So far, it’s been a fantastic year for DC Animated Movies. First, we got the excellent adaptation of the classic Superman graphic novel, Superman: Red Son. Which is one of the best movies DC Animation has put out in years. Then just a few months ago with the release of Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, which was a bleak, bloody, action packed, funny, thrill ride, that utterly destroyed the interconnected DC Animated Universe that has been spread over 11 or 12 movies. DC Animation was doing their own version of the MCU with some (but not all) of their films. and Justice League Dark: Apokolips War was the final film in that series and it was pretty fucking great. Now, we have two more DC Animated Movies to look forward to this summer and they both seem Seri promising in completely different ways. First up, we have our first look at the next DC Animated Movie, Superman: Man of Tomorrow! Take a look at the trailer right here and then I’ll give you a few of my thoughts below…
I’m really digging the vibe of this one. First of all I really like how the animation seems unique from other styles we’ve seen from DC in the past. Also, even though they say this is an original story, this is clearly an adaptation of the excellent, recent Superman miniseries, Superman: American Alien. American Alien is a fantastic graphic novel, so if this is even a loose adaptation, I’m all for it! Plus, I love seeing Superman fight villains like Lobo and Parasite. Bottom line: I’ll be buying a digital copy of this movie it hits iTunes in July. If it’s anywhere near as good as Superman: Red Son and Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, I’m sure I’ll buy the Blu-Ray, too.
Superman: Man of Tomorrow will available for digital download on 8/23 and 4K/Blu-Ray on 9/8
The second DC Animated film we can look forward to in the near future, is Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons. This originally appeared as a series of animated shorts on The CW seed app. DC Animation expanded the content and decided to release it as a feature length film, focusing on the DC Universe’s most famous and deadly assassin. Similar successful and entertaining projects have been done with John Constantine and Vixen. It looks damn pretty cool and It certainly is a sharp contrast to Superman a man of tomorrow, it certainly is a sharp contrast to Superman: Man of Tomorrow, take a look at the trailer below:
Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons will be available digitally on 8/4/20 and on 4K/Blu-Ray on 8/18/20
On this week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast, Big Paul Sr. returns to the show for a sobering reminder of how aging can lead to a steep cognitive decline! More importantly, we cover the big news of the week: Michael Keaton may be returning to play Batman alongside Ezra Miller’s Flash, in the upcoming Flashpoint movie? The man who many people think is still the best to ever wear the cape and the cowl, returning to the role of The Dark Knight is extremely exciting!
Getting a Flash movie to the big screen has been an enormous struggle for DC and Warner Brothers. The film has already gone through multiple writers/directors and was originally scheduled for release more than two years ago. Barring anymore disasters, The Flash is going to be helmed by Andy Muschietti, who directed the recent hit horror films, IT and IT: Chapter Two. Despite all the drama behind the scenes, one thing has remain constant: The Flash film will be an adaptation of the seminal Flash storyline, Flashpoint.
Written by Geoff Johns with art by Andy Kubert, Flashpoint told the story of Barry Allen (The Flash) going back in time to prevent his mothers murder. However, changing this one event has dire and far reaching consequences that Barry never could have foreseen. Barry finds himself in a much darker and dangerous version of the DCU that he knows. Kind of like Back To The Future II. However, one of the most significant and interesting changes is revealed when Barry heads to Wayne Manor to seek out the help of his friend and fellow JL member, Batman. When Barry enters The Batcave, a nearly psychotic Batman attacks him. At which point Barry makes a horrifying discovery, the man underneath the bat cowl is actually Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s father! As a result of Barry‘s manipulation of the timeline, one of the major changes effected the creation of The Dark Knight on that fateful night in Crime Alley, in Gotham City all those years ago when The Wayne’s were attacked by a mugger. Bruce was now the one shot and killed, instead of his parents. So Thomas Wayne became Batman. A much more violent and unhinged Batman. Working together, Barry and Thomas Wayne set out to fix the timeline. That’s the set up.
This is just speculation on my part, but like a lot of comic book adaptations of specific stories, I think a lot of liberties will be taken with the source material with this Flashpoint film. A good example is Captain America: Civil War, that story was based on the miniseries Civil War and is vastly different from the source material. So what I think will happen is, maybe instead of an alternate timeline, Barry will enter an alternate universe, like the universe of Tim Burton’s Batman and that’s where he’ll meet and team up with Michael Keaton‘s Dark Knight. Maybe he travels to another alternate universe with Barry, I don’t know how it will work. But you can definitely see how they could fit Michael Keaton’s Batman into a story like this.
I know DC also wants to use Keaton in a role similar to Nick fury in the MCU, one example that’s been rumored suggests Keaton’s Batman showing up in a Batgirl movie. However, I think if DC and Warner Bros. want to do a film about a young Bat-themed hero, they would be crazy not to adapt Batman Beyond. It works perfectly, an older Bruce Wayne played by Keaton, training Terry McGinnis as the next Batman in futuristic Gotham City. It was a phenomenal TV series and it could be a phenomenal film series, as well.
Bottom line is, there a lot of thrilling possibilities with Michael Keaton returning to play Batman and all of them are exciting! We get into in all on this episode so, enjoy!
The Flash or Flashpoint (whatever they end up calling it) is currently set to hit theaters on June 3, 2022
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter@PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!
We’ve had a lot of great content on the site lately, so I wasn’t in a rush to post individual pages for the last couple of episodes of The World’s Best Podcast. Regardless, I still wanted to make sure I posted something about the latest episodes of the show. The first episode is my review of the DC Animated Movie, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. The 2nd and latest podcast is my review for the great new DC live-action superhero series, Stargirl. We have the links for both podcasts posted below. I like to go out of my way to create a webpage for each of the episodes of The World’s Best Podcast, so I can add some cool new content, some additional insight into the episode, or bonus material. I have trailers for Justice League Dark: Apokolips War and DC’s Stargirl posted below, along with some interesting stills, photos, and concept images to give you a closer look at the projects I’m reviewing in these 2 episodes. You can check out that content right here.
First up, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War…
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War! Superman and the Justice League decide to take the fight to Darkseid and lose… badly. 2 years later, with many of the heroes dead and Earth decimated by Darkseid’s forces, a desperate and de-powered Clark Kent turns to John Constantine for help with a suicidal plan to end the threat of Darkseid once and for all.
Next, our latest episode reviewing the new series, DC’s Stargirl!
The new series based on the DC Comics hero, Stargirl created by Geoff Johns, will be airing on The CW and the DC UNIVERSE Streaming Service. The new show stars Brec Bassinger and Luke Wilson, the series also heavily features the heroes and villains from the classic DC comic book, JSA. Over the course of the first season, High School student Courtney Whitmore takes up the mantle of superhero, Stargirl with the help of her stepfather Pat (Luke Wilson), formally an unofficial member of the JSA who wears a giant robot super suit that he built, called S.T.R.I.P.E.
Together they’ll form a new generation of The JSA since the original JSA were killed by The Injustice Society. The society includes villains like Icicle, Solomon Grundy, Sportsmaster, Tigress, Brainwave, and The Dragon King.
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!
It’s Movie Trailer Tuesday here at World’s Best Media! We have some new trailers and featurettes from 2 very different, but very cool upcoming superhero movies: Marvel’s Black Widow and the new film from DC Animation, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War!
First up, we have the final trailer for Marvel’s Black Widow, opening May 1st. Fans have been clamoring for a Black Widow movie for years and early projections have this film doing big numbers for Marvel.
Personally, I’m most excited to see Taskmaster make his big screen debut. Taskmaster is a mercenary and assassin who can perfectly mimic the fighting style and ability of any combatant he encounters. It was especially cool to see Taskmaster studying the surveillance videos of Natasha’s big fight with the guards at Hammer Industries during the climax of Iron Man 2 (her first appearance in The MCU). We also see Taskmaster breakout moves mimicking the some of the best hand to hand fighters in The MCU, like Captain America, Black Panther, and Hawkeye. I think this is going to be a blast, but check out the trailer for yourself right here…
DC Animation just released their adaptation of Superman: Red Son, arguably one of the most beloved Superman stories ever told. I loved the film, it was a return to the glory days of fantastic DC Animated Movies. Even though I love the DCAU, lately they have not been on par with the amazing work they’ve done in the past. However, it looks like they may be back on track. While Red Son was excellent, I found myself even more excited by the sneak peek at the next DC Animated film, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War.
This is the culmination of at least a dozen or more movies that began with Justice League: War, which was about how the Justice League was formed to repel the forces of Darkseid and his invading armies. DCA puts out at least 3 or 4 movies every year and at least 1 or 2 of these films have taken place in this shared DC Animated Universe that started with Justice League: War (The other films released each year tend to be their own standalone stories like Superman: Red Son, Batman Gotham by Gaslight, or The Killing Joke). This new film looks like the DCAU version of Avengers: Endgame. This video was previewed as a feturette on the special features of Superman: Red Son, just give it a watch and you’ll see how cool this movie looks…
If that wasn’t enough, DC Animation also released a trailer for the new film as well which you can watch right here…
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War will be available digitally on iTunes on May 5th and on Blu-Ray/4K on May 19th.
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!
Another year has come to an end, but before we ring in the New Year, I wanted to leave you all with one more entry in my recommendation series: Paul’s Picks! Let’s dive in…
House of X/Powers of X by Jonathan Hickman
This is by far the best superhero graphic novel of the year, if not the last several years. Jonathan Hickman has delivered one of the most wildly unique superhero comics I’ve read in a long time. Something about the X-Men allows for new creators to come into that world and wildly shake things up. They put their unique brand on the characters and the story, all the while always feeling like an X-Men tale. Chris Claremont did it with Giant Size X-Men #1, Grant Morrison did it with New X-Men, Joss Whedon did it with Astonishing X-Men, and now Jonathan Hickman has done it again with House of X/Powers of X.
The best part is you don’t have to be familiar with recent X-Men comics understand the story, you just need a basic knowledge of who the X-Men are. The hardcover volume I have is a special edition that actually came with a lithograph signed by Jonathan Hickman, which is pretty cool, but don’t expect it to be come with every edition (this was a special order).
Most other editions of this hardcore graphic novel have a different, but still beautiful wrap around cover. If you’ve ever been interested in superhero comics or if you wanted to get back into comic books, this is a must read.
As I’ve talked about on this website many times, I love the DC animated movies that come out every year. One of the better ones in recent memory has been The Death of Superman storyline which was broken into two different films. The first, The Death of Superman focuses on Clark Kent’s growing romantic relationship with Lois Lane and ultimately Superman’s fight to the death with the vicious monster, Doomsday. While Reign of The Supermen is about how the World, The Justice League, Lois Lane, and even Lex Luthor all deal with the loss of Earth’s greatest hero. Now this excellent story can be watched seamlessly as one beautiful animated film: The Death and Return of Superman. Much like their adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, which was split into two separate film releases and then eventually released as one film under The Dark Knight Returns Deluxe Edition, The Death and Return of Superman is best enjoyed as one movie.
My last pick is Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. I’m a huge Tarantino fan, but to be honest I was disappointed with his most recent directorial effort. Don’t get me wrong, DiCaprio and Pitt are great and there’s a lot to like in this movie, but it just didn’t wow me like Tarantino’s movies usually do. I know I’m in the minority on this one, the film was a huge critical success and most of my friends loved it as well, including World’s Best Media’s own Ryan McDonald. However, just because I wasn’t blown away doesn’t mean I didn’t want to add the film to my Blu-Ray collection. My personal selection was the Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook Blu-Ray/4K edition. I love me some steelbook Blu-rays!
So that’s it for my picks in 2019! Look for me to continue this article series more frequently in the coming year. Have a safe and Happy New Year! See you in 2020!
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, which go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!
I love DC’s Animated Movies. I always look forward to what stories they choose to tell in their animated films every year. I’ll even go so far as to say that some of them are among the best superhero movies ever made. There’s one story in particular that fans have wanted to see for years: an adaptation of Superman: Red Son, a miniseries by Mark Millar and Dave Johnson. Red Son is a classic DC “Elseworlds”story. Elseworlds stories are essentially alternate takes on classic DC stories or characters. It’s almost like a “what if?” tale. Like, what if Batman existed in the Victorian era Gotham City and hunted Jack The Ripper? Or what if, years in the future, the original members of the Justice League must come out of retirement to deal with a new generation of violent and destructive “heroes“ that have risen up in their absence? (These are all real Elseworlds stories by the way).
The story of Superman: Red Son is brilliant in its simplicity. What if instead of crashing his spaceship in Smallville, Kansas where he was raised by the Kent’s, little baby Kal-El’s ship landed in Soviet Union era Russia? How would that change the history of the world? Would Superman’s inherent goodness shine through despite being raised in a culture like The Soviet Union, during the height of The Cold War? Red Son takes this premise and runs with it brilliantly. We even get to see different versions of characters like Batman, Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman, The Green Lantern Corps, and many more.
Over the past couple of years, the DC Animated Movies have dipped a little in quality compared to some of their truly phenomenal earlier films, like their adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, or Batman: Under The Red Hood. I have noticed a little bit of an uptick in quality over there last few movies, so hopefully Superman: Red Son will be the film that gives us another DC Animated Movie classic. You can watch the trailer right here:
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, which go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!
After the surprisingly solid Batman: Hush, it looks like we’ll be getting one more DC Animated Movie before the end of 2019: Wonder Woman: Bloodlines. You can check out the first trailer posted below. I am more excited for this one than I thought I would be. I really like seeing how the film is using many of the classic Wonder Woman villains that we don’t often get to see in projects like this. DC has been putting out some strong animated films lately after a few years of some mediocre entries, hopefully Wonder Woman: Bloodlines continues the trend of increasingly good DC Animated Movies. The movie will be released digitally on 10/5 and on Blu-Ray and 4K on 10/22. One of the bonus features included with the movie will be a short film about the character Death, one of The Endless from Neil Gaiman‘s The Sandman comic book series. Watch the trailer here:
This month DC Animation is releasing the second movie in their two part Death of Superman saga, Reign of The Supermen. Reign of The Supermen begins roughly 6 months after The Death of Superman. The world is still in morning, but none more so than Lois Lane. Shortly before his death, due to his injuries sustained saving the city from Doomsday in the previous film, Clark and Lois’ relationship had reached the point where they were deeply in love with each other. Which makes Clark’s death all the more tragic, but more on that in a moment.
Even with the fantastic action sequences we come to expect, I’ve really enjoyed the small character moments in both of these movies that give the films some heart. For example, the developing friendship between Lois Lane and Wonder Woman added a nice layer to the film. Superhero comics are often so male focused, we don’t get to see enough positive female friendships. Even though it’s Clark’s death that brings them together in this film, it’s great to see their bond develop throughout the film. Even though they are very different people in many ways, it makes a lot of sense that they would like each other, that they’d hit it off.
A problem DC characters face that most Marvel characters don’t, is the fact that the Justice League are almost a modern day pantheon of gods. Which can make them seem distant, inhuman and unrelatable. Seeing Lois and Diana together in civilian attire bonding at a local pub is a great scene that humanizes these larger than life characters. It’s a small moment, but I hope the writers take the opportunity to grow this relationship. There’s great dramatic and comedic potential in pairing Lois and Diana in this and future films.
As, I touched upon earlier, when that film began, Lois and Clark have been dating long enough that they both knew some serious choices needed to be made in their relationship. Was this just a fun office romance? Or is it something real? They love one another, but Clark struggles with how and if he should tell Lois that he is Superman. Their love story is a key story aspect of that film.
I think the decision to make this story into two films really works and you see that decision pay off here. Considering the ambition of the story they were telling, this does feel like one film, cut in two, instead of two separate movies. I hope they put out a deluxe edition with both films together like they did with The Dark Knight Returns Part One and Two. There are so many callbacks and little moments connected to the first film, that if you haven’t seen The Death of Superman, you may not understand the emotional impact of certain moments.
Following Superman’s death, four new “Superman themed” heroes appear. The question to some is, if somehow one of them could be the real deal. First there’s Steel, a scientist named John Henry Irons we’d met in a few previous DCAU films. Irons has essentially built Superman-themed Iron Man armor. He has a particularly cool mechanized hammer, almost like a high tech version of Thor’s new ax/hammer in Infinity War. With his flowing red cape and the S on his armor, he cant quite reach the power level of the original Man of Steel, but he certainly holds his own.
Then there’s the teenage Superboy, a LexCorp sponsored hero reveling in his celebrity and all too eager to prove himself to be the hero that Superman was and so much more. Unfortunately, he finds out the hard way that a cocky attitude and bravado can’t compete with the years of experience the original Superman had under his belt. His origin is pretty dark and I won’t spoil it here, if you don’t know it already. Some may find his character to be a little bit annoying, but I found there to be an underlying tragedy to the character and I thought his relationship with Lex Luthor was particularly interesting.
I don’t want to go into full spoilers, but there are 2 other contenders for the title of the new Man of Steel: The dangerous Eradicator and Cyborg-Superman. Both are much darker figures than Steel and Superboy. Strangely, it seems that if any of these new “heroes” are Kal-El of Krypton reborn, Cyborg-Superman seems like the best bet, but like all of the new Superman figures there is more to him than meets the eye.
When the shit really starts to hit the fan, the movie finds a particularly clever way to take of the Justice League out of the equation for the big final battle at the end of the film. Had the Justice League been present, it definitely would’ve created major story problems, so it was nice to see that was handled well. The absence of the Justice League forces some unpredictable and surprising figures to step up and act more heroically than you may expect, including Lex Luthor.
Rainn Wilson returns to the role of Lex Luthor in this film after first playing him in The Death of Superman. I really like how Lex is portrayed in both of these movies. He is undoubtably self-serving, amoral, and even a flat out piece of shit at times. However, he doesn’t want to see mankind destroyed or brought low. He genuinely wants to help the human race and at times, under the right circumstances, he can even act heroically. The film leaves him in a particularly interesting place in this regard and I‘m very much looking forward to see where they take the character from here.
In my review for last year’s The Death of Superman (Read it here:https://best-media-world.com/2018/07/29/movie-review-the-death-of-superman/), I mention how the film feels very much like a story about Clark Kent “the man” first and foremost. Not Superman, just Clark Kent. The Death of Superman is about the young man who grew up on a Kansas farm raised by wonderful parents.
If The Death of Superman was about Clark Kent, Reign of The Supermen is all about Lois Lane.She’s the lead in this film. Sure, we have four new Superman “replacements/Wannabes/psychos” running around that are crucial to the story, But make no mistake this is Lois’s film. We get to see you Lois in action playing the hero on a level I don’t think we’ve ever seen her before outside of the comics. Even without the costume and the powers she almost feels like the superhero of the film. I mentioned before that at some point in the film the Justice League are taken out of the equation and there are people seriously fighting out of their weight class. Lois Lane is of course one of these people. She manages to hold her own in against one of the most dangerous super villains in the DC Universe and the movie makes it work. Almost like Batman, Lois uses her cunning and what weapons she has at her disposal to take on some real heavy hitters. Lois and Lex Luthor, as characters are probably some of the strongest parts of this film
I don’t really want to get into the method in which a Superman is resurrected. I mean, c’mon! We all knew he was coming back. No one thought he going to stay dead. But the events surrounding his resurrection, put Superman at a slight disadvantage. Which was another creative way to up the stakes for the characters, especially when Superman is often labeled as being too powerful in his stories.
There are some really great action sequences in the climax. Some of the animation in particular is very dynamic, fluid, almost anime. That turns some people off, but I think it looks really cool and I thought it especially worked for this film.
The Death Of Superman strongly hinted at the mastermind behind the events in both of these films. It won’t be too hard to guess the individual’s identity. SLIGHT SPOILERS FOR FUTURE POSSIBLE FILMS: I really like how the story leavesSuperman and the rest of the Justice League contemplating how to deal with the threat of Darkseid. This was his revenge for his failed invasion of Earth in Justice League: War (Though it seems he blames Superman for that defeat more than the other heroes for some reason). The JL knows that Darkseid is going to keep coming and they’re going to have to do something about him. I’m really excited for the story possibilities this set up for future movies. I hope the folks at DC animation take full advantage of the storytelling potential. Oh, and stay for the post-credits scene! Not only is it important to some potential future films but it’s also just really fun and funny. Don’tmiss it
All in all, I loved The Death of Superman, I don’t think Reign of The Supermen quite reached the heights of the previous film. However, it still has a lot going for it that makes it absolutely worth a watch. For a fun and exciting superhero movie with some above average character work and thrilling action sequences, you can’t go wrong with Reign of The Supermen. I definitely recommend you check it out.
This week DC and Warner Bros. Animation released The Death of Superman on Blu-Ray, DVD, 4K, and Digital. I had a chance to watch the movie a few weeks ago when it was released on iTunes and I really enjoyed the movie. You can read my full review here:
Normally DC releases 3 of these animated films a year, but next year they’ll be bumping it up to 4. 2019 will see the release of Reign of The Supermen, Batman: Hush, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, and Justice League Vs. The Fatal Five. Below is some of the early promo art DC has released announcing each of the films.
The Death of Superman is the first film in a 2-Part story, with Part 2, Reign of The Supermen coming out in early 2019. While the first film deals with the brutal final battle of The Man of Steel, Reign of The Supermen deals with the fallout of a world without Superman. How will Superman’s death affect the people in his life that he left behind? And what heroes (or villains) will step up to take his place?
Below are some images that tease some of the characters from Reign of The Supermen that emerge in Superman’s absence:
Out of all of these projects, I’m most intrigued by Batman: Hush, which is scheduled to be released around early summer 2019.
After already adapting Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, and The Killing Joke, I would have guessed The Long Halloween or Arkham Asylum would be the next iconic Batman story for DC Animation to tackle. Hush is definitely considered a modern classic among many Batman fans. The story, written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by the legendary Jim Lee, was an epic 12 issue Batman mystery, involving all of the most iconic villains and allies in The Dark Knight’s world. I would almost expect DC to go the 2-Part film route with this story considering how sprawling a tale it is, so I’m sure there’ll be some changes in the adaptation. While it’s not one of my favorite Batman stories, I’m sure it’s the film DC fans will be most excited to see. It definitely has enough going for it to make me very curious to see what DC Animation does with this one.
Not much is known about the other 2 movies announced, Justice League Vs. The Fatal Five and Wonder Woman: Bloodlines.
However, the title of the Justice League film would suggest the story involves the Legion of Superheroes in some way (The Legion Of Superheroes being a team from the distant future of the DC Universe). As for Wonder Woman, this just a guess, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this story is inspired by Brian Azzerello’s New 52 Wonder Woman run.
Even though these films can be hit or miss, I’m always excited when the new line up is announced. Considering how much I enjoyed The Death of Superman, hopefully the trend of great DC Animated movies continues.
I’ve always been a big fan of the DC Animated movies that come out each year. For those of you that aren’t familiar, they’re animated adaptations of DC Comics stories that go directly to iTunes and Blu Ray. They usually release three a year, around January, April, and July. They’re PG-13 or R-Rated films marketed to adult and teenage DC superhero fans. They’re hit or miss, in terms of quality. They run the spectrum from “Ok” or “Fine” to “One Of The Best Superhero Movies I’ve Ever seen”.
Their latest release is “The Death of Superman” and you may be thinking: “Wait, didn’t they do this one already?” The answer is: Kind of. Way back in 2007, the very first DC Animated Movie was Superman: Doomsday, a very loose adaptation of the classic death of Superman story. So, as far as THIS movie is concerned, this current film I’m reviewing is a much more faithful adaptation. The Death of Superman is the first part of a 2 movie story.With Part 2 titled, Reign of The Supermen, premiering in January or February 2019.
Like I said before, they usually release three of these a year. Starting with 2013’s Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and 2014’s “Justice League: War” (A JL origin film FAR superior to the live action one we got in November 2017), 2 out of the 3 animated movies they released each year were part of an ongoing cinematic universe, like the MCU or whatever the fuck DC is trying to do in live action at the moment. Including Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, 11 movies that take place in this DC Animated Movie Universe have been released. The other stories are cool one offs, like the recent Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, for example. Which is a what if? tale that imagines a steampunk, Victorian era Batman hunting Jack The Ripper in late-19th Century Gotham. Most of these have been pretty solid across the board. It probably doesn’t say much about the overall quality of this Animated Movie Universe that there isn’t a sense that we got to know these characters over an 11 film continuity. Or that the movies had been leading to something like this.
At nearly an hour and half, this movie is slightly longer the most of the recent DC Animated Movies. However, it’s a smart move because the running time allows for a much deeper film that I was expecting. Going into this, I expected the whole thing to one big superhero punch up. Great animation, cool fights, but at the end of the day just a fun piece of entertainment. So, I was delighted when at least half of the film is about Clark and Lois and the issues that arise in their still relatively new romance. The movie is well paced considering all of the characters in play. Because this movie is about his death, everyone in Clark Kent’s life is in this film and they all get their moment to shine. The Justice League, The Daily Planet staff, Ma and Pa Kent, Lex Luthor, and few other local Metropolis citizens with ties to Superman all pop up in the movie. It’s a credit to the film that even with all these characters, it never feels over stuffed or loses it’s focus on Lois and Clark.
You don’t need to have seen any of the other DC Animated Movies to enjoy this wonderful film. All of the great character work and storytelling come straight from THIS movie. Real life husband and wife Jerry O’Connel and Rebecca Romijn are perfect as Clark and Lois. O’Connel has voiced Superman to good effect before in other animated movies and Romijn makes a solid debut as Lois Lane. They’re real life chemistry definitely translates into the film. We have all the usual suspects from the other films back to play their respective roles in the Justice League, as well as other returning supporting characters.
Before getting into the movie there’s one other bit of voice casting I want to touch on. Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office) voices Luthor and is surprisingly effective as the character. Lex is an interesting presence in this film. He’s not that dissimilar to the Lex we’ve seen in the comics over the past few years. He’s undeniably despicable, arrogant, and cold, but there’s a glimmer of something more underneath. Inside him’s the shadow of a man who could be better than he is. He adds a little something special to the overall film.
I’m going to make a bold statement here. I think this is the best film about Clark Kent that I’ve ever seen. This movie is Clark Kent’s story. Lois is very important, but this is Clark’s tale. This man’s death shows us who he is. This was just one more reason I loved this movie. Outside of the fights with Doomsday, I deliberately refer to the character as Clark, not Superman, throughout this review. This is one of the better onscreen portrayals of Superman I’ve seen and that’s because they understand who Clark Kent is. The kid who grew up on a farm in Kansas, that’s the real character. Not Kal-El, not Christopher Reeves’ mask of Clark Kent as pathetic buffoon, not Superman. He’s Clark Joseph Kent. Jonathan and Martha’s son. Even when he’s in costume at the beginning of the movie, interacting with the League or stopping bad guys with high tech weapons. He seems more man than god. He’s happy to stop and take a picture with a man he’s gotten to know, because he’s saved the guys life so many damn times. In these scenes before the fight with Doomsday, while he’s in costume as Superman, he feels like a citizen of Metropolis. Not a distant god, but more like a cop on his beat that gives you a nod and smile. Superman knows these people and they know him. It’s a brilliant way to humanize the character in a way live action films always struggle with.
At the heart of Clark’s story here is his romance with Lois. Unlike other takes on the Lois and Clark/Superman dynamic, Lois is into Clark, NOT Superman. She wants their relationship to move forward but she knows something’s holding them back. She knows there’s more going on with Clark, but doesn’t quite know what it is. She’s a little taken aback when, while asking Clark to dinner, he tells her he cant because his parents are in town and he’s having dinner with them. Lois is understandably a little insulted when Clark didn’t even mention the possibility of meeting his parents. It’s clear that they’ve been dating for at least several months if not more. But what she perceives as Clark being aloof and having an emotional wall up, is actually Clark wrestling with the idea that he’s falling in love with her and that he should tell her he’s Superman. He’s afraid that his parents will accidentally let something slip before he has a chance to tell Lois the truth about this part of his life. After all, besides a few fun DC Easter Eggs mentioned by Ma and Pa Kent, Clark’s ex- girlfriend knew had superpowers from the jump, this the first time Clark has been in a relationship like this. Not just with a normal person, but someone he’s falling in love with.
The movie does an excellent job of showing the audience exactly what an unstoppable, terrifying force Doomsday is. We’ve seen Doomsday in live action and animation before, but the threat he represents is much more impactful here. This is a creature that kills every single living thing it sees.
The Justice League faces Doomsday before Superman gets into the fight and they have some pretty heavy hitters. We see Doomsday go up against Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, The Flash, Cyborg, and Batman all before the Monster’s fateful Confrontations with The Man of Steel. Even with out Superman, that’s a fucking stacked roster. Despite how powerful the Justice League is, they’re simply not up to facing Doomsday. They’re completely helpless to stop him.
So, when the fight between Clark and Doomsday finally goes down, there’s no backup or cavalry coming. Superman is the “last watcher on the wall”. If he doesn’t stop this Monster there and then, there will be no end to the death and destruction Doomsday will unleash. There’s an inevitability to Doomsday. As he slowly kills his way to Superman. We all slowly march towards death and this story shows us The Man of Steel is no different, but for him Death comes in the form of Doomsday.
The fight between Superman and Doomsday is easily the most brutal and bloody Superman fight I’ve seen in any medium. I found myself wincing or exclaiming “Jesus..”, as conflict went on. At a certain point, it stops being a fight. You realize you’re watch Superman slowly be beaten to death with each blow and it’s hard to watch. The fact that there’s such emotional heft shows that the storytellers did their job with this film. The movie is called The Death of Superman, OF COURSE HE’S GOING TO DIE! But the movie magic was that the filmmakers had me so engrossed in the story onscreen, I almost forget that there was no question to the outcome of this fight. The battle’s hard to watch not just because of the level of violence, but because you really care about Clark Kent and it’s heartbreaking seeing this man die in front of us.
The animation in this film is top notch. When the action goes full tilt there’s a level of detail that comes close to resembling anime, without completely going over into that style. Every once and awhile a western animation superhero project will use anime influenced sequences, Justice League Unlimited comes to mind for example. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s used well here and only adds to the already visceral fight scenes. For those of you who aren’t fans of that animation style, It’s not so noticeable that it takes you out of the story.
I think its was smart that DC decided if they were going to tell this story, it should be a 2-Parter, like they did with their fantastic adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns. As impactful as the death of Superman is, the story of how the world, his friends, his enemies, his family, and his fellow superheroes react to his death is arguably more compelling . Who or what will step up to fill the void left by The Last Son of Krypton? Considering how well this story was told, I can’t wait to see what the filmmakers do in Reign of The Supermen. If you’re a DC Comics fan, there are some Easter Eggs in the movie that hint at some of the story and characters elements that’ll be used in Part 2. Make sure you stay for the end credits, there are multiple mid credit tags setting up the next movie.
I didn’t want to end this review without mentioning something I noticed that the writers chose to add to the story. As I said before, this movie is part of a DC Animated Movie Universe, this story doesn’t exist in a bubble. I don’t want to spoil this for anyone and I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, but pay attention to EXACTLY how Doomsday comes out of space, ultimately crashing on Earth. Also be sure to pay attention to the details when STAR Labs examines the high tech weapons Superman takes off the thugs at the beginning of the movie. None of these story elements are from the comics, so the writers deliberately chose to add them in. I have my own theory about what’s going on, but I wont spoil the fun here.
This is top notch superhero story telling from DC Animation. This movie is the best DC Animated Movie since Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (which is high praise). This a surprisingly moving story about love, death, family, friendship, and sacrifice. No DC fan worth their salt should miss this one. I know I cant wait to see Part 2, when Reign of The Supermen comes out early next year. The Death of Superman is an excellent film, the best DC Animated Movie in years, and a must watch. Don’t miss it.