After the release of Justice League Dark…it got me thinking about the pantheon of all the other animated movies in the DC Universe. So where did it start? Well, when it comes to the “Original” line of movies, we start with Superman: Doomsday, the first time we see the Man of Steel in a PG-13 environment. I’m going to take a look back at all of the features that DC put out after 2007. Not giving a rundown but rather give some thoughts on the different elements and character motivations found in these short films. There’s a reason I own all these movies, perhaps I ask myself what is it about them that makes their existence viable.
When Lex Luthor watches his excavation team dig up the alien spacecraft miles under the Earth (where even Superman can’t detect) and he says “Whatever is inside will belong to me…lock, stock and barrel”; the fact that Doomsday is basically everything that he believes Superman ultimately is under the surface (see what I did there) is ironic.
Speaking of Superman…never did like the aged lines on him. Lois is an example of how we as people distance ourselves from some in order to attach ourselves to others. She notices how her relationship with Clark is going in the opposite direction than her six-month relationship with his cape and tights counterpart. Ignoring the fact that Lois deduces Superman’s secret identity anyway, it is fascinating to see this movie explore what a woman would experience being involved with a superhero. Granted Supes makes valid points, such as compromising Lois’ safety, giving his enemies a built-in target to go after him. But you can’t deny the real world applications that Lois brings up. People are going to make up their own conclusions anyway so why feel the need to be secretive for their sake? How can you truly commit to someone when a person is unwilling to let you trust them with their more innermost thoughts and feelings? This same dynamic existed between Batman and Wonder Woman in the Justice League series.
Side note, Lois Lane’s voice when she’s interacting with Superman really is trying to push the “strong, independent woman” archetype….almost to the point of being obnoxious at some points.
Side note two: the robot describing Doomsday’s arrival to Superman as “terrific urgency.”
Not since Darkseid have I seen a character brutalize Superman to the degree that Doomsday does here. While the blood was a nice touch…having it splatter on Lois was a bit on the tasteless side to me. The actual “Death of Superman” part was handled decently. It’s impossible to not line this up against the Justice League episode, Hereafter which also does its own variant. I did like Lois’ breakdown in front of Martha Kent. How many of us have felt that emptiness, that feeling of nobody else understanding what being loved by someone is…when they are taken away from us.
One thing I didn’t like was Lex’s cathartic attitude after he essentially made a clone of Superman as his personally plaything. To me, revenge fantasies should be beneath high profile villains like this. In a real world sense, how can a person expect to advance in life if they daydream about unrealistic possibilities befalling their detractors and adversaries. Lex shooting Mercy point-blank…that was alright. No witnesses.
Speaking of the cloned Superman and the Justice League tie-ins…the Justice Lord moment he had by dropping Toyman to his death (Toyman being the proxy in Hereafter) really speaks to how the moral fiber of the character resonates with people in any medium. Superman has always represented the best of humanity, despite being an alien. Once he disappeared and subsequently this clone resurfaced…it shows the depths that we as human beings can go. From Olsen, to Perry, to Luthor, even Lois herself.
As a movie, you can see why it was the first. Lot of pacing issues…but the final fight between the two Supermen, when our hero says to his clone “a self-righteous, misguided reflection through a cracked mirror,” one could easily allude that to be Bizarro, but to me I think of Superman vs The Elite (which I will eventually get to). We all can let our emotions blindly guide us into making reckless decisions but that’s why we have to temper ourselves and try to be an example to the world around us. That’s what Superman would do. There’s a lot to like about the character Superman, even if his universe can have moments of blandness.
Superman will return in All-Star Superman
Up Next…Justice League: The New Frontier