Superman: Doomsday

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Superman: Doomsday
Superman Doomsday logo.JPG
DVD cover art.
Directed by
Produced by Bruce Timm
Screenplay by Duane Capizzi
Story by
  • Duane Capizzi
  • Bruce Timm
Based on Characters
by Jerry Siegel
Joe Shuster
Starring
Narrated by James Marsters
Music by Robert Kral
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Home Video
Release date
  • September 18, 2007 (2007-09-18)
Running time
77 minutes
Language English

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.

Plot[edit]

Lois Lane (Anne Heche) and Superman (Adam Baldwin) are romantically involved, but Lois is unsatisfied with keeping their relationship secretive and confined to the Fortress of Solitude. While digging for a project, workers from LexCorp unearth the spaceship of Doomsday, a genetically-engineered super-soldier. The creature is highly hostile toward anything that moves; it kills the digging crew and begins a bloody rampage towards Metropolis. Superman and Doomsday engage in a battle until Superman kills Doomsday and succumbs to his own injuries.

Lex Luthor (James Marsters) kills his personal assistant Mercy Graves (Cree Summer) to ensure no one else knows of LexCorp's involvement. The world mourns and Metropolis honors him with a memorial. Superman's friends cope with his death in various ways: Jimmy Olsen (Adam Wylie) takes a job at a tabloid newspaper called the National Voyeur, Perry White (Ray Wise) becomes an alcoholic, and Lois, who realized that Clark was Superman, visits Martha Kent (Swoosie Kurtz) for counsel.

In Superman's absence, Metropolis is overwhelmed by criminals. Toyman (John DiMaggio) uses a giant mechanical spider to hold children hostage. Lois decides to save them herself, but Toyman tries to kill her and a little girl. Superman digs out of his grave and saves Lois, apprehending Toyman. He doesn't seem quite the same, but Lois dismisses it as shock. She becomes suspicious, however, when Martha tells her that Clark has not called home.

The resurrected Superman is revealed to be a clone created by Lex from a blood sample retrieved after the Doomsday battle. Lex is keeping the real Superman's body preserved in a tube, unaware that Superman is still barely alive. He periodically tortures the clone Superman in a special lead-lined red-sunlight room with kryptonite gauntlets. A robot (Tom Kenny) from the Fortress of Solitude recovers Superman's body after detecting he was still alive and begins restoring Superman to health. Meanwhile, the clone's attitude darkens when he hears that Toyman killed a child. In retaliation, Superman drops him from a distance so that he falls to his death in front of the police station. The city is stunned and the clone threatens the populace into abiding by the law, convinced that the terror is preventative. This convinces Lois and Martha that this is not the real Superman.

Lex berates the clone for his behavior, orders him to find Superman's corpse, and threatens to kill him if he goes out of line. The clone deduces that a lead-shielded kryptonite pellet is in his brain, and removes it utilizing his heat vision and a mirror at a hair salon. Lois discovers the truth after tranquilizing Lex and searching his files with Jimmy. They discover that Lex is cloning an army of Supermen. Lex awakens armed with a gun, but the original clone saves Lois and Jimmy. He also destroys the cloning facility including the yet-to-be-awakened clones. Lex hides in the special room, hoping to kill the clone with the Kryptonite gauntlets, but the clone locks him inside and tosses the entire room to the street. This latest presumed murder triggers military action which fails.

At the Fortress of Solitude, Superman is revived and undergoes intensive rehab exercises under solar energy to bring back his powers. He resolves to help even though his powers are not fully restored. To improve his odds, he dons a black sunlight-absorbing "Solar Suit" and brings a Luthor-built Kryptonite gun. The two engage in a massive battle, culminating at Superman's memorial. After the Kryptonite gun originally fails, Lois manages to hit the clone with a kryptonite blast. He destroys the gun, leaving only the Kryptonite canister. The canister sticks to the clone's chest and Superman vaporizes it with heat vision. Before dying, the clone tells Superman to protect the people. Lois is sure of the real Superman once he kisses her and the crowd is similarly happy now that they know that the real Superman is alive. At Lois' apartment, Superman reveals himself to be Clark Kent. Lois is caught off guard, but they smile and embrace.

At LexCorp, Lex is revealed to be critically injured and in a wheelchair, but still alive. He smiles to himself musing that there may still be a way for him to destroy Superman.

Voice Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

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,[1] with a few allusions to the older series, as well as the Fleischer Superman series, found in the Fortress of Solitude.

Differences with the comics[edit]

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, though unlike like the previous three Steel was inspired by him and never claimed to be Superman) 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 was a villain who pretended to be the real Superman). 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). Martha Kent is depicted as a widow in the film, whereas in the comics, Jonathan Kent is alive and would possibly play a key part in bringing Superman back from the afterlife.

Nods to other Superman projects[edit]

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, as well as the art style being very similar to 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[edit]

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.

Release[edit]

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.

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 two-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.

Release of a Blu-ray version was announced with a release date of February 26, 2008, but was delayed.[2]

Warner Home Video released a new "Special Edition" Blu-ray and DVD, featuring new bonus materials on November 25, 2008.[3]

Rating[edit]

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, 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. [4]

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.

Soundtrack[edit]

Superman: Doomsday (Soundtrack from the DC Universe Animated Original Movie)
Superman-Doomsday (soundtrack).jpg
Film score by Robert J. Kral
Released October 26, 2007
Length 57:34
Label La-La Land Records

The soundtrack to Superman: Doomsday was released on October 26, 2007. The music was composed by Robert J. Kral.[5] The soundtrack listing:

'Superman: Doomsday (Soundtrack from the DC Universe Animated Original Movie)
No. Title Length
1. "Superman Doomsday Main Title" 2:05
2. "Fortress of Solitude" 1:33
3. "Alien" (') 2;25
4. "Killing the Hick" 0:52
5. "Doomsday Rising" 2:11
6. "Superman vs Doomsday" 1:49
7. "Doomsday Battle" 2:11
8. "Superman's Sacrifice" 2:38
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
13. "Superman Clone" 3:16
14. "Heartbeat" 0:43
15. "Relocated" 1:13
16. "Lois Was Right" 0:37
17. "Cat Rescue" 1:42
18. "A Safe Superman" 1:47
19. "Lois' Plan" 2:21
20. "Clone Discovery" 1:30
21. "Luthor's Fate" 0:32
22. "Superman's Return" 2:27
23. "Superman vs. Superclone" 4:56
24. "Superman's Victory" 4:23
25. "Smallville Elementary" 1:03
26. "Superman: Doomsday End Titles" 2:58
Total length: 57:34

Reception[edit]

Critical reaction[edit]

The film received favorable reviews from critics. [6] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10] 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 film.[11]

Sales[edit]

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.[12] 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.[13] At the present time, Superman Doomsday is the highest selling movie from the DC direct-to-video series selling more than 680,000 units.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "WONDERCON '07: DC UNIVERSE: SUPERHEROES GO DVD PANEL". Newsarama. 2007-03-04. Retrieved 2007-03-10. 
  2. ^ "Justice League DVD news: Release Date for Justice League: The New Frontier". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  3. ^ "Official Artwork And Details For New "Superman Doomsday" DVD And Blu-Ray". Worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  4. ^ Cassady Jr., Charles (February 13, 2008). "Superman Doomsday Movie Review". Common Sense Media. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  5. ^ "''Superman: Doomsday Soundtrack''". Worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  6. ^ "Superman: Doomsday (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  7. ^ "Superman Doomsday Review". Ugo.com. 2007-09-18. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  8. ^ "SDCC '07: SUPERMAN DOOMSDAY REVIEW - NEWSARAMA". Forum.newsarama.com. 2007-07-27. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  9. ^ Christopher Monfette (2007-09-18). "IGN: Superman Doomsday Review". Dvd.ign.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  10. ^ "DVD Talk Review: Superman - Doomsday". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  11. ^ "Superman: Doomsday review". Earth-2.net. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  12. ^ "Touchdown for "Marshall" on DVD charts". Reuters. September 27, 2007. 
  13. ^ Thielman, Sam (December 21, 2007). "Direct-to-DVD movies growing in popularity". Variety. 
  14. ^ "Superman - Doomsday - DVD Sales". The Numbers. Nash Information Service. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 

External links[edit]