Hello, my friends. My Kyptonian soul is constantly pushed to the edge of oblivion, but it’s still eager to please against towering odds. As such, I welcome you all back to another entry of my signature series known as…
As we stay put in the New 52 Animated Universe, we revisit a story that the overall series originally debuted with back in 2007. “Superman: Doomsday” nobly attempted to tell this massive story over a 77-minute film. Unfortunately, there was too much to leave out in order for it to fit. Now that we’re over a decade into this successful line of direct-to-home video animated films for adults, it’s time that an iconic tale from 1992 & 1993 gets another shot. As such, we arrive at the overall tale’s first half called…
Originally debuting on July 20, 2018 at San Diego Comic-Con before getting released for Digital Download on July 24 followed by its DVD & Blu-Ray distribution on August 7, this is a more closely-based translation of the same-named tale that encompasses the overall story arc’s first segment. Now that we have more room to work with, how does this notable tale fare in this universe? Let’s fly in and find out.
We open in Metropolis as a crisis is brewing over at City Hall. Detectives Dan Turpin (voiced by Rick Pasqualone) and Maggie Sawyer (voiced by Amanda Troop) hear about a 207AW from their radio band. Dan realizes that there’s a kidnapping involving advanced weapons and believes that Intergang is behind this. As they speed towards the crime scene, the police and S.W.A.T. team have already arrived in front of the building with their weapons drawn. Suddenly, the front entrance gets blown away as Intergang emerges from the smoke wearing high-tech suits with Mayor Booker (voiced by Johnathan Adams) and his wife in their grasp. The team leader Bruno Mannheim (voiced by Trevor Devall) begins firing his high-tech gun at the officials, blowing up the police cars while his men take out the opposing agents with ease.
As they prepare to make their escape, Turpin and Sawyer arrive as he orders Bruno to relinquish his grasp upon the mayor. Unfortunately, Mannheim disobeys and fires his high-tech gun which hits the car with enough violent force to have it land on its roof. Afterwards, he orders one of his henchmen to execute the remaining officials and his other felon to look after their hostages while he preps their escape. Dan tries to get his partner out of the wrecked vehicle to no avail before he attempts to fend off the goon. Unfortunately, his shots are unable to penetrate the criminal’s advanced suit as he proceeds to strangle Turpin with a retractable cable. Maggie manages to regain consciousness and starts firing her handgun, but is also unable to hit a crucial mark.
Just as she’s about to get fatally whipped, a familiar blast of Heat Vision slices off part of the cable as the goon gets an un-welcoming surprise by Kal-El a.k.a. Superman (voiced by Jerry O’Connell). He grabs the perp and quickly flies up into the air before dropping him onto the car with enough force to knock him out. After he gets Turpin and Sawyer to safety, the mayor and his wife run for it while Superman takes care of the adjacent felon. Meanwhile, Bruno tries to activate a Mother Box in order to escape, but is unable to get it working. Superman arrives to tell him that he fried it with his Heat Vision. From there, he easily dodges Mannheim’s attacks before he tosses the crime boss around and strips him of his high-tech suit.
Following the title card, we then cut to a short time later as Bruno and the rest of Intergang is getting arrested while Mayor Booker thanks Superman for his help. Afterwards, a friendly face within the crowd calls out to him as it turns out to be Bo “Bibbo” Bibbowski (voiced by Charles Halford), a sailor that Kal has saved on multiple occasions. Bibbo informs him that he’s no longer out on the high seas and has instead become the owner of his own restaurant called the Ace ‘O Clubs Bar & Grill. He then asks for a picture with him to hang up at his place, to which Superman quietly accepts. However, Bibbowski is unable to properly set up his cell phone’s camera. Fortunately, Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen (voiced by Max Mittelman, reprising his role from “Justice League: Action”) arrives to help him out.
Shortly after Bibbo takes his leave, Superman proceeds to contact his fellow Justice League members. In a split second, Barry Allen a.k.a. Flash (voiced by Christopher Gorham) arrives as Kal asks him to help out in clean-up duty since he’s got a prior engagement to attend. Just then, fellow J.L. member Victor Stone a.k.a. Cyborg (voiced by Shemar Moore) arrives as he overlooks the scene. Superman informs him that he recently fought Intergang who happened to possess a Mother Box. Cyborg’s scanners also picks up a piece of the felons’ armor as it turns out that its made out of the same metal from Apokolips. He decides to bring this material to his father since he’s previously worked with it in the past, even though he still has a rocky father-son relationship with him. As such, he and Superman take their leave as they comedically leave Flash to handle clean-up duty.
A short time later, Kal arrives at S.T.A.R. Labs where he’s due for a interview session with Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane (voiced by the original live-action Mystique herself, Rebecca Romijn). Since her news stories has helped the public build a solid level of trust towards him, he decides to reveal the Kyptonian ship and its advanced technology that helped him reach Earth. Since he’s only been able to make some progress in understanding his homeworld’s tech, he’s entrusted help towards a team of scientists led by Dr. Jenet Klyburn (voiced by Jennifer Hale). She tells Lois that the rocket was powered by “super-condensed ionized crystals” as Superman activates one of them with his touch. After a quick flash of light, a holographic image emerges as Kal-El’s male nanny explains that he’s the embodiment of Krypton’s history. As it shows the El family line, Superman introduces Lois to the representation of his parents: Jor-El and Lara.
Following the report at S.T.A.R. Labs, Kal flies Lane back to the Daily Planet before taking his leave. Just as she reaches the main floor, she bumps into fellow reporter Clark Kent. He says that he’s got an exclusive story about Intergang, but she says that there’s something much more important right now than that as she takes him to the storage room in order for them to have a private talk.
Once inside, we soon discover that they’ve been in a relationship for a while. She brings up their private trip to the Hamptons this weekend when Clark has to shoot those plans down since his parents are visiting. Despite his un-suredness with being this deep into a romantic partnership for the first time, he agrees that she should finally meet them. Shortly after Lois takes her leave, it becomes apparent that Clark hasn’t shared the fact that he also has a superheroic persona with her.
Later that night at S.T.A.R. Labs, Superman and Cyborg give Dr. Silas Stone (voiced by Rocky Carroll) the metallic sample to analyze. After telling them that it’s almost similar to previous Apokoliptian tech, he calls in a premier engineer for further explanation. It turns out to be Dr. John Henry Irons (voiced by the CW’s Black Lightning himself, Cress Williams) who’s career has picked up since his days as a construction worker and having recently quit LexCorp. He places a piece of Intergang’s armor onto the analyzer and explains that while it is from Apokolips, it has also “bonded with Earth-based tri-formulides” to become a much tougher alloy. John explains that while S.T.A.R. Labs is more than capable of replicating it, this piece wasn’t made here. Realizing who else could have possibly supplied Intergang with this tech, Superman takes his leave.
Afterwards, Superman arrives at the top of LexCorp where he presents the armor piece to Lex Luthor (voiced by Dwight Schrute & The Crimson Bolt himself, Rainn Wilson) and accuses him of creating Apokoliptian weapons for Intergang’s use. However, Lex disproves him by explaining that he’s under house arrest for his recent crime and that Intergang has globe-wide connections. As such, Superman says that he’ll return once he gets to the bottom of this case before he flies off.
We then cut to the next day at the Daily Planet where Lois is met upon by gossip reporter Catherine “Cat” Grant (voiced by Toks Olagundoye). She tells Lane that she’s had a hunch about her budding romance with Clark for a while, only to have it confirmed to her through Lois’ reactions. As she prepares to go on “Daily Planet Live”, Cat tells her to be careful since Kent has been a bit unwilling to let her “get too close”. The scene ends with Lane realizing this unsettling fact about her intimate co-worker.
Later up in the atmosphere, a team of astronauts are making repairs to a satellite. Leading the group is Hank Henshaw (voiced by Patrick Fabian), who also has his wife Terri (voiced by Erica Luttrell) among the four-man crew of the space shuttle Excalibur. Despite this being his ninth space trip, the experienced commander still enjoys the beautiful view as he says that Superman can be spotted from up here if one looks hard enough. As he mentions of his respect towards the Man of Steel by exclaiming that they can always count on him, a Boom Tube opens up unknowingly to them as it releases a massive otherworldly sphere.
We then have a brief scene over at LexCorp where a disguised Luthor and his personal bodyguard Mercy Graves (also voiced by Erica Luttrell) return from a private opera performance. We also find out that he managed to get his house arrest bracelet off and place it under the temporary care of his lab assistant Gregory.
After a quick scene in space where Hank gets notified of incoming unidentifiable debris and thus orders his team to immediately get back to the shuttle…
…we head back to LexCorp’s tech-filled sublevel where Luthor has assembled (i.e. bought) several genius-level scientists to work for him. Lex announces to them that the world’s populace has been duped to “worship aliens” that have asserted themselves as “agents of justice”. However, he claims to have seen them for their supposed falsehoods & hidden threats as he vows to track down “the next alien Übermensch” and stamp it out completely. After being given the floor, Gregory mentions that they’ve hacked into NASA’s secure feed to discover a massive object heading towards the Excalibur. Thankfully for Lex and company, there’s a LexCorp satellite that’s just nearby enough to give them a visual on what’s bearing down on the astronauts.
Meanwhile, Henshaw and company try to blast off in time. Unfortunately, the Excalibur is still locked onto the satellite as it starts getting pelted with debris. It ends up getting mostly decimated before the shuttle gets completely dislodged from it. Hank holds out hope that Superman will swoop in and save them, but all hope gets lost when the debris shatters the Excalibur and sucks out half of his team. Sadly, Terri also gets sucked out as well. Afterwards, the gigantic meteorite slams into the shuttle and utterly decimates the craft. From there, it enters Earth’s atmosphere as the entry force removes a tiny layer to reveal a creature bound inside it as the fragment ends up splashing down into the North Atlantic.
Afterwards, the scene ends with a mole inside S.T.A.R. Labs as he informs Lex about where it landed by providing its coordinates. As such, Luthor orders for the preparation of a retrieval squad.
We then cut to a small-scale fight as Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman (voiced by Rosario Dawson) battles Cheetah while Superman dukes it out with Metallo. As they defeat their adversaries (and reveal that this was a holographic training room exercise), Diana finds it odd that he’s unwilling to let Lois know about his true identity in the same vein as her. After Kal states that “it’s a complicated relationship”, the former lovers get summoned to the board room for a meeting.
Meanwhile in the North Atlantic, a submarine crew is in the middle of a search for the recently-landed meteorite as Lex oversees the operation. They then come across a small group of Atlantean soldiers before Mercy picks up an ominous sound. The undersea sentries also hear the unpleasant tone as they head over to a nearby rubble site with the Lex-Sub following close behind.
Suddenly, a pair of arms emerge as it grabs two of the Atlanteans’ heads and crushes them. The other remaining soldiers swim in to engage, but they all end up in a bloodied mess as they get literally ripped apart. It then attacks the Lex-Sub and drowns the crew before walking away.
From there, the scene ends with Lex telling Mercy to rewind the footage in order to properly view what just killed their team. After seeing this otherworldly entity’s true appearance and being impressed with its performance, he believes that Superman will finally “have some competition”.
Meanwhile at the Hall of Justice, an official team meeting gets underway. Cyborg brings up the Excalibur incident as he mentions that three out of the four-man crew has survived. From there, Arthur Curry a.k.a. Aquaman (voiced by Matt Lanter) informs the team that he sent some of his Atlantean guards to keep an eye on the impact zone and to retrieve some rock samples for S.T.A.R. Labs. With the brief meeting wrapping up, Victor exclaims that they’ll meet up again. However, Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman (voiced by Jason O’Mara) says that he won’t be able to attend the next team meeting since he has to meet the headmaster of a boarding school that he sent his son Damian to. As Hal Jordan a.k.a. Green Lantern (voiced by Nathan Fillion) is amazed that the Dark Knight has to attend a parent-teacher conference, Flash starts goofing around with the thought before Batman gets him to knock it off with his signature death stare.
When Cyborg tries to push their meeting back until after the conference, Barry says that it won’t work since he has a rehearsal dinner that same night as he’s engaged to Iris West. Superman then asks him if she’s aware of his secret identity, to which Flash says that he already shared that piece of information with her a long time ago. Supes then asks him if he’s worried that he’s bringing Iris into his dangerous superhero world that’s filled with dangers and sacrifice, to which Barry simply exclaims that it’s all a part of marriage. As the rest of the team heads out to celebrate Flash’s impending romantic conquest, Superman stays behind to contemplate on the recent conversation.
Sometime later, we cut over to Clark’s apartment where he finally introduces Lois to his parents: Jonathan (voiced by Max Tennyson himself, Paul Eiding) and Martha Kent (also voiced by Jennifer Hale). Pa tells Lane about how Clark rode a bull as a kid and never got thrown off while Ma mentions about his past relationships, ranging from Smallville sweetheart Lana Lang to a young swimmer named Lori Lemaris (who’s actually a mermaid, not that they bring that tid-bit up). Lois is amazed to hear all of these things about Clark for the first time while he’s a bit weary about them casually spilling this information.
Later, he’s trying to hail a taxi for Lois while she’s upset over him being antsy about her getting to know his past. Not only is she bothered by the fact that Clark pulled her out of the get-together, but also of her finally hearing about these details on him which bothers her even more on how distant he’s being with her. Clark tries to explain that while he does love her, he has difficulties showing it. However, Lois reads this as him being afraid of her finding out “the truth”. Just as a cab finally shows up to give her a ride back to her place, she decides to walk instead.
Over in the North Atlantic, Aquaman and Mera find out about their fallen Atlantean guards as Arthur soon discovers foot prints along the ocean floor. He follows them as they reach the nearby shore and make their way into the woods. He then contacts Cyborg about their killer as Victor receives the coordinates for him to share with his teammates.
Back over at Clark’s apartment, Jonathan is resting up while Martha explains to her son that at their age, those “secrets” didn’t feel as seriously important as before. Clark mentions that while Lois is a special woman, he still wants to protect her at all costs. Ma then tells him that she and Pa don’t want him to be alone for the rest of his life, since he should be able to live as his own person. Inspired by her talk, the scene ends with him stating that he’s never been alone ever since Pa and Ma took him in.
Out in the wilderness, a young couple is getting attacked by a grizzly bear at their campsite. The boyfriend nervously hides with a hatchet while his girlfriend is hiding out inside the tent. Just as the bear is about to poke its way inside, it suddenly gets dragged off. As she hears strange noises, she peaks out to investigate only to get hit by a splatter of blood. She looks outside to not only discover that the bear has been killed, but her boyfriend as well by the same towering behemoth who ends the scene by slaying her offscreen.
We then cut to the next day where Lois arrives at the Daily Planet only to get immediately hounded by Cat and her desire to know how the meet-up with Clark’s parents went. Lane starts to mention how last night’s get-together didn’t go quite as she expected before they bump into Clark. He asks Lois out for lunch since he needs to talk with her, to which she agrees on a 2 pm meet. Just then, his cell phone vibrates as he finds out that it’s a call from Justice League HQ. As such, he hurriedly tells Lane that they’ll eat over at Hobbs Bay before he takes his leave.
After making his way onto the stairway, he answers as Wonder Woman lets him know that there’s something brewing within the greater Metropolis region. Several of their teammates have headed out to investigate the presence of a creature. Since Kent has an upcoming lunch with Lois, Diana tells him that they’re good for now as she deduces that he’s finally going to tell Lane. The scene ends with Clark letting her know to keep in touch should his help be needed.
We then cut to the fictional town of Carlin Heights (named after longtime DC writer, editor & executive Mike Carlin) where the monster has unleashed its wrath upon its citizens. The local police show up and proceed to open fire on it while also accidentally shooting the nearby gas station tank, causing the being to become engulfed in flames. The cops think that they finally defeated it, but the creature emerges and continues its death march.
Not too far from the carnage, a young lady is recording the incident on her cell phone and tearfully issues a call for help. Just then, the monster notices her and prepares to take her out. Thankfully, Hawkman flies in to combat the fierce being.
From there, the rest of the Justice League arrives with Green Lantern and Batman helping the young lady out while Bruce orders Flash to assist any civilian in peril. Hawkman then flies down towards his adversary, but he gets caught in a surprise attack as the being beats him up and sends him flying with a fierce punch.
Fortunately, Green Lantern catches him and places him in an alleyway. After being ordered by Batman to create some safe distance between their foe and the civilians, he decides to go take on the beast himself. He initially starts out well enough, but the creature’s raw strength overwhelms his will power as it breaks out of his construct and also beats him down.
Flash manages to run in and save his comrade before placing him in the same alleyway. After he takes Hawkman’s energy mace, he runs in with all of his might and begins to pummel the monster with swift strikes. The being withstands the hits until it manages to adapt to its attacks before he finally takes Barry out with a timely punch.
Just as the Flash is about to get fatally struck, Batman distracts the monster with some miniaturized explosives before requesting for backup. Because he’s already outclassed by the being in terms of strength, the Caped Crusader proceeds to evade the creature as it pursues him.
Meanwhile within LexCorp’s sublevels, Luthor and Mercy approach a scientist named Dabney Donovan (also voiced by Trevor Devall) who’s working on creating an army of artificially-created beings. He tells Lex that progress has fluctuated between some successes and some failures with the difficulties of DNA replication being the main reason why things have been slow. As Luthor and company are still trying to locate the behemoth in order to acquire its DNA, he asks about a particular “prototype” to which Donovan explains that “it’s still growing”. Just then, the scene ends with Mercy informing Lex that his team has finally found their coveted subject.
After a quick scene where Batman is frantically evading the monster’s numerous strikes and only succeeds in destroying more of its containment suit with some mini explosives…
…we then shift over to the Ace O’ Clubs Bar & Grill where Clark and Lois are about to have their lunch. After Bibbo shares a Superman tale and gives them their menus, Kent proceeds to have his talk with Lane. He finally decides to let her in on the fact that he’s Superman, to which she initially laughs in disbelief. Only after he takes off his glasses and lets her get a good look at his face does she finally believe him. Lois is rightfully stunned as Clark tells her that he was this hesitant in letting her know for this long so that he wouldn’t unnecessarily put her and his parents in harm’s way. Not only that, but he has one last thing to confess to her.
Just then, Lois’ cell phone starts buzzing as Jimmy is on his way to pick her up via helicopter and she’s required to accompany him since the monstrous being is on its way to Metropolis. In that short time, she sees that Clark has already left to fulfill his superhero duty. However, he did leave her a note entitled “My Last Secret”. She opens it up to reveal Kent’s last message: “I Love You”.
After seeing Superman take off towards the impending crisis, Jimmy arrives in the helicopter as Lois heads out to fulfill her duties as a reporter.
Over at Carlin Heights, the sun has started to set. However, the monstrous being continues to show no signs of slowing down as Cyborg and Aquaman are easily defeated. Even J’onn J’onzz a.k.a. Martian Manhunter (voiced by Nyambi Nyambi) is forced to become intangible in order to withstand the fierce strikes. As he oversees this confrontation, Batman asks J’onn if he’s able to read the creature’s mind. However, all that J’onzz senses is absolute aggression and describes their foe as “a killing machine”.
Angered that it’s not able to strike its opponent, the monster spots Batman and prepares to go after him. Martian Manhunter becomes tangible again in order to stop him, but this allows the behemoth to grab and throw him into a nearby gas station which explodes on impact. Because he’s covered in fire, J’onn falls over in defeat.
Batman distracts the being with an explosive Batarang, but it responds by throwing a damaged fire truck at him. Fortunately, Cyborg recovers in time and shoots a grappling line for the Dark Knight to slide down on. Afterwards, the monster sees the nearby city of Metropolis and begins to head towards it.
After Batman pops his left arm back into his socket, Cyborg tries to get up and fight. However, he’s too badly damaged as he falls over and passes out. From there, the scene ends with Wonder Woman emerging from the rubble and heading out to stop their impossibly-strong adversary.
From there, the behemoth arrives in Metropolis with its citizens having already fled. Diana arrives in time and proceeds to fight it. They tussle across the city as Wonder Woman manages to score some hits and even ties the beast up within her Lasso of Truth and toss it around. As powerful as she is though, the being ultimately bests her when she tries to strike it with her sword. His punch hits with enough force to shatter the blade before it proceeds to constantly strike her.
It then notices her broken sword and decides to use it to fatally stab her. Just then, it gets blasted with Heat Vision as Superman finally arrives. Before he heads in to fight, Diana tells him to not hold back in order to bring this vile being down.
With the monster’s containment suit completely destroyed, Supes proceeds to engage it in a massive battle. They begin their confrontation with a brief struggle before it suddenly develops its own Heat Vision and uses it to blast Superman into a nearby building.
As Kal gets back into battle, Lois begins her news update. We then quickly cut over to the Ace O’ Clubs as the bar patrons watch the newscast while Bibbo lets them know that he’ll allow those that “have no place to go” to stay put and that he’ll be there for them just like their hero.
As Lane continues her broadcast, she inadvertently gives the monster its name: Doomsday. As the Daily Planet staff looks over the telecast, Editor-In-Chief Perry White (also voiced by Rocky Carroll) tells his staff to get working on their newspaper now that the monster can be identified.
During the destructive chaos, Lex and Mercy have been driven towards a private off-site compound while they watch the news broadcast. They theorize that Doomsday was created as an opening strike on opposing lifeforms since its drawn towards populated areas. As they arrive at the central bunker, Luthor states that Metropolis will need a protector should Superman fall. As such, the scene ends with him prepping a battle suit.
We then cut to a suspension bridge at night where citizens are stuck in gridlock traffic. Suddenly, a rumble grows as they’re forced to flee from their cars. It turns out that Superman and Doomsday have brought their fight here as Kal is now saddled with having to deal with this massive monstrosity while keeping civilians away from the fierce tussle. As Doomsday repeatedly kicks Superman into an arch, it starts to create structural damage as the cables begins to snap off. As the people flee for their lives, Kal takes several downed cables and ties his foe up.
As Doomsday uses its limitless strength to get itself free, it begins to tear the bridge apart. During the destruction, a child named Joey loses his handheld gaming device and goes back to get it against his mother’s wishes. While Doomsday grows more spikes on his body and begins to free himself, Joey’s mother cries out for someone to protect her kid. As such, Superman flies down in the nick of time to save him from collapsing debris.
Afterwards, he flies back towards the newly-freed Doomsday and drags the behemoth into the river. Following a brief undersea tussle, the fight makes its way back to the heart of Metropolis as Lois and Jimmy continue their aerial coverage. Olsen mentions that things aren’t looking good for Superman, especially since the Kents are worriedly watching the brawl back at their son’s apartment.
Just then, Doomsday notices the helicopter and proceeds to throw Superman at the aerial craft. He hits the chopper with enough force to take out its main propellers and send it into a spiraling freefall towards the ground. Fortunately, Kal recovers and grabs onto the tail in order to safely place it on top of a building.
A short time later, Doomsday jumps up to re-engage him. Superman uses his Heat Vision to slice off the tail and smack him up into the sky. He then follows after it and repeatedly strikes the behemoth. Once they get above the clouds however, Doomsday recovers and fights back as they re-enter the atmosphere and slam back down into Metropolis which creates a massive shockwave throughout that part of the city.
As Lois and Jimmy arrive at the impact site to continue the news story, Doomsday emerges to take them out. Suddenly, it gets blasted by a powerful green beam as Lex arrives in a miniature mechsuit to combat the fiend.
After blasting it towards the Hall of Justice, Luthor continues to wail away at it before prepping a retractable blade in order to get some of its DNA. However, Doomsday wakes up in time and blasts him with its Heat Vision. It then proceeds to tear up the mechsuit before pulling Luthor out and violently throw him.
Fortunately, Superman recovers in time to save his mortal enemy before he slams Doomsday into the Hall of Justice. With both sides (even Doomsday itself) panting, they engage each other in one massive clash as they punch enough to send out a powerful shockwave which causes the building to crumble.
Lois and Jimmy arrive just as this happens, but they’re left in horror of seeing Doomsday pin Superman down and strangle him with his own cape before ripping it off and slamming Kal’s head into the ground.
Lois tearfully throws a rock at it before realizing that a second toss will still do nothing. As such, Doomsday walks over and prepares to kill her with some more newly-grown spikes. As Superman struggles to get up, Lane whispers to him that she read his note and confesses her love to him. With one last burst of strength, Superman flies right towards Doomsday’s face and hits with enough force to twist its neck.
When the dust settles, it turns out that this seemingly-unstoppable monster has finally been defeated. However, Doomsday still managed to fatally stab Kal in the gut. Lois runs over to his side and lets him know that he won. Superman then tells her that with him having finally saved the people being what he always wanted (with the exception of Lois’ love, of course), he’s quite a lucky man. Unfortunately, the fight and the intense battle scars take their toll as he ultimately dies. Lois and Jimmy proceed to cry their hearts out as the Justice League arrive to share their grief.
With the Daily Planet covering the horrific event, Metropolis and the rest of the world joined them in tears as they grieve over the loss of humanity’s champion.
We then cut to sometime later as a massive funeral is held for Superman within Centennial Park. From Metropolis’ citizens to Kal-El’s friends, family and teammates, they’ve gathered together in honor of their beloved friend as Mayor Booker speaks about Superman and what he meant to all of mankind.
The only Justice League member who’s notably absent from the funeral was Batman who resides back at Wayne Manor and contemplates the loss of his superpowered ally alongside his butler Alfred Pennyworth, his son Damian and their dog Ace.
Back at the funeral, Mayor Booker calls up Lex to say a few words. Luthor states about the times that he and Superman would supposedly share wisdom during “late night chats” at his place. Afterwards, Kal-El is carried into his tomb by a representative from each of America’s armed forces. As Lex lets the citizens rise in honor of their superheroic friend, Green Lantern uses his ring to ignite the eternal torch that stands in front of Superman’s statue.
Sometime later, we cut to a minor montage as Bibbo recites a “Hail Mary” prayer. As Luthor stands within his building (which we learn that he faked his injuries for the public) and Lois tearfully hugs the Kents, Bibbowski stands in the rain as he tells God that it doesn’t feel right that Superman is gone while he (describing himself as “a washed up old roughneck”) gets to keep on living.
We then cut to the next day at S.T.A.R. Labs where Doomsday’s corpse is in their custody while Lex tries to have it transferred to Project Cadmus. However, Dr. Janet Klyburn denies him and says that LexCorp should instead work with the U.S. Government in prepping a rocket that’ll get rid of the alien behemoth. Despite Luthor’s exoneration, she also doesn’t trust him nor Cadmus as she describes them as “a genetic pirate ship” that’s under the guise of a research facility.
Suddenly, they hear a loud rumble from below as Kal-El’s spaceship lifts itself from its research station and plows through S.T.A.R. Labs’ roof before flying off.
That night at the Daily Planet, Lois sees Clark’s empty desk as Cat lets her know that it’s been left untouched on purpose since she and the rest of the staff believe that Kent is among the many civilians that are still missing after Doomsday’s rampage but are certain that he’ll be found eventually. Just then, Jimmy comes in to let Lois know about an incident that’ll be right up her alley.
They arrive at Superman’s tomb to discover the coffin empty and that the doors were forced open from the inside. Lois then notices a caped figure hovering just out-of-sight before flying away as she and Jimmy ponder if the Man of Steel is somehow alive.
During the end credits, we get brief glimpses of what’s to come for next time: An experiment that broke out of his pod and grabs a jacket before escaping, a man forging an outfit through fire with a hammer and a mysterious caped figure using Kal-El’s rocket to create the Fortress of Solitude.
And so, the film ends on a post-credit scene as a part-robot, part-human figure baring Superman’s likeness flies from space and makes his way to Earth.
Now that this massive first part is out of the way, let’s dig into my character analysis. Starting things off, we have our signature Man of Tomorrow himself: Superman. Through this particular continuity, we’ve seen him experimented on over in Apokolips, endure the wrath of Arthur’s half-brother and even suffer through two possessions. Once by a demon who longed to make his return on Earth and another by a centuries-old sorcerer whose magical prowess grows off of other’s own fears & anger. Throughout this series, we’ve only seen him alongside the Justice League and being put in a relationship with Wonder Woman. Most likely, the latter was just the series’ front-runners trying to replicate the status quo that DC set up when they launched their New 52 initiative. Now that DC Rebirth has come along to reunite Superman with Lois, it definitely reflects that aspect since Kal and Diana must have mutually ended their low-key unionship at some point between “Justice League Dark” and this film. Despite the Justice League having set up their headquarters in Supes’ neck of the woods, there hasn’t been too much involvement with that massive town other than world-threatening forces from above and below. Now that we’ve gotten past DC’s weird mid-2010s mindset with focusing solely on Batman and the Justice League, it’s only fitting that Superman’s slice of the overall universe got its chance to breathe. Anyway, Kal-El’s character arc throughout this film sees learning to overcome relationship insecurities that he easily conquered with Diana but has massive trouble here with Lois. Like “Superman: Doomsday”, this was also a subject that was addressed. Unlike the previous film where it was barely discussed and almost completely ignored until the end, it’s made into the main crux of his arc. More than likely, he was able to share his secret identity with Wonder Woman since she has her own set of super powers that can come in handy in terms of defending herself from harmful adversaries. Because Lois is human, Kal would have to deal with the looming threat of one of his enemies finding out who he is and then using her at bait. It’s a perfect example of how his super powers makes his life harder than a human being’s, since he’s hoping that not letting her in on his secret identity would be one less hassle to worry about during his super heroics. While it does prevent that, it also alienates him from the one woman whom he wishes to spend the rest of his life with. Thankfully, he has plenty of opportunities for change and only after conversing with the Flash and his own mother does he decide that it’s a risk that he and Lois should face together. One wonders how he’ll progress next time, but the present journey has been a pleasure thus far. Jerry O’Connell’s performance feels understated, but it’s overall solid with matching tones, quipy remarks and a commanding presence worthy of Superman himself.
Next up, we reach our original lovely lady in Lois Lane. In this overall series, she’s only previously appeared in one scene during “Throne of Atlantis” Yes, she was also in “Flashpoint Paradox” except that was an alternate timeline that saw zero chances for a relationship there given the crisis that went down in that dark future. Up to this point, she was barely a blip on this universe’s radar given the mindset of this series and DC Comics at the time. Now that DC Rebirth has brought back the classic relationship (and even giving them a son in Jonathan Samuel Kent in the comics), it’s time to see what the Daily Planet’s signature female reporter has to bring to the table this time around. She essentially helps Superman shed his inner fears and help him open up so that she can get to know him better. She feels real throughout and refuses to be fooled around, especially since Cat has helped her stay the course through perky wit and womanly determination. She basically has three scenes to help Clark share his personal side with her before Doomsday’s arrival in Metropolis and they feel pretty effective considering that they’ve established their relationship prior to the beginning of this film and we’re being exposed to this unionship’s early blossoming stages. It was absolutely necessary for a professional like Rebecca Romijn to pull this previously-established yet newly-integrated character off. It’s also an added bonus that she and O’Connell are already a couple in real life, so their relationship can blossom on-screen. Either way, it’s nice that this set of key elements helps a familiar character key some much-needed space to work. Even better, she’s get plenty to do come next entry.
We now reach someone who’s not the main antagonist, but he’s still essential in this power struggle. As such, let’s talk about Lex Luthor. Similar to Lois, he’s also been in past entries of this particular series but only in brief roles. Now that Superman’s consistently grand foe has more room to flesh out, here’s what I could discover about him. After failing to defeat Kal-El through regular supervillain team-ups, he’s figured that the only way to usurp control over Metropolis and be its protector is with his clone army. Not only that, but he believes that Doomsday’s genetic code would be the one thing that would make them stable and powerful enough for him to control. Essentially, it’s similar to his end goal from “Superman: Doomsday” minus having an army of Superman clones to help him conquer the world. No matter what, he needs to be in control of the city at all times whether in display of the public or working behind the curtains. His presence here is interesting since he was technically in the originally story arc but more in the background and pretending to be someone else. As such, one can only speculate where this character will head to when he get to the next film. As far as Rainn Wilson’s performance goes, he does have a manically humorous tone in his voice. Fortunately, it never goes too far into that realm and he reigns it in to keep Luthor in as serious a light as he can. After all, he’s allowed to have his comical moments but only if it doesn’t come off as eyeroll-inducing.
Last up, let’s quickly discuss our impossibly-strong antagonist in Doomsday. Just like the DCUAOM’s first movie, it’s given little backstory on how it came to be. Neither film dissects its true origin, but that’s actually for the best since it was like that in the original story and it played really well in making him an unknown force of destruction that’s seemingly unstoppable. The biggest win that this film has over the previous version was that Doomsday was only in that movie’s first act. It barely got any time to establish its terror before it attacks Metropolis prior to dying in an atmospheric dive bomb. Here, its presence gets to be felt and grown as the movie progresses. By the time you get to the climax, it’s become a incredible force that nearly no one can stop which makes its defeat feel even more satisfying. Either way, this makes a good case for claiming the title of the definitive film version of the monster. Given the few other movie interpretations though, it’s not much of a challenge.
The action does a great job of building in scale as Doomsday’s presence becomes more severe to the human race. While there is an opening scene of Superman defeating Intergang and then a training room session, the remainder of the action comes from the slow crescendo of terror that’s nearly-impervious as it starts with isolated murders before the civilian-packed municipalities and the Justice League as well end up in the path of its wrath. As the climactic battle rages on, the invested viewer’s mind feels a certain strain that Superman physically feels by the end of his fateful fight. When anything and everything goes flying around in manic combat, it does so to help out the plot. As mentioned throughout the review, it handles Kal-El’s struggle with letting Lois in on his secret identity since he’s in a relationship with her. It gets plenty of time to breath and properly shift between tense & serious and comedic & light-hearted. Because it’s handling so much in one film, some audience members may feel a bit overwhelmed on first viewing. Fortunately, it gets much easier to consume on repeat viewings thanks to genuine performances, thrilling fights and high-quality animation. While the final bit does has its few hiccups due to moments of human stillness, it’s still fluent and never distracts from the final product. As such, it comes together and has made me interested into seeing how this over-arching story will play out.
Overall, this is a well-told start to the famous arc. The performances are mainly solid, the pacing moves at a steady clip, the action builds up to its grand finale and it completely outdoes the entire first act of “Superman: Doomsday” by a long shot. Other than the possibility of a first-time viewer being overwhelmed due to the various story factors that it juggles, it’s still recommended since it’s still a solid story with tight writing that delivers with a massive fight against an impossible foe and it sets up its second half that it should be able to deliver. Of course, we’ll see how the other part fairs and see how the overall story pans out. Until you survive and cross the bridge, give this a watch.
Next Time: Metropolis needs a new savior and its about to get one times four. Not only that, but the Man of Tomorrow may not be entirely dead & gone. The famed Death & Return arc is ready to complete its two-film adaptation as various superpowered “S”-wearers collide in “Reign Of The Supermen”.
Superman (created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster) and all related characters are owned by DC Comics.