point. Unfortunately, it feels like that seeped into the writing and I wish they had thought more about what this was like when it happened in 1992 and to bring more gravitas to the last 30 minutes.

For instance, I really missed the moment from the comic when Doomsday delivers the first blow to Superman's chest and Supes doesn't even flinch. It seems like business as usual. Then the second strike, a kick, came so fast Superman didn't have a chance to brace and was thrown back. The shock from Superman at that speed, the realization (I think later in the fight) that he'd never been hit as hard before; the grueling battle just to try to keep Doomsday from Metropolis. I felt (or at least remember) a more gradual wearing down of Superman with each issue, and a building desperation as he realized what he was in the midst of. I definitely appreciate actually seeing the tattered costume and bleeding this time, but I just didn't feel the corresponding weight that should have gone with it.

This is a long way of saying that by having to shove in so much work with the Clark/Lois relationship, as you said, it left less for the actual depiction of the comic's 7-issue fight. And it felt less developed than the first half of the movie.

It would have been interesting to go with something different and work with what they had already established...Clark and Diana being a couple. I know that strays from it being Lois reacting to his death, but... Also, with that, I was upset they changed Lois' line from "you saved us all" to "you saved everyone." I know, its minor. But it doesn't sound as good or flow as well to my ears. Why change that?

I kind of do wish they'd treated this and the upcoming Reign as standalones. That way they could have just had the established Lois/Clark relationship to start with and had more time to develop other aspects of this story.

I liked this a lot. It just felt strangely rushed in some aspects, which is a disappointment given that its one movie to do the Death of Superman as opposed to the Superman/Doomsday approach of using one short movie for the Death and Return. What should have allowed for more development and time on the Doomsday fight ended up being a lot of time used to catch the Lois/Clark relationship up to where they wanted it and hadn't yet gotten it; and maybe not giving us that much more (or better) than the first Superman vs Doomsday depiction in that 2007 movie.
 

BigFatHairyDeal

Defender of the Universe
Sep 7, 2004
4,348
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#10
If Doomsday is from Krypton, shouldn't he have been affected by magical weapons such as Aquaman's trident and Wonder Woman's sword?
I think that Superman's vulnerability to magic is a bit overblown. Yes, he's vulnerable to it, but so is everyone who doesn't have a specific defense against a spell. So, even a guy like Captain Marvel Shazam will get hurt by magic. In my head canon, Superman's vulnerability to magic is as follows: magic affects time, space, matter, energy, etc. If the spell is powerful enough, it'll affect Superman. If it isn't, then it won't hurt him too much.

Specific to this movie, you could perhaps argue that Doomsday was affected by certain magics before, so maybe he's adapted to it and now it's just a nuisance to him, as opposed to a lethal threat.
 

Marvelman02

Active Member
Nov 19, 2011
755
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#11
I think that Superman's vulnerability to magic is a bit overblown. Yes, he's vulnerable to it, but so is everyone who doesn't have a specific defense against a spell. So, even a guy like Captain Marvel Shazam will get hurt by magic. In my head canon, Superman's vulnerability to magic is as follows: magic affects time, space, matter, energy, etc. If the spell is powerful enough, it'll affect Superman. If it isn't, then it won't hurt him too much.

Specific to this movie, you could perhaps argue that Doomsday was affected by certain magics before, so maybe he's adapted to it and now it's just a nuisance to him, as opposed to a lethal threat.
Okay, that makes sense. But, I have to point out that recent depictions of Shazam have show him to be invulnerable to magic - which makes sense as he is the avatar of magic.
 

Hanshotfirst1138

Morphinomenal!
Jul 25, 2006
15,141
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22 1
38
31
Livonia, MI
#12
So I take it Andrea Romano retired? Has Bruce Timm bailed after all the Killing Joke controversy? I thought that Alan Burnett was done after HTP? Man, they outsourced this whole thing: storyboards, prop design, everything. Shame we have to wait so long for the finale. I miss Adam Van Wyck. God, I’m so old, everyone from the past of DC Animation has retired :p. Ah, well. This was about what I expected: lots of destruction (which DC animation has frankly done better) in the past mixed with a surprisingly effective human story. The animated “acting” was handled really well, and the vocal performances were pretty solid.
 

Yojimbo

Yes, have some.
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Jul 13, 2003
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Shahdaroba
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#14
So I take it Andrea Romano retired?
Yes, as Otaku-sempai pointed out.

Has Bruce Timm bailed after all the Killing Joke controversy?
No.

I thought that Alan Burnett was done after HTP?
He was supposed to but he consulted on one more script. We don't know which it is yet.

Man, they outsourced this whole thing: storyboards, prop design, everything. Shame we have to wait so long for the finale. I miss Adam Van Wyck.
Van Wyck is still contributing here and there. I think it was different for this movie because it's a new studio, Studio MIR, they worked with on this one and probably the production schedule at the time, they had to do it that way. We know have another hint because the 2019 slate is 4 movies instead of 3 so they could have been in a time and logostics crunch for personnel.
 

Otaku-sempai

Well-Known Member
Sep 10, 2010
1,882
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#15
Okay, I picked up the steelbook edition this morning and finished watching the movie a little while ago (I haven't seen the bonus features yet other than the Sneak Peek at Reign of the Supermen). This is a better adaptation of the story than Superman/Doomsday and I rate it fairly high. I did take points off for my dislike for some of the static character shots and for the somewhat forced development of the Clark/Lois relationship (made necessary by this being in-continuity with other DCU animated movies). The relationship was still believable despite the complications. Lookin' forward to Reign.
 

Yojimbo

Yes, have some.
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Shahdaroba
www.dcauresource.com
#19
"The Death of Superman" is a DC Comics storyline that has been touted as a quintessential part of the Superman mythos and has been frequently adapted in various ways in the last 20 years: reinterpreting Doomsday as a product of Amanda Waller's Project Cadmus in the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series, Superman's death was really a blast into an alternate future where Vandal Savage is the sole survivor, Doomsday appearing in live action series like Smallville and Krypton in very different ways, Superman/Doomsday - the first in the DC Universe direct to movie line, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Yet again, the comic event is adapted once more but with a faithful acknowledgment of what came before while forging a new interpretation in one of a two part animated movie in the DC Universe's ongoing continuity. "The Death of Superman" retains the core, the terror, and the heart of the original in a study of those who share Metropolis as a home with Superman and how their lives have been touched and lifted (and saved a lot) and what happens when that hope is taken away.

"The Death of Superman" is a loose adaptation that retain core elements of the original story much like past releases in the movie line such as "Teen Titans: The Judas Contract". An asteroid holding Doomsday hurtles through a space satellite, crashes on Earth, Doomsday gets loose, other super heroes can't stop him, Superman makes the ultimate sacrifice, the city mourns, and four figures surface to take up the mantle. What happens in between is what distinguishes the movie from past adaptations. The movie re-introduces Superman to audiences and provides a much-needed and overdue expansion on his arc in the ongoing movie canon and explores his origins, his relationships, his impact on Metropolis, and his own inner turmoil. Doomsday doesn't hurtle into action right away and takes over essentially halfway into the movie in stark contrast to the 2007 movie "Superman/Doomsday". But once he does, it's a build up of horror as he commits atrocity after atrocity and the scale increases with each scene. The removal of hope and insertion of dread is felt with each scene. From Hank Heywood placing his full faith in Superman coming to the rescue only to watch his wife and crew getting sucked out into space then dying in a explosion, innocent civilians and officers being slaughtered, to super heroes going down one by one - not even making so much of a scratch, and culminating in the death of Superman, using the last of his energy to save the one he loves. Co-directors Sam Liu and Jake Castorena were the perfect combination. Liu seemingly handles the character work and interpersonal stakes in the first half then Castorena carries Doomsday's onslaught in Metropolis to its conclusion.

The movie's cold open, rightly so, encapsulates a day-in-life of Superman in Metropolis for the audience. In this case, he saves the Mayor from Bruno Mannheim and his Intergang. Following the battle, we're introduced to two of the everymen in Superman's life, Bibbo Bibbowski and Jimmy Olsen. Since the Justice League is headquartered in Metropolis, the movie doesn't try to ignore their presence and shoe-horn them in later but uses them right from the start. The Flash and Cyborg arrive to examine Intergang's tech with Superman and pays off the movie's continuity with referencing Darkseid, the events of "Justice League: War", and Flash joking about the Teen Titans. Superman meets up with a waiting Lois Lane at S.T.A.R. Labs for an exclusive feature on Dr. Klyburn's team studying the ship he came to Earth in as an infant. After learning about Krypton and the House of El, Lois is given a lift back to the Daily Planet then we learn she and Clark have been dating in secret but the resident rumor mill Cat Grant already suspects as much. Clark stumbles with inviting Lois to meet his adoptive parents instead of them going on a weekend getaway to the Hamptons.

As the 10th movie in the ongoing movie continuity that started 4 years ago, we've been at arm's length with a small number of Superman's supporting cast. It's a glaring truth that we're only now revisiting them and meeting more and more in a long overdue fashion but on the flip side, the writing and pacing of the movie doesn't dog pile them onto the audience either. In way, it's probably for the best that we encounter them all here mostly for the first time than suffer a recap of who's who in Metropolis. The cast is introduced in a way that hopefully endears you to want to listen to what they all have to say. If we met most of them in past movies, you'd probably be tapping your feet impatiently for the big battle as you getting updates on everyone. Even then it's carefully timed with the return of Dr. Silas Stone and his damaged relationship with son, Cyborg, and expansion on John Henry Irons from "Justice League: Throne of Atlantis". While the former is more of a touchstone moment that's been overdue as well but segways naturally to the latter that beautifully utilizes both the continuity and seeds a bigger role in "Reign of the Supermen". We get to learn Irons was working construction at the time of 'Throne of Atlantis' after quitting Lexcorp then reveals his engineering expertise and reiterates his adoration of Superman, propelling him to Reign. The scene with Pa and Ma Kent, Clark, and Lois still feels like something we've rarely or never seen before and will probably go down as one of my favorite moments in the movie. The Lori Lemaris jokes, ha! And Ma had one of the best lines in the movie, "I didn't raise you to be alone."

In another nice touch stone, we find Lex Luthor now on house arrest. Rather than beat us over the head with exposition about their past, the reveal of Luthor's status is a nice wink to those who remember the opening of "Justice League vs. Teen Titans". And their rivalry is summarized into Superman's parting words "This city will never love you for hating me" and Luthor's outburst afterward. Couldn't help but love the wink to Alexander Luthor Jr., who played a part in the comic, as Luthor's disguise as well as the introduction of Mercy, rather than Supergirl in the comic. On the surface, the next scene, of Luthor solving his scientists' projects himself then insulting them, making zero effort to help the Excalibur satellite and blackmailing a S.T.A.R. employee paints him as an annoying jerk hardly worth the screen time -- it expounds on his scene with Superman and drives home he really is the opposite of Superman - no empathy, selfish, lording over others, and always has to be served. Even though, the core of his agenda is to protect Earth from the next alien, he's going about it completely wrong and he'll never get it. And that's driven home when Luthor bemoans "I'm supposed to win!" after Superman continues fighting Doomsday.

Another let's say obstacle this movie faced with the continuity is addressed next rather than glazed over. Ever since "Justice League: War", Superman and Wonder Woman were in a relationship. Granted, the last time it was focused on was "Justice League vs. Teen Titans", there's been enough of a gap in time for them to have parted ways. 20/20 hindsight, the break up should have come in 'real time' in a previous movie but I suspect in the nature that these movies get greenlit, the crew learned this two parter was approved or even assigned out of the blue and it was too late in production to do the break up. The last in-continuity movie was "Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay" which had zero to do with Superman and Wonder Woman. Before then with "Justice League Dark", their last appearance together, there was really nowhere to get in in edge-wise. So the crew had the unenviable task of revealing the break up in the past tense but they did it and did it to their advantage. Superman is mulling over going to the next level with Lois and the past relationship with Wonder Woman is held up for comparison. It wasn't just brought up to be brought up. But all in all, at some time in the 2+ years between "Justice League vs. Teen Titans" and "The Death of Superman" - a lot of other stuff happens including a break up. The only gripe I have is speeding up Clark and Lois' relationship to a turning point we've seen before, been there done that, in "Superman/Doomsday" and "All-Star Superman". Even then, that quibble fades with the on screen chemistry of real life couple Jerry O'Connell and Rebecca Romijn as Clark and Lois.

Also points for the hologram training room. If the Teen Titans have one in the Titans Tower, stands to reason the Justice League has one in the Hall of Justice. And the timing of Cheetah as a hologram. They fought in "Justice League vs. Teen Titans" but also will be matched up in the now filming live action "Wonder Woman 1984" movie. Metallo as Superman's hologram opponent was a nice touch, too, a classic Superman villain but also coincidentally, if you're reading the tie-in digital comic book series, Superman just got through fighting Metallo in Texas and Louisiana after the destruction of Excalibur. As some one that loves a good mystery left unanswered, I dug Doomsday's asteroid arrived out of a Boom Tube. While nothing more of it is addressed in the movie, we're left to conclude Darkseid or one of his agents sent him to Earth to take Superman off the board and pave the way for another invasion attempt perhaps. I appreciated all the cameos as well. They weren't forced and came at the correct times like Mera being there with Aquaman as the Atlanteans investigate the crash site or Alfred, Damian, Titus with Bruce at Wayne Manor, or Steve Trevor seated at the funeral.

Keeping Project Cadmus' role from the comics more or less was a welcome sight. I was half-expecting Luthor to create Superboy on his own but glad to be wrong. It was amusing watching both Mercy and Lex play off of Dabney Donovan. I totally chuckled when Kylburn referred to Cadmus as a "genetic pirate ship." So goofy but accurate. Wonder Woman's dig at Batman with her merchandise selling well, in the wake of the live action movie's success, was so awesome. The inclusion of Dr. Klyburn was a pleasant surprise. At first I thought it might have been a nod to Batman v Superman but she's actually a character that's been around for 40+ years so I wouldn't doubt James Tucker suggested her unless I completely forgot she was in the Death of Superman comics. Luthor's man in the submarine, Hazlewood, I think that was a nod to Doug Hazlewood who was an inker in the Death of Superman comics. I thought about re-reading the comics but ultimately chose not to. Still, when I saw them punch each other at the same time - I totally thought it was over for a second. Nice nod. Even the bit earlier but Superman knocking him up to the atmosphere -- I think that was wink to Doomsday's defeat in "Superman/Doomsday". And well, the manner in which Doomsday is killed in this movie had to be in reference to Superman snapping Zod's neck in "Man of Steel".

I am a little on the fence about all the scenes after Bibbo saying "It ain't right, God." You're there at the funeral, then you're carried off immediately into the next phase. It sort of came off as an extended teaser that ends with more end credits teasers. It's hard to make heads or tails of it without knowing what the opening scene of "Reign of the Supermen" is. But on the flip side, it's a two parter - the first for the in continuity movies. While it's true in the past, some were direct continuations like 'War' blends into 'Throne of Atlantis' or there's a loose arc with "Son of Batman", "Batman vs. Robin", and "Batman: Bad Blood" but this is a two parter and why not take advantage of that - play up and end on a mystery then already start seeding 'Reign' with the Supermen. It was an unexpected realization of this Superman had no Fortress of Solitude prior. Out of the four, it shall be intriguing to learn how they go about Cyborg Superman's origins. Still, it drove the point that we're finally getting the full version of the Death of Superman from the comics and more elements - classic Superboy, Steel, Eradicator, Cyborg Superman, Cadmus - and who knows maybe Mongul?

Another minor quibble I had was Clark's struggle to open up to Lois. It's a superficial excuse when we're talking about Lois, a reporter that jumps head first into trouble to get her articles. But again, it wasn't a major flaw of the movie to me because they kind of addressed that with him asking Flash about Iris then Flash's matter of fact reply. An odd omission from the League line up was Shazam. But as Jake Castorena tweeted, I guess Billy was stuck in detention... but then again, after reading chapter 1 of the tie-in digital comic, Superman mentions the rest of the League was busy with minimizing the 50 foot tidal wave caused by the asteroid crash. So in your head canon, one could surmise Shazam could have been caught up in damage control or even ran into some different threat - Sivana, Black Adam, etc. - but considering how Shazam stacked up against Darkseid, he probably wouldn't have fared well against Doomsday. And well, to totally overthink it and ignore what the movie's about, couldn't Cyborg have just boomed Doomsday off world or into a space?

Frederik Wiedmann is always a welcome addition to the crew. From his renditions of the classic sounds of Justice League and Superman to tapping a little into his horror background with the Doomsday scenes. Wiedmann sends it home with the dramatic sacrifice and mourning at the end of the movie. Phil Bourassa has done a lot of tweaking, varying degrees of subtle, with the cast like Batman's suit and belt to almost starting over like Jimmy looks pretty different from 'Throne of Atlantis' or 'updating' Flash's suit. Even Damian looks aged up a little finally. As a fan of "Young Justice", it was pretty amazing to see him do a totally different take on a character like Cat Grant or Bibbo. Then there's Doomsday, who you'd think is a slam dunk to design. But I'm sure Bourassa thought a lot about those bone protrusions. Props for including the containment suit from the comic. Wes Gleason gathered another solid cast. Recasting Lois Lane with Rebecca Romijn, O'Connell's wife, was a stroke of genius. What better way to authenticate the Superman and Lois relationship? I even caught myself when Clark reveals his secret to Lois in Ace o Clubs. Was that Lois laughing at Clark claiming he was Superman or was it Romijn laughing at O'Connell telling her he was Superman? Rainn Wilson as the new voice of Lex Luthor was a sleeper hit. I went into this movie totally skeptical of that 'guy from The Office' - no doubt in part because of years of the Clancy Brown Lex with swagger and charm take - and was surprised with his rendition. Points for Christopher Gorham's Flash imitating Batman during the League meeting.

The bonus features for "The Death of Superman" is surprisingly lacking, a featurette, a sneak peek, and two classic episodes. Looking back on the "Superman/Doomsday" release, it was packed though it was the first title in the DC Universe line. On another hand, it could be boundless other reasons: we'll see more special features on the second part "Reign of the Supermen", there just wasn't time during production to make more like a proper commentary track, or there might be exclusive features reserved for a hypothetical deluxe release similar to "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" a few years ago.

"The Death of Superman: The Brawl That Topped Them All" runs 16 minutes and 23 minutes. There is talking heads commentary from crew of the movie, executives at Warner Home Entertainment, and experts in marital arts. It's not an overly shot-by-shot breakdown or comparison but the real meat of it are the anecdotes from two of the original comic book story's architects, Mike Carlin and Jon Bogdanove. The sneak peek at "Reign of the Supermen" is 9 minutes and 33 seconds. It has a mix of finished footage, animatics, storyboards, character design, recording sessions, and talking heads. It primarily plays up the 4 Supermen and Lois' role. It's going to be a long 5-6 month wait. The two bonus episodes from the vault is the series finale of "Legion of Super-Heroes", "Dark Victory" which was produced by the supervising producer of "The Death of Superman," James Tucker for the now defunct Kids WB! channel. Since these episodes were never released on DVD or Blu-ray in a proper season set, it was bittersweet to revisit this underrated series. The trailers are of the recently released "Batman Ninja" and "Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay" whereas the 4K Ultra commercial plays before the main menu screen comes on. The Blu-Ray Deluxe Gift Set includes a Gentle Giant figurine of battle torn Superman. The company's attention to detail is impeccable and it's a welcome sight to see a set have one again.

Since this a unique situation of both a classic comic book arc being loosely adapted into an ongoing continuity of movies and the second shot at adapting the story, it would have been very illuminating to have a special feature that got featured the crew talking about specific scenes they adapted into the movie, the decisions went into expunging some parts and the easter eggs they chose to insert. I did have a little issue in broad strokes with this being another story about Superman dying in what is the first Superman movie in a long time or another 'Clark is afraid of going the next level with Lois' story and the special features were disappointing. Overall, the movie is a superior adaptation despite some fans' reservations about the ongoing continuity and/or character designs because of amazing animation from newcomer to the movie line Studio MIR, the action set pieces, the vignette structure of introducing Superman's supporting cast, riveting emotional depth, and the struggle between hope and fear.
 
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Classic Speedy

Yup.
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May 13, 2003
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#20
This was my first experience with this Superman storyline but I liked it. And this blew "Man of Steel" right out of the water!

Everyone is likely to talk about the long ending fight scene, and it did deliver, but the movie worked in the other departments too: The relationship with Lois, the scenes with Clark's parents, the heroic sacrifice motif, and a slightly different role for Lex Luthor this time around instead of being the Big Bad. The movie even got me to laugh a few times, most of it in the Justice League meeting scene.

Speaking of laughs, it wasn't meant to be a comedic moment but I couldn't help but be amused and go "Oh wow" at the obvious Jesus parallels in that ending. I mean they had the empty casket and everything.
 
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