Thursday, July 19, 2012

ANI-MOVIES, *Superman: Doomsday

Starting off their ongoing series of made-for-video features for DC Universe, Warner Premiere decided to go with a darker chapter from the Man Of Steel’s history that was mostly overlooked in any of his previous animated adaptations. Based on the Death Of Superman, Funeral For A Friend, and Reign Of The Supermen story arcs from the various comic books, this was directed by previous DC superhero animation writer Bruce Timm, along with Batman: The Animated Series writer Duane Capizzi. Even though it was done as its own movie, it shadows some story elements from Superman: The Animated Series.

This takes place during a time when Lex Luthor is still in charge of Lexcorp, and Superman has recently been dating Lois, although he hasn’t told her his secret identity yet, despite her suspicions. While digging underground for a new power source, Luthor’s crew discovers an ancient spacepod housing a hulking alien monster. The creature(Doomsday)goes on a rampage through Metropolis, and Supes enages with him in a slugfest the likes of which Goku wouldn’t have survived. Their clash knocks over building after building, which suprisingly no one was in at the time, but ultimately both the super-strong aliens die from the fight. Superman is buried in an elaborately huge memorial in the middle of Metropolis park, although apparently all the JLA members were too busy trying to get their own DC Universe movies made to bother to showing up at his funeral. Lois is bereaved, and goes to Martha Kent in Smallville for someone to talk to. Jimmy Olsen quits the Daily Planet to work for a tabloid rag, and Perry White give in to whisky. Villains on the other hand have been having a crime orgy in Metropolis, and staple crazy genius Toyman kidnaps a bus full of kids. Fortunately, they are rescued by a supposedly resurrected Superman! This revived Man of Tomorrow is really a clone created by Luthor, who now holds the corpse of the original in Lexcorp. However, Superman’s faithful robot manages to get it back with no detection, and brings him back to the Fortress of Solitude where its revealed that Superman wasn’t really dead at all, but in a biological stasis. He is revived, only to find out that his evil twin has killed Toyman, and just taken out Luthor, along with all the other soulless Superman clones. Even though he’s only at partial power, Superman puts on a solar-collecting gothic jumpsuit along with a kryptonite gun, and flies to confront Superman-B. The two of them butt heads, wrecking a good part of the freshly-regenerated city with them. Superman-A takes out Superman-B with some leftover Krytonite dust, and everyone welcomes the “real” Superman back(despite the fact that he just freakin’ killed a guy!).

This story is something that’s been adapted several times since its comic book run. In a radio drama, a novelization, and a killer video game. Although like most of them, the movie takes and leaves alot of material not used in the original. This includes Luthor’s whole rebirth thing where he actually has a full head of hair, no Supergirl, and pretty much none of the actual four Supermen who showed up after Super died. The evil clone is sorta based on the idea of the Superboy clone, but gone all bent after being abused by Luthor. Also, Lois was already married to Clark and knew his secret identity prior to Doomsday ruining their honeymoon. In most of the original DC animated continuity, Doomsday only fought the actual Superman once and got his ass kicked, but this movie managed to pull off a real all-out bout to end the doubt. The rest of the story after Superman kicks the bucket is fair, at least with everyone grieving over the loss, plus Luthor totally loosing it by beating the crap out his clone with Kryptonite gloves because he didn’t get the chance to kill Supes himself. For the first DC Universe movie, this did feature some impressive animation over that of their usual TV stock, and was totally a better movie than the crappy Superman: Brainiac Attacks debacle. The voice acting is fair too, even though it doesn’t feature any of the TV series actors. All in all, I’d recommend this for the serious Superfans, or anyone sick of waiting for Superman to have someone he can actually fight in his new movies.

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