Friday, May 23, 2008

Movie Review: Superman: Doomsday

Long, long ago, when I was still in high school, Superman died at the hands of a monster called Doomsday. That's when I started collecting comics. Now whenever a superhero dies people joke that the next issue will have four of him until the real one returns a year later.

Last year a straight to video movie came out telling a version of the story. There were a few changes. Much like in Spiderman 3 where it would have been too much of a pain to tell the story about how Spiderman was kidnapped to another dimension to fight a godlike alien with a bunch of other Marvel heroes and returned home with a symbiote that became his new costume so they just had it drop from the sky.

Instead of just having a mysterious box under ground for Doomsday to punch his way out of they had Lex Luthor's people uncover it.
Instead of telling the story of all the other superheroes that tackled him and got their butts kicked before Superman could get there the creature just went straight for Metropolis and they jumped straight into it.
And they wrapped up the title storyline in only 30 minutes.

The aftermath is significantly different for obvious reasons.
The original had a bad clone, a robot, a guy in a suit, and a chunk of Kryptonian tech all pretending to be Superman. The Kryptonian tech kept the body in a crypt that leeched off Superman's powers so he could use it. It was that crypt that brought him back.
This had Luthor steal the body and create an army of Superman clones that he could control or destroy. That is until one of the robots in the Fortress of Solitude realized that Superman was still alive but had heartbeats 17 days apart and recovered him.

Supes gets the black suit from the original story and works on recovering his power instead of putting on a mechanical power suit and teaming up with some of the new Supermen. He then has to go fight one of the clones who has freed himself from Lex's grip and started imposing corporal punishment on the streets of Metropolis.

DC/Warner Brothers has a good team of writers for their cartoons. Whether or not they do for the comics and movies is a discussion for another time. But I am consistently impressed with the writing for their cartoon movies and TV shows.

A note: There's one scene where the Superclone fights Toyman and destroys his mechanical spider. A chubby man with a beard who looks and sounds remarkably like writer/director Kevin Smith (because he is) says "Yeah, like we really needed him to bust up the mechanical spider, right? Lame!"
That's because Kevin Smith once wrote a script for Superman V that had a giant robot spider because the producer demanded it.

The whole story. 19 minutes.

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