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TAC Reviews...The Death of Superman 

Date Posted: 09/09/19

 

Released in 2018, The Death of Superman is a 2018 animated film based upon the comic storyline of the same name and charts the battle between the Man of Steel and Doomsday, the ultimate alien killing machine. It serves as a remake of 2007’s Superman Doomsday.

 

The Death of Superman Cover

 

I saw Superman: Doomsday years ago and it served as something of a quick timeline of the Death of Superman story in which Superman is beaten to death battling a monstrous alien creature. He is able to stop the monster, but it costs him is life. He comes back from the dead but doesn’t seem to be the same Superman he was when he died. It later turns out that this Superman is a clone of the original made by Lex Luthor, and is mentally unstable deciding that killing criminals is better than them being arrested. Meanwhile the real Superman has been transported back to the Fortress of Solitude by his robot butler (or something) and is being nursed back to health. He is forced to fight his clone and wins the day returning as Metropolis’ saviour once more.

 

The Death of Superman deals with the first part of the story in which Superman must stand against the monstrous creature dubbed Doomsday

 

Normally at this point I would give you the opening gist of the story leaving my usual ... saying that you need to know what happens by watching or playing whatever it is I am talking about. Unfortunately as this film is called the Death of Superman there really isn’t much point in me doing that because, well, Superman dies in this film. Still I guess I will give you some lowdown to what is happening...

 

Superman, the hero of Metropolis is doing what he does, foiling crimes and such to the admiration of the people but to the fury of Lex Luthor. After the Man of Steel stops a robbery he learns that the criminals are using advanced tech that they shouldn’t have access to, and he confronts the only person that could have developed such weaponry, Lex Luthor, who is currently under house arrest.

 

Superman has also decided to share the ship that brought him to Earth with the people of the world. Meanwhile Clark Kent is in a relationship with Lois and is trying to decide whether he should share the truth about his identity with her. He consults other members of the Justice League including ex-lover (?) Wonder Woman, who encourage him to let Lois get close to him if he believes that she is truly the one he loves.

 

A meteorite arriving through a boomtube (a wormhole in space) crashes into the ocean and Luthor sends a team down to find out if there is anything of value in the meteor. His sub encounters Atlanteans who are also looking for the crash-site, they discover the remains and the Atlanteans are literally torn apart by a monstrous humanoid. The sub is also attacked being quickly destroyed.

 

The humanoid starts heading away. Later Aquaman tracks its footprints until it emerges on the US Coastline, where it kills a pair of campers and a grizzly bear. As it heads into population centres, the Justice League arrive and engage it with Hawk-man, Green Lantern and the Flash being swiftly defeated. Batman also tries to subdue the creature but is unable to do so, Martian Manhunter, through his telepathy learns that the creature is a living weapon designed to destroy entire civilisations.

 

Unaware of what is happening Clark decides to reveal his identity to Lois, and initially the shocked reporter doesn’t see it, even after he takes of his glasses. Before they can talk, Clark gets the distress call from the League and leaves. He leaves a note telling Lois he loves her, and arrives in time to save Wonder Woman from the monster. She tells him not to hold back against the creature or he will be killed.

 

Lois, reporting on the battle dubs the creature Doomsday, and watches along with the rest of the world as the Man of Steel struggles to subdue the monster. Beaten, bloody and trying to save as many lives as possible, including Lois, Superman throws all of his strength and power into final decisive blow against the monstrous Doomsday knowing that if he cannot stop it then no one else can.

 

That is basically the gist of the film; Superman is beaten practically to death and is struggling keep people safe whilst trying to stop the creature that will just keep killing.

 

When I watched Superman: Doomsday there is very little build up to Doomsday, basically the monster is unearthed by a Lex-Corp dig team and it is implied that the creature has been buried for centuries. The creature is known to the AI in the Fortress of Solitude which explains what it is and where it came from. In this instalment Doomsday arrives after a meteorite comes through a wormhole. I don’t know if this means that this is a deliberate attack on Earth, but if it is then surely it is going to take a single monster years to kill the population of the entire planet, as well as all other living creatures.

 

It doesn’t strike me as an efficient way to kill everything is me point.

 

If it is an accident and Doomsday is a weapon that its creators couldn’t control and set adrift in space then how did it use a wormhole to reach Earth??

 

Half of this film is taken up with Superman trying to decide if he should tell Lois his true identity, and when Doomsday arrives he is engaged by the Justice League. What I found strange though is that the League basically fights him one after another. Hawk-Man first, then when he is defeated, Green Lantern, then after he is wounded, Flash tries his luck, then Batman wades in...wouldn’t they have had more luck if they had all attacked at once?? Could Green Lantern not have held him whilst Hawk-Man smashed him with his electrical mace-thing?? I also never really understood (in Doomsday or this film) why Superman doesn’t fly the monster into space and either throw him into the sun or onto the Moon. Doomsday cannot fly so if the was flung into space then there would not be much that he could do about it. He could have been dumped on the Moon whilst the Justice League figure out what they can do to stop, contain or kill it. That is assuming of course that the vacuum of space wouldn’t be enough to suffocate it or the cold freeze it.

 

I don’t know much about Doomsday but I remember hearing at some point that he can only be killed by something once, so the more he is killed the stronger he becomes, I think this explains how he gets Superman’s heat vision during the fight.

 

I like the animated DC movies far more than their live action ones and honestly have no idea why they work as animation but not live action. Jason O’Mara reprises the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman from previous films that Abbie and I have recently been watching. As his son Damien is briefly mentioned and seen in this film I am assuming that the canon sees it happening after the events of Son of Batman, Batman Vs Robin and Batman Bad Blood but the continuity isn’t honestly that important.

 

I liked the voice acting and whilst Kevin Conroy is the best voice of Batman, Jason O’Mara does a very good job as the tough as nails Dark Knight. The only weak link is Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor. In the past the megalomaniac has been voiced by James Marsters (Spike from Buffy) or Clancy Brown and both of them give him a darker edge. Their voices give the character that calm and charming sound that allows you to forget just how dangerous Lex Luthor actually is. Both of them have shown that Lex can become unhinged which works better when juxtaposed with the calm rational way he normally speaks. I didn’t think that Wilson’s voice coming from Lex fitted with the diabolical nature of the man who longs to prove to the world that Superman is the enemy.

 

I did also get a bit distracted by Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern, not that he did a bad job, I just think his voice is too recognisable and like voice over work done by Ryan Reynolds, I saw Fillion in a recording studio somewhere, rather than the character he is voicing. A voice actor and their character should blend seamlessly together so that one fits perfectly the other, but that didn’t happen when Fillion voiced Green Lantern.

 

There are four post-credits scene and the film is followed up by Rise of the Supermen which I will probably watch at some point. As far as Death of Superman is concerned I honestly preferred Superman Doomsday because the fight between the Man of Steel and Doomsday seemed more brutal. There is a scene in that film when Doomsday holds Superman and viciously punches him into the stomach; we see the pain in Superman’s eyes and he drops to the floor coughing up blood. In this film the action keeps cutting away so we see Superman in various stages of the fight but at one point he is bleeding from his head, later he is bleeding from his face, his suit gets more destroyed. But we don’t see every bone shattering impact as Doomsday savagely and remorselessly beats the Man of Steel.

 

I did like the film but like I said preferred Superman Doomsday, if you like the DC animated movies then it is worth a watch but spoiler alert, Superman dies...or does he????

 

I guess I’ll give the film a Thumbs Up because it wasn’t bad but I couldn’t help thinking that the Justice League should have attacked together instead of one at a time, and I don’t know why Superman didn’t chuck Doomsday onto the Moon, or Green Lantern didn’t fly the monster into space and create a tennis racket large enough to bat him into the sun.

 

 

8/10 – If I hadn’t seen Superman: Doomsday I might have rated this film higher, as it is I think the film was a decent adaptation of the comic book story which might be more faithful to the source material than the former film was.

 

TAC Reviews...Reign of the Supermen

Date Posted: 05/01/20

 

This is the second part to the Death of Superman storyline, which picks up events several months following the death of the Man of Steel at the hands of Doomsday, after which four different “Supermen” have appeared all of which seem to be vying for the position of the True Superman. The primary voice cast from the previous film return to reprise their roles here with Tony Todd also joining them to voice Darkseid. The film was released in 2019 and serves as a direct sequel to the events in Death of Superman

 

Reign of the Supermen Boxart

 

So first off Happy New Year Humans, it is now 2020, and your pitiful race has survived this long. But don’t get too comfortable as I am confident that before this decade is out my people will answer the phone and you will be eradicated/enslaved...still at the beginning of each decade I have been on this planet I have thought the same, but you never know, this may be my decade.

 

Whilst I am still waiting for the invasion, I shall continue my quiet life on this planet reviewing games/films/books/TV shows and whatever else I fancy.

 

I have decided to have a crack at Dark Souls this year and am just working my way through the Wiki to figure out which character to start as before I dive into that. In the meantime however Abbie decided that we should exchange gifts as it was both her creation day as well as Christmas Day a week or so ago, so we both got a few new games and DVDs that we can both work our way through in the next few weeks. One of those gifted to me was Reign of the Supermen

 

The story takes place six months after the death of Superman at the hands of the creature known as Doomsday and the world is still recovering from his loss. The Justice League and the Titans are both stretched thin as they come to realise just how big a part Kal played in keeping the world safe. However the citizens are being helped by a child with all of Superman’s powers but the arrogance and cockiness that comes with youth, a literal Man of Steel, a Superman sporting yellow shades, and a Cyborg that claims to be the result of Resurrection technology which has rebuilt the original Superman, turning him into a hybrid of man and machine, but this version is the real Superman.

 

Lois Lane is still struggling to cope with the loss of the man she loved, and decides to throw herself back into her work to determine who these new Supermen and Superboy really are.

 

Lex Luther created Superboy after the only successful attempt to clone Superman from samples of his DNA didn’t result in hideous mutated creatures. He is determined to put his creation in the ultimate position of power thus allowing Luthor himself to access higher levels of government. Unfortunately for him Superboy seems more interested in having fun and enjoying his celebrity status than using his powers out of a genuine desire to help.

 

The President of the United States is attacked and the Justice League is seemingly killed when a portal collapses in on them. Superboy attempts to repel the attackers but it is the Cyborg Superman that saves the day.

 

The Cyborg Superman quickly manages to capture the hearts and minds of the populous after saving the President and tells the public that Doomsday was just the beginning, there are greater threats out there and he needs the help of ordinary citizens to help defend the planet. As people volunteer he places a device on them which grants them formidable powers including strength and flight.

 

With the Justice League gone, the Cyborg Superman promises to keep the world safe, but is he really who he claims to be...??

 

From what I understand the Death of Superman was a pretty big deal in the comics and it has worked its way into the animated film Superman Doomsday and Batman Vs Superman Dawn of Justice. Both of those films as well as the comics saw the supposed death of the Man of Steel, however, the comics then ran with the rise of several new Supermen all of which were attempting to take the place of or fill the void left behind by the original Son of Krypton. In both comic book and film it is easy to kill someone off and then come up with some contrived reason to bring them back, clones, alternate versions from parallel dimensions, and using some form of time travel are just a few of the usual ones. Going into this film I knew that the original Superman would reappear at some point but naturally I did not know how or when.

 

The previous film was focussed more on action with the Justice League battling Doomsday and the Man of Steel continuing the fight alone after the rest were beaten. This film focuses on Lois Lane and how she is trying to move on with her life, and which of these Supermen is going to be named the True Superman.

 

There is a moment when a character is introduced at which point I turned to Abbie and said that is definitely the Man of Steel guy, with the emphasis on Steel as he basically wears a suit of armour with a rocket powered hammer. The other Supermen all have their interpretations on how justice should be carried out and the one with the shades (the Eradicator) attacks Lex Luthor. He retreats after Superboy, Steel and the Cyborg Superman get involved. The fights are pretty entertaining with the super-powered supermen smacking the crap out of each other but it isn’t anything we haven’t seen before.

 

There is a decent amount of action but this is very much a character driven story. Lex is not exactly happy that his creation is not playing ball, and that his lead geneticist divulges classified Luthor-tech to reporters with plunging neck-lines showing off their assets and human-alien clones. Lois is just trying to move on with her life. Whilst the rest of the world are making up their own minds about the Supermen, including the Cyborg that is giving ordinary citizens powers but turning them into mindless drones who don’t recognise the people that then used to know.

 

There is a hell of a lot going on here and the film can feel a touch overlong as each Superman is struggling to get screen time to flesh out their own story. Steel wears a suit of armour but I am not sure exactly how he is capable of taking a punch which would have been strong enough to knock his head off, armour or not. The way the suit is removed is also highly reminiscent of the way Tony Stark removes his Iron Man suit in the first Iron Man film back into 2008. What is the suit made of? How did he construct it? Why can it fly? What powers it? Where did he get the money to create his own crime lab in his apartment plus the machines necessary to remove and get into the Steel armour? None of these questions are answered and he makes some reference to Superman saving him once so he is just trying to help fill the void that he has left.

 

Plus Darkseid appears and claims to have been responsible for sending Doomsday to Earth. From what I gather Darkseid is the Thanos of the DC Universe, he is a powerful tyrant that rules a planet named Apocalypse, and has tangled with the Justice League on numerous occasions. Lex Luthor is also aware of who and what Darkseid is too. Apparently Doomsday was something of a mystery in the comics, who created it, and where it had come from was left unknown because Superman’s usual array of enemies had tangled with him hundreds of times and never killed him, so a new enemy was created that was capable of doing the job. If Darkseid created Doomsday then why not create another? Or another? Why not an army of them? The tyrant wants to conquer Earth with this convoluted plan but it takes away from the story rather than adding to it. He didn’t need to really feature in anything more than a puppeteer role and it makes him more threatening to be manipulating events on Earth from afar.

 

There is going to be a spoiler now so let me drop this...

 

 

In the Death of Superman, when Doomsday first come to Earth, his escape pod or spaceship or whatever crashes into a space shuttle orbiting Earth. A husband and wife astronaut team are onboard, Hank Henshaw is the shuttle pilot, and as his ship is torn apart around him he waits for Superman to appear and save them. Something that Superman does not do. We find out in this film that Darkseid plucked Hanshaw’s corpse from the void and turned him into the Cyborg Superman with the intention of using him as a weapon against Earth. Henshaw also wanted to destroy the reputation of the man who failed to save him and his wife...but here’s my question...Darkseid sent Doomsday to Earth so isn’t the death of Henshaw’s wife down to Darkseid??? If he hadn’t sent Doomsday then the shuttle would have never been destroyed, wouldn’t it therefore make more sense for Hanshaw to turn on Darkseid rather than fanatically pursue a campaign to destroy the reputation of the original Superman???

 

This also leads me on to a point that Abbie and I were discussing the other day, in The New Adventures of Superman, through various contrived reasons Superman loses his powers and Lois gains them, becoming Ultra Woman for the space of a single episode. But in that episode she struggles with trying to help everyone that is crying out for rescue and Clark tells her that it is impossible to get to everyone. He is only one guy, and he does what he can for those he can, but ultimately he is not going to be able to save everyone. Lois struggles to accept that but it is a valid point, Superman is powerful, but he is a single person on a planet with billions of people on it. I feel that it would have made Henshaw more sympathetic if his mind had been twisted by Darkseid rather than joining with him and allowing Earth to be conquered just to destroy the reputation of the man who let him down.

 

I also have to admit that I prefer the voice of James Marsters or Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor, plus the storyline that happened in Superman Doomsday when Lex Luthor mourns the loss of Superman because he had schemed for years to kill the Man of Steel and in the end someone else beat him to it. Both actors possess the ability to bring across Luthor’s calm and dangerous intellect which also allowing him to be ruthless. Rainn Wilson isn’t a bad Luthor but I prefer the voices of the actors that I have become accustomed to rather than someone new. Nathan Fillion is still a highlight as Green Lantern but the rest of the Justice League effectively just cameo in this film.

 

Generally I did like the film, but it is trying to fit in a lot so some characterisation is sacrificed, and maybe Darkseid is claiming to have made Doomsday when he didn’t. All in all it is a decent film but I did prefer the Death of Superman to this one. It is still getting a Thumbs Up because it is worth watching and it has been added to my growing collection of Superman animated movies.

 

 

7/10 – Not as good as Death of Superman but Reign of the Superman manages to fit a lot of stuff into its run time. Yes some of the plot twists are predictable and Steel’s identify couldn’t have been telegraphed any harder, but it is still entertaining and worth your time.

 

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