Pros:Interesting, entertaining story.
Cons:May be too violent for some. Condensed version of the story.
The Bottom Line: Superman Doomsday is an entertaining first animated movie from DC, though some fans probably won't like it.
Superman has been a popular comic book character since Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created the character in 1932. Even people who don't read the comic books know certain things about the character. It wasn't surprising when the first DC animated movie made was a Superman movie. Superman Doomsday tells one of the more popular stories from the comics.
Superman and Lois Lane are dating even though he hasn't yet told her that he is actually Clark Kent. She does try to get him to tell her his secret identity, but he keeps refusing. Clark goes off to cover the war in Afghanistan while Superman and Lois spend time together in the Fortress of Solitude.
Lex Luthor has a secret project going on and his workers end up discovering a spaceship and releasing Doomsday, the thing inside. Doomsday will kill any living thing it comes into contact with and he leaves a path of destruction leading to Metropolis. Superman rushes back to deal with the situation and the two are involved in a brutal battle through Metropolis. Superman finally manages to stop Doomsday, only to die in Lois's arms. The world mourns and tries to find a way to survive without Superman. Even Lex grieves, though his grief is because he feels cheated out of killing Superman himself. Lois starts to piece things together and figures out that Superman and Clark are the same person, so she goes to see Martha. It isn't long before Superman returns, though something seems off about him.
Superman Doomsday is based on The Death of Superman storyline and the aftermath that was covered in several DC titles. I remember hearing some about that storyline when it happened, but I haven't read any of the comic books dealing with the situation. I do have the book version of the story, The Death and Life of Superman, so I know how the story developed. It was a complicated story that was very condensed for this movie, which may bother some fans. Certain aspects of the story do seem a bit rushed thanks to the 75 minute running time. I do think the movie would have been stronger if it had been longer, allowing for more things from the original story to have been included. For the most part, I think it is a decent version of the story, though I didn't care for one aspect of the movie.
Even though Superman Doomsday is an animated movie, it is very violent. Much of Doomsday's rampage is shown, and he causes all sorts of destruction. The fight between Doomsday and Superman goes on for a while and is very violent. Both characters are battered, though Superman seems to be getting hurt worse for much of the fight. A lot of blood loss is shown. Later in the movie, other violent and somewhat disturbing things happen. The movie is rated PG-13 like the other direct to video animated superhero movies that have been made in the last few years, both from DC and Marvel. This is not the same Superman from other animated shows, and the movie isn't child friendly.
When the story was running in the comic books, there was some mystery and suspense to what was happening since it wasn't clear for a while exactly what was going on and how everything was going to work out. There isn't much mystery to Superman Doomsday since most people, even if they haven't previously read the story, know that Superman comes back. Since some things are changed for the movie version that does add a small amount of mystery to what is going on. Even knowing that Superman was going to return, I still found the story interesting.
Lois and Clark/Superman have always had a rather complicated, unique relationship. I know that some fans didn't like it when Clark finally told Lois the truth and they got engaged and then later, in 1997, got married. I like that it happened since I have always liked the idea of Lois and Clark/Superman being together. In the comic books, by the time of The Death of Superman storyline, Lois knew that Clark was Superman and they were engaged. That is the change for Superman Doomsday that bothers me the most. In the movie, Superman hasn't told Lois the truth, yet they are dating and going off to the Fortress of Solitude for weekends. It just doesn't seem right to me that the romantic and even sexual relationship has started without Lois knowing the truth. As the movie progresses, Lois starts to piece more things together and figures it out, but I think that should have happened before they started dating and definitely before they started having sex. There aren't any sex scenes in the movie, but it is made clear that they have a sexual relationship. That might bother some people.
Even though Clark and Superman are the same man, he only appears as Clark in a few short scenes of Superman Doomsday. The fact that he is missing for the majority of the movie is explained by the fact that he went to Afghanistan to write about the war. He does seem a bit conflicted about things with Lois, but that doesn't stop him from keeping the truth from her. As Superman, he does enjoy his time with Lois, though it is cut short by his needing to go deal with Doomsday. Adam Baldwin does well with the voice for the character. I mostly know him as Jane from Firefly and Serenity.
Lois is still a talented reporter that still ends up in some dangerous situations while chasing stories. She struggles to deal with her grief while finally piecing together that Clark is Superman. Anne Heche does fine with the voice. Martha turns up in a few scenes, also struggling to deal with her grief. She and Lois meet for the first time during the movie, which is something else that is a bit odd to me. Swoosie Kurtz does fine with the voice. Perry White is around without doing that much. Jimmy becomes a paparazzi photographer for a while before returning to work with Lois again.
Lex Luthor is still plotting and scheming during the movie. He is actually saddened by Superman's death, though not for the same reason as everyone else. Lex ends up doing something that causes a lot of problems. I did like the voice that James Marsters, Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, did for the character. Mercy Graves is a woman working with Lex that is only around in a few scenes. Toyman turns up a few times as well. Kevin Smith does a voice that only has one line.
Main Voice Cast
Adam Baldwin - Clark Kent/Superman
John DiMaggio - Toyman
Anne Heche - Lois Lane
Swoosie Kurtz - Martha Kent
James Marsters - Lex Luthor
Cree Summer - Mercy Graves
Ray Wise - Perry White
Adam Wylie - Jimmy Olsen
Directed by Lauren Montgomery and Bruce W. Timm
Superman Doomsday was released on DVD in 2007. The DVD I have has two discs and I think there is also a single disc version available. Requiem and Rebirth: Superman Lives! is a very entertaining documentary about how the writers of the comic book came up with The Death of Superman story. The reaction from the public to the story is also discussed. There is a commentary that I haven't listened to, a sneak peek for Justice League: The New Frontier, Behind the Voice featurette and Superman's Last Stand Challenge. The second disc is a CD-ROM comic book version of The Death of Superman.
Superman Doomsday is an entertaining animated movie. Some fans of the original story may not be happy with the changes, but it is a decent adaptation.
This review is part of elvisdo's 2009 Funny Pages Write Off. Since Joe Shuster is originally from Toronto, it is also part of his 2009 Canadian Write Off.
Lois & Clark: The Complete First Season ~ Lois & Clark: The Complete Second Season ~ Lois & Clark: The Complete Third Season ~ Lois & Clark: The Complete Fourth Season ~ Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman ~ Superman: The Movie ~ Superman II ~ Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut ~ Superman III ~ Superman IV: The Quest for Peace ~ Superman Returns ~ Superman and the Mole Men ~ Superman: The Ultimate Guide to the Man of Steel ~
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