In 1992, I was a freshman in high school, and deep into comics… just not Superman. He was cheesy. He had a mullet for a while.
Image Comics probably topped my reading list that year, and a headline-grabbing “Death of an Icon” story line didn’t pull me back to the big blue boy scout. My memories of the Death of Superman comics were that my parents actually asked me about it. It must have made their nightly news. (I was reading X-Men at the time, so I told them not to worry. Nobody stays dead in comics.)
Consequently, most of my experience with the story comes from one-off issues in my collection and the previous animated film that tackled this plot, Superman: Doomsday. That film compressed the original story line quite a bit and left an opening to return to the source material for a new take on it.
The Death of Superman, Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment’s new telling of the 1992 story, is a compelling addition to the DC Animated Movie Universe. Sam Liu and James Tucker, working from a script by Peter J. Tomasi, reach back to the original plot while placing the film in this particular run of movie continuity. We have references to events from Teen Titans and previous JLA and Batman animated films. Lex wears an amazing disguise in direct nod to the 90s comics, and a wonderfully played line between Superman and Lois late in the film echoed Christopher Reeves and Margot Kidder.
Little flourishes like these helped build a trust with me that the people making this do know the character, and care about these stories. Liu and Tucker handled the action scenes quite well, with clear fight compositions and a comfortable level of detail across all elements of the scene. Rarely did a background piece feel like a 3D object from a computer. The result was a well-animated movie that was easy to follow and fun to watch (though even with my tastes, that was a LOT of blood in a couple of fights scenes. Wow…)
This film builds slightly further in the casual shared universe of DC Animated. Uniforms and state-of-affairs for the Justice Leaguers match from Throne of Atlantis and other previous films, and the voice cast continues as well. Jason O’Mara’s Batman, while not as menacing as the one I grew up with, is a good fit with the characterization here. Jerry O’Connell’s Superman/Clark Kent is sometimes too affable, almost so bumpkin as to seem like the Kents found him last week.
This feels in service toward the entire film’s development. The only thing that scares this Superman is the risk of trust, and the danger of losing loved ones. This pairs nicely with a story about the relationship Superman is beginning to enjoy with Metropolis. Themes of honesty, appearances, and trust abound, and are woven through some amazing fight scenes. I’m still not a fan of the current notched-collar outfit Supes wears, but in general I like this art style and I love these battles. I can accept accent piping for every seam of a super suit (and the Tron-like laser accents on everything else). Costumes aside, I come away from these movies wanting more time with these actors in these roles. Rosario Dawson, Rainn Wilson, Nathan Fillion… the cast is uniformly amazing. More, please.
Doomsday’s final battle with the Justice League, Lois, and Superman is heart-wrenching and brutal. Too often, Superman is used as a strange alien god brought in to finish the fights others can’t handle. Super-breath/punch/laser-eyes/whatever and you’re done. Here, he’s placed into a fight that builds across nearly half the movie, such that when he enters, you understand that he can be hurt by this creature.
And he is. Not to spoil anything, but the movie is called The Death of Superman.
I liked it quite a bit, having enjoyed most of the other recent DC animated movies from this cast and crew. It fits near the top of the WB/DC animated films. How much you enjoy it as a comics fan may rest on your feelings about the original storyline. I had a blast watching it and am ready for the sequel.
PS – Speaking of the sequel, watch all the stingers and see who we’ll meet in next year’s Reign of the Supermen…
Finally, the Cinderella story of the Richmond Greyhounds has come to an end.
We are now in a new season for the team, and they have started off on the wrong
foot. The team is broken up and Ted has his work cut out for him. The team goes
through a slump, and Ted is now doubting his coaching ability. Ted’s personal life
has also gotten out of control, and he discovers his ex-wife Michelle has started a relationship with their therapist. The wonderkid, Nathan Shelley, the former manager of West Ham has had a change of heart and leaves his job to be with his one true love, the waitress from his favorite restaurant.
She convinces him to return to the Richmond team he started out in and it’s quite evident that
everyone wants him back and held no hard feelings. All of Lawrence’s series he has worked on with others have just that right balance of slice-of-life drama with a little bit of ridiculous comedy that reality dishes us, normal folks, every day.
This all comes to a head in the potential series finale where Ted announced to
Rebecca that he will be returning to the States to his family after his mother tells
him that his son misses him. This puts the Richmond owner into quite a state of denial; doing everything from offering Ted the position of being the highest-paid coach in the league to selling the team after he leaves. The team is also affected by this decision as they perform a number from the musical The Sound of Music that is a more than touching farewell to this family.
This bleeds into their playing as in the final title match the first half is met with
bumbling and possible injuries to their star player Jamie.
After an energizing pep talk and a circle back to the first motivator in the
beginning, a sign Ted made up that said “BELIEVE”, the team dominate the second
half and win with a rousing closing scene that is reminiscent of any 80’s party
movie. It’s a fitting end for this pandemic darling that emotionally carried us through. It is
a must-see series even if you don’t like soccer (football).
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm