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DOOMed? DOOMed not?

  • Sep 20, 2007
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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 some other project.

That said, I heartily enjoyed SUPERMAN - DOOMSDAY as a passing interpretation of the 'Death of Superman' storyline. On the commentary track, the creators and other 'creative' folk admit that there were painful choices that had to be made in fashioned this adaptation into a workable project, and I'd give 'em props for taking the seminal moment -- the best slugmatch in town, the one that results in two deaths -- and giving it serious screen time. Once Supes and his ultimate foe, Doomsday, come together, the streets of Metropolis will never be the same.

Largely, it's mostly Saturday morning animation here, despite what some of the more technically skilled folks will tell you. Despite Timm and company's strong desire to distance themselves from THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, the look is still largely the same. Characters -- Lois, Jimmy, Mr. White -- are given greater re-invention than Supes -- who curiously has some jagged Clint Eastwood-esque cheekbones that look horribly out of place on his skin of steel. It's a gripe. It's a distraction. Does it ruin the film? No. Does it separate it enough from THE ADV. OF SUPES? Not really.

Content-wise, there are a few surprising additions. The violence is whacked up more than a few notches (parents note: it's rated PG-13 for good reasons), and Lex Luther is given one particularly gruesome scene (yes, it's the one involving a certain blonde) that took me by surprise. Doomsday's 'birth' of sorts is also graphic but thankfully it's mostly washed over in darkness to spare the faint of heart. The second half of the film -- it's what most strongly deviates from the 'Death of Supes' story -- is a bit of a letdown; very little is retained from the source material, but I didn't find it terribly disappointing ... on its own, SUPERMAN - DOOMSDAY had far more heart, drama, and relevance than did Bryan Singer's SUPERMAN RETURNS, if you ask me, a film that I found mostly dull, forced, and flat.

On the MAJOR PLUS side, one of the Special Features is "Requiem and Rebirth: Superman Lives!" documentary, a terrific look back at the phenomenon that was the real 'Death' storyline, and that alone made this disc worth the price of admission.

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Ed ()
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What? You don't know enough about me from the picture? Get a clue! I'm a graduate from the School of Hard Knocks! You can find me around the web as "Trekscribbler" or "Manchops".   … more
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Item Name: Superman: Doomsday; Studio: Warner Home Video
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