Zechs takes a look at the animated movie adaption based on Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly's comic run.
Credits & Solicit Info:
James Denton as Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman
Christina Hendricks as Lois Lane
Anthony LaPaglia as Lex Luthor
Alexis Denisof as Dr. Leo Quintum
Edward Asner as Perry White
Linda Cardellini as Nasthalthia "Nasty" Luthor
Robin Atkin Downes as Solaris
Steven Blum as Atlas/General Sam Lane
John DiMaggio as Samson/Ultra-Sphinx
Cathy Cavadini as Floral
Frances Conroy as Martha Kent
Matthew Gray Gubler as Jimmy Olsen
Arnold Vosloo as Bar-El
Finola Hughes as Lilo
Michael Gough as Parasite
After preventing Lex Luthor's latest scheme of sabotaging research into the sun, Superman finds out the plan was but a small kink in a grander scheme of his arch foe. It was all to overexpose Superman to the solar rays overloading his body. Dying, Superman tries finishing off all he can in the amount of time left he has. But, Lex Luthor has other plans.
I don't know why, but I've been holding off I have to admit, this whole movie left me for the most part feeling kinda meh. With all adaptations of great literary works you just know things won't be the same as the original story. Nothing can be as satisfying as the original tale. We've seen this numerous times over. Subplots you desire kept will be cut and removed. Yet, you also feel other things could be removed that they kept.
This is the sort of problems I had watching this movie. On one hand, I enjoyed some parts to the movie. It perfectly captured the work perfectly, yet in other parts I just felt utterly bored and wished they removed the scene all together. Parts I enjoyed the suicidal girl showing that even at this juncture how Superman still saved everyone, full on Kandor, the flashback with Supes has with Jor-El when "dying", Bizarro, and of course the Pa Kent subplot as well gone.
Like any normal human, watching this would leave one scratching their head just wondering who the heck are these people. Still, even with my knowledge of comics I had to search to know who the heck Atlas and Samson where. Heck, even reading their profiles, I'm still wondering just what the heck they where doing in this story? And just when I got accustomed to the plot including them, they where done and never seen again in the movie.
That's the greatest problem I have with DC Animated Adaptations, they compress just too much. That was the greatest flaw for Superman: Doomsday (2007), and it's very present here as well. Just when you're used to one plot, two more show up, and before you know it they're over, back to the plot at hand. I just feel more could have been done, or they could have abandoned them all together. Sure it makes me realize my second favorite moment of the series would be cut (Lois Lane and Supes kissing on the moon), but if it makes the story better then so be it.
Still, that's not saying I hate this movie with a furious passion. In some areas they get right. Anytime the story focuses on the actual main plot, I'm gripped. Whenever Luthor or Lois are around on screen (nicely played by Anthony LaPaglia by the way) you're glued in. When someone you least care about (say the two Kryptonians who show up out of the blue), I could care less. Again, if they're going for an straight full on adaption, just go full out Watchmen (2009). This could have easily been two films and I doubt anyone would moan about that. Instead, we get somewhat of the message the story told, but not as larger that it could've been. I'm not saying this is the worst DC animated features, but it's not the best either. Compared to Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010), the story was better honed and crafted. Everything cut out from that story and put in made better sense. Here, I feel like I'm watching a blendered version of the story. The ideas are there but not coherent ones.
But enough criticizing the negatives, I did enjoy the film for what I got out of it. The animation was smooth and melded Quietly's art style nicely. The voice acting was top notch with everyone hitting their mark perfectly. Again, being that I am a sucker for the bad guys, LaPaglia played a magnificent bastard with his Lex Luthor. The stuff with him playing off against James Denton's Superman/Clark Kent namely the middle of the picture, is probably my favorite parts of this movie. And of course seeing Lois with Supes on the moon was just bliss.
All and all, this isn't the worst of what DC Animated Movies have given us, but neither is it the best. I put it somewhere in-between the two. Given that in but late summer, early fall we'll be having yet another adaptation from a classic comic book story (Batman: Year One), I'm curious how that is handled compared to this. I just wish better attention was given, this could've been actually better than it could have been. It's funny, in some ways I enjoyed the smaller moments of this film more than the larger action parts. I wouldn't call this a full success, but it's still a good watch. I just wish this could have been the adaption I went through in my mind, but then that's always the greatest flaw of films of this caliber. They're never on par with the source material.
3 out of 5
Review by: Zechs