So, I get the latest from Warner Premiere – the new DC Universe Animated Movie All Star Superman.
Like most of its predecessors, this one is based on a series of stories that first showed up in the pages of a DC Comics publication. Unlike the others, however, this one falls short of the mark.
Based on a 12-month series written by Grant Morrison, All Star Superman tells the story of Superman with cancer. Lex Luthor has finally figured out a way to kill Superman – overdose him with the very solar radiation that gives him his power. Now, Superman has only a few months to live. What will he do with the time?
From a production standpoint, this adaptation is just as good as the others. The animation is solid, and with the exception of Christina Hendricks as Lois, the cast is first-rate: James Denton as Superman and Anthony LaPaglia deliver strong performances. Hendricks, however, doesn’t give Lois enough of an edge. Lois is tough as nails, takes no prisoners, and won’t accept crap from anyone. I didn’t hear that this time.
LaPaglia is a great Lex Luthor, menacing and quietly dangerous until his epiphany toward the end of the story. LaPaglia felt there was more than the usual villainy this time out: “The journey Lex Luthor takes in this film – in the beginning it’s what you’d expect: he’s interested in power and world domination and Superman is the bane of his existence. And then as it progresses, there’s a slight injection of humanity, which is surprising to Lex Luthor that he’s even experiencing feelings that are remotely human. So it kind of gives him an unusual arc. He definitely has more dimension to him in this film.”
Denton could have separated Superman and Clark Kent a little more, but overall not a bad turn as the Kryptonian. Voice Director Andrea Romano had this to say about casting Denton: “Jamie was a really interesting choice – it can be difficult to cast some of these Superman films – and he brought some unique interpretations and sensitivities to the
role. And that’s interesting for a director – to hear somebody else’s thoughts on what a man like Superman would sound like.”
Animation was good, except for sometimes making Kent look like a bag of potatoes. But I get that’s part of the efforts to emulate the artistic style of Frank Quitely. I’m not too keen on it, but I can respect that they want to stay close to the source material.
But the source material has so much more in it, and it’s obvious from the choppiness of the film, that they had to pick and choose. It’s not smooth. It’s clunky. It feels like there are pieces missing.
Is it a good Superman story? Sure. It’s that one “What if?” no one really wants to contemplate – the idea of Superman dying.
Is it a Superman story I can watch with my kid? Sadly, no. There are too many instances where the language goes just a little too blue, and as a parent I can’t let my kid watch it without doing some creative censoring on the fly (those coughing fits really have the worst timing, don’t they?…).
Overall, it’s a good entry into the DC Universe catalog. But it’s certainly not the best.