Matt Donabie continues our regular look back at the range of DC Comics animated movies. Today he revisits the debut direct to DVD release in the range, 2007s Superman: Doomsday.
Superman: Doomsday is loosely based on one of the most successful comic books of all time, the 1992–1993 storyline "The Death of Superman", where Superman fights Doomsday in a duel to the death. For many years a live action version of this tale was stuck in development hell (as discussed here). Eventually Warner Bros and DC gave up on it, and in 2006 we were presented with Superman Returns, a movie that was greeted with moderate applause. The following year came this animated tale, and after watching it you can't help but wish this was the project that made it into cinemas instead.
Superman: Doomsday looks great, all the characters are well animated, and
it cleverly deviates enough from the original source material so any
comic book fans watching will have more than a few surprises. At the time of
release it was easily the most mature Superman film made, and does a lot
more with the last son of Krypton than any movie has, animated or live-action, since Superman II.
I remember on initial viewing that I found this to be a more atmospheric than I at first thought it might be. A lot of the action does take place at night, and this only aids the darkness of the story. There's a lot of script to get through, we not only explore depths of Superman's character but also make time for Lois Lane and her emotional conflict, plus developments for Jimmy Olson and Perry White. With all this taking place amongst the main Doomsday story, at times it does feel slightly rushed. An additional 10 minutes would've been perfect but for an animated tale, with a typical 74 minutes running time, they really don't waste a moment.
Some scenes, as brief as they are, are very brutal, even when judged by today's animated standard. But they are absolutely necessary to draw you in and create an emotional attachment to these characters within minutes of the movie starting. The action is really the highlight. The animation
and the choreography of the fight scenes are some of the best seen, equaling, if not exceeding, the
choreography of most live-action comic book movies.
I suspect you realise that I absolutely loved Superman: Doomsday. It is amongst my favourite animated comic book movies, and deserves repeated viewing on a regular basis. In fact, after watching last year's Man Of Steel I put this one on again, and once again wished that it had been bought to the screen in a live-action version. Although, even the most generous Hollywood budget would struggle to do this epic story as much justice as we have here in this direct to DVD feature.
Overall, an absolute must watch for any fan of comic book movies, and a great one to show someone who you might be trying to covert to the genre. 10 out of 10.
Justice League: The New Frontier
Green Lantern: First Flight
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
Batman: Under The Red Hood
Superman/Shazam! The Return of Black Adam
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights
Batman: Year One
Justice League: Doom
Superman vs The Elite
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
Batman: Assault on Arkham