Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Reign of the Supermen

The follow-up to The Death of Superman jumps forward six months later as four new Superman have appeared in Metropolis, each claiming to be the original. Adapted from the comic arc of the same name, The Reign of the Supermen introduces us to the Eradicator (Charles Halford), Superboy (Cameron Monaghan), Cyborg-Superman (Jerry O'Connell), and Steel (Cress Williams). Each attempts to fill the shoes of the fallen hero, but with different motives and ideals in mind. Of course, before the end, the real Superman (O'Connell) will return (clad in the black and silver suit from the original comic run) to save the day.

While mainly focused on Lois Lane's (Rebecca Romijn) grief and investigation into the new stand-ins, the plot also involves Darkseid's (Tony Todd) latest plan to invade Earth involving one of the Supermen and turning citizens into conduits for Boom Tubes. The odd plan comes so close to success it even requires Lex Luthor (Rainn Wilson) to save the Justice League.

While not as strong as the previous film, The Reign of the Supermen successfully juggles its large cast of characters even as the plot gets a bit wonky in the final act. The Eradicator draws the short straw as he vanishes for the film's final half-hour, while still providing a plot cheat that doesn't easily fit with the Man of Steel's moral code. Still, the straight-to-video sequel is entertaining (even if it seems to lack much to bring you back for multiple viewings). Available on Blu-ray and DVD, extras include featurettes on Lex Luthor and the next animated film, trailers, and a pair of cartoons from Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited (both featuring Steel).

[Warner Bros., $24.98]

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