Superman: Doomsday (2007, 76 minutes)
Plot: When Superman seemingly perishes at the hands of the alien monster Doomsday only to revive shortly thereafter, he doesn’t come back quite how Metropolis recalls him.
Source Material: WB started grand with the Death of Superman story. What they didn’t do was stay very faithful. Doomsday’s arrival is more or less right but it’s given a heavy Lex Luthor tie. Superman and Lois Lane have a strange, awkward connection while they were engaged in the comic. But most importantly, the entire Reign of the Supermen story, which launched an iconic villain (Cyborg Superman) and two beloved heroes (Superboy and Steel) is killed in favor of Luthor creating a clone. Furthermore, Superman’s rebirth, while largely faithful, ends in a much smaller scale threat. Really that’s the whole film: the story but smaller.
Animation: You can’t fault the art here. This might be the first film but there’s no growing pains here. It’s not a theatrical looking film but it’s still a strong looking film, blending everything from the Fleischers to co-director Bruce Timm’s DCAU. Action looks nice, albeit oddly set at night most of the time. Characters look fine though the animated films would continue to struggle with not just using the designs. No complaints really.
Script: This could not have been a fun job. Roger Stern’s (incredible) novelization of this story is as dense as a Tom Clancy novel. So I’m very please to say I thought Bruce Timm and Duane Capizzi’s story and Capizzi’s story do a solid job. Yes, it takes this down hard to a DTV level but the simplification of the story makes for a solid drama. The Luthor/Superman battle of ideas is solidly executed with the clone reflecting how Luthor would handle Superman’s powers. That said, the entire Superman/Lois Lane relationship is awful with Lois knowing but Clark lying. There are also some seriously silly moments. Luthor saying “who’s your daddy.” Superman upset he can’t cure cancer. Ultimately though? Strong stuff. Definitely feels like a movie.
Voice acting: This is possibly the worst voice acting of any of these movies. The voice work here is across the board rather poor. Adam Baldwin is a terrible Superman, never feeling sincere or strong. Anne Heche is a bitter, whiny Lois Lane. James Marsters is somehow too smug to pull off Lex Luthor. Supporting cast is meh, very much at a TV level.
Final verdict: If you can ignore how atonal the voices are and some absurd moments, this is really actually quite fun. It starts rough but becomes a rather decent take on the story. It’s not Stern’s novel or the amazing BBC radio take but it’s an enjoyable story. The flawed clone is an interesting villain. The fights are good. It’s definitely a movie. 3/5.
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