The Death of Superman is the latest animated feature film from WB & DC. Directed by Jake Castorena & Sam Liu, and written by Peter Tomasi, The Death of Superman is a return to form for DC’s animation department and is one of their best animated films to date.
Starring, Jerry O’Connell as Superman, Rebecca Romijn as Lois Lane & Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor, alongside the same voice actors from the New52 Justice League animated features, The Death of Superman is firmly set in the animated universe that started with Justice League: War. The Death of Superman on paper seems like it’s just another adaption or the iconic story, and on many levels, it does that. What makes the film unique is the homages it throws to the comic & live action version while also making sure you care about the fate of Kal-El and those around him.
The film opens with a course corrections of sorts. Breaking away from the Wonder Woman/Superman relationship established in films prior, this film firmly reestablishes the relationship of Lois Lane and Clark Kent. This is something I personally admired and seeing Lois get proper screen time and an arc of her own was helpful in development the heart of the story. A solid chunk of the story dealt with Clark’s personal wavering on telling Lois his identity as they continue to grow their relationship. This adds a layer of depth to Superman’s character in this Batman heavy universe and was needed to telling the story in full.
As the title would suggest. The Death of Superman is action packed. Likely the most brutal but visually enticing action to date, the film sees the entire Justice League roster fight Doomsday. Characters new and old throw everything they have at the monster with little to no effect. The highlight of these battles was Wonder Woman’s fierce one-on-one battle.
By the time Superman enters the battle, the Justice League has been thoroughly defeated and with little hope. Superman’s battle with Doomsday is beautifully animated and with several call backs to the comic that defined it. Furthermore, one of the most present surprises is the respect and admiration given to Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel & Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Many of the fight sequences heavily borrow from the visual magic of Superman vs Zod but also the brutality of Superman vs Doomsday in Batman v Superman. Fans will be very surprised to see shot for shot homages to the fights as well as a similar amount of weight and power to these titans. Personally, I feel The Death of Superman’s action sequences are right up there with the top echelon on DC Animation.
I don’t have my gripes with this film. Being the first of a two part event, similar to The Dark Knight Returns, The Death of Superman is essentially half a story but given a full film treatment. The only part that I did not fully like was using the New 52 Animation, which at times can come off looking a little outdated. At times I wondered if this film would have been better if completely set in its own universe and animations style like TDKR but these are small gripes in an overall great film.
The Death of Superman gives fans what they want. A strong Superman story, a great adaption of an iconic comic, awesome DC cameos and and homages to the works of the past. A worthwhile entry into the DC Animated Film collection.