Superman: Man of Tomorrow is the latest DC animated film—the 39th in DC’s ongoing series that started in 2007. Many have been adaptations of pre-existing graphic novels, although this one only has a tangential relationship to one. So far, Superman: Red Son is my favourite of the Superman films. This one is an origin story of sorts that takes some aspects from Superman: American Alien, the mini-series from the disgraced son 0f John Landis, Max Landis—although he does not get a credit on it. It’s a bit of a step down from Red Son, but it’s an interesting take on the origin story of Superman (which is the most interesting part of the whole Superman story).
The basic story here is that Clark Kent is sort of an intern at the Daily Planet, and Lois Lane is a grad student moonlighting as a reporter who exposes Lex Luthor as a fraud. Kent isn’t even quite Superman at this point—he’s still learning to deal with his superpowers and has not revealed himself to the world yet. Obviously, somewhere along the way he does.
The two main bad guys are a Czarnian bounty hunter called Lobo, who is after the last Kryptonian—which is, of course, Superman—and another alien called The Parasite. The Parasite is also Lex Luthor’s janitor, Rudy Jones—Jones was infected by this alien thing, becoming The Parasite. He is accidentally created during the first battle between Superman and Lobo, and is capable of sucking the life out of anything he comes in contact with. At one point Superman teams up with the Martian Manhunter.
Darren Criss voices Superman, and Zachary Quinto plays Lex Luthor. The animation style looks a lot like the cartoon series Archer. As always with DC’s animated films, it falls into superheroes fighting alien monsters and giant super-villains, becoming increasingly tiresome. That said, it has some interesting stuff on xenophobia—can Superman reveal himself to the world. Or will they be too scared of him? Those are always the interesting questions around his character.
It’s about 20 minutes too long—the bonus with these DC animated features is they are usually around 75 to 80 minutes tops, but this one just goes on too long. The voice acting is fine, but after Red Son it’s really a step down.
The disc includes two featurettes, one about the character of Lobo and one about the Martian Manhunter, plus a sneak peek at the next animated movie—Batman: Soul of the Dragon. Several trailers and other previews are included, plus various episodes of Superman: The Animated Series series from the DC vault. The show hasn’t got the restored treatment like the far superior Batman: The Animated Series so they look a little rough around the edges.
SUPERMAN: MAN OF TOMORROW AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL NOW AND ON DVD, BLU-RAY™ & LIMITED-EDITION BLU-RAY™ WITH MINI-FIGURE SEPTEMBER 7TH