Superman is about to meet his animated end… again! That’s right, it’s the death so nice, DC is doing it twice!
It’s been a few years since the rather lackluster Superman: Doomsday animated movie came along and first documented the infamous Death of Superman storyline from the comic books. It was, to put it mildly, a disappointing mess… A movie that changed much of the comic, ignored a larger part of the story, and came up with a movie that was awkward and forgettable, a very bad adaptation when there was really no excuse for it.
Now, DC is getting a do-over for some reason. Yes, kids, this is The Death of Superman 2.0, a more comics accurate crack at The Death of Superman storyline.
Here, a very bad monster named Doomsday shows up suddenly on Earth and, with nothing but a thoughtless instinct for death and violence and rudeness, he begins cutting a swath of destruction across the Earth, heading for Metropolis because, of course, that is where all super villains end up even though they know that Superman lives there. After kicking the rears of the entire Justice League, Doomsday and Superman engage in a final battle in which there will be only one victor… and it won’t be either one of them.
I wish I could say that this was an amazing adaptation of a, quite frankly, a gimmicky but amazing comic book story arc, but unfortunately it’s rather disappointing as well. While it is a marked improvement over Superman: Doomsday, it still feels like a rushed product, encapsulating very little of what made the original story memorable. In a sense, this movie feels as gimmicky as the original comic book, only without everything that made it fun and heavy.
It does try, though. It does try to show how much Superman means to the people of Metropolis and the people in his life, but the entire fight with Doomsday and his subsequent death seem almost tacked on, as if they mean nothing and were thrown in as an afterthought after a movie about Superman’s love life. The sentiment and the emotion at the end as Superman lays dead, feel unearned.
It doesn’t help, either, that this is the fourth interpretation of the Superman and doomsday fight that I have seen an animation… the fifth if you count the Superman versus Batman movie. At this point, Doomsday is old hat and isn’t interesting anymore. This is a cow that’s been milked until it’s dry.
What’s worse, we is an audience are left with a rather frustrating cliffhanger. While I am quite aware that Superman won’t remain dead, in a movie that brings a grim finality to the Man of Steel, you would think that we and Big Blue would at least deserve an end, not some cheap cliffhanger that entices people to buy the next movie that comes out.
It doesn’t help that I am still not a fan of these designs. While I have spoken before about how much I hate the look of Wonder Woman in these Animated Universe movies, I’m not a big fan of the way that Superman looks either. His costume is much too dark, I hate the collar, I hate the sleeves, and I really don’t like the fact that they’re drawing him without his red underwear. I don’t care how uncool certain comic executives or idiot teenagers think it looks, it’s iconic and I want the red undies back. The suit just looks weird without them, like a big blue body condom.
While it’s an improvement over what DC has done before, The Death of Superman is still a lackluster affair made frustrating by an incomplete ending and a cheap cliffhanger. I really hope that Reign of the Supermen can bring some value to this movie in the future because, at least then, it won’t feel like we’re treading the same territory that we’ve been through a dozen times before.