‘The Death of Superman’ Review – What ‘Batman v. Superman’ and ‘Justice League’ Should Have Been

Warner Bros. Animation has brought one of the most iconic moments in comic book history to the animated DC Universe. Death of Superman retells the story from issue #75 of Superman (1992) when Superman met his demise to the hands of Doomsday. DC has told this story once before in another animated film with Superman/Doomsday (2007) in which it was loosely based on the original story. It forever changed the comic book world – could the animated Death of Superman do to animated films what the original story did to comics?

The first thing that I assume fans would want to know is if it’s accurate to the comic book. The answer is yes – for the most part. Of course, some more storytelling is added in to add some more length to the animated film adaptation. Lex Luthor has a more prominent role in this film as does the Justice League. In the comic, The Justice League International (Guy Gardner, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Maxima, Fire, Ice and Bloodwyd) joined the battle against Doomsday. This time around, The Justice League join the fight, replacing the JLI. Hal Jordan Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter and Batman attempted to stop all of the destruction from Doomsday. The battle is pretty similar but the crew of the film do explain that they added Jiu-Jitsu to the fight to make it more accurate to real-life. It’s something that DC Animation has done before with previous films.

The cast of the film is a star-studded cast as usual in these DC animated films. Actors leading their voice to the film are Jerry O’Connell (Superman), Rebecca Romijn (Lois Lane), Riann Wilson (Lex Luthor), Rosario Dawson (Wonder Woman), Nathan Fillion (Green Lantern), Shemar Moore (Cyborg), Jason O’Mara (Batman), Christopher Gorham (Flash), Matt Lanter (Aquaman), and Nyambi Nyambi (Martian Manhunter). The most interesting of the names is Riann Wilson (The Office). Wilson’s take on Lex Luthor is quite different than what we have seen before. Not as different as Jesse Eisenberg’s terrible take on Lex Luthor but it’s different in a way that you can’t picture Lex sounding like that, yet it works.

While watching the film I couldn’t help but think about the DCEU and how they have struggled to bring cohesive films to the big screen – with exceptions to Man of Steel and Wonder Woman. If you look at what WB has done with the animated DC Universe, they have successfully made great films (for the most part) over and over again and have made the DC Universe make sense. Films like Assault on Arkham have almost looked like a template to how the DCEU should have introduced the Suicide Squad to the big screen. The Death of Superman should have been what Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League should have been. DC Animation has done a great job with storytelling in Death of Superman and in the DC Universe. The only negative I have about the Death of Superman is that it had an 81 minute runtime and seemed too short. I wanted more. And wanting more is always a good thing. Be sure to watch the after credits because as always, the after credit scene set up what’s next in the DC Universe. It looks like it’s going to be another iconic comic book storyline and a sequel!

Stay tuned for my review on the Blu-ray where I will review the bonus features.

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