For all the talk of how the DC Cinematic Universe has a ways to go to catch up to their Marvel counterparts (and with Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the upcoming Shazam, they look to be on their way), the one place were DC has always held the upper hand is with their animated properties. Starting in the early 1990s with Batman: The Animated Series, fans have been given outstanding versions of DC’s incredible group of super heroes. The last twelve years have been especially rich, as the company has focused much of their animated entries to the home market. Since the arrival of The New 52, many of their releases have helped build a new Justice League series of films, designed for an older age range and built to develop character and stories.
Last year saw the release of The Death of Superman, which DC actually first animated back in 2007. However, this time out, the 80-minute film featured the core Justice League in supporting roles, and developed a strong backstory detailing the burgeoning relationship between Clark Kent and Lois Lane. While far from a straight adaptation of the classic 90s comic book event, this second animated interpretation was impressively strong, thanks to a great script from frequent Superman comic scribe, Peter J. Tomasi. This version also had the benefit of being the first of a two-part adaptation, giving the story much more room to breathe and develop, unlike the 2007 version, which had roughly 80 minutes to kill off and bring back the Man of Steel.
The second half of this retelling, Reign of the Supermen, arrives on Blu-ray this Tuesday. I went to a double feature screening of both The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen on Sunday, and I can tell you that together, these two films make for an exceptional viewing experience, especially on the big screen. While the animation may not be the stuff of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, it is still strong. The voice work from all involved works well, with a standout performance from Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor. DC animation has absolutely nailed this venerable storyline, and as long as you’re not a stickler for an exact retelling, DC fans will absolutely enjoy watching Superman’s greatest battle come to animated life.
You can catch The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen double feature this Monday, January 14th at participating Cineplex cinemas.
Reign of The Supermen arrives on Blu-ray and digital Tuesday, January 15th.