The Death of Superman
Directed by Sam Liu, Jake Castorena
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Produced by James Tucker
Featuring Jerry O’Connell, Rebecca Romijn, Ranin Wilson, Rosario Dawson, Nathan Fillion, Christopher Gorham, Matt Lanter, Shemar Moore, Jason O’Mara, Rocky Carroll, Patrick Fabian
'Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
This weekend Comic-Con International: San Diego gave fans an early look at the much-anticipated DC animated film, The Death of Superman. Compared to the other “New 52” features, The Death of Superman has the biggest emotional punch. The Death of Superman isn’t a direct adaptation of the comic book - and that’s not a bad thing, because the film still hits on the same themes "Death of Superman" comic book storyline established over twenty years ago with the character. It showcases the importance of Clark Kent’s humanity, and the symbol Superman not only represents for Metropolis, but for comic books as a whole.
One of the biggest changes for the movie is the progression of Lois and Clark’s relationship. In the original source material Lois and Clark were already engaged at this point, but the DC animated films are still following the “New 52” continuity so Lois doesn’t know Clark is Superman. My biggest complaint about the recent DC animated films is that they seem out dated since they use the same “New 52” character designs in every film, while the comic books have since moved on from this continuity. The character designs still feel lazy, but the “New 52” direction with Lois, surprisingly, is what makes this such an emotional narrative.
Lois and Clark have been dating for a good amount of time, but Lois still feels like she doesn’t fully know her boyfriend, like he’s hiding something. The Justice League members give Clark a push to finally reveal his identity to Lois, and just as Lois is getting to know her love’s true self he’s taken away from her. It’s this heartbreaking beat that makes the inevitable final battle between Doomsday and Superman so epic. Your act 3 is only as good as your act 1 and 2. A final battle will always have more weight to it if there is some sort of emotional investment. A sentiment many of the other recent DC animated movies have forgotten, but I’m glad this film doesn’t.
The Death of Superman is one of DC Comics’ best installments in their post-Flashpoint line. The movie does a great job at setting up for the sequel, Reign of the Supermen, while still making this feel like a complete story. The movie showcases Superman’s humanity not only through his mortality, but, most importantly, by putting Superman’s human connections at the forefront. This film is proof that you don’t need a panel-by-panel adaptation to have the soul of a classic comic book come to life on screen.