Heart, Humor and Hope In ‘The Death of Superman’

Let’s get this out of the way first: SUPERMAN DIES.

I’m not afraid to give you this spoiler because it’s IN THE TITLE. The story has been around since the publication of the “Death of Superman” comic series in 1992. It was a MAJOR plot point of Justice League.

And, oh yeah, IT’S IN THE TITLE.

So no complaining about spoilers.

Besides, the most important part of this movie is NOT the death of Superman. It’s everything leading up to it; the heart, the hope, the humor. With The Death Of Superman, DC Animation hits an emotional high we haven’t seen in a San Diego Comic-Con premiere movie in a long time.

This is a movie that made me cry.

It also made me smile, and made me laugh, and is easily the best DC Animation premiere I’ve seen at SDCC yet. 

Heroes With Heart

The Death Of Superman offers a marvelous balance of superhero action with the human stories of the heroes. Make no mistake: The Kryptonian Superman may have the powers of a god, but he has the heart and soul of a human. As Clark Kent, he faces the same uncertainties and seemingly mundane fears we all do. Especially fears for those he loves.

Like most of Metropolis, we may be awed by the man in the cape. But what moves us in this movie is the man in the glasses. Clark is trying to navigate his relationship with Lois Lane, who in this adaptation is ignorant of his alter ego. He’s struggling with whether to reveal the truth, worrying about what risks Lois might face if she knew.

While we empathize with Clark’s dilemma, we enjoy the camaraderie of the Justice League. I love the movie’s little moments, like the discussion over how to pay the power bill, and the way Batman is teased about an upcoming parent-teacher conference.

But danger is imminent in two forms. One is Lex Luthor, up to his usual evil shenanigans despite being under house arrest. The more serious danger, though, is the murderous creature Lois names “Doomsday.”

A God Falls

Where does Doomsday come from? Why is he killing everyone in sight? This version of the story never says, but it doesn’t matter. It’s enough to know that no one is safe, and that all of Earth’s hopes rest on the Man of Steel.

The battle between Superman and Doomsday is extravagantly choreographed, like some of the best fight scenes in anime and live action. You can almost feel the blows they land on each other. But after the epic struggle, we come back to the humanity of the mortally wounded Clark Kent – satisfied to have saved the day – and of all who loved him, including Lois, who did learn the truth before that final battle. Our hearts break for all of them.

Still, the House of El stands for hope. In the final minutes we get that hope as the stage is set for the conclusion of this story in The Reign Of The Supermen.

The Death Of Superman will be released on BluRay/DVD on August 7. Reign of the Supermen is scheduled for release in 2019.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.