Directed by: Lauren Montgomery/Bruce Timm
Starring: Adam Baldwin as Superman, Anne Hech as Lois Lane, James Marsters as Lex Luthor.
Lexcorp accidentally unleashes a rampaging monster on the city of Metropolis and it’s up to Superman to stop him! But what happens when the Man of Steel finally meets his match?
Superman: Doomsday was the first film in the DC direct-to-video market and one of the first projects released under WB subsidiary Warner Premiere. The intention of this line of direct-to-video animated comic book films is to deliver older comic fans with adaptions that are extremely close to the source material they’re based on. These films typically have budgets of around 3-5 million and only run 70-80 minutes on average. Because of the smaller cost, the studio is able to take much bigger gambles on these projects compared to a 300 million dollar Hollywood film.
They attempt to tell these stories in a more “mature” way where this line isn’t afraid of extreme violence, blood, cursing, or sexual themes. (Even going so far that they occasionally slip into R-ratings, which is rare for American animation). The brand ranges from the hyper-violence and grounded realism of a film like The Dark Knight Returns to the ultra-camp 1960’s Batman film Return of the Caped Crusaders.
It’s interesting to start a new line of animated films with a story about the death of one of your flagship characters, but no one can say that the Death of Superman story in the comics wasn’t iconic. It’s essentially Doomsday’s only claim to fame, the way Bane will always be known as the villain who finally broke The Batman.
Superman Doomsday is a strong opening to the DC Animated Universe, even if it isn’t the most memorable title they’ve made. Most of the story centers around Lois Lane dealing with the death of Superman and the realization that he’s been Clark Kent all these years, then coming to terms with his return as an entirely different person.
I haven’t read the original run this was based on but judging from it’s iconic status, I’m guessing there was a lot more to it than what we see here. Maybe the upcoming Death and Return of Superman 2-parter will veer closer to the source material.
There isn’t a lot of substance but some fun fights, poignant character moments, Superman TAS inspired visuals, and the excellent performance from Anne Hech as Lois really prop this movie up to another level from Superman: The Animated Series.
Special Features: Commentary, 5 featurettes, 4 episodes of Superman: TAS (Mxyzpixilated, Brave New Metropolis, Apokolips… Now! Part 1/2)