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Superman: Doomsday

Superman:Doomsday, starring Adam Baldwin, Anne HecheMovie review of ‘Superman:Doomsday’, the direct to DVD animation of the story arc from DC comics where Superman faces an unstoppable creature – Doomsday.  And how he lays his own life on the line to stop it.  And how the world deals with the loss of Superman.

Superman: Doomsday, starring Adam Baldwin, Anne Heche, James Marsters

buy-from-amazon  “Superman and Lois Lane spend a lot of time making out.” That’s my nine-year-old son’s summary of Superman: Doomsday. While it’s not totally accurate, it’s not totally wrong, either.   The movie begins with Superman romancing Lois Lane ‘€˜discreetly’, with them escaping to Superman’s Fortress of Solitude in the Arctic.   Lois is bemoaning the fact that he won’t openly date her, which Superman explains as being necessary to protect her.   Lois replies that every tabloid in Metropolis has already printed news of their ‘€˜secret’ romance, and complains that he’s afraid of commitment. As proof, she points out that he won’t confirm his civilian identity of Clark Kent, which she has deduced.

Superman battles Doomsday - to the deathThe lovers’ quarrel is cut short, however, by the announcement of a humanoid monster attacking Metropolis – the Doomsday of the title, a biological alien weapon that’s apparently unstoppable, which has been unintentionally released by a LexCorp research team, which is then slaughtered by Doomsday.   Superman fights Doomsday to the death – literally, stopping the monster only to die in Lois Lane’s arms moments later.

The world mourns the loss of its’ greatest hero in different ways – Perry White takes to alcohol, Jimmy Olson begins working at a sleazy tabloid magazine, and Lois tries to bury herself in her work.   When the Toyman attacks a busload of school children, Lois decides to try to come to the rescue, only to be nearly killed – except for the timely interventions of … Superman?

This Superman has no explanation for his mysterious resurrection, and appears to suffer from a memory problem.  He doesn’t remember where Lois lives and is startled when she kisses him.   In addition, he behaves in a way that the original Superman wouldn’t have.  Upon learning that the Toyman murdered a four-year-old child, he takes the Toyman from police custody, flies him high above the city, and drops him to his death.

Lex Luthor 'disciplining' the Superman cloneThe mystery is soon revealed – Lex Luthor has managed to clone the original Man of Steel, and the clone has all of Superman’s abilities, but none of his memories …  Or the moral compass installed by the real Superman’s foster parents, Jonathon and Martha Kent.   In the meantime, the original Superman’s corpse has vanished — courtesy of one of Superman’s robotic servants from the Fortress of Solitude.  Having discovered that Superman isn’t dead after all, but comatose, the robot has taken the him to the Fortress of Solitude, in order to revive him.

Superman (in black) fights his cloneThe remainder of the movie is rather predictable, as the clone becomes more and more of a loose cannon, committing multiple murders, while Superman recovers, and has a climatic battle with the clone, which the weakened Superman only wins due to the intervention of Lois and Jimmy.   The movie ends with the clone dead, and Superman taking a shower in Lois’ apartment, where he finally reveals his identity as Clark Kent to her.

Frankly, I have to agree with my nine-year-old son.   The movie failed for me on multiple levels.   Other reviewers have praised it for “raising the bar” of realism in comic book characters in the animated by having the characters utter swear words, make it obvious that Lois and Clark are having sexual relations outside of marriage, and having dozens of innocent civilians being killed during the fight with Doomsday.

They’re totally wrong; here’s why.

During the fight with Doomsday, Superman makes no effort to move the fight to a less-populated area.   That’s totally out of character for the Man of Steel.   Innocent civilians are his first priority.   Time and again throughout the movie, the characters from the Superman mythos act totally out of character, which serves to destroy the “suspension of disbelief” that’s essential to making a superhero movie, especially an animated one, work.   Adding foul language doesn’t make the film ‘€˜adult’ any more than having Hannah Montana suddenly develop a potty mouth turn that TV show into “cutting edge” television.   It distracts, rather than enhances, the film.   Superman is the ultimate “boy scout” – and this film totally ignores that.

movie quotes from Superman: Doomsday

[first lines]
Lex Luthor (James Marsters): Just look at him. So sleek. So powerful. So … beautiful, like some great golden god made flesh. Of course, any sensible god would demand absolute obedience in return for his favor. But, no, our Man of Steel protects us, with no strings attached. The people? Hmph. They practically worship him anyway. Enjoy your reign while you may, Superman. For surely as night follows day, there comes a time when even gods must die.

Superman (Adam Baldwin): I haven’t told you my identity for the same reason we haven’t gone public with our relationship. Why we come here to be alone.
Lois Lane (Anne Heche): Well, try reading a gossip column. Practically all of Metropolis thinks we’re dating anyway. You’re clinging to keep one last part of you separate from us. And the only reason that I can fathom is that for an alien, you’ve developed a very human —  very male fear of commitment. We’ve been together for six months. It would be nice to start calling you something other than Superman!
robot (Tom Kenny): He also goes by Kal-El.
Lois Lane (Anne Heche): Shut up!

Lois Lane (Anne Heche): Look, I know who you are. Why can’t you just tell me?
Superman (Adam Baldwin): Lois, I care about you more than anyone else on Earth. To reveal my secret identity would compromise your safety.
Lois Lane (Anne Heche): Please. My safety was compromised the moment I met you. How many times have you had to rescue me? Rhetorical.

Superman (Adam Baldwin): The Antarctic camouflages Kryptonian crystal tech far better than cacti, but next time you catch a chill, give me a holler. I’ll warm you.
Lois Lane (Anne Heche): You wouldn’t use your heat vision on me, would you, Superman?
Superman (Adam Baldwin): No, just the x-ray.
Lois Lane (Anne Heche): You’re bad!

Lois Lane (Anne Heche): Come on!
Jimmy Olsen (Adam Wylie): Uh … I’ll wait here.
Lois Lane (Anne Heche): Oh, for God sake! Don’t be such a girl!

Superman (Adam Baldwin): They say I’m brave, but I’m bulletproof. Ordinary men and women who put their lives on the line, they’re the real heroes.

Grumpy Man: Yeah, like we really needed him to bust up the mechanical spider, right? Lame!

Lex Luthor (James Marsters): Oh, hell.

robot (Tom Kenny): The subject in question was biologically engineered to be the ultimate soldier. Precise, clinical, unstoppable. But its creators came to realize, could not distinguish between friend and foe. Thus, this doomsday machine lives to extinguish any and all life forms, because it must.

[Superman has just defeated Doomsday]
Superman (Adam Baldwin): Is everyone…?
Lois Lane (Anne Heche): [starts to cry] You did it, Superman. We’re safe. All of us.
Superman (Adam Baldwin): Good. That’s … that’s all that … matters.

Newscaster: Today, Superman’s funeral was viewed by hundreds of millions worldwide. Not since President Kennedy died has our nation so collectively mourned. Yet is the people of Metropolis who are feeling the loss most as we know him best. So let us take a brief moment to celebrate his time with us.
Little Boy on TV: Last year for Halloween, I dressed like Superman. Now I’m gonna do it every year for the rest of my life.
Man on TV: I was installing a satellite dish when I slipped off the roof, three stories. I should have been a goner. But out of nowhere everyone’s guardian angel was suddenly mine too.

Martha Kent (Swoosie Kurtz): My son talks about you quite often.
Lois Lane (Anne Heche): He’s the reason I came to see you.
Martha Kent (Swoosie Kurtz): Has there been word from Afghanistan? I’ve been so worried.
Lois Lane (Anne Heche): Mrs. Kent, you know as well as I do that your son died in Metropolis last week. Look, I’m not here as a reporter. I …
Martha Kent (Swoosie Kurtz): Then why are you here, Miss Lane?
Lois Lane (Anne Heche): I don’t know exactly. Maybe it’s just … I don’t know if he told you but we have been seeing each other for the past few months, romantically, I mean. And I know the rest of the world adored him and misses him now that he’s gone, but no one else on this whole stupid planet can know what it felt like to really love him, to be loved by him or how it feels now every minute of every day, like I’m broken. Like I’m the one that freaking monster pounded on.

Lex Luthor (James Marsters): My rumpus room also comes equipped with red solar lamps and, of course, kryptonite. Red and green, the colors of Christmas. And you are on the naughty list!

Jimmy Olsen (Adam Wylie): So you were right. The Superman who returned …
Lois Lane (Anne Heche): A clone, a fake.
Jimmy Olsen (Adam Wylie): Which means the real Superman really is …
Lex Luthor (James Marsters): Yes, Jimmy. Dead. Just as you and Ms. Lane are about to be. Because, after all, there is no Superman to save you.

Lex Luthor (James Marsters): [to Dark Superman] Remember, I brought you into this world. I can take you out of it.

Lex Luthor (James Marsters): Speaking of which, you did see if that little mess was cleaned up?
Mercy Graves (Cree Summer): LexCorp was never there.
Lex Luthor (James Marsters): [shoots Mercy] And neither were you.

[Dark Superman flies off with Toyman]
Toyman (John Di Maggio): I have rights. I have nothing to say to you.
Dark Superman (Adam Baldwin): How about goodbye?
[drops Toyman]

Lois Lane (Anne Heche): Ever consider the big ‘S’ € may not be what he seems?
Jimmy Olsen (Adam Wylie): He wears red and blue, flies, crime rate’s plummeted since he’s risen from the grave. Gosh, you think he’s a zombie?
Lois Lane (Anne Heche): I’m not sure what he is.

Dark Superman (Adam Baldwin): You know, Metropolis is doing just fine without you.
Superman (Adam Baldwin): I’m not sure I approve of your methods.
Dark Superman (Adam Baldwin): I’m not asking for your approval. Get this straight, you’re not needed here. Metropolis is under my protection, now and forever.
Superman (Adam Baldwin): Over my dead body.

[the real Superman, dressed in black, is fighting against his clone]
Daily Planet Employee: Who’s the guy in black?
Perry White (Ray Wise): Who cares? He’s kicking Superman’s ass!
[the others stare at him]

Jimmy Olsen (Adam Wylie): [snapping shots of the battle of the two Supermen] This is starting to look familiar.
Lois Lane (Anne Heche): Yeah. Only I’m in no mood for another funeral.

Dark Superman (Adam Baldwin): You’re out of shape.
Superman (Adam Baldwin): Do tell.

[Dark Superman is dying]
Dark Superman (Adam Baldwin): Protect … the people …
Superman (Adam Baldwin): It’s why I’m here.

Superman (Adam Baldwin): [reading Lois’ latest article] There’s only one ‘S’ € in resurrect.
Lois Lane (Anne Heche): I didn’t know editing was one of your superpowers.
Superman (Adam Baldwin): Well, no, but I was spelling bee champ of Smallville Elementary.
[Lois gasps and looks back to find Superman wearing Clark Kent’s glasses]
Lois Lane (Anne Heche): Clark!
[runs and jumps into his arms]
Lois Lane (Anne Heche): Don’t forget to call your mother.
[they kiss]

[last lines]
Lex Luthor (James Marsters): If history has determined that gods can die, it is also proven that they may return from the dead. It would seem you cannot be destroyed after all, Superman. It would seem.
[Luthor smiles]

Trivia for Superman/Doomsday

  • Superman: Doomsday is the first animated Superman project to be rated PG-13.
  • The character of Mercy, Lex Luthor’s assistant, originally appeared in the “Adventures of Superman” series in the 90’s as Luthor’s Chaffuer/Bodyguard. In this film, she’s his corporate assistant.
  • Superman’s black suit, and longer hair when he came back to fight the Dark Superman is one of the few things to match up with the comics.
  • While on the roof of the Daily Planet, Lois tells Jimmy as she starts up the helicopter, that she was an “air force brat”.  In the comics, however, her father, General Sam Lane, was in the army.
  • In the Fortress of Solitude various items can be seen from past Superman cartoons. Some of these include Supermans’ Space Suit and Rocket from The Adventures of Superman Cartoon from the 90’s. Others are from the Fleischer Superman cartoons of the 40’s including the Bullet Car from Bulleteers and one of the Robots from The Mechanical Monsters. The Bottled City of Kandor can be seen as well.

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