Taking a break from the comics to start talking about that fun little medium we classify as “moving pictures,” because I gotta say, the new take on Death of Superman is pretty fantastic, arguably one of the greatest Superman movies I’ve ever seen.
Superman dies. WHAAAAAA-?! Obviously he does. Only people who live under a rock don’t know this fact, but if you’re a new up-and-coming comic book enthusiast: yes, once upon a time (more than once now) Superman died and it rocked the world, but now we don’t bat an eyelash when heroes, villains or anyone dies, because like as not it isn’t permanent.
Having said that, this is a damn good flick.
For those not in the know, this movie runs in the same continuity as all the DC animated movies that spun out of Flashpoint and followed most of the New 52 cues, from War to JL vs Teen Titans and beyond. If you haven’t seen them, do yourself a favor and find one of the super expensive box sets or scavenge them as singles on the web. They’re great movies to throw on just about anytime.
Having said THAT, this movie is a giant boiling pot that makes for just about the perfect iteration of the Death of Superman. It takes the original story, blends it with elements from the New 52, and sprinkles on top the charm that the film makers have come to forge with these movies – the big thing in this case being Doomsday battling the core Justice League that we’ve come to love. No hate for Booster Gold or any of the other leaguers back in the 90s, but seeing Doomsday man-handle the likes of Aquaman, Cyborg, Batman and Green Lantern adds a lot more levity to the stakes of the story. Wonder Woman’s bout was a highlight in itself (when her hair braid shattered and she went full Amazon was some fresh kind of fan service).
Superman’s arc is fresh and deep. We get to see Lois and Clark’s relationship at its adolescence and everything’s hot and exciting between them, but they’re now on the cusp of taking bigger steps in their relationship. Lois wants to meet the parents while Clark deals with the burden of sharing her in his secrets. The scene where the Justice League is holding a meeting and Superman discusses with Flash (who is himself on the cusp of marriage) the merits of sharing others in the danger is particularly good. It all falls together beautifully, right down to when Wonder Woman assures Clark to handle things with Lois while the League takes care of the incoming danger (not knowing how much help they’ll actually need).
There’s a lot of cool nods and fan service like Lex Luthor in disguise with a wig and beard, “same bat time,” “up up and away” – to say nothing of all the set ups for the follow-up “Reign of the Supermen.” It never feels forced which is nice.
The action is violent, brutal, and oh so satisfying. We get to see some things occur that would never have been fathomed for a live action depiction, certainly not in the volume they deliver it in. It’s fast, but it doesn’t let up, and you get your money’s worth. Not only is there all the lead up where Doomsday goes on a rampage, there’s his battle with the League, and then his fight with Supes that’s the biggest of the flick. So so good.
I’m also super happy that they brought back Nathan Fillion for Green Lantern, and Jason O’Mara as Batman has really come into his own for me. Not to mention Rebecca Romijn as Lois Lane?… Mint. I wasn’t too big a fan of Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor, but that’s some solid star power there, too. Jerry O’Connell’s Superman was also good – a bit iffy in some cases, but as Clark Kent he really shined.
I’d have to take some serious consideration, but I would say that this is already in the Top 3 of Superman movies for me. They brought their A-Game with this one, and it has me excited to see the next movie unfold.
TL;DR Score: Seriously, if you thought Superman snapping Zod’s neck was violent… you have no idea.