25 September 2007

Ink Blots - Superman Doomsday

Last year Marvel comics made a bold move into Direct to Video animated films starting with the Ultimate Avengers. The DVD sold fairly well, and it seems DC wanted a piece of the pie. Let me just say, that even though Marvel has a few subpar live action movies (Elektra, Punisher, etc) they have pretty much dominated on the big screen. In the animated realm; however, DC has been dominant with one hit series after another. The mastermind behind most of those series was Bruce Timm, who just so happens to be the producer on Superman Doomsday, and that can only be a good thing.

This stand alone film sort of resembles the Superman Animated and Justice League series incarnations of Superman, but the continuity is its own. The movie is based on the hugely successful (and very gimmicky) Death of Superman story of the 90's. While not a pure retelling, this tale carries forward the spirit of the story compressed into a 75 minute movie, thereby removing the gimmick factor. This was a pretty solid effort. First of all, it was nice to see Superman do more than just lift stuff. There are some brutal action sequences and plenty of punches thrown. People die, even semi-main characters. And there is blood, though not profuse amounts. What really carries the story is that it has heart and emotional resonance. The movie does a good job of showing how the loss of Superman would affect those around him, especially Lois and Martha. It also shows how Superman, if not a big Boy Scout, could be a pretty scary dude to have on patrol. While last years Brainiac Attacks has lots of smashing, it lacked emotional depth that made the story even remotely interesting. That was not an issue here.

The movie also had some good performances. Firefly's Jayne AKA Adam Baldwin played Supes, and James Marsters voiced Lexie baby. The movie also features a creepy pedophilish version of Toyman voiced by "bite my shiny metal" John Dimaggio. It was nice to see him get some justice. Lastly, the new theme was well done, and in my opinion stands right up there with the Animated Series theme.

Now for the bad.

Superman's design was horrible. I don't know why he likes his Superman with big lines on his face. He tried this on Justice League and people hated it. Its actually worse here. And the lines are even worse when Clark puts on glasses. He ends up with lines all over his ugly mug. One nice nod was Superman's 90's style long hair that he has upon his return.

Another thing that bothered me was the amount of collateral damage. Superman seemed to have no qualms about leveling skyscrapers in order to gain the edge in a fight. I dont htink Metropolis would be a fun place to live.

Anyhow, this foray into DC DtVs was a nice start, and Justice League New Frontier (early 08) looks incredible too. This was a way better effort than Marvels four goes, and by the looks of things, Superman Doomsday will be a hit peaking at #6 on Amazons DVD sales. This wasn't a perfect film, but for those who don't expect it to be an exact retelling of the comic, it is pretty entertaining and worthy of a B+.

BUY IT NOW: Superman Doomsday DVD


Anonymous said...

I think the excess collateral damage was because this movie seemed to really be trying to speak to an adult crowd, and so they tried to make it more 'realistic', if you know what i mean by that. One of the things I always liked about 'The Tick' was how when he went on a patrol, he did serious damage to the buildings he was jumping around on top of, or the concrete sidewalk he just fell 8 stories on to. If this level of superhero really existed, super-battles would be very similar to a large-scale disaster.

geekoid said...

cool review chief. i especially agree on the bad points you pointed out. still, it was pretty entertaining i must admit.

to anonymous : yeah but the superman thing to do would have been to at least consider public safety and bring the fight elsewhere not populated (like space or sumpthin'). just my two cents.

Kurtis said...

I think the reason it looks like Superman isn't caring about the collateral damage is because theyare trying to represent the comic book story.

In the comics, Superman tries to deal with Doomsday in non populated areas but he keeps on coming back. The comics span a long period of time (days in the comics, half a year in our time) so by the climax, Superman doesn't really care about the buildings because he just wants to stop Doomsday.

The damage is quite a bit worse in the comics and I think they are trying to capture that in this movie but it seems like it is all done in one evening which, I agree, seems out of character for Superman.

Also, I agree about the lines on his face. I can't believe the artists thought that looked good. Otherwise, I quite enjoyed this movie.