I want to begin with a fair analysis of the dvd but only after I had watched the movie straight through with and with commentary. Overall, having missed JLU or any other DC characters on dvd, I really want good DC animation action. To sum up, this movie really shocked me in certain places while others, a complete let down.
*** MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD ***
The DVD had a sort of a Whedon-esque Angel reunion with Adam Baldwin as Superman, James Marsters as Lex, and Robert J. Kral the music composer for both the dvd and Angel soundtrack. (More on this later in the blog about another Angel cast member.)
I need to give high praise to Adam’s performance for playing a dual Superman role. While Clark was seen for a short 10 seconds, the noticeably higher pitch in voice that Adam delivered as Clark was off key. I know there had to be a difference in tone and delivery between Superman and Clark but this Clark was not the best. I give that nod to Tim Daly in the animated series. Thankfully, again Clark’s screen time was short which then really excelled as Superman.
For James as Lex, he caught me by surprise as there was no Spike-like qualities. His performance is very convincing as the cold and heartless Lex. However, there are almost no memorable lines like Clancy Brown would deliver mixed with sarcasm but James gives a more matter of fact deadpan delivery. For example, when Lex kills Mercy, Clancy’s Lex would have mourned for her for just about 10 seconds and then moved on. Whereas James comes off like Anne from the Weakest Link game show, “Mercy, you are the weakest link – BLAM (gunshot to Mercy’s head)” but without the clever tag. James does get to have fun beating on Superman in his red sun room with this kryptonite gloves. There is a kind of love/hate animosity we hear from Lex in the same respect as Spike had towards Buffy. On that note, Spike did sleep with Buffy and on the DVD Lex not only fought Superman without a shirt but he got on top of him at the end of the fight. I’m not saying anything more on the subject; you decide for yourself.
As for the PG-13 rating, it is more than justified as this is probably the most violent DC animated movie or series to date. This is where the DVD exceeded my expectations with violence. The battle Superman had with Doomsday really came to life and I still wanted more. I could only compare this epic fight to the fight Superman had with Shazam on JLU. The Superman/Doomsday fight is a lot worse especially for Superman towards the end. Nonetheless, the slugfest that was in the comics now came to life.
In addition to the fight with Doomsday, the Clone Superman kills Toy Man once and for all in the course of the story. While the Eradicator Superman from the comics was missing (as well as the other 3 Supermen), the Clone Superman came fairly close minus the yellow visor and ultra cool costume. All though this was another villain in the movie, the essence of the character was Superman without the restraints that Superman normally had. In the animated JLA series, we see a future Superman end the reign of President Luthor with a lobotomy. While we don’t see it, Batman and Wonder Woman do confirm Superman’s action. I am still tick that this storyline was not continued but for Superman to cross over to perform such actions above and beyond what is called for does question what it took for him to do this to Luthor. In the DVD, after Superman allows Toy Man to be taken away by the police, and then the Clone Superman finds out that the Toy Man had killed a little girl before he was stopped. This was the event that pushes this Superman over the edge. As such, before Toy Man could be put in a prison cell, the Clone Superman swoops down to carry Toy Man high above the cityscape. He then lets go of Toy Man where his body smashes into the police car he was traveling in. The Clone Superman echoes the sentiment that an example had to be made to prevent another tragedy from occurring. Yes, it’s a clone but its still Superman/Eradicator role into one.
The fan boy in me, in this regards, really wanted to see the Superman/Doomsday storyline to have remained in tact from Doomsday’s battle with the JLA to the Reign of the Supermen to the Return of Superman. I really, really wanted this. Having seen the movie again with commentary, the reason for not following that storyline exactly was due to time constraints within this movie. Fine, but I would have preferred to have DC and Warner Bros. to have the, fill in the blank, to show a literal translation from the comic book to the DVD. I do recommend to make up for this shortfall, if you can find the audio version of Adventures of Superman: Doomsday and Beyond you will be pleasantly surprised by the quality of hearing a full audio cast with top notch sound effects to bring to life this incredible comic book storyline.
Next, for the most part, the re-drawing of the characters was another distracting factor. While Jimmy with an earring, Lois with longer hair and short skirt, and Perry being more stout worked well on the screen, Lex and Superman were not on par with the rest of the cast. Lex looked more like young Lex in the Smallville series which is not to say that is bad but the rest of his body is really svelte holding up this huge bald noggin. In Superman’s case, he had these damn wrinkles or creases in his face that really are not appealing. When he is fighting Doomsday, the exhaustion in Superman’s face reads better with the creases but not in the rest of the film. Over on the Man of Steel blog, Jason took the liberty of correcting the errors. If only he could be hired and get paid to clean up the rest. Great job, Jason.
The other and last point was not really a fault of the actress Anne Heche doing Lois was set in the wrong period. What I mean by this, Anne’s voice is perfect for Lois Lane had the Lois been presented in the 1940’s like in the old TV series with George Reeves. She has a certain rhythmic quality that almost mimicked Katherine Hepburn in the Philadelphia Story. I hate to harkens back to the Superman animated series but Dana Delaney’s Lois Lane would have been perfect choice. The producers could have used her on the next DC DVD project. Read further.
On the whole, is this Superman/Doomsday DVD worth it? Yes. In addition to this version of the story, the bonus material of the Death and Life of Superman comic book craze retrospective was fantastic; it came all back to me – wow. Even more than that, Justice League: New Frontiers DVD will be making its debut in 2008. The behind the scenes footage is about 10 minutes long but it is really jammed pack about the artwork from Darwyn Cooke to the actors who are lending their voices to the project i.e. Lucy Lawless (Xena) as Wonder Woman – very cool and David Boreanaz (Angel) as Hal Jordan – sweet. I nearly fell out of my seat when I saw this two on my TV. If DC continues this more adult theme DVD, I will be the first on my block to get it sight unseen. I am really pleased by their product more over than Marvel’s Ultimates II and Iron Man. DC is a winner still in my book.