DC Universe Animated Original Movies (Part 16): Superman: Unbound

Hello, my friends.  Neither a speeding bullet nor a fast locomotive can slow this series down.  Welcome to another entry in the series known as…

DC Universe A.O.M.

The Man of Steel has been through a lot so far in this series.  Outside of his team-ups with the Justice League, his solo outings (alongside his team-ups with Batman) has put him through a lot.  He tangled with a literal harbinger of death & destruction, he joined forces with the Dark Knight to stop a Kryptonite Meteor while the hero & villain communities were barring down on them, he protected his super-powered kryptonian cousin alongside the Caped Crusader (and also Wonder Woman, the Amazons, and Big Barda), took care of various trials upon imminent death, and fought a group of super-powered delinquents to prove that his methods towards crime-fighting (while flawed) are more rational and sane.  Now, the Man of Tomorrow returns to face an age-old enemy of his in a tale called…

Our Title Card!

Originally released on May 7, 2013, this film is based off the 2008 Superman story-line “Brainiac”, which took place in Action Comics #866-870 and was written by Geoff Johns, penciled by Gary Frank, and inked by Jon Sibal.  Let’s dive in and see how the film tells its tale in addition to some changes it made.

Lois Lane-Trapped Within Trouble! Lois Lane-Didn't Take Long To Get Kidnapped!

Following the opening title sequence, we open in Metropolis where a group of armed thugs have reached the rooftop with a tied-up lady as their hostage.  As their getaway helicopters arrive, the police show up and immediately open fire on them.

Here Comes The BOOM! BOOM!

Despite the best efforts from the boys in blue, the thugs manage to get onto their helicopters and take off.  As the Thug Leader sends down a command with a controller, the Police Leader sees him and then notices that the whole roof is rigged to explode.  As such, he orders his fellow officers to fall back.  They manage to do so in time before the head thug sets off the charges and blows up the roof as they make their escape.

Lois Lane-Hostage Yet Again! Thug-No Pursuing Policemen!

After removing the bag from her head, we see that their hostage is Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane (voiced by Stana Katic of Castle fame).  A pair of police choppers are in hot pursuit and even open fire on them.  During this, we learn that the reason that they’re out on their heist is that Superman is taking care of a massive earthquake in Belize and they want to take advantage.  With the boys in blue closing in through the air, the Thug Leader brings out a rocket launcher and manages to shoot down one of the choppers.

Supergirl-You're Grounded! Supergirl-One Chopper Down, One To Go!

Unfortunately for him and his team of thieves, this gets the attention of Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El a.k.a. Supergirl (voiced by Molly Quinn, also of Castle fame) who easily smashes down one of the choppers, knocking out those on board.

Supergirl-No More Rocket Power! Thug-Rocket Power Is Over!

The Thug Leader tries striking back, but she uses her Heat Vision to destroy his Rocket Launcher.

Supergirl-Consider Yourself Saved Lois! Supergirl-Consider Yourself Saved Lois! (2)

Supergirl ultimately flies aboard the main helicopter and uses her Heat Vision to burn through the ropes that bounded Lois’ hands before dealing with a pair of thieves.

Superman-I'm Back! Lois Lane-I'm Saved!

Just then, Superman (voiced by Matt Bomer) arrives and stops the helicopter in its tracks.  After Supergirl flies off, he tells Lois to buckle up.  As the Thug Leader holds a gun up to her head and prepares to fire, Superman turns the chopper onto its side, causing the would-be thief to fall into the water.  After he turns the helicopter right side-up, the remaining thugs quickly surrender.

Superman & Supergirl-Dealing With Being Helpless!

After putting out the blaze on top of the blown-up building, Superman confronts his Kryptonian cousin and berates her reckless approach to the situation.  Eventually, the topic of conversation goes from why she was nearly-destructive with her own powers to them discussing their own homeworld heritage.  With Supergirl having clearer memories of her past life, she states that since they didn’t have powers back on their former home planet, she felt powerless in the wake of catastrophic events and feels sorry for any human who’s under the mercy of ruthless beings.  Kara then concludes before flying off by saying that because she has new-found abilities, she’s going to use them.

Clark Kent-Even He's Tired Of Lois' Hostage Fetish!Clark Kent & Lois Lane-A Budding Couple!

After Superman flies back into his Daily Planet office, he finds Lois waiting for him.  After using his super-speed to put on his civilian garb and take on the identity of Clark Kent, he confronts his budding soul mate for constantly putting herself in danger just to get the necessary story for the newspaper.  However, she just shrugs it off since she’s got double the connections to him as Clark and Superman.

Steve Lombard-The Planet's Sports-Loving Sleazeball! Clark Kent-Nice Try, Steve!

Just then, he speeds away as his door opens to reveal Steve Lombard (voiced by Diedrich Bader) coming in to watch a DVD program on his computer.  As he makes sweet-talk to Lois and even implies a possible gayness about Clark (I’m not kidding, watch the scene yourself and hear between the initial lines), Clark secretly uses his Heat Vision to take out the chair’s legs, causing Steve to fall over.

Clark Kent-Saved Lois From The Office SleezeBag! Lois Lane-I Can Handle Steve On My Own!

After excusing her from his office, Clark is then berated by Lois.  She states that not only does he not want anyone to know that they’re a couple, but he also prevents any guy from making passes at her.  In short, Lois scolds him for being over-protective of her.

You Know Who Is Coming!

Just then, the entire Daily Planet staff checks out a news broadcast stating that a large meteor is about to crash into the northern suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona.  As such, Clark ducks out to become Superman and flies off to take care of the situation.

Superman-Arizona Town Saved! Superman-An Unexpected Surprise!

Upon reaching his destination, Superman manages to prevent the metallic-looking meteor from crashing onto the neighboring houses.  Just then, the sphere morphs itself into a humanoid robot as they ultimately crash onto the desert floor.

Superman-A Shocking Showdown! Superman-Bring This Fight To An End!

The two of them get into a brief fight before Superman ultimately decks the robot hard enough in the face to make it fly into and crash within a rock formation.

Superman-He's Calling Home! Superman-No Phone Homes For You!

After the robot doesn’t respond with another attack, Superman suspects its activity as he uses his X-Ray Vision to discover an active transmitter within its chest plate.  As such, he punches the robot hard enough to destroy the device and cause it to fall over in deactivation.

Supergirl-Hanging Out With The Kents! Supergirl-Behold The Wisdom Of 'Ma'!

We then cut to the Kent Family Farm in Smallville where Kara is hanging out in her earthly disguise.  After removing her wig and glasses, she then states that this kind of lifestyle just isn’t for her.  Martha Kent (voiced by Frances Conroy, reprising her role from “All-Star Superman”) lets her know that Clark only wants what’s best for the human race, along with the fact that she and her husband Jonathan could never replace Kara’s real parents, but that she’ll always has a home here.

Superman-A Bigger Evil Is On The Horizon! Supergirl-A Nightmare Past Is Starting To Boil Over!

Once inside, Kara notices a news broadcast talking about Superman’s desert fight with the robot.  Upon her realization of the metallic foe, she takes her leave from the Kent’s farmhouse.

Superman-Studying The Ins & Outs Of This Mechanical Monster! Supergirl-The Horrid Past Right In Front Of Her!

Supergirl ultimately arrives at the Fortress of Solitude where Superman is in his lab studying the robot.  Upon entering, she’s stricken with absolute horror by it.  It turns out that she came across robots like it before when Krypton’s capital city of Kandor was attacked.

Kandor-The Beginning Of The End! Brainiac-Kandor Belongs To Me!

We then proceed into a flashback where Kandor is under attack by Brainiac.  Having sent in hundreds of his own robots, they easily manage to cause death and destruction.  No matter how much weaponry is used against them, they continue their destructive march.  Kara states that as they learned more about the Kryptonians, they started allowing some of them to live.

Zor-El & Alura-Making Their Escape! Kara Zor-El- The Worst Childhood Ever! Zor-El. Alura. & Kara-Assisted By Friends!

With the chaos continually growing, Zor-El (voiced by Stephen Root), Alura (voiced by Sirena Irwin), and Kara try to evacuate from the city.  When one of Brainiac’s robots tries to attack them, a pair of loyal friends named Ak-Var and Thara saves them as they attempt to leave together.

Brainiac-Your Cities Are Mine! Brainiac-Kandor Is Mine, Now!

Just then, Brainiac arrives in his main ship as he shoots out a beam of light that surrounds the entire city of Kandor.

Zor-El. Alura. & Kara-Seperated From Friends! Kandor-No More!

The Zor-El clan can only watch in horror as their friends are trapped with a lot of other citizens within the lighted shell as Brainiac completely lifts it out of its foundation and shrinks it down.  After collecting the city, Brainiac takes off into space.

Supergirl-Burning Away A Bad Memory! Superman-Feeling The Hurt!

Supergirl concludes the flashback by stating that her parents sent her to Earth in fear that Brainiac would return and that Zor-El and a team of scientists used the available remains of some of the robots to decode their memories, discover Brainiac’s name, and use the new-found technology to fight back.  Enraged and distraught by her powerless past, she blasts the robot with her Heat Vision before Superman breaks it off with an emotional hug.

Superman-I Have To Hunt Down Brainiac!

He then says that he’s going to isolate the robot’s comm signal in order to find out where he is so that he can go after him and hopefully rescue the trapped Kandor citizens as well.  When Supergirl asks if Brainiac attacks the Earth while he’s away, he states that she’ll have to do everything in her power to protect the planet.

Clark Kent & Lois Lane-Struggling To Be A Couple!

After he arrives back in Metropolis, Lois says that she wants to someday have a married life with him.  However, Clark’s not entirely aboard since he fears that somebody would find out about his dual identity and put Lois in danger, even though she’s more than willing to take that risk with him.  The scene ends with Clark telling her that he has to go into space for a while, with Lois being disappointed in him for not leaning towards a proper commitment.

Zor-El-What To Expect When Facing Brainiac! Superman-A Planet-Shaking Discovery!

We then shift to outer space where Superman is travelling across the galaxy as he pursues Brainiac.  Aboard his spaceship, he accesses Zor-El’s files to learn about this foe.  Hailing from the planet Colu, Brainiac is a fully-organic being equipped with an extensive amount of technological enhancements.  His purpose is to travel to various planets, bottle up a city with citizens inside to gather knowledge about them, and then blow up their planet.  Zor-El then explains why he didn’t destroy Krypton after taking Kandor with him.  It turns out that his friend Jor-El (Superman’s father) had his own research to know that the planet was going to naturally explode by itself.

Brainiac-Conqueror Of Worlds! Superman-The Hunt For Brainiac Is On!

Just then, he arrives at the signal’s source on the foreign planet Larroo, which is under attack by the numerous robots.  Superman flies down and proceeds to easily smash them in a mad hunt to find the technological mad man.

Brainiac-Another Alien City Is Mine! Superman-Here I Come!

After discovering Brainiac’s ship above the city preparing to bottle it up, Superman flies up and fights through a protective shield in an attempt to get in.

Brainiac-Another Alien City Is Mine! (2) Brainiac-Efficient With Destroying A Planet!

Just as he starts making progress, Brainiac completes his capture of the alien city.  Unbeknownst to Superman, he fires a missile towards the planet’s sun.

BOOM! (2) Superman-Captured!

This causes a chain reaction which blows it up as it hits Larroo with a big enough shockwave that causes it to explode as well.  This hits Superman with enough force to knock him unconscious as Brainiac’s ship brings him aboard.

Supergirl-Your Human Trafficking Operation Ends Here! Daily Planet-Noticing The Lack Of Superman!

Back on Earth, we have Supergirl protecting a small group that’s helping victims of human trafficking escape while she easily defeats the North Korean oppressors.  As one of the group leaders records the super-powered fight on his cell phone, it cuts to a newscast where it turns out that Supergirl has been all over the world taking care of various crises.  As Lois, photographer Jimmy Olsen (voiced by Alexander Gould), and Head Editor Perry White (voiced by Wade Williams) watch it on her computer, she mentions that Supergirl’s been staying away from Metropolis.  Perry, wondering about the nature of Superman’s sudden disappearance, assigns Lois to write up a story about this.

Superman-Getting Tested! Superman-I'm Not Getting Contained!

Back on Brainiac’s ship, Superman and three Larroo natives are lying unconscious while getting analyzed.  Just then, Supes wakes up and manages to fight off the robots.  He then sees the three captive aliens get encased in special storage pods and get carried away.

Superman-In The Heart Of The Mothership! Superman-Kandor Has Been Rediscovered!

Supes eventually makes it into the heart of the spaceship where he sees various bottled cities hanging within.  He realizes that their placed in determination of the various planets within the Milky Way galaxy as he flies upward and discovers the city of Kandor.

Brainiac-You're Pathetic, Kryptonian! Brainiac-Earth Is Now On My List Thanks To You!

Just then, he discovers the main culprit in the center of the room.  Waking up and rising from his bio-shell is Brainiac (voiced by John Noble, a.k.a. Denethor from The Lord of the Rings trilogy).  Despite Superman’s valiant efforts to fight him, the Conqueror of Worlds easily overwhelms the Man of Steel with his bulk and that his ship ultimately manages to subdue him.  Through various scans, Brainiac finds out that this Kryptonian has been living on a “planet with intelligent life”.  As such, he uses his Environmental Simulator to teleport Superman into the bottled city of Kandor as his ship begins its trek towards Earth.

Lois Lane-Superhero Summoning Time! Supergirl-You Have My Attention! Lois Lane-Heart-To Heart With Supergirl!

Back on Earth and on the rooftop of the Daily Planet, Lois has Jimmy activate his signal watch, which manages to get Supergirl’s attention.  After thanking Jimmy for his services and sending him on his way, Lois then asks why Kara’s crime-fighting ventures doesn’t involve Metropolis and its connection with Superman’s disappearance.  The Maid of Steel then tells her to get as far away from the city as possible since her cousin as gone off to find Brainiac and prevent him from coming to Earth.  She also tells her of his mad act of shrinking down cities and taking them for his own and is hoping that Superman can take care of the situation, since she doesn’t want her horrid childhood memory to happen again.  This causes Supergirl to start breaking down into tears as Lois comforts her into knowing that it’s OK to be scared.  The scene ends with Kara flying to take care of a foreign crisis while Lois contacts the Pentagon.

Superman-Subversive Talk Gets Him Greeted By Robots! Superman-Shocking Punishment!

Shortly after appearing in Kandor, Superman tries flying out.  However, he crashes back down after noticing an artificial red sun shining over the city.  With his powers slowly-but-surely draining, he asks his fellow Kryptonians on how to escape.  Shortly afterwards, three sentries teleport in and punish Superman for engaging in “subversive conversation” before taking their leave.  After getting back on his feet, Kal finds out that everyone here hasn’t aged in the 30+ years that they’ve been imprisoned.

Superman-Dinner With Kara's Parents! Zor-El & Alura-Displaced Parents Of Kara!

He ultimately makes his way to Kara’s parents, Zor-El and Alura, and chats with them over dinner.  When Superman asks how they ended up captured, Zor-El explains that they thought that studying Brainiac’s robotic probes for information and new weapons would be able to help them fight.  Instead, it brought him back as they ended up within Kandor.  He also tells Kal that Brainiac’s mission of learning about the various alien cultures of those he’s captured is flawed since the various inhabitants have growing and changing bases of knowledge, which would only give the Conqueror of Worlds basic information.

Superman-The Escape Plan Is In Motion! Superman-I'm Busting Out!

With Brainiac heading for Earth, Superman thinks of a way to get out.  He sets his plan in motion as he uses his remaining strength to begin punching through the city floor.  After the sentries are sent in to try and get him under control, Kal proceeds to easily smash them up.  He then hangs on to them as they’re teleported back for repairs.  Before leaving, he promises the Kandor citizens to get them out.

Superman-Fortunate Sun! Superman-Recharged!

Having returned to full-size on the main spaceship, Superman flies off to take care of Brainiac.  Upon returning to the main chamber, he still feels winded.  Fortunately, a station housing a sun allows him to absorb its rays and regain his strength.

Superman-Fighting Brainiac Has Never Been This Easy! Brainiac-Getting His Own Personal Extended Piece Of Time-Out!

Afterwards, he sees Brainiac resting within his bio-shell.  Superman takes advantage by ripping out a pair of steel beams, bend them around the maniacal foe, and use his Heat Vision to make a more solidified bondage.  He even rips the master control cords off of Brainiac’s head and knocks him out with a fierce punch to the face.  After taking Kandor with him, he makes his way down to the engine room (which is where his personal spaceship is at) and then uses his Heat Vision to destroy the main engines.  With Brainiac’s ship no longer able to continue its journey towards Earth, Superman hops aboard his personal spacecraft to wrap back home.  As he flies towards the Fortress of Solitude, Kara is able to see his ship fly by (via her super-vision) from Smallville as she informs Ma & Pa Kent of his return before taking off towards him.

Brainiac-I Don't Go Down That Easily!

However, Brainiac recovers as he’s able to make his spaceship give itself the necessary repairs.  Once its completely back online, he’s then able to continue his trek towards Earth.

Superman-Your Piece Of Home Is Back, Kara!

Over at his fortress, Superman hooks up Kandor to a life-support system just as Supergirl arrives.  He tells her that he found Brainiac, but only temporarily crippled him since loads of shrunken cities still exist on board.  He then steps aside to allow his cousin to feel overwhelming joy as she sees that her childhood city has been saved, along with the fact that her parents are in there as well.  Superman even says that he’s found a planet with a red sun that will be Kandor’s new home.

Superman & Supergirl-The Invasion Has Begun! Superman & Supergirl-Brainiac Has Arrived!

Suddenly, the alarms go off as the computers detect a threat brewing in Metropolis.  To Supergirl’s horror, Brainiac has finally arrived on Earth as his spaceship hovers over the city.  A terrified Kara suggests that they take Kandor and run away to said planet, but Superman reminds her that he’d just come after them and that they’ve got super powers on Earth that allows them stand up against the Conqueror of Worlds.

Brainiac-The Bloody Invasion Has Begun! Brainiac-Like Walking Grim Reapers! Brainiac-You Humans Are Pathetic!

Brainiac unleashes his horde of robots to begin his invasion upon the city.  Thanks to Lois’ call to the Pentagon, the military is there to fight.  However, it goes as well as the resistance from previous planets have gone as the various weapons and fighter crafts are incapable of even slowing the robots down.

Lois Lane-Still Getting Hit On During A Major Crisis!

There’s even a small group of Brainiac’s own cybernetic assassins causing mayhem within the Daily Planet.  Lois and company manage to send some robots flying by shoving them through the windows with their furniture, but they’re ultimately forced into hiding due to the relentless pursuit and re-spawning.

Superman-Hope Is Here! Superman-Lois & Company Are Saved!

Just then, Superman arrives and promptly smashes up a large number of the robots.  His super-hearing picks up Lois’ cry for help when more of Brainiac’s robotic foot soldiers are threatening to kill her and her fellow reporters, allowing the Man of Steel to fly right into the robots, carry them to a nearby bridge, and slam them hard onto the ground.

Brainiac Bot-Superman Shall Die! Supergirl-Saving My Super-Cousin! (2)

However, one of the robots catches Superman off-guard as it blasts him with its eye beams.  Fortunately, Supergirl comes to his aid by squishing her robotic foe’s head into oblivion.

Brainiac-Metropolis Is Mine! (2)

As Superman and Supergirl continue their fight against the various robots, Brainiac’s ship gets in place and starts the bottling process for Metropolis.  The Man of Steel sees this and tries stopping it, but nothing (not even Heat Vision) can even halt the horrid process.  As such, Brainiac’s ship is able to enclose a good chuck of the city and lift it up from its foundation.  Superman and Supergirl fly towards him in order to put this slice of chaos to an end, but the spaceship fires a massive energy blast at them that knocks them both out.

Superman-Under Brainiac's Thumb! Supergirl-Also Under Brainiac's Thumb! Brainiac-I've Got You Right Where I Want You!

Later on, Superman regains consciousness and finds out that not only is he back on Brainiac’s spaceship, but that he’s restrained by the bio-shell.  Using his X-Ray Vision, he discovers that Supergirl has also been captured and is about be experimented on.  Brainiac states that he’ll keep her around while eradicating Superman by flooding in the overwhelming number of conquered worlds into his brain.  Before that, Brainiac wants to know where the bottled city of Kandor is.  Finding out that it’s in the Fortress of Solitude, his spaceship starts to head towards its destination.

Superman-I Won't Be Contained! Superman-Riding His Second Wind!

After Brainiac states that he’s going to destroy Earth and Metropolis once he reacquires Kandor due to the both of them being “unexceptional, redundant, and unimpressive” to him, Superman works up his strength to free himself as he proceeds to smack the Conqueror of Worlds around before dropping him down a large shaft.

Superman-Saving My Cousin! Brainiac-Leading The Mechanized Movement!

Having released Metropolis from its harness, Superman flies in and smashes up the pair of robots who were working on Supergirl.  After she regains consciousness, Brainiac quickly returns with a large army of varying robots.

Supergirl-Her Final Retaliation! Superman-Making My Final Stand!

As such, the Kyptonian cousins begin their tussle against the mechanized armada.  While Supergirl goes for straight-up trashing, Superman does that including a way to make the robots hit themselves.

Superman-A Shocking Blow To Brainiac!

While Kara takes care of the remaining robots, Kal flies after Brainiac.  Taking the two cables that were meant to attack him, he jabs them into his foe’s head causing a massive electrical shock that takes him out.

Brainiac-Targeting Earth's Sun! Supergirl-A Sun And A Planet To Save!

However, Brainiac’s ship launches a missile called a “Solar Aggressor” towards Earth’s Sun.  Superman warns his cousin that if it reaches its target, Earth will get destroyed in the explosion, so Supergirl agrees to go after the missile.

Superman-Getting Some Lightning-Sized Lashings!

Back on the spaceship, Brainiac regains his consciousness and decks Superman back into the central hub where some cables come down to subdue him and deliver a powerful electric strike.

Superman-Giving A Huge Cold Shoulder! Brainiac-Stay Frosty! Superman-Making A Cool Escape!

Kal then makes a realization as he tells Brainiac that he never leaves his ship.  To make his point, he first uses his Freeze Breath to not only pin the Conqueror of Worlds to the wall, but also weaken his bonds in order to break free.

Superman & Brainiac-Going Down!Superman-Brianiac Is Meeting His Downfall!

After swapping blows while falling down to Earth, they land in a swamp and continue their tussle.  Just then, Brainiac starts hearing various noises from both near and far as it begins to disorient him.

Brainiac-Nothing But Vermin! Superman-All Aboard The Pain Train, Brainiac!

He continues to crumble apart mentally when Superman decks him into the mud and finds out that even some of the simplest of organisms are beyond his control.  With the would-be Conqueror of Worlds stuck in full-on meltdown mode, Superman easily beats him into submission.

Supergirl-Bashing Brainiac's Back-Up! Supergirl-Saving The Sun!

Back out in space, Supergirl tries to prevent the Solar Aggressor missile from reaching the Sun.  With her strength alone being unable to change its course, she then uses her Heat Vision in order to cause enough damage for it to malfunction.  This allows her to push the missile off its original trajectory with ease.

Supergirl-Earth Is Saved! BOOM! (4)

Once she’s clear of the Sun, Supergirl pushes the Solar Aggressor out into space where it travels far enough for it to harmlessly blow up.

Superman-Kara Did Her Job! Brainiac-Down For The Count!

The explosion was so powerful that Superman is able to see it in a brief moment as a huge shiny flash of light.  Brainiac, overwhelmed by the various uncontrollable forces on Earth in addition to Superman’s personal beatdown, ends up spontaneously combusting as his metallic skeletal structure crumbles into ash.

Superman-Welcome Back, Metropolis! Superman-Job Well Done!

After Supergirl arrives back on Earth, they head back into Brainiac’s spaceship to round up every last bottled city.  We then cut back to the area that makes up Metropolis as Superman frees the city from its bottled prison, allowing it to grow back to normal size.

Kandor-Her Former Glory Is Restored! Supergirl-Reunited With Her Parents!

The same thing happens over on a nearby planet where Kandor grows back to normal size under the light of the Red Sun.  Once fully grown, Supergirl has an emotional embrace as she reunites with her own parents.

Clark Kent-A Couple's True Love In Front Of The Staff!

And so, the film ends with Superman arriving back at the Daily Planet under his guise of Clark Kent as he shares an embrace with Lois in front of the entire staff.  After going public with his love life, he promises to give her a good balance of being able to protect her from harm, while letting her be a risk-taker if it helps to get the story for the newspaper.

Clark Kent-Proposal Time! Clark Kent-One Ring To Love Her Always! Lois Lane-Marriage Awaits Thee!

As such, Clark gets on his knee and asks for her hand in marriage.  Lois caps off the film with a smile, implying that she accepts.

Brainiac-His Remains! Brainiac-Never Truely Gone!

I’ll start off my listing off the various differences between the film and its source material with something that comes before the complete end of the movie.  There’s a mid-end credits scene where Brainiac’s remains are at the Fortress of Solitude as we zoom onto a box within the cranium area that starts to glow, implying that he’s going to make his return.  In the comics, his body remains in tact and only appears once more as a prisoner on Styker’s Island (we’ll get to why, very soon).  As far as the film’s ending is concerned with him, this seems semi-plausible since the original source material led into another Superman story arc called “New Krypton” (which I haven’t read), to which he also appears in.  Whether Bruce Timm and company decide to turn that into an entry in this series is yet to be seen.

Jonathan Kent-My Lone Scene!

With Johnathan “Pa” Kent, he only gets a quick appearance here as he’s sleeping in his chair in front of the TV.  In the original story, he and Martha appear a couple of times throughout.  In Part 2, he spends some time with Clark as they recount some childhood memories of Kal’s developing powers.  After the final battle within the swamp, Brainiac doesn’t spontaneously combust after a vicious battle with Superman.  Instead, he knows about Kal’s Earth parents (probably because of the earlier mindscans) and sends one of his missiles to blow them up at their Smallville home while Kal restores Metropolis & Kandor and Supergirl is out trying to save the Sun from a prior missile.  Jonathan saves Martha from the blast, but then suddenly he has a fatal heart attack and dies since Superman didn’t hear Ma’s cry for help sooner in order to reach them in time.  In the comic’s epilogue, Pa gets a funeral as Kal imagines flying into Stryker’s Island and beating up an imprisoned Brainiac to death.  Because of the source’s material downer ending, it’s most likely as to why the Kents only get one major scene in this film (with Martha being the only one to get a speaking voice).

Daily Planet-Kitty & Steve & Perry, Oh My!

For anyone who’s curious about the lady on the left of this pic, that would be Catherine (or Cat) Grant.  Here, the paper’s gossip columnist is only a voiceless background character.

Cat Grant-There's A Reason (Or Two) Why This Wasn't In The Film! Cat Grant-A 'BIG' Reason Why This Wasn't In The Film!

In the original source material, her scenes are meant to be a comedic bit, particularly about her having just gotten breast implants.  Thankfully, the film was sophisticated enough to avoid this kind of humor.

Brainiac-Online!

With the major story differences out of the way, it’s onto the characters.  As the film’s main villain, Brainiac works like a merciless computer.  Like the HAL 9000 of 2001: A Space Odyssey, he’s all about completing his mission no matter how many lives are lost in the process.  Unlike most villains which are either brains or brawn, he’s able to be intimidating in both categories.  Naturally, since he never leaves his ship, he’s mainly towards using his intelligence to get things done.  John Noble is just solid in bringing a semi-monotone, yet intimidating presence towards his role.  The overwhelming confidence gives him a commanding position that makes him nearly indestructible.

Lois Lane-A Confident Hostage!

In terms of Lois Lane, her status relationship was changed in order to make her more important here in the film.  In the source material, she was already married to Clark Kent/Superman and the most she does there is some chit-chat with her reporter husband, her conversation with Supergirl right before Brainiac’s invasion, scream out to a bound Superman to inspire him back after Metropolis has been bottled (I’m assuming that he hears hear via his super-hearing), and to comfort Clark following the death of Pa Kent.  Here, she and Clark are a budding couple going through the struggle of trying to work towards a married life while (separately) helping Supergirl deal with the painful childhood memory of Brainiac’s invasion of Kandor.  Lois is able to stand out more, mostly likely because the personality and attitude that Stana Katic brings to her role.  She can be serious business when she needs to be, but can be friendly, caring, and even carry a snarky attitude.

Supergirl-The Teen Of Steel!

Four years after this version of Supergirl debuted in the “Supergirl From Krypton” storyline (which, of course, was adapted into “Superman/Batman: Apocalypse”), more of her backstory is revealed in the source material.  Since she’s has some time to do some superhero work, she’s more honed with her skills.  Despite having a few rough edges that can make Superman a little weary of her, she’s still a very competent hero who can be trusted to do her job.  Much like how “Apocalypse” allowed her to get back on Darkseid for being under his brainwashed control, the experience she goes through in this film gives her the strength to fight back against the bane of her childhood memories.  I really enjoyed Molly Quinn’s portrayal, giving her an innocent flame that continues to grow up on Earth.  She’s also got the funniest moment for me in the scene where she and Superman are confronted by Brainiac and his robotic army.  While Brainiac is flapping his gums and being all “I’m Superior”, she comes in saying “Hey, Plug-Head!”  After decking him in the face, she caps off with her follow-up line “You talk too much!”  Overall, she’s was a joy to watch.

Molly Quinn-Living Up To Supergirl!

Plus, anyone who excitedly dresses up in superhero garb while promoting the film is a definite plus.

Superman-Saving Lois Never Gets Old!

Finally, we’ve got the big guy himself.  However, there’s not much to say since the majority of what happens to him in the source material shows up here.  Of course, the big exceptions being that he’s already married to Lois and he loses his human dad in the comics while the main conflict for him outside of Brainiac is trying to get into a position where he and lady Lane can be a couple out in public.  Matt Bomer has some good moments in his role, but he doesn’t stand out too much for me.

Brainiac-Easily Overpowering The Man Of Steel!

The story is mainly well-told, from building up and unleashing the harshly metallic terror of the main villain to learning about Superman’s cousin as she overcomes her past woe to face a dark shadow from her past and regaining a family she once had.  The action scenes each have their thrilling moments and sometimes there’s an interesting way of fighting back is shown, yet they’re simplistic for the most part.  As for the animation, it holds up really well.  Not much to say about it.

Koko-Pointless In Film & Source Material!

If I were to find some faults with it, the major one for me comes after Superman gets out of Kandor.  Before confronting Brainiac, there’s that station which has a yellow sun that allows him to get his strength back.  Can Brainiac shrink suns down too?  Does he have holograms that are advanced enough to give off the same properties of what they show?  It just seemed a little too convenient for Kal to come across.  Also, what you see here is called a “Koko”.  Kal names this in the comics as he heads towards his first encounter with Brainiac.  Not only did the Conqueror of Worlds capture this beast and put it in a pod, it was able to break out and attack Superman before being quickly dealt with, never to be seen again.  It was in the original source material as well as this film (although it wasn’t named in the movie).  It felt like a small bit of unnecessary padding.

Superman & Supergirl-Metropolis Is Back!

Overall, this was an enjoyable outing.  While far from being the best Superman story, it’s enjoyable to see a classic villain from his rogues gallery in classic form fight the Man of Steel alongside a more modern version of his kryptonian cousin.  The acting has a nice effort to it, the plot is very comprehensible, and our two krpytonian cousins each go through character arcs having made themselves better in someway, shape, and form.  In the end, check it out if you’re up for a decent superhero romp.

Next Time: There’s a reason why the past should never be changed for your own personal gain as Barry Allen a.k.a. The Flash will find out the hard way when it’s only for the sake of mommy dearest.  The story that set up The New 52 DC Universe gets put into adaptation mode next time in “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox”.

Superman (created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster) Supergirl/Kara Zor-El (created by Otto Binder & Al Plastino) are owned by DC Comics.

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