I suppose one wouldn’t be hard-pressed to think that “All-Star Superman” would be another attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the Eisner award-winning 12 issue comic series and while it is, Timm and director Sam Liu surprisingly does the source material justice, as this new animated movie pays tribute and remains 97% true to the “all-star” story woven by writer Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (fresh from their stint in “New X-Men” during that time).
Leo Quintum is manning one of those scientific missions to steal a little fire from the sun when one of his assistants suddenly transformed into one of those ugly creatures with super-strength. This monster smashes into the controls and threatens the safety of those inside the craft but Superman (voiced by James Denton) arrives to stop the monster; they fight around the surface of the sun until the monster is defeated. Superman tows the craft to safety in a P.R.O.J.E.C.T. space station but the encounter seems to have super-charged Superman’s cells. Superman is now 3 times stronger, three times smarter and talented. This would be a good thing but it seems like all these are part of Lex Luthor’s (Anthony Lapaglia) scheme to destroy the last son of Krypton. Yes, Superman seems more powerful, but his insides are burning up as his cells are beginning to implode, that he will eventually die of being super-charged. There is no cure and now, Superman must tie up some loose ends and try to make some time with the woman he loves, Lois Lane (Christine Henricks) before he passes on. That is, if Lex Luthor doesn’t have a back up plan.
The comic book series was filled with Golden Age and Silver Age tributes to the adventures of the man of steel. There’re time-traveling Samson and Atlas (Supes arm-wrestles both of them), a Lois Lane who has Superman’s powers, a dwarfed star key, kryptonite death rays, a Superman from a future, a baby sun-eater, a sphinx, Kandor, Signal watches, Bar-El and many more. I have to say, it was one of the most engaging stories ever told in the Superman mythos; it was a series filled with wonder, drama and spectacle that impressed me. The main draw of the series was the dialogue and interactions between its characters. It wasn’t so much action-packed but the manner by which the story was developed. You got to know Superman as the true, classic hero that he was meant to be; he was the ultimate immigrant, one who has brought the best from his world and made life on Earth his most prized memory and future. Morrison and Quitely weaved a tale that has the ‘camp’, the classic look of a hero (strong chin and huge chest) and a villain, who has been portrayed as one in his most ruthless, colder and the most brilliant portrayals ever.
No, Timm’s adaptation isn’t 100 % faithful to the source material, as it would be impossible to cram all the coming and goings of the 12-issue series. The main premise remains intact and while the story loses some of its subplots to keep an even pace for a 80+ minute movie, the themes of the comic series were alive in his film. The movie loses the legions of supermen, the politics of Kandor, the key given to Olsen and Bizarro world weren’t incorporated into the script. I understand, keeping everything intact would hurt the movie’s pacing and budget; this time the focus is Clark, Lois, Luthor and Superman, the story is well developed as it manages to stay focused. The movie may feel a tad rushed in some areas, but Liu was able to keep his footing by staying to the bare essentials of the narrative drama. The voice-acting was clever and maintains the feel of the Morrison dialogue while the animation mimics the art by Quitely. The animation was impressive, the movements were fluid and the backgrounds were solid. Also I haven’t seen Lois Lane this sexy in a long time.
No Superman movie would be complete with some intense star-spanning brawls and this movie doesn’t disappoint. Superman takes on two Kryptonians (that battle was pretty intense as Superman is given a run for his money), there’s Solaris, a rogue sun that threatens to devour the Earth and even Clark Kent gets to see some action. The movie has enough action to keep the viewer entertained, and before I forget, Kent is the bumbling clumsy fool in this movie that we’ve all been familiar with before his evolution to a hunky “guy next door” in the 80’s and 90’s; I found this to be a great approach to generate some laughs. I guess it is understandable that Timm and Liu would miss some plot details, some things did feel rushed and some were lost in the midst of all the efforts in adapting almost all the bases of the source material.
The movie feels like the comic series and I do hope someone, somewhere does a TV mini-series of the comic maxi-series sometime soon. “All Star Superman” has a lot of things that needed coverage; and while I enjoyed this movie adaptation, there is just so much more to be told. Morrison and Quitely brought the best and testing times of Superman’s life into a bold new series meant for a modern age; Bruce Timm and Sam Liu gave it tribute and frankly this movie was a great effort in bringing those stories to life in animated form, I can’t help but wish that there could’ve been a way to keep everything intact. Don’t get me wrong, this movie may be one of Timm’s best efforts in the DCAU, and honestly I liked it; but it should have been longer than a measly 75+ minutes. There is a deviation from the original script that I would like to read the thoughts of other fans about it. It was a scene filled with hope and embodies the spirit of the Superman mythos for me, and it made it work. Despite some rushed areas and a few rough spots, “All Star Superman” gets a highly recommended rating from me. See it, you will not be disappointed.
Allow me, for the sake of justifying my complaints about this piece from the onset, to say that I am a subscriber to the theory that the DCAU crew is responsible for the absolute best incarnations of the DC comic characters of all time. Whenever I begin to burn out on the whole animated comic hero industry, a trip to my Batman the Animated Series collection or through a few Justice League Unlimited episodes are all it takes to remind me of everything that is right about the concept … more
The comic book series was filled with Golden Age and Silver Age tributes to the adventures of the man of steel. There’re time-traveling Samson and Atlas (Supes arm-wrestles both of them), a Lois Lane who has Superman’s powers, a dwarfed star key, kryptonite death rays, a Superman from a future, a baby sun-eater, a sphinx, Kandor, Signal watches, Bar-El and many more. I have to say, it was one of the most engaging stories ever told in the Superman mythos; it was … more
A complete and utter disappointment only given a few props due to the fact that it's a Superman film, and I'm arguably the world's biggest Superman fan. The chief problem with ALL-STAR SUPERMAN is that it's tied to the source material -- also named ALL-STAR SUPERMAN -- is which the trend to makeover the Man of Steel as a contemporary metrosexual -- much like the oft-maligned SUPERMAN RETURNS film did -- is continued. I won't trouble you with any spoilers other than … more
This week, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All Star Superman became the latest DC Comics storyline to be made into an animated feature, and for many fans, myself included, this felt like something that was going a step beyond the stories they've adapted in the past.
All Star Superman isn't just a story that has that great hook -- Superman's last adventure before he dies -- it's also one of the best Superman stories of all time,
When you get right down to it, most of DC's previous animated releases, Crisis on Two Earths, Under the Red Hood,Public Enemies and Apocalypse, have all fallen into the same broad category. They're stories with great hooks -- the Justice League fights their evil opposites, Batman's sidekick comes back from the dead with a chip on his shoulder, Superman and Batman punch some dudes, Superman and Batman punch some other dudes and also Supergirl's there -- but they're also stories that, for obvious reasons, felt like they were the easiest to pitch to the mass market, but not necessarily the best.
As a comic, All-Star Superman is an incredible testament to the craft of comic book storytelling, and also something that synthesizes itself out of decades of comics in a way that's still fairly accessible to unfamiliar readers. Tthat simultaneously makes it an obvious choice to see adapted, and also something that's incredibly difficult to pull off without losing what makes it special. And now, having seen ...