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‘The Death of Superman’ (review)

The first part of DC’s The Death of Superman takes you to the titular moment in a way that will almost make you forget the more pallid versions we’ve been given from the live action universe.

Taking place in the post-Flashpoint timeline, this movie by default and by design replaces 2007’s Superman: Doomsday, still an evergreen title for animation fans and from what I remember it was quite good!

The Death of Superman will be followed by next year’s sequel and concluding installment, Reign of the Supermen.

Real life super couple Jerry O’Connell and Rebecca Romijn star as Clark and Lois. Clark attempts to hide his parents from his girlfriend. This blows up in his face until he’s forced to reveal his secret for fear of losing her. Really great character stuff here and a bit of banter between Wonder Woman (Rosario Dawson) and Supes that exposes why those two heroes are incompatible romantically.

Meanwhile, Luthor (Rainn Wilson) is up to no good, taunting Superman while under house arrest. The smartest criminal mind in Metropolis is hacking his way around his imprisonment and trying his damnedest to decipher found Kryptonian tech. His obsession with people worshipping the alien Superman instead of him is pushing Lex to the brink.

When an asteroid lands on Earth with an indestructible rock monster in a wetsuit emerges, Lex uses the opportunity to leverage his bet against the citizens of Metropolis. He wants to be the sole protector and not let Superman claim all of the glory

Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen gets plenty of screen time as well as the astute Cat Grant are both great in the movie as well and longtime Superman fans will love the introduction of Bibbo Bibbowski and his restaurant, Ace of Clubs.

Kirby creation Dabney Donovan heads up a shady Cadmus Corporation funded by LexCorp and we see a proto-Superboy (much like the Superboy from Young Justice) is seen in a glass tube.

Meanwhile, Justice League sans Superman is taking on the new Doomsday threat.

Everything comes to a head when Clark, after revealing his secret identity to Lois, is called away. Even Martian Manhunter, Aquaman and Green Lantern fall at the feet of Doomsday. Wonder Woman kicks up the last of the effort and is similarly knocked down.

Who’s the first to deal the final blows?

Lex Luthor in his super suit, that’s who. But guess what, this bad boy isn’t down yet. For what it’s worth this is my least favorite design of Lex’s suit, leaning more toward Arnim Zola in Marvel Comics than the newly revealed Supergirl suit from the CW show.

No surprise here, as the title reveals, but final blows from Superman to avenge his friends kills The Man Of Steel!

I have some theories that this animated version of the fight is meant to replace head canon over the death of Superman in BvS and the memorialization of the hero in that film and Justice League. Perhaps if fans are revisiting the same scene over and over, that fan’s memory will come up with what works best for them. Memory is a tricky thing isn’t it?

As we leave the third act, Metropolis mourns their loss and even Lex gives a touching speech. Ace The Bathound, Robin and Bruce stare out into the night sky and even the little bastard Damian hugs his stoic father briefly. These scenes are mostly taken or loosely adapted from the original comic storyline “Funeral for a Friend,” the second of the three story arcs that make up The Death Of Superman epic.

S. T. A. R. Labs is housing both the Kryptonian rocket that brought Kal-El to Earth as well as the corpse of the defeated Doomsday. Will negotiating with the lab, Lex sees the rocket leave S. T. A. R. on its own power, and go “Up, Up, and Away” to later reveal the formation of the Fortress of Solitude.

Jimmy tells Lois that Superman’s tomb is open and as they investigate, they see a caped figure over the horizon. That’s all at the ending of the movie, so stay tuned for some key reveals about who or what will try to replace Superman on Earth after this incident. Does anyone have a mullet wig lying around? How about Steel? We’ll have to wait for Reign of the Supermen movie to find out the modern take.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie that took familiar Superman lore and gave it a big update to 2018. There is plenty for everyone here and this is a great Superman movie. Reign of the Supermen will have the juicy bits but this is one heck of a lead-up.

You’ll believe a Superman can die!

 

The Death of Superman is now available on Ultra HD Blu-ray
Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD.

 

 

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