The Death of Superman shows the Man of Steel battling a rough, mean beast known as Doomsday in order to save the planet and a catastrophic cost. The film showcases Superman's more intimate relationships and develops the rest of the Justice League in an emotional way. This is, by far, the best adaptation of the comic series yet. The 4K UHD with HDR video presentation is a small improvement from the Blu-ray version, giving this 2D animated film a lot of scope, and the DTS-HD 5.1 mix hits all of the right notes. The extras are sparse but informative. Highly Recommended.
The world was rocked back in 1993 when DC Comics decided to kill off the biggest superhero of all time - Superman. This received universal attention in the media and caused a ton of speculation amongst fans as to what's next for Superman and DC Comics. Luckily for everyone, this came in a multi-part storyline, which saw the Man of Steel come back to fight. Since the comics debuted 25 years ago, we've seen many iterations of the original story with multiple comics, TV shows, and movies. Most recently, Batman v Superman tried to add this tragic occasion into their film, but it ultimately failed with audiences because it was just an added action sequence to an already packed and poorly made movie. A few years ago, we also received another animated movie called Superman: Doomsday, which was followed the Death of Superman but left out quite a bit of the development in characters. It wasn't well received.
Today, DC Comics has released yet another Death of Superman adaptation. This animated movie will be served in two parts with the second film releasing next year. I'm happy to say, though, that The Death of Superman follows the comics quite closely and is a tiny bit longer than the previous film, which gives us some more time with these characters so we really feel the loss of Superman. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this story, specifically for this film, we center on Superman as he's working with the Justice League on some business, while Lex Luthor is up to his devious ways. At some point, a meteor crashes down on Earth in the ocean and a giant beast emerges and starts killing anyone in his path. This beast makes his way to Metropolis. One of the side stories here is the loving relationship between Lois Lane and Supes, where Lois finally meets Superman's alter ego's parents, but realizes he is hiding a secret. Of course, that secret is that he's, in fact, Superman and not the bumbling reporter Clark Kent. This causes real strife between them at an inopportune time, as Superman has to go destroy this beast Lois Lane dubbed Doomsday.
The end result is a somber one; Earth's hope is killed and broadcast across the globe. People mourn, but I imagine the second half of this big movie will feature the return along with a few other Supermans in the mix. What this 2D animated does so well is connect you with Superman's personality and his close relationships, including Lois and his parents. Even Lex Luthor has some redeeming qualities. The film also shows how each superhero grieves differently with Superman's death, which is spot on.
The 2D animation evokes those older nostalgic cartoons from the late 1980s and early 1990s, and feels more like a real movie rather than some polished piece of 3D animation. It's a great throwback to our childhood, with some good voice work from Rainn Wilson, Jerry O'Connell, Rosario Dawson, Nathan Fillon, and Rebecca Romijn. These actors bring these superheroes to life and give them real emotions in this devastating time for the DCU. The Death of Superman is a great adaptation and perhaps the best one we have, to date, on the subject matter.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
The Death of Superman comes with a dual-layered UHD66 Disc and a Blu-ray Disc. There is an insert for a Digital copy too. The discs are housed in a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.
The Death of Superman comes to 4K with a 2160p UHD transfer and is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The HDR gives this movie a heightened color palette as well as more textures (compared to the Blu-ray). It's not a huge uptick, but it's noticeable. Superman's red cape and blue tights are more radiant and richer, even in darker tones in the animation. The luminous greens in Green Lantern's scenes or in the background trees are solid and bold. The many different blues from metropolis buildings all glow with a realistic shimmer and stand out in the nighttime sequences.
The HDR amplifies these primary colors a bit more so than the Blu-ray version that it distinguishes the browns, yellows, and reds in the apocalyptic action sequences better. The detail in the outlines of the characters, cracks in buildings, and animated glass shatter really showcase just how sharp the details are here. Additionally, you'll be able to make out the wording on liquor bottles at a bar and differentiate thousands of different people in crowded moments. Nothing bleeds into another, which gives the image a ton of depth. Black levels are deep and skin shading looks natural in this animated world. There were no noticeable issues with the picture, leaving this video presentation with great marks.
The Death of Superman comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and sounds good for an animated action film. A good deal of the audio mix takes place on the front speakers, but when the action kicks into high gear, the surrounds pick up the pace along with the rumbling bass. When Superman flies through the air in order to attack Doomsday, you'll hear a smooth transitional sound from speaker to speaker, while hearing the destruction and people yelling from down below. The directionality is also first-rate in these scenes as well.
Explosions and Superman's superhero sounds all back a good low end without trying to burst the speakers. Appropriate sound design for big crowds and large rooms, such as the Batcave, provide the necessary echoes and reverb. When there aren't buildings being crumbled or explosions rocking Metropolis, the dialogue clear and easy to follow along that is situated on the front speakers. There were no problems with pops, cracks, hiss, or shrills here either.
There aren't a ton of extras, but what's here is fun. There are two episodes from the 2006 TV series, Legion of Superheroes, here in their entirety along with interviews with cast, crew and more about the big fight scene, the comics, and the upcoming sequel. There are also a few trailers for other DC Comics titles.
The Death of Superman has been told many times since 1993. The comic books were iconic and rocked our real world when it was released. With many different version adapted for the big and small screens, I can say with full confidence that this Death of Superman movie is the best one so far. The 4K UHD video is a small upgrade from the Blu-ray version and the DTS-HD 5.1 mix does a great job with all of the action and quieter elements. The extras are lacking, however, you do get a good sneak peek at the sequel along with two vintage episodes in the DCU. Highly Recommended.