This animated film is based on the comic book saga called The Death of Superman. The creative guy behind many superhero cartoons, Bruce Timm, produced and directed this direct to video feature. While it isn’t set in the DC Animated Universe (Batman, Superman TAS, Batman Beyond, and Justice League), it shares some of the same designs from those shows.
The actual design of Superman is slightly different from the DCAU version, but it is a good mixture of the animated Justice League version and the Fleischer version. Lois Lane’s design is very impressive, and it is a very nice updated look for her character.
I couldn’t believe how well written this animated film ended up being. Superman in this film is already established as the hero of Metropolis, so there’s no origin story needed. The violence in this story is pretty intense. A lot of people die horrible deaths, and a certain Lex Luthor ally has shocking death scene toward the middle of the film. The sexual undertones are pretty intense as well. The actual Animation is certainly miles ahead of the current Ultimate universe cartoons.
The Doomsday storyline is merely a gateway for Bruce Timm to tell a mature storyline about cloning and the essence of what Superman is about. After the death of Superman, Lex decides to create his own clone of Superman. At first, this clone merely obeys Lex, but then starts to act in his own interest, even going as far as killing people. There are a couple of chilling moments with the clone that have to be seen. One of them reflects the scene from the 70’s movie with Superman retrieving a cat from a tree.
The voice acting ranges from very good to not so good. Adam Baldwin (Serenity) does a great job as Superman/Clark. He seems to remind me of George Newbern’s take on Superman. Anne Heche does an okay job as more active Lois Lane, but I still liked Dana Delany’s version better. James Marsters is wonderfully cast as Lex Luthor. This Luthor is more on edge than the cool-headed one from the DCAU.
The music is probably one of the weaker spots in the film. It never feels real. The soul of the Superman theme is missing in this watered down score. The producers should have gotten John Ottman or John Williams to write the score and have given them a full Orchestra. This really hurts the film.
In the end, I think you’ll enjoy Superman Doomsday a great deal, despite some time and minor plot issues.
(Note: Look for a very ‘Fanboy’ moment with a Kevin Smith cameo. I loved it.)
There are a lot of scenes that will remind you of the first two films.
Lex Luthor: “Behold, my latest invention. The Power Glove.”
Random Guy: “Nintendo already invented it.”
Lex Luthor: “Crap, what about an VR visual aide machine? I call it the VR Boy.”
Random Guy: “Actually, Nintendo has…”
Lex: “Is my flight ready to leave?”
Mercy Graves: “Yes.”
Lex: “What is the in-flight film?”
Mercy Graves: “Spiderman 3.”
Lex: “Shit, really? Do I have to sit through that movie again?”
Mercy Graves: “It could have been Hulk or Superman IV.”
Lex: “You have a point.”