Quite possibly my favorite superhero of all time is Superman. My kinship with the Man of Steel did not start with the comics – it began with the Christopher Reeve films, then the comics, then Smallville. As far as plot goes, the bar has been raised pretty high for the Last Son of Krypton.
I liked Superman Returns. That said, I really have little desire to re-watch it. I’ll toss in any of the first quadrilogy (sorry, voted for Bush) or any season disc of Smallville before I’d even rent Superman Returns. Heck, I’ve re-read the death of superman saga from my original copies purchased at the local comic shop during that tumultuous time that I’ll probably be picking up the trade paperback (the original term for a what is now referred to as a graphic novel by people who forgot what the fuck made comics so COOL) as my own copies are wearing out and I’d like to share them some day.
The Death of Superman. I cried reading that comic. I knew what was coming, and at the end – I sobbed. The rise of the imposters enraged me. I knew in my heart none of these were Kal El and I sat in breathless anticipation reading of his return from the other world by the spirit of Johnathon Kent while the impostors laid claim to the mighty S.
I’d seen the previews for Superman:Doomsday many times and last night dropped $14.95 on the DVD at Wal-Mart. Loosely based on the Death of Superman – it doesn’t explore any of the numerous angles offered by the comic series that birthed it – instead they turn it into another scheme by Lex Luthor to bolster LexCorp which goes awry (big surprise there) and results in a purpose built killing machine breaking loose and taking out our beloved Superman. While that plot would be great for a few comics, or even a two part SmallVille – it’s pretty thin for a movie, even animated.
The voice acting is OK. I still can’t picture Adam Baldwin as Superman – we’re not talking Mark Hamill and the Joker here – Baldwin’s performance was sedate to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Baldwin, all the way from when he played a dick head mobster in Ghost to Jayne in the Firefly and Serenity films… I just feel that there were directions he could have taken the voice which might have added to the screen presence. Ann Heche plays Lois Lane. That I can believe if we’re talking comic book / SmallVille Lois and not movie Lois. She pulled it off, but someone forgot to tell her when to switch off the sharp tongued reporter (ie when flatly telling Martha Kent that her son died in Metropolis – before breaking down). Have a freakin heart lady – she just lost her son! If anything I’d say the highlight of the voice acting was James Marster’s Lex Luthor. Cold, calculating, and borderline out of control – I could see Marsters as a better representation of Luthor on-screen than Kevin Spacey or Gene Hackman could ever dream to be. I’m still partial to Rosenbaum’s Luthor from SmallVille – that guy’s got layers of evil he hasn’t even touched yet and the anticipation is intoxicating… but I digress.
Marster’s performance and a brief cameo from Kevin Smith (listed as Grumpy Guy in the credits) are the highlights of this film. It’s a solid addition to the archive, but nothing new or groundbreaking. A 3 hour epic is what I expected – instead I got a 75 minute exceedingly dark interpretation which completely eviscerated the comic. I appreciate that they kept it dark – it’s the Death of Superman after all… but it could have used a few more months in the cutting room before it was released.