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:
The Justice League has battled a lot of cool, iconic foes over the years, but one of my favorites has to to be The Crime Syndicate. The Crime Syndicate hail from a parallel world dubbed Earth-3, where it’s occupants really subscribe to the philosophy of “survival of the fittest”. Each member of The Crime Syndicate is an evil doppelgänger of a member of the Justice League and they rule their Earth with an iron fist. So, instead of Batman, you get Owlman, instead of Wonder Woman there’s Superwoman, and instead of Superman you get Ultraman.
Ultraman is probably the biggest piece of shit of them all (actually Owlman probably takes the cake there). When he’s not bust freebasing Kryptonite to get his powers, he’s terrorizing the citizens of his planet.
The Crime Syndicate are most prominently featured as the villains in classic Justice League stories like, JLA: Earth-2 written by Grant Morrison with art by Frank Quietly.
As well as, Forever Evil by Geoff Johns and David Finch, which features Lex Luthor defeating Ultraman by using his addiction to Kryptonite AGAINST him. The message here: drug addiction makes you lose super villain battles. A valuable lesson for us all.
The live action DC movies may have gotten off to a rocky start, but I’m a big fan of movies like Man of Steel and even Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. I think Henry Cavill made a fantastic Superman and it’s a shame we probably won’t get to see him in the role again. Much like we won’t get to see Ben Affleck as Batman again. It would’ve been pretty cool to see these characters go up against a group of villains like The Crime Syndicate down the line had the Justice League film been any good. Sadly that movie was a big pile of shit, so we can only wonder what might’ve been. Which is why I thought it was really cool when I found two different artist renditions of Henry Cavill as Ultraman popping up online. Check it out here:
The first piece was done by an artist who goes by the handle HouseofMat. This is the first time I’ve see HouseofMat’s work, but I thought it was pretty cool and I wanted to share it with you guys. The second piece (which is my favorite of the two) was created by Barrett Digital, you can find them on Twitter @BARRETTDIGITAL_. There are some fantastic online artists out there like BossLogic, whose work I’ve posted on the site before. So I’m always on the lookout for cool stuff like this. What do you think of his rendition of Henry Cavill as Ultraman? Is The Crime Syndicate a group of villains you’d like to see pop up in a DC movie in the future? Please let me know what you think in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading!
On this week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast, I review the new DC superhero movie SHAZAM! starring Zachary Levi.Shazam may not be well known, but at one time his comic book series was outselling Superman. DC may not be knocking it out of the park with their movies like Marvel, but they’re on the right track. With missteps like Suicide Squad and Justice League out of the way, DC has built up a solid roster of stand alone movies with Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and now Shazam. SPOILERS are discussed in this episode, but I cover the characters history and some other interesting topics before breaking down the movie.
Listen to the episode here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
You all know how much I love the MCU, but I think my favorite cinematic universe could be the what I’m going to call TheBatmanTheAnimatedSeries/BruceTimmUniverse. This Universe includes all time classics like Batman The Animated Series, Superman TheAnimated series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. Bruce Timm having essentially created this shared universe, is the reason his name is a part of the universe’s title. I love both of these universes so much, it would be really hard to pick which of them I hold more dear.
Honestly you’d have to have a gun to my head and a gun to gun my balls, with the gunman screaming in my face, “CHOOSE! NOW! PICK ONE! CHOOSE! I’M NOT FUCKING AROUND! DECIDE! YOU HAVE TO THE COUNT OF 3! THEN I’M GOING TO SHOOT YOU IN THE BALLS AND SHORTLY AFTER THAT, SHOOT YOU IN THE HEAD!CHOOSE! 3… ,2… ,1..!” Then I guess we’d have our answer. But until that day comes, I guess I’ll just have to keepthem both very special in my heart.
Which is why I wanted to share this trailer with you guys today. I’m a big fan of the animated movies that DC releases directly to Blu-ray and digital three or four times every year. Some of them are fucking spectacular and are probably some of my favorite comic book movies of all time. The movie I was most looking forward to this year is their adaptation of Batman: Hush, hitting later this year, in early or mid summer. However, while Hush is still my most anticipated DC animated film this year, after watching the trailer below, (which debuted on ign.com) JusticeLeague VS TheFatalFive has my attention in a big, bad way. Check out the trailer below:
It appears, from the animation style, to the voice cast, to the people working on the film behind the scenes, that the movie takes place in TheBatmanTheAnimatedSeries/BruceTimmUniverse. Last year they released a film called Batman & HarleyQuinn that also seemed to take place in what I call the BatmanTheAnimatedSeries/BruceTimmUniverse, but that movie was pretty shitty. While this one looks really great. It’s awesome to hear the original voice cast from these classic TV shows (I love hearing Kevin Conroy as Batman and George Newbern as Superman), in what looks like an extension of this classic universe, but with some new faces as well. New heroes including Ms. Martian, Mr. Terrific (2 of my personal favorites), Jessica Cruz Green Lantern, and Starman. I love see DC’s Trinity (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman), alongside new and unique heroes.
It looks like this is the next DC animated movie that’s coming out this year and they usually release their second film around March or April, with the summer release reserved for the third film. However this year they are releasing a fourth films, one of which will focus on Wonder Woman, so we may end up seeing JusticeLeagueVSTheFatalFive sooner than we think. I’m sure a release date will be announced soon. I wasn’t super interested in this project at first, but after watching the trailer, I’m psyched. I thought it looked great and I wanted to share it with all of you. Please let me know what you think in the comments below and thank you for reading!
UPDATE: Justice League VS The Fatal Five will be available for Digital Download on 3/30/19 and Blu-Ray 4/16/19! I
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.
Aquaman is the latest entry in the DCEU or “The Worlds of DC” as it’s officially called… but FUCK THAT! They’re stuck with the DCEU as far as I’m concerned! Name your own movie universe or someone else will do it for you, dammit!You don’t get to, all of us sudden, finally give a name to already struggling, shitty Movie Universe after it’s been in existence for five goddamn years! (Ok… deep breat… rant over.)
My father (though I’m still holding out hope that my biological father is the mailman) Paul Sr. and I just came out of the new AQUAMAN film and decided to have a little discussion about it. We do go into some SPOILER territory, so BEWARE.
With movies like this, we usually do a deep dive spoiler filled review, covering the entire film from beginning to end,analyzing the story, as well asthe characters. This time was a little different, because we basically just sat around and had a conversation about the film. What we liked, what we didn’t like, our thoughts and the characters and the action sequences, etc.
So, while we do discuss some spoilers, there aren’t nearly as many as other episodes of The World’s Best Podcast. We discuss Jason Mamoa in the title roll, Amber Heard as Mera, the villains: King Orm AKA Ocean Master & Black Manta, as well as where the films falls in quality among the other DCEU films. All this excitement and so much more on the latest episode of The World’s Best Podcast! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes
It was announced today, that Henry Cavill is no longer going to be the live action Superman in the DCEU. It was recently confirmed (and long rumored) that Ben Affleck was not going to be Batman in the DCEU. So, the DCEU is down 2 of their three most iconic characters, and many people are speculating a ‘soft reboot’ of the DCEU in general. Of their 5 films so far, the only success across the board (critics/fans/box office) has been Wonder Woman, and so this might make sense to do. Especially since Wonder Woman and the upcoming sequel take place before the events of the other 4 films released so far.
Has Aquaman ever looked cooler?
Now, I personally think this reboot idea will likely take some of its cues from what happens with December’s Aquaman film. We already saw Jason Mamoa as the character in Justice League, and I’ve heard virtually no complaints about him, but an Aquaman stand-alone will be a completely different thing, and so we really won’t know until it comes out.
There is also the forthcoming Shazam, scheduled for next April. Now, Shazam hasn’t appeared in the DCEU previously, so if Aquaman tanks and they go full steam ahead on the reboot, Shazam could be part of the ‘new’ universe, or if Aquaman is a success, it could be tailored into the ‘newish/soft reboot/whatever they’re going to call it.’
I knew nothing about this character, and the trailer sold me.
So let’s make the assumption that some kind of reboot is going to happen, and I will tell you what I want to see with that. Ok?
I want to see this reboot build characters individually. I’m not saying not to put Easter eggs, or slight references to each other, but let’s not get to the second movie before we have a full blown cross over. If in Wonder Woman ’84 we see some story about a ‘meteorological event’ which implies Kal El’s (Superman) arrival, that’s fine, but I don’t want Jason Mamoa or Shazam or anyone else to show up. Get several stand alone films under your belts, like you should have done the first time around.
Thanos’ snap was more powerful than we all realized.
The second thing that I want to see happen, is I don’t want Superman and Batman to show up for a while. It might sound dumb, and I’m sure people hate hearing about the MCU as a model, but Marvel didn’t have access to their A listers when they started, and it forced them to build characters and not assume we knew who they were, it forced them to get creative and be better story tellers. I think Batman and Superman are too iconic to start. Let’s deal with Shazam, and Cyborg, and other characters that the general film going audience that aren’t comic book readers aren’t familiar with, and start world building through them. There is some brand recognition with characters like Flash and Green Lantern, but use those characters to bridge the gap between the audience who know nothing, and the audience who totally get it. Then once you’re several successes deep, you can start introducing Superman and Batman. This exercise, will also help you to understand how to create those characters more memorably, to not be coming at them as the icons they are to the general public, but to fill in and establish all of the layers that have comic book fans hooked.
There are a lot of great comics hitting the stands this fall so I wanted to highlight some of the best books to look out for in my 2018 Fall Comic Book Preview! This’ll be a 2 or maybe 3-part series, with Part-1 focusing on DC COMICS and Part-2 focusing on MARVEL. Comic Books are an amazing storytelling medium and there are a lot of great jumping on points for new readers in the books featured here. So don’t be afraid to go to your local comic book store or ComiXology on your tablet to give these comics a try. You may be surprised how much you like what you’ll find. Without further ado, here are some of the DC COMICS to keep an eye out for…
Writer: Brian Azzarello Artist: Lee Bermejo Release Date: 9/19/18
This 3-issue miniseries is part of DC’S new Black Label, using their most talented writers and artists to tell exciting and edgy stories without necessarily worrying about continuity. You’re going to see DC’s Black Label pop up more than once in this article because some of the most interesting upcoming stories are being published under that label, so stay tuned.
Batman: Damned follows what happens after The Joker is killed and Batman himself may or may not have been the one to finally put an end to The Clown Prince of Crime. What follows is a story about Batman teaming up with John Constantine on a trip through the supernatural side of Gotham City.
This is definitely a book to be very excited about. The prospect of Batman finally just offing The Joker is interesting enough on it’s own, but throwing John Constantine into the mix and a trip into the supernatural corners of the DC Universe makes this even more fun.
The creative team of Azzarello and Bermejo have given us great stories like Lex Luthor: Man of Steel and Joker, which were both fantastic graphic novels. So make sure this at the top of your pull list when it hits shelves. THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS
Writer: Scott Snyder
Release Date: November
The Batman Who Laughs was arguably the breakout character from the Dark Nights: Metal event miniseries. He was a version of Bruce Wayne from an Earth where he finally killed The Joker. But at the moment of his death, The Joker’s released a gas concocted specifically to turn the person that killed him into the next Joker. Not only did The Joker win by finally getting Bruce to cross his (very, very blurry) moral line of not killing him, but the gas essentially turned Bruce into The Joker.
A Batman retaining all his knowledge, skills, and intelligence, but mixed with The Joker’s lack of empathy, sick psychopathic behavior, and evil was a true nightmare. This essentially made The Batman Who Laughs the apex predator of the Dark Multiverse. As The Batman Who Laughs, he was the most dangerous being on his world and systematically killed everyone and everything on his world in the most twisted way imaginable.
By the end of Dark Nights: Metal, he was still in play and fans have been wondering when he’d rear his rictus grin again. This miniseries sees The Batman Who Laughs teaming up with another dark alternate reality Batman, who’s been described as Bruce’s second worst nightmare of what he could have become. This Batman got a hold of the gun the night his parents were killed and gunned down Joe Chill. He would grown up to become a gun toting, killing machine. Basically, Batman combined with The Punisher.
I feel I should point out that Scott Snyder has probably been my favorite comic book writer for quite awhile now. I haven’t enjoyed some of his newer work as mush as say, his Batman run. However, Snyder re-teaming with Jock on a Batman story will be something to behold. Their work on the modern classic Batman story The Black Mirror is one of the best Batman stories ever told. So, my excitement isn’t quite where it would normally be, but I’m still looking forward to this one. Not much else is known about this miniseries except that it will draw heavily from Snyder’s roots as a horror writer, with Snyder saying this book has some of the most twisted, terrifying stuff he’s ever written. With the characters involved and the creative team, it’s a must read when it comes out in November. I can’t wait to see what nightmares The Batman Who Laughs has in store for the DC Universe.
HEROES IN CRISIS
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Clay Mann
Release Date: 9/26/18
Tom King is fucking killing it lately. He first caught my attention with his incredible Vision miniseries over at Marvel. Now, King had the unenviable task of following Scott Snyder’s legendary Batman run when he took over the book with Batman Rebirth #1. But goddammit, King is giving Snyder a run for his money, where he’s crushing it on Batman right now.
This new story HEROES IN CRISIS is a apparently a very personal project for King. Superheroes and the people around them, have to deal with some very fucked up situations. Not dealing with mental health issues like PTSD or the death of a loved one can be unhealthy and dangerous. Much like real life soldiers coming home from war and having to deal with challenges of having seen horrible things and what that does to a person’s psyche. As a former member of the CIA, King knows all about the challenges our soldiers coming home after war have to endure. In the DC Universe, heroes like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman have created a place where heroes and people in their community can get the help they need, in a facility called The Sanctuary.
The story revolves around some unexpected deaths and unexpected killers at The Sanctuary. CRISIS is a loaded word in DC Comics, but this seems more like Identity Crisis than Final Crisis. Little bread crumbs and references to The Sanctuary have popped up in several DC books over the past few months. A good example being the original Wally West being sent to The Sanctuary at the end of Flash War after the emotional roller coaster he goes on in that story. DC released these covers depicting iconic and traumatic moments in DC comics history. Supposedly incidents like this are the reason The Sanctuary was created. The idea is that The Sanctuary has been a part of the DCU for longer than readers have known, dealing with physical and psychological trauma these heroes has endured over the years.
I’m really curious to see what King does with this story and I like the idea of a DC event being more of a psychological thriller than a multiverse ending mega crossover.
JUSTICE LEAGUE/AQUAMAN: DROWNED EARTH
Writer: Scott Snyder/Dan Abnett/ James Tynion IV
Artist: Francis Manapul/Howard Porter/Fraser Erving/Jorge Medina
Release Date: 10/31/18
This story will run through both Justice League and Aquaman, picking up story threads from each book. This 5-Part story involves the origins of Atlantis and introducing a new pantheon of gods into the DC Universe. It sounds like this story will highlight big changes to the mythology of Aquaman. Similar to the huge changes we’ve seen play out with The Flash and Green Lantern in Justice League, with concepts like “The Still Force” and the “Ultraviolet Spectrum” being introduced. Since Scott Snyder came onto the book, Justice League has been excellent, so at least the JL chapters of the story stand to be pretty good.
The last time JL and Aquaman crossed over was in the “Throne of Atlantis” storyline and that was a great read. On the other hand, I don’t like crossovers where I’m required to pick up a series I don’t read (in this case, Aquaman) to follow the entire story. One the other hand I’m hearing some rumbling about some cool and interesting stories in Aquaman’s future, so this may be a good time to jump onto the book. So, this gets a cautiously optimistic thumbs up from me.
THE GREEN LANTERN
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Liam Sharp
Release Date: 11/7/18
Grant Morrison returning to write a monthly superhero book is something to be celebrated. His Green Lantern book will focus on Hal Jordan and really lean into the idea that the Green Lanterns are “space cops”. The book is supposed to have an almost police procedural feel to it. Hal is a cop working a beat, but his beat is the crazy alien worlds of deep space. Apparently Earth isn’t part of the story at all. This is solely Hal, doing Green Lantern, space cop work in the farthest reaches of the universe. With Grant Morrison writing and Liam Sharp drawing, that sounds fucking spectacular!
*(Keep an eye out for more updates!)
Thanks for reading and make sure to check out Part 2 where I’ll be looking at MARVEL’s big comics coming out this fall!
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.