Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – The Death of Superman

Summary: It’s not a bird or a plane, it’s Superman (Jerry O’Connell)! As the Man of Steel, it falls to him to save the city of Metropolis and the world with the rest of the Justice League. But as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent, he enjoys a secret romance with Lois Lane (Rebecca Romijn) and endure parents (Paul Eiding and Jennifer Hale) randomly dropping in. Lately, he’s been struggling with whether to tell Lois the secret of his double life, but his world is turned upside down as a Herculean monster called Doomsday falls to Earth in a meteor and begins carving a path of destruction and carnage. With the Justice League beaten within an inch of their life, it seems like Superman is the only one who can save the day… and the day might be Superman’s last.

Review: The Death of Superman, at least the review, may surprise longtime followers, as I’ve stated in a post some years earlier that I planned to boycott most of DC’s movies because of some pretty heinous treatment of their artists. Well, there are a few things. First off, it’s a premiere at Comic Con, so that drives up interest, which hopefully drives up views (hence the review of The Killing Joke some years prior). Second, DC seems to have changed their tune over the past few years, so I think I can lift the lazily-enforced embargo. Third, this movie is close to my heart because The Death of Superman was actually the first comic I ever read and understood. So it’s a good thing that this movie was f****** phenomenal.

Actually, I don’t think that quite encapsulates how good this was. I’ve been a bit lukewarm to a lot of DC’s animated movies lately, so this hit me like a breath of fresh air that tattooed a red S on my chest. My opinion may not count for much here, since I gave a glowing review to the much-maligned animated Killing Joke, but trust me, this is the real deal: an adaptation of a classic comic that keeps what made it great and adds elements that make it better. Trust me, this one’s a winner.

One of the best elements is its humanity, as everyone has plenty of personality and likability to make us want to keep following them. Superman himself is a three-dimensional character while still being a good person (something a lot of recent movies seem to miss) with hopes and worries and grief. The beginning, though quite light on action, goes to great lengths to explore the divide between his civilian and superhero identities, as well as his relationships to Lois, his parents, the people of Metropolis, and even Lex Luthor (Rainn Wilson). It’s good not only as a way to flesh out the world and give the characters depth, but also raise the stakes as we’re given a look at everything Clark is about to lose.

I also love all the connections and Easter Eggs to the DC Universe at large. This ranges from bit cameos like Metropolis cops Maggie Sawyer (Amanda Troop) and Dan Turpin (Rick Pasqualone) to other members of the Justice League who have their own affairs going on. Yes, it is part of a shared continuity of animated movies, but that fact that it fleshes out all of these characters and still keeps the focus on Superman is a marvel. Heck, that fact that it accomplishes this without becoming two hours long deserves praise too.

Then of course, there’s the action scenes. Doomsday may not have the most depth of comic book villains, but he makes up for it by being terrifying — a feral, nigh-unstoppable beast that will tear its way through Earth’s people if not stopped. The animation on its face and movements is chilling, especially as it practically walks though the Justice League (which is a welcome change, as the heroes Doomsday fought in the original comic were not exactly heavy hitters). And that’s not even getting started on the fight between Doomsday and Superman, which is an epic smack down of wanton destruction across bridges, skylines, and the city of Metropolis. What makes it even more riveting is that Superman has to divide his time between fighting Doomsday and saving the people it puts in harm’s way. It really shows how far short Man of Steel fell.

But with a movie like this must come some emotional moments and man, this movie throws them at you hard and fast. Visceral carnage aside, there’s a real sense of pathos and weight to the whole affair. I was pretty choked up during a prayer near the end and I have to give props to this movie for showing men crying and displaying tenderness. The real surprise was feeling bad for Lex Luthor of all people, but his screams of anguish and frustration at one point hit my heartstrings until they turned raw.

If I had one complaint, it’s with the animation. The DC animated movie series (the ones that share continuity at least) have always bugged me in that department — not bad overall, but I find myself catching a few unnatural movements, some odd character outlines, and the occasional cut corner when it comes to movement. Another minor complaint is that Wonder Woman is the only female member of the Justice League. Come on, there’s plenty of women you could fill the ranks with. Heck, Hawkman doesn’t even get a line, so it’s not like you’d have to break any budgets.

The Death of Superman is a classic story that has finally been given justice on the silver screen. True, there have adaptations in the past, but they’ve fallen short in some fashion — Superman: Doomsday truncated it to cover the sequel events in the same film, Batman v. Superman crammed it into the last chunk of its bloated plot, and the Justice League animated series took so many liberties that it’s practically a different story altogether. It is a major bright spot in the DC filmography and I recommend it to fans and outsiders. Funny, action-packed, heartfelt, and giving us the treat of Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern again, The Death of Superman reigns supreme.

Fun Tidbit #1: This is the second movie this year where the romantic leads were involved in real life. The first was A Quiet Place with John Krasinski and Emily Blunt and here, Lois is played by Jerry O’Connell’s real life wife Rebecca Romijn.

Fun Tidbit #2: So here’s a strange bit of irony (I don’t actually care if it’s ironic): Jerry O’Connell plays Superman in this movie where he has to fight for his life, but he also had a role in the Justice League Unlimited episode “Clash” as Captain Marvel (now known as Shazam) who not only was originally created as a knockoff of Superman, but who fought Superman in that very episode.

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