It is always difficult to adapt a beloved classic from the original source to either a motion picture or animated feature and the Mark Millar, Dave Johnson, Andrew Robinson, Walden Wong, Killian Plunkett and Paul Mounts classic, Superman: Red Son is no exception.
The animated feature follows the same format, what happens if Kal-El aka Superman crash lands in the Soviet Union and raised during the worst part of the Cold War instead of Smallville, Kansas, USA. The graphic novel was inspired by the comic Superman #300 where Kal-El landed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and the US and the USSR were in competition to get to the future alien hero for their political gains.
So naturally, when this Elseworld story was being adapted, there was only one person DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation could contact to take on such a project and that man was Bruce Timm. For those new to the scene, Timm was responsible for Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited and a million other things that so many people were weaned on. Timm took a nearly impossible property to turn into a full length animated feature and did an outstanding job. However, with a story like Superman: Red Son, this definitely should have been a two parter like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and the Death and Return of Superman.
Frankly, Superman: Red Son is just too big of a story to cram into an 88 minute movie, but it still works well. This time, Jason Isaacs takes on the task of being the Soviet Superman, Amy Acker is Lois Lane, Diedrich Bader is Lex Luthor, Vanessa Marshall is Wonder Woman, Roger Craig Smith is Batman and Travis Willingham is Superior Man.
The cast of course features the Green Lanterns, with Phil LaMarr returning as John Stewart, but the most intriguing part was speaking with Sasha Roiz, who is of Russian Jewish origins and whose granparents survived the Soviet Union before migrating to Israel. Roiz had a far closer tie to this fictional superhero story because of personal stories he heard growing up and the horrors of Communism that his family suffered and endured.
Superman: Red Son is out now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital.
Superman: Red Son Special Features
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital
DC Showcase: Phantom Stranger (Animated Short) – Animation legend Bruce Timm helms Phantom Stranger as both executive producer & director from a script written by Ernie Altbacker (Teen Titans: The Judas Contract). Set in the 1970s, the short follows young adult Jess as she joins her friends at a party in a dilapidated mansion hosted by the mysterious Seth … when odd things begin to happen to Jess and her friends, can Phantom Stranger intervene? Peter Serafinowicz (The Tick) gives voice to Phantom Stranger, and Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville, Impastor) provides the voice of Seth. Phantom Stranger also features the voices of Natalie Lander, Grey Griffin and Roger Craig Smith.
- Cold Red War (New Featurette) – An exploration of the Cold War through the lens of the Elseworlds classic Superman: Red Son, as Superman rises to power and tension escalates between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Two episodes from Superman: Red Son – The Motion Comics.
A Sneak Peek at the next DC Universe Movie, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War – An advanced look at the next animated film in the popular DC Universe Movies collection.
Superman: Red Son will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.
Superman: Red Son is quite enjoyable, but I really wish it was a two parter because there is just too much story to cram into 88 minutes.