‘The Death of Superman’ Blu-ray Review
In 2007 Warner Bros Home Entertainment released Superman: Doomsday, the first of many DC animated features released straight-to-video under the Warner Premiere and eventual Warner Bros. Animation umbrellas. This film’s release wasn’t a bad start for the fledgling studios, considering the DC Universe animated original movies are mostly great adaptations of some of the most popular and best written comic book stories. However, the movie suffered because the writers and director compressed three strong story arcs into roughly seventy-five minutes.
As the popularity of this DC movie line has grown and the writing has improved, DC and WB decided to revisit one of the most famous story arcs in Superman’s long history with their 32nd feature.
The Death of Superman chronicles the battle between Superman (Jerry O’Connell) and Doomsday but in a less compressed way than the 2007 movie. Starting with a battle against a crew of high-tech villains, the film features a deep dive into Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s (Rebecca Romijn) relationship and Superman’s growth with other members of the Justice League.
Then, like in the comic series, an asteroid crashes to earth and gives birth to Doomsday, a creature so powerful he kills Superman. I suppose that is a spoiler, but I think you’ll find the strength to forgive me. The movie is called The Death of Superman, and it’s been more than twenty years since DC published the original comic. Not to mention, we’ve seen it recreated on screen three times now.
It’s easy to say that DC has done a good thing by rewriting animated history. The Death of Superman is not only a much more faithful adaptation of the famous arc, but it also benefits from the studio’s ten years of experience. Each character is clearly introduced, and you understand their role in the showdown.
Surprisingly, Doomsday is redesigned, which is entirely acceptable. He isn’t as rough and gruesome looking as he was in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Unsurprisingly, the other characters look like their New 52 counterparts, and the design choices are effective, especially for Superman and Wonder Woman.
The Death of Superman features the same actors as the Justice League that were first heard in Justice League: Throne of Atlantis: Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman, Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern, and Jason O’Mara as Batman. Rebecca Romijn as Lois and Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor are both new to the roles and the DC Animated universe. Romijn does a great job as Lois. Her voice, demeanor, and attitude all play well to the character’s strengths. On the other hand, as much as I’ve enjoyed Rainn Wilson in other roles, he’s not suitable to voice a maniacal villain such as Lex Luthor.
The 81-minute runtime never feels long, and the film feels as is if it wraps even more quickly than Superman: Doomsday. Additionally, The Death of Superman is a good Superman animation feature that is worth watching. It may fall short of All-Star Superman, but that is to be expected because that is one of the best Superman comic arcs ever.
As is typical with the other DC animated features, The Death of Superman arrives on Blu-ray in full 1080p courtesy of a Mpeg-4 AVC code, but that doesn’t mean every shot is perfect.
These films shouldn’t still suffer from microbanding during quick scenes or crushed in dark shadows, but this film suffers from both on more than one occasion. Nevertheless, the colors are outstanding in the movie, and the animation looks nearly three-dimensional throughout. The Death of Superman has a strong presentation, but short of what I want this far into Blu-Ray’s life.
The video presentation is strong, but the audio is even better. The Death of Superman features a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track with excellent clarity and detail. The dialogue is crisp and clear across the center channel with action sequences filling up the entire room. Explosions and other moments that rumble get a robust response from the subwoofer, rounding out the track and making the movie audibly appealing.
The Death of Superman is available across multiple platforms, with the Blu-ray set including the now standard DVD and Digital Copy. There is a Deluxe Edition, which was provided for us to review, that includes the Battle Worn Superman figure.
The Death of Superman: The Brawl That Topped Them All – Experience the battle between Superman and Doomsday like never before as creators of the iconic comic and the new film explore the nuances of “The Greatest Fight” with the help of a martial arts expert.
A Sneak Peek at DC Universe’s Next Animated Movie, Reign of the Supermen – An exciting look at the next film in the two-part saga that brings the epic and emotional story of a world without the Man of Steel to life.
From the DC Comics Vault: Legion of Superheroes: Dark Victory: Part 1 – After eliminating Imperiex, Brainiac 5 takes over his army and plans to take over the universe. With Superman thought to be dead, the other Legionnaires must stop him before it is too late!
From the DC Comics Vault: Legion of Superheroes: Dark Victory: Part 2 – The Legion faces Imperiex in a final battle, while a traitor lurks in their midst.
The Death of Superman is an awesome release which will likely excite fans and create anticipation for Reign of The Superman. With vast improvements over Superman: Doomsday, The Death of Superman expands the adapted story, improves the animation, and encourages DC to release multiple films that continue this story. If you are a fan of the DC animated features, The Death of Superman is an excellent addition to your shelf. I know I will proudly set it next to my other movies and DC statues.