REVIEW: Superman Doomsday – How DC Killed Superman Again

Superman Doomsday

NOTE: This review may contain slight spoilers if you have lived in a cave for the last decade and a half.

A massive disappointment, Superman Doomsday is surprisingly awful, considering this is supposedly DC’s big chance to do things their way when it comes to adapting Superman. Decades of whining about how the various Superman movies and series do not follow the comic book source material closely enough and Superman Doomsday is what DC delivers?

Though I would have preferred a style more in keeping with the comics (which became a moot point since this is not inspired by the best-selling graphic novel of all time, despite what DC’s marketing may have led you to believe), the animation style is okay. Superman’s cheekbones are overdone, though. They make him look old, resulting in an odd contrast with Lois, who looks about 17. She makes up for it by sounding about 67, though.

As with Superman Returns, I still miss the yellow “S” on the back of his cape – especially since it is a prominent part of an image used to market this release (said image from the bestselling graphic novel of all time, which inspired the marketing if not the movie itself).

The movie has little entertainment value. It never made me want to get a big bag of popcorn. It never made me care.

The fights, though interesting at first, quickly become mundane and repetitive. I never thought it could be so boring to watch super-powered beings pummel each other.

Some of the more violent moments often feel just thrown in, caked on, with little regard for effect or story. “Oh, it might be cool if we did…” etc. They obviously really wanted that PG-13 rating to get the fanboys going. They even throw some curses in there to make sure.

So, they will not show Superman bleed. Fine, but then they will show blood spurting from his mouth and onto Lois’ face? Sick.

And Doomsday headed for Metropolis because…?

Contrast the scene in Superman Doomsday where Superman collapses an entire office building by slamming Doomsday into its roof to give him time to save Lois and Jimmy from the helicopter with the one in Superman Returns where Superman is on his way to save Lois from Luthor’s yacht when he realizes that a tidal wave that could kill thousands is heading for Metropolis. In Superman Returns, he races back to Metropolis and has to leave Lois to her own devices. Which is the right depiction of Superman?

Speaking of the above scene, I did not care for the World-Trade-Center-style building collapses. I think it is a cheap attempt to evoke a certain reaction from viewers. Had this Metropolis (and movie) not been apparently devoid of life, there would have been tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, dead from this battle. They would have had a lot more people than just Superman to mourn.

After awhile, I was just wishing for the whole thing to be over. The 75-minute running time feels like double that. It was like I was being forced to watch WWE and my brain cells were being drained away.

There is absolutely no dramatic impact to Superman’s death in this movie. None.

Perhaps that was because I never bought into the fact that I was watching Superman. I don’t mean the animation… it just didn’t feel like Superman or a Superman movie.

As I hinted at above, Anne Heche’s vocals are awful (Lois). My idealized Lois voice is Teri Hatcher, who also has the advantage of not sounding like Marge Simpson on her deathbed. The rest are just okay, with the slight standout being James Marsters as Luthor. Though the whole “Why did you leave me???” thing is overplayed…but mostly due to the poor writing, I’d imagine. Speaking of bad writing, did they really use the “Who’s your daddy?” line?

The interactions between Superman and Lois were particularly horrible. Also, she has been dating him six months (and not just dinners, either) and still officially knows him only as “Superman”?

And the point of Jimmy joining the National Voyeur was…?

At least there is a great preview for I Am Legend starring Will Smith.

I am hoping the other bonus features will save this disc. Otherwise, I’m selling or giving it away. I had hoped to put it in my normal viewing rotation of Superman movies, but I would rather watch Superman IV: The Quest for Peace an extra time. Seriously. At least Superman IV isn’t repulsive.

Folks, I always give you my honest opinion, and I just can’t recommend this one. Superman Doomsday does a disservice to Superman’s mythos and fans. Save your money.