Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Death of Superman

The Death of Superman marks the first time DC's animated division has remade a straight-to-video movie (the events from the Death of Superman storyline were originally covered in Superman Doomsday). Even though it unfortunately takes place in the New 52 version of the DCU, The Death of Superman is an improvement over the previous efforts focusing on the events leading up to Superman's (Jerry O'Connell) battle with Doomsday, his relationship with Lois Lane (Rebecca Romijn), and the death of the hero. The other Supermen (who will appear in the sequel) are foreshadowed here as well.

The best of the New 52 Justice League movies (likely because the story came decades before this version of the DCU that DC Comics has already decided to distance themselves from), The Death of Superman feels a bit incomplete with only half the story told, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results. I'm not a fan of either the design nor performance of Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor, but he's a marginal player here.

Using the other Justice Leaguers as canon fodder for Doomsday works well in building up the creature's unstoppable nature (even if we are stuck with crappy New 52 costume designs). By the time Superman joins the battle his friends can offer no help, forcing the Man of Steel to put everything on the line and sacrifice his life to stop Doomsday. The result adds another level to the Justice League's loss, knowing they were unable to help Superman during his last stand. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of time spent on Clark Kent's burgeoning relationship with Lois Lane, and his inner turmoil of revealing his secret. His choice to reveal himself, playing on the worst disguise in comic history, is also a nice nod to longtime fans of the characters. Although the shortened timeline makes the reveal and death feel a bit too coincidental, it too adds another layer to the Man of Steel's death.

Available on Blu-ray and DVD, extras include a featurette on the sequel Reign of Supermen, a pair of episodes from Legion of Superheroes, various trailers, and a featurette on the original comic battle between Superman and Doomsday.

[Warner Home Video, Blu-ray $24.98 / DVD $19.98]

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