WRITTEN BY: Tim Sheridan
DIRECTED BY: Chris Palmer
Darren Criss as Superman
Zachary Quinto as Lex Luthor
Alexandra Daddario as Lois Lane
Brett Dalton as Parasite/Rudy Jones
Ryan Hurst as Lobo
Ike Amadi as Martian Manhunter
Neil Flynn as Jonathan Kent
Bellamy Young as Martha Kent
Cristina Milizia as Maya, Petey & Kaylie
Eugene Byrd as Ron Troupe
April Stewart as Mrs. Ross
Piotr Michael as Perry White
Reviewed by: T.A. Ewart (aka liheibao)
The Timmverse and Tuckerverse have come and gone, and now (reportedly) the DC Animated Universe begins anew, and, rightfully so, with Superman. In the new animated feature, Superman: Man of Tomorrow, viewers are treated to the first days of Superman’s adventures, in addition to Clark Kent’s adjustment to city life in Metropolis and interning at the great metropolitan newspaper, the Daily Planet. Lois Lane, Ron Troupe, and Perry White, of course, are all on hand to provide support. Lex Luthor, Lobo, and the Parasite provide the villainy. There are more than a few positive steps made in the overture of Superman and the DCAU’s new status quo, and some areas that could definitely stand improvement despite the aforesaid.
Viewers who were attached to the animation of the Tuckerverse, may find the design of Superman: Man of Tomorrow 180 degrees different. Superman is slimmer, more athletic in build. Characters seems less 3-dimensional, noting the looser, lighter style. However, it’s also much brighter than previously shown, so much in fact that one would believe the sun didn’t exist in previous films. Clark Kent is his standard, mild-mannered self, while Lois Lane has a contemporary upgrade, designed to be more sporty, less femme-power in a pencil-skirt. The Kents are a mixture of indecision. Old, yet fit, rural though cosmopolitan in dress. The biggest change is given to the Parasite, who receives a kaiju enhancement for this film… and for little reason. Luthor and Lobo, we’ve seen this duo before, nothing new to note. It’s a fresh design for the most part, allowing for a new world of Superman to be created and hopefully believed.
The voice acting of all the newcomers should be commended. Darren Criss does good turns with both Clark Kent and Superman, providing the needed nuance between the voices without any thick additives. Alexandra Daddario’s Lois Lane is precise. Her tone is feminine, dismissive, and alluring, but without the brusqueness that fetters too many Lois Lane renditions. Zachary Quinto’s time as a villain pays out great dividends here as Lex Luthor, as viewers know by his cadence that he’s not a man to be trusted… and proves that throughout the film. All of the corners of the film are in steady working order, but it is the crucial angle of the story where things become a little unsteady.
Superman: Man of Tomorrow is effectively an origin story for Superman. Viewers should learn who he is, why he acts as he does, and how those actions are necessary to the world he lives in. While we are given some fine moments in the film to enjoy, that crucial part of Superman: Man of Tomorrow is missing, overall. The characterization between Clark and the Kents is perfectly familial. The interplay between Lois, Clark, and Superman is some of the best since Superman: The Animated Series. Lois trying to dupe Clark into giving up his story to her is a classic move on her part, as is Clark’s repost. The fight between Superman and Lobo was excellent, even if we’re shown more of Superman than we needed to view. However, the integral part of any Superman story is that he’s the hero, the needed component to solve the problem that besets the people. While a “Story of Superman” victory is still a win, it’s a triumph for a more established Superman, one with a “Story of Superman” to activate. This is Superman’s first outing, and viewers really needed to see a capable Superman in addition to a caring one.
Still, the foundation of what will (hopefully) be the DCAU has been laid, and it is steady, if the initial constructions are incomplete. Superman: Man of Tomorrow is bright, entertaining, and a good opening. It will please new and long-time fans of Superman, which is the best outcome a film can ask. The new adventures of Superman begin, once more, again.
Superman: Man of Tomorrow is available NOW for digital download, and will be available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack (USA $39.99 SRP; Canada $44.98 SRP) and Blu-ray Combo Pack (USA $24.98 SRP; Canada $29.98 SRP). The 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc featuring the film in hi-definition, and a digital version of the movie. The Blu-ray Combo Pack features a Blu-ray disc with the film in hi-definition, a DVD with the film in standard definition, and a digital version of the movie.