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Superman: Doomsday (2007) Movie Review
As a huge fan of Superman and the DC universe, and having read the epic "Death of Superman" comic book arc, I had high hopes for this animated movie. And I wasn't disappointed. From start to finish, "Superman: Doomsday" kept me hooked. Suitably violent (possibly a little too violent for young children) this movie is nearly everything a Superman movie should be - epic fight sequences are contrasted smoothly with more emotional scenes, and the contrast between Superman as an Earth-saving superhero and his more 'human' side is explored well.
My only criticisms are that we could have seen more of Clark Kent, the rest of the DC Universe is seemingly non-existent at the time of major crisis in Metropolis and the movie itself could have been longer, having condensed a long comic book arc into a little over an hour and a quarter. However, these are only minor criticisms. Overall, "Superman: Doomsday" is an excellent animated feature and for fans of Superman, DC and even fans of comic books in general, it is well worth a watch.
The movie opens in the Daily Planet with Lois Lane arguing with Perry White and Clark Kent preparing to go to Afghanistan (the convenient plot device that allows Clark to be absent after Superman's death without raising suspicion as to his identity). We then cut to a mining operation run by LexCorp during which the miners uncover a large object that appears to be alien in origin. Shortly after this, a creature smashes its way out and proceeds to kill the miners before going on a murder spree. The creature, we find out, is Doomsday, a creature designed for destruction but who was unable to distinguish between friend and foe and was therefore locked away.
Eventually, Doomsday finds his way to Metropolis where an epic battle with Superman begins. Superman manages to kill Doomsday but sacrifices his own life in the process. The world goes into mourning and the crime rates go up. Not long after, Superman returns. However, he comes back with a colder attitude towards Lois, who begins to suspect that this new 'Superman' may not be who he says he is. Finally, when Superman deliberately kills a criminal known as the Toymaker she becomes certain that this new superhero is not the man who died in the battle with Doomsday. As the story unfolds, Lois discovers an evil plot spearheaded by Lex Luthor. With a dark version of the Man of Steel patrolling a crime-ridden Metropolis, Lex Luthor's latest evil scheme and Superman dead, it appears almost certain that Metropolis is doomed.
An Epic, Violent and Highly Entertaining Movie
This movie is, without doubt, an excellent animated feature. As already mentioned, it's highly entertaining and keeps the viewer gripped from beginning to end. First of all, this is certainly not a children's movie. There are a number of violent scenes including but not limited to Doomsday's massacre of the miners, the killing of a deer, sprays of blood in Superman's battle with Doomsday and the gory aftermath of the Toymaker being dropped from a great height. In addition to the violence, Superman's relationship with Lois Lane is explored in a much more mature way than has previously been done. For these reasons, I would only recommend this movie to teens and adults. However, in my opinion, the violence actually adds something to the movie, giving it a more gritty edge as befitting the DC universe.
In addition to this, the voice acting is notably good. Adam Baldwin (Firefly) plays a convincing Superman/Clark Kent and the casting of James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Torchwood) as Lex Luthor is just perfect. Furthermore, the soundtrack is excellent. Right from the opening credits, the music stood out and is, in many ways, reminiscent of the music from the classic Christopher Reeve movies.
The things that makes "Superman: Doomsday" truly wonderful however, are the beautifully-made action sequences that contrast nicely with the more emotional scenes and the various concepts the movie explores. The fight between Superman and Doomsday in the first half of the movie is a cinematic animated masterpiece. Each blow landed in that fight seems to shake the Earth and you really get the impression that these are two almost evenly-matched titans in a fight to the death. I could watch this movie again and again for this scene alone. Though the pace slows a little in the movie's second half, it still has its share of great scenes. The scene in which Lois visits Martha Kent almost literally moved me to tears and the final fight sequence is epic in and of itself.
Finally, the movie explores a number of interesting concepts including what Metropolis would be like in the absence of Superman, whether Superman's non-lethal approach to criminals costs more lives than it saves and even whether the fact that he hides his true identity from Lois is really the right thing to do or not. Overall, "Superman: Doomsday" is an excellent animated movie from DC that is sure to delight DC fans everywhere.
An Excellent Movie with only Minor Flaws
Whilst overall, "Superman: Doomsday" is a masterpiece, there are one or two minor flaws that deserve a mention. The first is that, compared to the "Death of Superman" comic book arc, this movie does feel a little rushed. It attempts to condense a comic book arc that lasted a year (albeit minus a three month gap in which Superman did not appear at all) into a movie that runs for just over an hour and a quarter in total. It has had to cut out a lot including the "Reign of the Supermen" arc in which four new heroes came to take Superman's place. Whilst this will not be a problem for those who haven't read the comics, I do feel that the movie could have run for a little longer to between 90 minutes and 2 hours in order to include more from the source material without feeling too long.
One of my other criticisms is even more minor and is not limited to "Superman: Doomsday" but rather an issue common to a lot of superhero movies/comic books. Unless this movie is set in an alternative universe, Superman is not the only superhero. The DC universe includes many other heroes such as Batman, Wonder Woman and the Green Lantern. However, when Superman dies and Metropolis becomes a crime-ridden hell under the watch of a dark version of the Man of Steel, none of the other characters in the universe make any attempt to stop it. Again, this is only a minor criticism but it doesn't detract from the overall experience of the movie.
Finally, one of the things I particularly like about the Superman mythos is the contrast between the almost invincible Superman and his all-to-human alter-ego Clark Kent. However, aside from a single scene at the beginning of the movie and very briefly at the end, Clark doesn't appear which, for me, was a minor disappointment. Despite these flaws however, "Superman: Doomsday" is an excellent screen adaptation of the popular superhero and a movie I will almost certainly watch again.
Superman: Doomsday (2007) Trailer
"Superman: Doomsday" is a truly epic animated adventure. Violent, action-filled, emotional in parts and highly gripping, this movie will likely keep you hooked from start to finish. The fight between Superman and Doomsday is one of the best fight sequences I have seen in any Superman-related media and, while slower in the second half, it never ceases to entertain.
To those who are familiar with the comic books, this movie does feel a little rushed. On the whole however, epic storytelling, excellent voice-acting and some of the greatest sequences in the DC Animated Universe really make this movie stand out. I would definitely recommend this to Superman, DC and comic book fans everywhere.
In my opinion, there aren't many movies that can achieve the Flawless 5 Star rating. Admittedly, "Superman: Doomsday" comes close but those few minor flaws prevent it from achieving that top score.