Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Action,Adventure Movie Review of ‘Superman/Doomsday’ (2007)

Movie Review of ‘Superman/Doomsday’ (2007)

Superman/Doomsday finds Clark Kent/Superman (Adam Baldwin) already set in his daily routine, working at the Daily Planet while carrying on a romantic relationship with reporter Lois Lane (Anne Heche), who doesn’t know his true identity. Lex Luthor (James Marsters) uncovers an alien spacecraft during an excavation, which unleashes an unstoppable doomsday machine that seeks to destroy every living thing in its path. Arriving in Metropolis, Superman is confronted with the formidable Doomsday, testing him like nothing before. Superman defeats Doomsday, but dies as a consequence, forcing the city to confront the reality of a world without their saviour. Crime rates are on the rise and Lois feels more vulnerable than ever, but the Man of Steel suddenly comes back from the dead. While it’s cause for celebration, Superman begins acting very suspiciously.

The first in what has turned into a long-running series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies, 2007’s Superman/Doomsday is a 77-minute retelling of three major storylines from the Superman comics: The Death of SupermanWorld without a Superman, and Return of Superman. It’s more or less a pared-down version of the comic books, stripping away certain characters and subplots to provide a simplistic representation of this story arc. But instead of focusing on one storyline for better effect, writers Duane Capizzi and Bruce Timm compress all basic plot points from Death to Return into the script without giving each story the breadth and runtime that they deserve. In fact, Doomsday becomes a secondary presence in his own movie, relegated to only the first third. The battle between Superman and Doomsday is impressive, but it’s over far too soon, and Superman’s death does not have as much emotional resonance as it should. The truncation of the source looks all the more disappointing in 2013, due to the release of the positively epic two-part adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, which did genuine justice to the rich source material.

While Superman/Doomsday is disappointingly underdone, it does tell its story in an entertaining fashion, and remains eminently watchable throughout. Warner Premiere did not exactly have the funds to splash out a few hundred million dollars on the project, hence the animation is rather basic here, lacking in fine detail. Still, the animators made the most of their scant resources, creating a handful of tremendously exciting battle sequences. The throwdown between Doomsday and the Man of Steel is a highlight due to its sheer brutality.Superman/Doomsday was given a PG-13 rating, hence the content is a bit stronger than what you would normally find in a kid-friendly Superman adventure. The tone here is dark, and there are some intense sequences involving blood, not to mention there’s some harsh language and unexpected innuendo. It’s not gratuitous, though, and it does suit the nature of the material since this is a dark story. Also impressive is the cast. Voicing Superman is Adam Baldwin, better known as Jayne from Firefly. He disappears into the role, giving Supes a distinctive voice that sounds wholly different from Jayne.

Even though Superman/Doomsday fails to do justice to its expansive source material, it does work well enough as a standalone comic book movie on its own terms. Given its limitation, this is about the best retelling one could reasonably expect in this one-shot format. With its skilful if not exactly mind-blowing animation, and with terrific voice work and a great score, it’s a good watch, and it’ll be of interest to casual Superman fans or anyone who just enjoys superhero movies. Let’s also be thankful that Superman/Doomsday is far more satisfying than the Bryan Singer-directed misfire that was Superman Returns.

6.0/10

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