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  Death of Superman, The Hey, Spoilers!
Year: 2018
Director: Jake Castorena, Sam Liu
Stars: Jerry O'Connell, Rebecca Romijn, Rainn Wilson, Rosario Dawson, Nathan Fillion, Christopher Gorham, Matt Lanter, Shemar Moore, Nyambi Nyambi, Jason O'Mara, Jonathan Adams, Rocky Carroll, Trevor Devall, Paul Eiding, Patrick Fabian, Cress Williams
Genre: Action, Animated, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: There's trouble in downtown Metropolis, as the Intergang have acquired indestructible suits and are using them and their weaponry to kidnap the Mayor. The police rush to the scene, but are powerless to prevent the incident from escalating as their patrol cars are reduced to twisted, burning metal by the energy beams of the criminals. But just as all looks bleak, Superman (voiced by Jerry O'Connell) arrives to see to it that the gang are incapacitated and saves the day. However, there's an issue pointed out by one of his Justice League colleagues Cyborg (Shemar Moore) that the armoured suits were constructed from an extra-terrestrial material: there's something up there...

And it's coming down! The DC animated series of films, mostly released straight to video or streaming with occasional, special outings on the big screen to drum up publicity, had "officially" begun with Superman: Doomsday, an account of one of the biggest-selling comic series stories of all time, where Superman was killed by a space alien who was a being of pure aggression. That's not a spoiler, it's there in the title of this which effectively stood as a remake of that 2007 cartoon, only this time to make an even bigger meal of it, they were taking two movies to tell this groundbreaking yarn instead of one, and Reign of the Supermen arrived the following year to wrap it up.

What can you say about a story which has its big twist in the name? It was the same with the comic books, everyone reading it was aware that Supes was going to meet his maker, it was simply a matter of how. Though they knew that too, he was going to be pummelled to death by Doomsday, a character that was not blessed with so much as a personality, never mind an intellect, which rendered him nothing but a force of destruction, with no "Fools, I shall destroy them all!" dialogue to shade his relentlessness. You could argue only a creature of purest violence had a hope of overpowering the most famous superhero of them all, but some fans were disappointed.

This feature does not quite solve that problem, when it would have been nice to see Superman pit his wits against a foe of the intelligence of Brainiac or Lex Luthor (here Rainn Wilson, surprisingly a little weak on the vocal duties), but is relegated to punching his way across Metropolis to increasingly enervated effect. There were other elements before this turned into a slugfest, as for instance Clark Kent is romancing Lois Lane (Rebecca Romijn) and has to admit to her that he really is the Man of Steel just at the point when his number is up, and Luthor is planning his own experiments to regain his influence, not coincidentally setting up part of the following plotlines to come. But come the halfway mark, hitting Doomsday was everyone's concern.

Now, Doomsday did not have the benefit of an iconic look, and just about the only ability he had was his physicality, but nevertheless the animation made him into a fairly formidable adversary and offered some weight to the implications of a world without Superman, foreshadowed by Doomsday actually murdering people who would normally be saved by the guy in the red cape. The Justice League were there to hold him back somewhat, and it was a subject of some conversation whether their live action or cartoon incarnations were the most satisfying, but really they were sketched in (almost literally) in comparison to Superman, who after all was the main source of interest: it was him dying. Although you may not shed a tear when the moment of truth arrived, the importance of it was neatly conveyed, though as we know, nobody really dies in comics, and it was plotlines like Doomsday that were responsible for that lack of finality. Music by Frederik Wiedmann.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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