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Superman: Doomsday

Movie 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 HecheJames Marsters

 “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. She 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’s final battle

Superman battles Doomsday - to the death

The 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. It’s 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?

Return 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. He then flies him high above the city, and drops him to his death.

Lex Luthor 'disciplining' the Superman clone

The 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, to revive him.

Predictable

Superman (in black) fights his clone

The remainder of the movie is rather predictable. The clone becomes more and more of a loose cannon, committing multiple murders. Meanwhiile 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. This 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.

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