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SUPERMAN DOOMSDAY, 2007
Cast: Adam Baldwin, Anne Heche, James Marsters, John Di Maggio, Tom Kenny, Swoosie Kurtz, Cree Summer, Ray Wise, Adam Wylie, Chris Cox
When LexCorps accidentally unleash a murderous creature, Doomsday, Superman meets his greatest challenge as a champion. Based on the "The Death of Superman" storyline that appeared in DC Comics' publications in the 1990s.
Release Date: 18 September 2007 (USA)
WOW! That skirt on Lois Lane sure is short. That newspaper reporter sure isn't afraid to show off some leg. Perhaps that why she is so good at her job and has a lot of sources. And she's doing Superman in the movie too! This is not the cartoon Superman that I grew up with.
I am not what you consider a fanboy or a fan of superhero films. I respect and like them, but I'm far from an expert. In fact, if you asked me 4 years ago to name 10 superhero characters I wouldn't of been able to do it. Back then I knew Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, that's it! I grew up playing sports and never got into the comic book universe. Then in late 2007, when we were working on the early stages of this website, I realized that I was definitely missing out on this huge trend that was hitting the western world in droves. Yes, comic book have been around since the beginning of the 20th century, but it was considered a fringe hobby. Because of many reasons: marketing, society needing heroes who were NOT steroid induced athletes or drug addicted celebrities, the terrific execution of comics to movies using universal themes so the average viewer could relate, Hollywood's realization that these fanboys sure know how to spend a lot of money and like to go to see the film more than once!!!! - are probably the biggest reasons. All I know that there was this perfect storm fascination with superheroes and I need to understand what was going on.
Which leads me to my latest viewing experience: Superman Doomsday
I have to say that I liked this story a lot. In fact, if they took this script and made it into a live-action movie, I would bet a large sum of money that it would be a huge success. Fanboys at times forget that it's people like me, your average viewer, who make or break at comic book movie. The fanboys will go see a certain superhero film, more than once most of the time, but it takes the rest of the world to make it a hit. That's the difference between being a cult product and a mainstream product. But Superman Doomsday isn't a live-action film and their job is to please it's cult audience because they are the ones who are going to see it. Not Jim and Darlene from down the street who have that tiny dog and young daughter. Those people are going to see The Dark Knight or Iron Man 2 on their Friday night date night while the babysitter takes care of their kids. There is no chance in hell, no matter if they put in $50 million in marketing, that they are going to see a cartoon Superman movie. Those are just the facts.
So, I admit, I'm not watching or reviewing this film in a proper fashion. I am not the audience that this film was made for so I am watching it with a completely different set of eyes. That's probably why I'm one of the few people who likes Superman Doomsday. It's because I was shocked how good the story was and how mature it was. I wasn't expecting a scene, like the one 5 minutes into the film, of Lois Lane approaching Superman in a skippy towel ready for another round of lovemaking.
This film was made for the fanboys. The ones who watched all of the Superman animated tv series. The adults who still watch cartoons and who demanded more mature storylines and got it in finally in the 1990s. Researching more recent animated tv series, I caught on quickly how the creators are attempting (sometimes failing) at making their shows adult while also making sure that kids can still watch it too, because if you lose the kids you don't have a show. There are just so many adult comic book fans out there. The ones who are think there are a lot of them because that's who you spend most of your time with. But take a stroll down the street or in a shopping mall and you'll realize how few there are of you. In the case of Superman Doomsday, there is never a mention of a sexual relationship between Superman and Lois, only blatant references that adults will get right away but kids won't because they aren't even at that age where sex is in their thoughts. That magic formula of being there for the adults and the kids at the same time.
Talking to my fellow fanboy friends about this film, I was shocked how most, if not all, of them were disappointed with it. "It wasn't an extention of the tv series." or "They really didn't execute the original comic book story properly." or "There wasn't enough action." or "There was too much action and not enough character develop." were comments that kept popping up during the conversations.
If you talk to fanboys, you'll realize that there are a lot of haters out there and that a lot of them won't be impressed no matter what. It's like it's their jobs in life to critique all comic book movies and tv shows and make sure people know that it could of been better. I joked with one friend that if say Christopher Nolan went to heaven and asked God if he could borrow Heath Ledger for 5 months to reprise his role as the Joker, and God said yes, and Heath Ledger hit the role out of the park once again and the 3rd Batman film was even better than The Dark Knight, there would still be some fanboys on the internet forums complaining about it. It's the way it is!
So I liked Superman Doomsday, bottom line. It was entertaining, it was sexy, it was exciting and it had a strong storyline. Yes, I kind of saw the entire setup and climax coming a mile away, but think about every other superhero movie and you can kind of figure things out easily too. That's really not the point.
I did listen to the director's commentary and it was a very interesting listen. In these types of low budget animation movies, they don't have close to the amount of resources, time and money as say a Dreamworks Shrek film does, so they have to divide and concur and work on many aspects of the film at the same time. In the case of Superman Doomsday, they actually had 4 directors. A director for the 1st act, a director for the 2nd act, a director for the 3rd act, and a voice over director who worked with the actors. Then worked on their roles at the same time, then put it all together in a 3 week span with the main editor.
This type of teamwork filmmaking is something we'll probably be seeing more of in the future. They do things like this on television all of the time as they are constantly working on many episodes simultaneously. But I never heard of this format when making a movie. Any filmmaker should get the DVD of this film and listen to the commentary as there was a lot to learn.
So good job Superman animation team. Your core audience didn't like it that much but I did. Perhaps one day these types of movies will also have mainstream appeal.