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Movie Review: The Death of Superman (2018 Animated Feature) *Spoilers*

From time to time I keep checking in on WB Animation to see what they're doing with their DC Superheroes, so, when I saw The Death of Superman appear on Netflix my first thought was... didn't they do this already?

2007's animated feature, Superman/Doomsday is based on the same Death of Superman comic and, while the two movies are not exactly the same story, they are very similar.

The main difference may be that Superman/Doomsday tells almost the complete story arc of the comic series it's based upon whereas this new feature continues the story in a sequel animated movie, Reign of the Supermen (which I haven't seen).

I've said before, I don't read comics, but I know enough that The Death of Superman graphic novel is meant to be one of the all time great Superman stories.

I don't know how faithful an adaptation this film is? Hopefully not close because it's terrible.

In this movie we have a Superman who is well into his Justice League years but seemingly can't reconcile on his own whether it's a good idea to let Lois Lane in on his dual identity secret.

We have a Justice League that's so ineffective they go up against Doomsday individually instead of as a team, meanwhile Superman is oblivious to the chaos because he's off introducing Lois to Clark's parents.

Lex in a Mech suit is just a bad idea.
Add to that Lex Luthor in a Mech suit that everyone seems to like but, in my opinion, it was a terrible idea to make him a literal 'Ironman like' superhero in the comics, and it looks ridiculous here.

Lex to me has always been a smart guy who moves the pieces from the sidelines. Actually punching anything is beneath him.

The Doomsday fight sequence alone just goes on, and on, and on, and on... and on, and on... and on, and did I mention it goes on, and on. I get it. It's a tough fight, and the comic book version has an entire issue that's one long fight sequence (so I've heard), but it's not even animated in a way that makes it interesting.

Extended animated fight sequences are mostly boring unless you can do something innovative with them. Unlike live action fight sequences where you can appreciate the training and effort of the stunt people and special effects co-ordinators, animated fights are usually unrealistic, have little artistry, and tend to make my eyes roll.

Is that Superman... or the Michelin man?
The final nail in this film's coffin for me was the first thing I noticed, the character design style and animation. It's some weird mix of Anime and Western style, with character proportions all over the place.To my eye many of the the characters looked inconsistent and were  just generally drawn and animated poorly.

The saving grace of the film might be the voice casting. Everyone fit their character and did the best with what they had. I do feel Nathan Fillion would have been better cast as the Flash, and Christopher Gorham would've fit better in the Green Lantern role (basically swap parts) because Nathan's comic timing and delivery of funny dialogue is stronger.

Overall, this isn't great. By the time we get to the actual death of Superman, not too much has happened to make you really care. At best you may have some investment in Lois and Clark's story but that arc is just an aside because what's important is a big, overlong fight sequence, and seeing Superman die.

Zack Snyder did a version of this storyline as part of his movie Batman v Superman, only better, which isn't saying a lot, because the death of Superman had no business being in that film.

Remember all the flack Zack Snyder got for all the civilian casualties and city fights that Superman would have 'drawn away from the civilian population'? Didn't see much of Superman drawing Doomsday away from the city here... but he does save a boy from a collapsing bridge so it's okay.

WB Animation and DC Entertainment really need to stop adapting comics and start coming up with original, well thought out stories.

These adaptations may well have been great as comic books (or graphic novels) but they sure don't turn out well as animated movies. I feel I can say that with some confidence because I own a lot of WB's DC animated features on DVD. Not a single one has made me want to watch it a second time - and I've watched Joel Schumacher's Batman and Robin by choice many times!

The Death of Superman is an animated feature you'll be excited to watch once. Then you'll realize he's not even wearing the classic Superman suit, and he's almost as wishy washy as Superman as he is as Clark Kent.

Why can't we have all new animated Superman stories instead of rehashing and retooling the most well known books over and over?

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