The Kryptonian Has Never Been More Alive – Death of Superman Review

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Death of Superman Review – DC Animated does it once again and brings new life to Superman… by uhm, killing him…

My favorite part of WonderCon and Comic-Con are the DC Animated Feature premieres. I’ve been at these con premieres since Superman Unbound at WonderCon 2013. It’s fitting that I mention that because this year at San Diego Comic-Con, they premiered Death of Superman. It’s like I saw Superman rise and then I watched him fall. But I have to say, even though I watched him die, the character of Superman has never seemed more alive than he did in this film.

If Superman dying was a spoiler for you, I’d like to point out the movie is called Death of Superman, so uhm, blame your English teacher. The film’s main plot device is in the title, and if you’re old enough you probably remember it was all over the news. I mean they just killed him in Batman v. Superman. Honestly, if I spoiled it for you that’s your fault. But back to the film, Death of Superman does have, well the death of Superman. But the movie is about the life of Superman and his impact on the world. I really don’t want to go more into any more detail summarizing the film, as the details are what make the movie so emotionally impactful.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Superman. I think the character is boring, he either powers his way through things or develops some new power to win. However, Death of Superman makes me want more and now. Not since Smallville have I cared about the character this much. For the first time since then, Superman/Clark Kent is relatable, admirable, and understandably the heart and soul of the Justice League. He’s not just the big gun and reinforcement, he’s the leader and beacon of light for the team and the world to look too. He inspires people to be better and all the while still becoming better himself. I always understood the idea of Superman, but because of the movie, I finally get it.

Needless to say, the film’s story and writing are phenomenal. Leading up to the title’s promised event, the movie is a slice of Superman’s life in the midst of one of his biggest personal milestones, sharing his entire self with Lois Lane. It is heartwarming, touching, and hilarious. Death of Superman pokes fun at the silliness of Clark’s method of hiding his ‘secret identity’ and brings what is easily one of the funniest scenes in a superhero film to date. The movie does a brilliant job of interweaving pretty much the full spectrum of emotions in a natural and impactful way. By the end of the film, you’ll be choking up, yet feeling extremely and enthusiastically hopeful.

The story is brought to life through the amazing voice acting. Jerry O’Connell is a top 3 Superman across all mediums. He masterfully portrays Supes as the indomitable symbol of hope. But what he somehow does even better is portray Superman’s vulnerabilities. His Clark/Superman has really good chemistry with Lois Lane, which isn’t surprising considering Lois is voiced by Rebecca Romijn. Romijn and O’Connell are married in real life. However, it is impressive considering they did not record together. The rest of the voice performances, don’t stand out, not due to lack of performance or anything, they aren’t really given much, which makes sense since the movie isn’t really about them. However, there is a scene when the Justice League is talking about their civilian lives that is hilarious.

The art and animation are the final ingredients that really make Death of Superman greater than the sum of its parts. Phil Bourassa’s character designs are animated in brilliant fluidity. The action sequences are amazingly choreographed and epically proportioned. However, I what I found most impressive are the subtle things they are able to make impactful. Clark’s revelation to Lois that he is Superman is probably the best example of what I’m talking about. It was so cartoony, but yet so real, that you forget you’re watching an animation. The art and animation capture and evokes all the right emotions of the characters and the audience at the same time. Ballroom 20 was laughing, and crying, right on cue.

Death of Superman is my favorite DC Animated Feature Film since Flashpoint, but objectively speaking, it might be better. It’s a more focused piece, that is far more about character and relationships. I mean Flashpoint is ultimately about Barry, but I feel the film played out to be more about the event. Death of Superman is inarguably all about Superman, as a character, and as a part of the lives of others and the fabric of the world. Even single line, and basically unnamed, characters provide incredible magnitude to the story. I cannot stress how a restaurant owner probably provides the biggest emotional gut punch to the movie. Like, some character or might even be considered annoying, easily becomes the heaviest pull on the heartstrings.

Death of Superman is a masterpiece in every sense; a comic book adaptation, a story, a movie, an animated work, etc. It far exceeds any Superman live action film in the past 30 years, and honestly brings the most interest into the character since his death in the comics back in ’93. It humanizes a god and makes you want to root for the guy who can’t lose. Which is something I am usually against, but the movie is that good that I believe I may have come to so hasty conclusions about the character. Death of Superman is a movie for any fan of superheroes. It’s symbolic of the genre as a whole and would undoubtedly resonate with all fans of capes, masks, and heroism. What’s it like to see your hero die? What does your hero mean, even when you really don’t have a connection to them? So many philosophical and moral implications are embedded into the film without being preachy or academic… Death of Superman is simply just a masterpiece. My Death of Superman review gets a 5/5.

P.S. The credits do a better job in roughly 5 minutes of building a universe than the entire run of the DCEU. Can we get James Tucker in charge of the live action already?

Death of Superman

Digital Release: July 20, 2018
Blu-Ray/DVD release: August 7, 2018
Directors: Sam Liu, James Tucker, Jake Castorena
Film series: DC Animated Movie Universe
Screenplay: Peter Tomasi
Music composed by: Frederik Wiedmann
Producers: Sam Liu, James Tucker

 

 

Death of Superman
5

TLDR

Death of Superman is a masterpiece in every sense; a comic book adaptation, a story, a movie, an animated work, etc. It far exceeds any Superman live action film in the past 30 years, and honestly brings the most interest into the character since his death in the comics back in ’93. It humanizes a god and makes you want to root for the guy who can’t lose. Which is something I am usually against, but the movie is that good that I believe I may have come to so hasty conclusions about the character. Death of Superman is a movie for any fan of superheroes. It’s symbolic of the genre as a whole and would undoubtedly resonate with all fans of capes, masks, and heroism. What’s it like to see your hero die? What does your hero mean, even when you really don’t have a connection to them? So many philosophical and moral implications are embedded into the film without being preachy or academic… Death of Superman is simply just a masterpiece.

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