DVD cover art
|Directed by||Bruce Timm
|Produced by||Bruce Timm
|Written by||Duane Capizzi
by Jerry Siegel
|Narrated by||James Marsters|
|Music by||Robert Kral|
|Studio||Warner Bros. Animation
|Distributed by||Warner Home Video|
|Running time||78 minutes|
Superman: Doomsday is a 2007 American direct-to-video animated superhero film, adapted from the popular DC Comics storyline The Death of Superman, focusing on the supposed death of the superhero Superman. The film is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for action violence and is the first in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line released by Warner Premiere and Warner Bros. Animation. It was followed by Justice League: The New Frontier.
The film was released on September 18, 2007. Before the DVD release, the movie was first screened at the San Diego Comic-Con on July 26, 2007. It made its U.S. broadcast premier on the Cartoon Network on Saturday July 12, 2008 at 9:00 p.m. EST. Despite similar animation styles, the film used new animation models, and is only loosely based on the DC Animated Universe that lasted from 1992-2006, with a few allusions to the older series, as well as the Fleischer Superman series, found in the Fortress of Solitude.
The film opens with a narration by Lex Luthor (James Marsters), highlighted by images of Superman doing heroic deeds. Lex describes Superman as a god on Earth, but insists that "there comes a time when even gods must die."
Lois Lane (Anne Heche) and Superman (Adam Baldwin) are romantically involved, but Lois is unsatisfied with the arrangements of their relationship. Superman insists that they keep it a secret from the public by limiting their encounters to the Fortress of Solitude, and he has not yet confided in her that he is actually Clark Kent, although she already suspects.
Workers from LexCorp unearth a spaceship while digging for one of Lex's projects, inadvertently releasing a genetically-engineered supersoldier known as Doomsday. Doomsday kills the entire digging crew and begins a bloody rampage towards Metropolis. He kills a deer, a dog, the dog's owner, and a truck driver (it is implied that other people fell victim to his homicidal fury, as well.) Superman meets the monster there and the two engage in a devastating cross-city battle. Superman ultimately kills Doomsday, but succumbs to his own injuries and dies in Lois' arms.
The world collectively mourns their fallen hero, and Metropolis honors him with a memorial. Lex, having previously ordered his assistant Mercy Graves to cover up LexCorp's involvement in releasing Doomsday, kills her to ensure that no one but he knows the truth. Superman's friends cope with his death in various ways: Jimmy Olsen takes a job at a seedy tabloid newspaper called National Voyeur; Perry White becomes an alcoholic; and Lois visits Martha Kent for counsel.
In Superman's absence, Metropolis is overwhelmed by emboldened criminals. At one point, Toyman uses a giant mechanical spider to hold a bus full of students hostage. Lois, still grieving, decides to get the children out on her own. As she does, Toyman tries to kill her and a little girl by throwing the bus over a building. As it happens, Superman apparently digs out of his grave, saves Lois, and apprehends Toyman. However, he does not seem quite the same, missing Lois' apartment as he flies her home and acting surprised when she kisses him. She dismisses it as shock from his supposed "death". When she receives a call from Martha wondering why Clark has not called home, Lois becomes suspicious.
The resurrected Superman is revealed to be a clone, created by Lex from a blood sample retrieved after Superman's battle with Doomsday. As such, the clone's knowledge is merely what Lex has programmed into him. Lex is keeping the real Superman's body preserved in a tube for his personal amusement, unaware that Superman is still barely alive. He also periodically tortures the clone Superman in a special lead-lined red-sunlight room (to show the clone who is boss, and out of frustrated desire to have killed the real Superman). A robot from the Fortress of Solitude recovers the body and begins restoring Superman to health, a fact Luthor discovers when his surveillance monitors register a signal disruption of several seconds.
Meanwhile, the Superman clone's attitude darkens when he hears about Toyman killing a four-year-old girl, and in retaliation kills Toyman as he is being escorted to jail. The city is stunned, and Lois suspects he is not Superman. The clone begins threatening the populace into abiding by the law, convinced that terror will prevent crime. The police can do nothing to stop him. Lois discovers Lex's plan to clone Superman.
Upon returning to Lex, the clone is berated for his behavior. Lex orders him to find the real Superman's corpse and threatens to kill him if he goes out of line again. Instead, the clone deduces the mechanism behind Lex's threat — a lead-shielded kryptonite pellet in his brain — and removes it, then sets off to deal with Lex. At the same time, Lois discovers the true nature of the clone after tranquilizing Lex and searching his files with Jimmy's help. She and Jimmy discover that Lex is cloning an army of Supermen. (Luthor's cloning technology had undoubtably improved since the earlier attempt resulted in the creation of Bizarro). After Lex awakens and almost shoots them both, the original clone arrives. He saves Lois and Jimmy and destroys the cloning facility, killing all the yet-to-be- awakened clones. Unable to kill the clone, Lex tries to hide in the special room, hoping to lure him in, only to have the clone instead lock him inside and toss the entire room to the street. This latest presumed murder triggers military action. The military attempt to kill the Superman clone, but they fail as the entire force is eradicated by the clone's heat vision alone.
The robot has revived Superman and has him undergo intensive rehabilitative exercises under concentrated solar energy to bring his power level back to max.
Hearing the news, the real Superman resolves to help, even though his powers are not yet fully restored. To improve his odds he dons a black sunlight-absorbing "Solar Suit" and brings a kryptonite gun (built by Lex Luthor) his robot retrieved from his archives. The two engage in a massive battle, with Superman's kryptonite gun failing to hit the much faster clone. Jimmy and Lois grab the kryptonite gun to help Superman, though still unsure if he is the real deal or not. The fight culminates at Superman's memorial, where Lois manages to hit the clone with a kryptonite blast. The clone destroys the gun, leaving only the kryptonite canister. As the two Supermen continue their battle, the canister sticks to the clone's chest with mud, and Superman vaporizes it with his heat vision. The clone, overcome by the kryptonite vapor, falls under the memorial stone he was holding. Before dying, he tells Superman to protect the people. Lois is sure of the real Superman once he kisses her, and the crowd is similarly happy that Superman is back.
At Lois' apartment, Superman sees that she misspelled "resurrection" in her article. He mentions winning a spelling bee at Smallville Elementary, revealing himself to be Clark Kent. Lois is caught off guard, but the two share a smile and she happily embraces him. At LexCorp, a critically injured but alive Lex narrates the ending, saying how history has proven that gods can die, but they can also return from the dead. He smiles to himself, musing that there may still be a way for him to destroy Superman.
- Adam Baldwin as Clark Kent / Superman
- Anne Heche as Lois Lane
- James Marsters as Lex Luthor
- John DiMaggio as Toyman
- Tom Kenny as The Robot
- Swoosie Kurtz as Martha Kent
- Cree Summer as Mercy Graves
- Ray Wise as Perry White
- Adam Wylie as Jimmy Olsen
- Chris Cox as Damon Swank
- Hettie Lynne Hurtes as Newscaster
- James Arnold Taylor as Officer Tucker
- Townsend Coleman as Drill Operator
- Kimberly Brooks as Murphy
- Kevin Smith as Grumpy Man
- Andrea Romano - Casting and Voice Director
The film's generous amount of violence and adult language garnered a PG-13 rating from the MPAA. This is the first time an animated Superman project has ever received such a strong rating. Most of the more visceral deaths take place off-camera (for example, Doomsday snapping the neck of an Armed Forces soldier) however the fight sequences are very intense. During the Doomsday/Superman fight, Superman coughs a puddle of blood onto the ground, perhaps the most visual use of blood in the entire film.
When shown in syndicated television on Toonami, it received many edits to mitigate the blood, violence, and language. Parts of the fight between Superman and Doomsday were cut entirely as well as the off screen suggestives. In fact, no actual punches between the human combatants were shown, nor were Doomsday's blows whenever they struck Superman. It received a TV-PG DSV rating for its Toonami rating and a parental advisory warning. This is inconsistent with other animated programs they have shown on the movie blocks, notably the Hellboy animated movies and Princess Mononoke.
Differences with the comics
Superman's black suit, and longer hair when he came back to fight the doppelgänger Superman is one of the few things to match up with the Doomsday storyline from the comics. Most other aspects, including the origins and appearance of Doomsday, the relationship of Superman and Lois Lane, the fight itself, and the events surrounding Superman's return, were far different than their comic counterparts. In addition, all references to other characters throughout the arc, including the Justice League (who battled Doomsday in an attempt to stop him from reaching Metropolis) many supporting characters, and the four false Supermen (Superboy, the Eradicator, Cyborg Superman, and Steel) were left out entirely. Aspects of these characters were combined to form the clone Superman (Superboy was a clone, the Eradicator killed criminals, and Cyborg Superman attempted to convince everyone he was the genuine article). Also, while starting up the helicopter on the Daily Planet roof, Lois tells Jimmy that she was an "air force brat" (while in the comics her father - General Sam Lane - was in the army).
Nods to other Superman projects
In the Fortress of Solitude various items can be seen from past Superman cartoons. Some of these include Superman's anti-Kryptonite suit, as well as his space suit and rocket from Superman: The Animated Series. Others are from the Fleischer Superman cartoons of the 40's including the Bullet Car from The Bulleteers and one of the robots from The Mechanical Monsters. The Bottle City of Kandor can be seen as well.
The character of Mercy originally appeared in Superman: The Animated Series in the 90's as Luthor's Chauffeur/Bodyguard. In this film, she is his corporate assistant.
James Marsters, who voiced Lex Luthor in the movie, played the character of Brainiac/Milton Fine in the TV show Smallville (Season 5 Episodes: "Arrival", "Aqua", "Thirst", "Splinter", "Solitude", "Hypnotic", "Oracle", "Vessel").
Kevin Smith cameo
Writer, director, and actor Kevin Smith made a brief cameo in this film during the scene in which Superman apprehends Toyman. As Superman carries Toyman off, a man (very similar in appearance to, and voiced by, Kevin Smith) remarks "Like we really needed him to bust up a mechanical spider, right? LAME!" This is a reference to the Warner Bros. Superman project that he and director-producer Jon Peters collaborated on, which never came to fruition. Peters had always wanted Superman to fight a massive spider. Smith revealed in his interview film An Evening with Kevin Smith that he thought the idea was ridiculous. Finally, Peters put the giant mechanical spider as the climax of the year 1999's movie version of Wild, Wild West.
|Superman: Doomsday (Soundtrack from the DC Universe Animated Original Movie)|
|Film score by Robert J. Kral|
|Released||October 26, 2007|
|Label||La-La Land Records|
The soundtrack to Superman: Doomsday was released on October 26, 2007. The music was composed by Robert J. Kral. The soundtrack listing:
|'Superman: Doomsday (Soundtrack from the DC Universe Animated Original Movie)|
|1.||"Superman Doomsday Main Title"||2:05|
|2.||"Fortress of Solitude"||1:33|
|4.||"Killing the Hick"||0:52|
|6.||"Superman vs Doomsday"||1:49|
|9.||"The Death of Superman"||2:07|
|10.||"Lois & Martha"||0:48|
|11.||"Toy Man Attacks"||2:28|
|12.||"Return of the Hero"||2:22|
|16.||"Lois Was Right"||0:37|
|18.||"A Safe Superman"||1:47|
|23.||"Superman vs. Superclone"||4:56|
|26.||"Superman: Doomsday End Titles"||2:58|
The film received generally positive, but not overwhelmingly enthusiastic, reviews. Following the screening at Comic-Con, and its release on DVD, the movie garnered mostly positive reviews, with some reviewers commenting it was a marked improvement compared to other recent DC animated adaptations; some commented it raised the bar for the follow-up to the live-action Superman Returns which had been released the previous summer. Many also agreed it was also better in comparison to the recent animated films Marvel Studios had released based on their characters (such as Ultimate Avengers), in part due to the more adult and action-packed story in keeping with its PG-13 rating. Many reviews spoke highly of James Marsters' and Adam Baldwin's voice acting as Lex Luthor and Superman, while reviews of Anne Heche's portrayal of Lois Lane were mixed.
Not all reviews of the film were positive. DVDTalk.com, while praising the film's look and its technical presentation, called the film "a massive disappointment" and also negatively commented on the film's short running time and its lack of adherence to the storyline of The Death of Superman comics. James Deaux of Earth-2.net gave the movie a score of 5.5 out of 10, claiming the movie was far too overhyped and the result was not a bad, but a mediocre product with "many instances of...lazy writing, confusing animation, a couple of glaring plot holes and some mediocre voice acting." He also criticized the title of the movie given that Doomsday has such a minimal role in the feature.
DVD & Blu-ray
Superman: Doomsday was exclusively available on DVD with a collectible packaging depicting Superman bursting through the movie's logo. It was the only film in the series originally released without a special edition.
Following a year later was a 2-disc special edition DVD release. The special features included a retrospective look at how the Death of Superman comic came to be, a look at voice actors, as well as a Defeat Doomsday game with a 10 minute preview to the next animated film; Justice League: The New Frontier.
The Top 100 DVD sales chart for 9/18/07-9/23/07 revealed that the film was placed at #4, and was two spots ahead of the season six release of Smallville, a Superman related television show. Variety made a report three months after the DVD's release, on DTV movies becoming very popular, and revealed that the DVD sold 600,000 copies, 30% more than what the studio predicted. At the present time, Superman Doomsday is the highest selling movie from the DC direct-to-video series selling more than 680,000 units.
Warner Home Video released a new "Special Edition" Blu-ray and DVD, featuring new bonus materials on November 25, 2008.
- "Superman - Doomsday - DVD Sales". The Numbers. Nash Information Service. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
- "WONDERCON '07: DC UNIVERSE: SUPERHEROES GO DVD PANEL". Newsarama. 2007-03-04. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
- "''Superman: Doomsday Soundtrack''". Worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- "Superman: Doomsday (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
- "Superman Doomsday Review". Ugo.com. 2007-09-18. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- "SDCC '07: SUPERMAN DOOMSDAY REVIEW - NEWSARAMA". Forum.newsarama.com. 2007-07-27. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- Christopher Monfette (2007-09-18). "IGN: Superman Doomsday Review". Dvd.ign.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- "DVD Talk Review: Superman - Doomsday". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- "Superman: Doomsday review". Earth-2.net. Retrieved 2007-12-06.
- "Touchdown for "Marshall" on DVD charts". Reuters. September 27, 2007.
- Thielman, Sam (December 21, 2007). "Direct-to-DVD movies growing in popularity". Variety.
- "Justice League DVD news: Release Date for Justice League: The New Frontier". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- "Official Artwork And Details For New "Superman Doomsday" DVD And Blu-Ray". Worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- Official website
- Superman: Doomsday on Myspace
- Superman vs. Doomsday full fight sequence on YouTube
- Superman: Doomsday @ The World's Finest
- Superman: Doomsday at the Internet Movie Database