Review: Superman: Doomsday
The geek related movie news has been slowing down over the last few weeks, but there is something geek-movie related to talk about: Superman: Doomsday.
It seems, at first, like a sure fire winner. It’s the Death of Superman Story. It’s so violent in had to be rated PG-13, and it’s co-directed by Bruce Timm. What could go wrong?
Well…um…just about every single thing you could think of, and a few things that would have never crossed your mind. The movie is just plain terrible on almost every imaginable level.
If you want a spoiler-free review, you just got it.
From here on out….thar be spoilers ahead!
Superman Doomsday claims to be based on “The Death of Superman” storyline.
I’ve read The Death of Superman. I read it when it was coming out monthly. This is nothing like that. The only thing that is ever remotely close is that Superman and Doomsday fight each other, and Jimmy Olsen is taking pictures from a helicopter. That’s IT. Nothing else in this movie is from The Death of Superman. There is a story that is kind of, sort of, like The Reign of the Supermen storyline, but it’s not even close.
The movie opens with a Lex Luther financed excavation team uncovering some kind of alien space craft. For some reason, this version of Lex Luther is a combination of the crazy “mad scientist” Luther from the 50s, and the modern billionaire Luther of today. He even goes so far as to think of a way to cure “Jerry’s kids”, cancer and aids – but, of course, wants the cures slowed down so that they’ll make money.
Superman is equally as strange – a mix of his silver age and modern counterparts. He attempts to cure cancer as well in his spare time, apparently, but isn’t able to do it. So, from the get go, we have clearly established that Lex Luther is smarter than Superman. Superman, himself, is a walking pile of stiff dialogue. Adam Baldwin does the best job he can with the terrible script he’s been given, but there is really no one on Earth who could make saying “That’s why I’m here” half a dozen times work. Everything about Superman in this movie is stiff and unlikeable.
Especially when you factor in the Superman dirtbag factor. What am I talking about? A situation that occurred in the recent Superman Returns film as well – Superman is banging Lois – but she doesn’t know that he’s Clark. Does anyone else think that is disgusting?
I mean, seriously, if she’s good enough to put her face in your crotch, she’s good enough to know that your actually the goofy guy with the glasses that sits three desks down and spends half his day making googly eyes at her, isn’t she? She manages to figure it out over the course of the movie, but she’s been dating him for 6 months when we first see them.
And speaking of Lois – Anne Heche derails this thing all on her own by her unbelievably terrible performance as Lois Lane. If you ever want to know what it sounds like when someone is “phoning it in” this is it. The animation in the film is no better than an average episode of a Saturday morning cartoon, but this woman’s performance makes the voice actors on shows like Yu-Gi-Oh (is that still on) seem like masters of Shakespeare. She’s beyond bad.
Superman is “dead” 20 minutes into the film, and back up and alive 10 minutes later…it turns out, he didn’t die at all. His body just shut down, making it appear that he was dead. He does have to go through some recoup time in the Fortress of Solitude, though. While he’s doing that, another Superman has popped up. There is no sense of time passing in the movie, so it all seems like it happens in a day or two. Some dialogue attempts to tell us more time has passed, but it doesn’t feel that way.
This other Superman is a clone of Supes, created by Lex Luther. They apparently consolidated all the fake Supermen into the idea of one clone who looks exactly like Superman, except that he isn’t afraid to kill the Toyman after he murders a little girl.
Of course, killing a child murderer makes the world afraid of him (even though he just saved countless lives by killing the evil bastard), and the real Supes, who is only at 60% power has to put on a black costume and fly to the rescue. The city is terrified of their new Superman, but thankfully the original Supes shows up, Kryptonite gun in hand, and attempts to beat up the new guy – of course, never once taking into account all the lives of the people in the many buildings the two manage to knock over during their fight. Between the battle with Doomsday, and the fight with pseudo-Superman, old Kal-El probably sent 100,000 people to their makers in this movie – but I’m sure that little detail isn’t important.
Finally, Superman beats himself almost to death, then makes a canister of Krytonite that just happens to be stuck to pseudo-Supes chest explode, causing the clone to drop a 40 ton gaint Superman “S” on himself – killing him. (Of course, we just established a minute ago that Superman didn’t actually die, so chances are the clone didn’t actually die either…but at this point, who really cares?)
There is a side story about Lois and Jimmy discovering that Lex is building an army of Supermen – but the clone doesn’t care for that, so he gets rid of them. Plus, it’s important to mention that Jimmy Olsen has an ear ring in this movie. I don’t know that’s some kind of nod to fashion trends of the 90s (when the graphic novel this is not based on came out), or if they really think that’s something that makes a guy “cool” in 2007. Either way – Jimmy comes off as a tool in this movie. His character arc includes working for a trashy tabloid magazine for a few minutes, but that goes no where, and I’m trying to figure out why it was even in the film.
The bottom line is, they couldn’t tell the Death of Superman story in an 1:30 if they tried. So they didn’t. They produced a lack-luster, half assed, worthless animated movie that manages to knock that old syndicated Superboy TV down off the pedestal of “Worst Superman adaption ever”.
…but wait…there is a Kevin Smith cameo, so that means all us geeks will love it, right? Right?
I really hated this thing.