Review - Superman: DoomsdayBy Noah Runzo
Warning: Review contains spoilers.
So the date is finally here... "Superman: Doomsday"! For me it was more about Superman vs Lex or Lex trying to control Superman. Not complaining to start off, but did this really feel like the Death of Superman for more than... five minutes? Anyone? And the answer is no.
Surely the Superman fighting Doomsday sequences were nothing short of spectacular... but, I expected more. That is my main concern with the movie. I thought the animation was well done (a lot better than "Superman: The Animated Series" and the "Justice League" cartoons) and the fight sequences leading to his death were pretty cool too. BUUUT... The actual death itself was highly disappointing to me.
At first, I was excited. I had good reason to be. Superman and Doomsday left Metropolis looking like a war zone. Like a nuclear bomb hit! BUUUUT... the death of both Superman and Doomsday were really weak. I mean, with all of the references back to the comics of the 90s, you were expecting that the double punch would do them both in right? WROOOOOOONGG!!
That is my biggest quip with the film. The death was really a flat liner. Seriously, Superman gets his butt handed to him by Doomsday and yet flying Doomsday into the outer reach of the atmosphere and then slamming him into the earth would NOT have killed Doomsday or Superman in the comics... but of course... this isn't the comics... no. This is an adaptation of the comics. Much like how Smallville is an adaptation of all things Superman... sort of.
So anyway to get the negative aspects out of the way so I can focus on the actual good and fun stuff, ask yourself this? Why wasn't this movie titled Superman: Bizzaro? or Superman: Dark Superman. Well because it probably wouldn't sell. All the hype of Superman battling Doomsday set up expectations for me which weren't met in the slightest bit. I really wish they would have spent more time on the actual fight, perhaps making it longer... draw it out a little. Doomsday killed Superman and a fall back to Earth killed Doomsday. Doomsday doesn't breathe. Yet here we have Doomsday gasping for breath as Superman takes him into outer space. Well, that doesn't make an ounce of sense now does it?
Now, the side stories bugged me a little bit. Did they really have to spend time with Jimmy Olsen taking a job at a newspaper tabloid? Not really. But I see what the writers were trying to do. Making it seem as if Jimmy could "grow up" and deal with Superman's death by moving on. After all, blame Lois. She's the one who told him to follow the action.
Another thing that bugged me was Clark's story assignment in Afghanistan. Okay, I realize that it was supposed to be there to get him out of the picture story wise, but to me it was a cop out. Oh he must have been killed in Afghanistan! That's right. Not Iraq. Afghanistan. Sure he is the foreign correspondent, but last I checked in real life, most foreign media coverage seem to happen in Iraq.... just saying, if they were trying to make it more "real" life, they should have just thrown Kent in Iraq! Good luck Smallville.
Toyman doesn't feel like sharing. And neither do I. Just annoying and unnecessary if you ask me. Creepy emo looking version of Toyman and whiny too!
Moving on and on and on. Dark Superman.... wow. A clone of Superman. I should have seen that one coming. I figured they would take a page out of the comics and try to do the old Henry Hankshaw. Or maybe Dark Superman would genetically fail and turn into checkered face Bizarro. Sigh.... disappointing. BUT, he did remind me of Evil Superman from Superman III! Should have been Bizarro though, since I always thought Bizarro was the "bad" clone of Superman.
For those who might be confused about the whole Lois knowing Clark's secret deal... here's how I see it. Lois knew all along. Even when she was with Superman she knew. But with having a reporter's intuition, she wanted him to come forth and be honest, let her be proved that she was right all along. So when he dies and she whispers "Clark" she knew and so did we.
But then we have the ending. Ah yes, the very last scene titled "No More Secrets" (NO MORE LIES!! Sorry... had the urge.) when Lois and Superman are back in her apartment, she acts surprised when he finally reveals his identity to her. Well duh! Of course she knew, but maybe it was the satisfaction of him giving into her and finally trusting her after all she's been through that made it surprising. So I do forgive that notion and say "good".
The animation was not too bad. Everything looked clean, clear and crisp. And fluid motion with action too. I thought it was pretty good although I have read negative comments that it wasn't up to some fan's preferences of some other animated comic book films *cough cough marvel cough*. But you know, the only thing I had a problem with was his face. Superman had some weird cheekbones! That just bothered me a bit. I am going to guess that the artists wanted to distinguish this version from the Animated Series Superman. Okay, that's fine but at least don't make him look like he's 50! I wish Doomsday didn't walk like a freaking robot too. Maybe some "hulking" like a Gorilla would have been better. But instead we get the robocop induced walk!
The musical score was another good element. From the beginning titles, throughout the film in the many key scenes, the music fit the mood and helped pace the story and action, especially his death. Very dramatic death scene although I did not approve of the method, the aftermath was pretty intense when he emerges and collapses into Lois' lap.
Alright, now it's the surprise time of my review! Anybody else catch that the opening credits resembled the flying through space with the credits? Too bad they couldn't have adapted John Williams Main Title's for this.
I liked the tributes a lot. The part that made me rewind and watch twice was when Doomsday threw Supes into a "Soder" marquee a la Superman II with the Coke marquee! That was pretty amusing. Speaking of which, I am sure you all caught Kevin Smith's cameo appearance as the grumpy guy? Nice eh! Just to backtrack, when Doomsday kills the deer... nice touch. Remember that back in the comics! At least Doomsday acted like Doomsday for the most part. Wow! This film was graphic with all of the murders and bloodshed.
Lex talking about a man named "Swann". Virgil Swann! Anybody else think that the writers were trying to say something deeper when Lex says, "Guess Jerry's kids will have to wait their turn."? I have to add here, Lex was a bonifide villain. He shot and killed Mercy! Just thinking... this was a really graphic and violent film for an animated movie. I mean, Perry even says "A$%"! Stunning, I know.
Holy crap! Martha Kent was in this! Wow, that was good stuff. She seemed kinda nasty towards Lois at first but quickly warmed up after she knew Lois... knew. Plus with Martha Kent being in her seventies, and not showing Jonathan, we can guess that he has passed away.
All in all, it wasn't a bad film. And it wasn't perfect either. I do wish that this film was more about Superman's battle with Doomsday as the title alludes to rather than his ongoing plight with Lex Luthor. The animation and fight sequences rocked and I was excited throughout the whole film. It went by quick at 72 minutes but it is an animated film after all. There is only so much you can tell in that amount of time and I have to commend the writers for doing so. I suppose fans will plead their case against it as well and that is fine. I can however say, without nitpicking every little detail apart, a la Superman Returns, Superman: Doomsday, despite the flaws, was an awesome entertaining fun time! This one is a keeper and I will watch it again and again for it's quick animation, great musical score and overall fun factor. Sure, the story wasn't all that it was meant to be, but this was much much better than what I expected and I will watch this any day of the week.
Up until now, I didn't think of critiquing the voices. I guess I got caught up in the excitement. I would say that they all did a good job if the actors made me think of the characters more than "oh that's so and so's voice."
If I were to judge Superman: Doomsday (on all aspects) with numbers out of ten. I'd give it a seven.