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Superman: Doomsday

The 2007 DC Universe Animated Original Movie in which Superman is killed and reborn.

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Insignificant and Felt a Little Too Rushed in Storytelling

  • May 3, 2010
Rating:
+2


I'm a comic book fan, I actually own the "Death and return of Superman" in its original comic crossover form. This event in comic history was very significant (while it lasted) in the early 1990's because of the repercussions felt throughout the DC universe. The comic story arc came at a time when DC’s sales were dwindling and they were desperate to make a quick profit. The “Death of Superman” actually preceded “Knightfall” in the pages of Batman. The mid 90’s attracted a lot of 'investors' (who liked the $$ but never cared about the medium) that birthed gimmicks in the industry and comics were printed in such unbelievable amounts that it lost its value and angered the real comic fans; this lead to the collapse of the comic book inudstry. Now, more than 10 years later, we see this event in animated form. Is it as significant? Honestly, for me, not really.
 
             The Battle's End

LEXCORP has organized a dig to find a new source of energy from the Earth's core. Accidentally, they unearth the buried ship of a monster called Doomsday. A killing machine created from the genetic labs of Krypton from the past. A being so powerful, he rampages through the U.S. until he reaches Metropolis. Superman gives his all to stop the monster at a terrible price. All of Metropolis mourns its hero, even Lex Luthor, who mourns the passing of the last son of Krypton in his own twisted and sinister way. 

At first glance, I thought this animated movie was going to be reminiscent of the Superman animated series in the 90's. But no, this is a stand-alone movie unrelated to either the fantastic "Justice League" and the Superman animated series. In this movie, Superman is the only super-hero on Earth; Lois didn't know beforehand that Clark was Superman before they had an intimate relationship. You might say that Superman was the real person and Clark was only a disguise. This fact was changed before by John Byrne who marvelously developed the Clark Kent persona as the driving force behind Supes‘ heroism. 

              Superman

             Lex Luthor

The movie is not perfect, but at least it felt more geared towards the Teen-Adult demography than kids below 12. The brawl with Doomsday was very intense, there is some blood and it shows (almost) as much PG-13 brutality as it can spare. The atmosphere and the story are quite darker than we are usually used to when dealing with "DC animated" features. Imagine a being with Superman's powers that was raised by Luthor. The film also has some mildly "sexy" moments between Kal-El and Lois, and a titillation moment between Lois and Lex. You might say that these moments proved that animated features as well as comics are changing with the times. Children are no longer the main demographic to animated super-hero movies. 

            Black Suit Superman

           Doomsday
 
I do have very mixed feelings about the film as the script feels a little too rushed and lacks cohesive rhythm. Doomsday’s arrival and his defeat came too quickly that the viewer never really felt any narrative impact to it. Doomsday seems to have just disappeared after the last punch. It seems like the Doomsday that was SCARY, intimidating who killed Superman in the source material was just an outward gimmick to get to the actual return of Superman. The plot was overreaching, and could have been better as a mini-series than as a full-length movie.
 
The film does also try to bring forth the effects of Superman’s death as we see some of his friends and family grieving his death. Martha Kent makes an appearance but there was no Jonathan Kent present. But given the way the movie was just in a rush to cover as many bases as possible, it never mattered. Supes’ death should have been more tragic, here in Bruce Timm’s creation, it felt that it was just a phase so that Kal-El could be resurrected.
 
             Lois Lane

            Superman
 
Then after his “death”, we see an emotionless “Superman” who fills the shoes of the son of Krypton. It felt like a wild tribute to the Eradicator (that I could buy into) but this “Supes” that was supposed to be the darker side of a “Superman” was developed poorly that he never made any credible significance. I also had a lot of issues with the resurrection of Superman as a robot made the arrangements. There is just no emotion or feeling of grief in the film, as the characterization was just clumsy. Lois never knew Clark was Supes, but they were together? The subplot with Olsen working in a tabloid was interesting for a short moment but the changes were so done quickly that it never settles in with the viewer; I never cared to know the why and the how as the details were just “speed-fed” to me. When the final fight came, I didn’t care anymore; I was just taken in a film that felt too routine and unimportant. 

              Superman is Dead

             Perry White
 
The animation/art was acceptable, although I can't get over the cheekbones in Supes' face and the big line from Lex's head to his cheeks. Nice rendering with the Lois Lane, though. But I had major issues with Lex Luthor (He's slimmer here) and Perry White. None of them matched the designs in the Superman animated series. The voice acting was alright, but it was inferior to “Batman Mask of the Phantasm”.

Well I guess the movie wasn’t that good but it sure could’ve been a lot worst. There were a lot of plot holes but when you have a rushed production like this, who would care? It's a cartoon even though it runs for almost 2 hours. No one can make a very detailed feature with superman's death and return in those few minutes. It does bring forth a weird sense of nostalgia for fans of the man of steel. It is an acceptable but very flawed, messy adaptation of the "Death and return of Superman"; but maybe you‘re just here to lend support to the character?
 
This is the DCU in the earliest attempts in adapting a more mature super-hero fantasy so I can forgive them in a way. The documentary “Requiem and Rebirth” that was included in the dvd was good though and may make it worth a watch.

Rental [2 ½ Stars]
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Insignificant and Felt a Little Too Rushed in Storytelling Insignificant and Felt a Little Too Rushed in Storytelling Insignificant and Felt a Little Too Rushed in Storytelling Insignificant and Felt a Little Too Rushed in Storytelling

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September 09, 2010
Nice review.
September 09, 2010
thanks, tom! I see you have reviewed the same movie (be by to read your opinion on this one), join me in our Movie Hype community will you? :)
 
May 05, 2010
Very accurate critique, William. I have nearly succumbed to the temptation to purchase this DVD release about a dozen times just because I feel like my DCAU collection is incomplete without it (after all, I even picked up Superman: Brainiac Attacks for this very reason). But having seen it, I know exactly what you mean! Great review, well thought out, I especially liked the line "It seems like the Doomsday that was SCARY, intimidating who killed Superman in the source material was just an outward gimmick to get to the actual return of Superman. The plot was overreaching, and could have been better as a mini-series than as a full-length movie."
May 05, 2010
Thanks, Jason. Well, admittedly, that is its main attraction--and I have to admit Timm did do better after this one. DC's animated films have always trumped Marvel's own; but even they had sore beginnings.
 
May 03, 2010
I dug the idea of Superman getting his ass handed to him in cartoon form, but this just doesn't even pique my interest. So much hype was made about the PG-13 rating of an animated movie and no one really talked about either the animation quality or the writing, so I just totally lost all interest.
May 17, 2010
I remember. they're all saying "OOhh look at the blood!" yeh if this was bloody then they need to see a woman have a period. LOL
May 17, 2010
I have had nosebleeds that were more disturbing.
 
May 03, 2010
Yeah man I have those comics as well, excellent review and I agree totally. Although I must say i love the KEVIN SMITH cameo and the dig he does at that producer who hired him at one point to write a new Superman movie.
 
May 03, 2010
Great history lesson to put this in context.
 
1
More Superman: Doomsday reviews
review by . November 09, 2010
Face facts, Super-fans: there is no way possible a film adaptation of the entire Superman/Doomsday saga could possibly have been attempted much less pleased everyone ... so we all may as well dispense with comparisons, per se, to the comics saga that took well over a year to tell AND to read. It's nice to understand that SUPERMAN - DOOMSDAY had its basis on that stellar reality because, in the end, at least Bruce Timm and company knew which elements to keep and, arguably, which to shelve for …
review by . September 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
There was a brief time in my life when I collected comics on a semi-regular basis. It was a very short period of just about a year that ended when DC announced that Superman would be killed. The creature that brought about the ultimate battle was a completely nihilistic character named Doomsday a creature that couldn't be killed and could only "feel" hate. The comic where Superman died sold more comics in one day than any other comic book in history had done up to that point. Of course, …
review by . July 01, 2010
Ok I can't let such an injustice go on much longer. I was surprised that this Movie didn't get much respect here. Let's all go back to the 90's folks. I'm an 80's baby. I grew up with the Transformers, He-man and the freakin Smurfs for crying out loud! The Biggest thing those years in the Comic Book world was Superman Doomsday! The Moment I heard of his arrival in the Comics I figured Sups could finally have someone he could let loose on. But Sadly the writers took a whole …
review by . December 15, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
I've long been a fan of the animated DC universe. Batman - The Animated Series, Volume One (DC Comics Classic Collection) was an amazingly well-done show, following on the heels of Batman (Two-Disc Special Edition), and bringing a much more "adult" feel to cartoons. When Superman - The Animated Series, Volume One (DC Comics Classic Collection) began to air, I enjoyed it, but not as much as the Batman series.    Now we have this, a 70 minute movie covering roughly the same matieral …
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William ()
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About this movie

Wiki

The most shocking showdown in Superman history! When Lexcorp accidentally unearths the intergalactic serial killer Doomsday, Superman battles the creature head on in the fight of his life...literally. The world collectively mourns their fallen hero; humanity realizes it will never feel truly safe again. Superman's enemies rejoice all but Lex Luthor, who grieves the loss in his own demented manner, setting off a chilling chain of events that even he couldn't have foreseen. Inspired by the bestselling graphic novel of all time, DC Comics' The Death of Superman, this feature-length animated adventure boasts exciting action sequences that rivals anything you've ever seen starring the Man of Steel!
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Details

Genre: Action, Animation, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Release Date: September 18, 2007
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Duane Capizzi
DVD Release Date: September 18, 2007
Runtime: 75 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Comics, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Premiere
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