Review: All Star Superman

Posted: February 23, 2011 by Tony Polanco in REVIEWS

Back in the fall of 2005, DC comics began to release the future classic “All Star Superman” comic books.  The series was written by the talented (and demented) Grant Morrison and drawn by one of the most unique comic book artists out there, Frank Quietly.  The twelve issue series was pretty much a modern take on the Superman from the 1950s and 60s.  Years of baggage were dropped in order to tell a very concise story about Superman’s final days. This series now has the honor of having been turned into yet another fantastic direct to dvd film from DC and Warner Bros.  Behold…All Star Superman: The film!  How does it hold up as its own movie and how does it compare to the original comic books?  Read on to find out.

The film begins exactly as the comic book did.  Dr. Leo Quintum and his team are about to make the first manned mission to the Sun a reality when Lex Luthor, Superman’s most famous and dangerous villian, sabotages things and it’s up to Superman to save the day.  Superman is successful at rescuing the scientists but at a heavy price.  His cells have become over-saturated by the radiation from the sun.  Supes has gained more incredible powers but he is slowly dying.  The rest of the film deals with Superman trying to tie up the loose ends of his life before he dies.  Just like the comic books, the journey that the Man of Steel takes is heart warming, exhilarating and bitter sweet.

A lot of people do not like Superman as a character because they feel that he is too much of a goody two shoes or a boy scout.  They prefer darker or emotionally broken heroes like Batman or Spider-Man.  What makes Superman so interesting is that he is a pure hero.  He doesn’t do what he does out of some deep desire for revenge or to make up for past failures, he does what he does because it’s the right thing to do and I admire that.  This film shows off Superman as he would be.  Calm and collected.  If you had the power to move planets would you really need to be all macho to prove how strong you are?  Of course not.  Superman even speaks in a very calm manner which I really liked.  Kudos to James Denton for his protrayal of Krypton’s last son.

Despite the fact that the movie is about a dying Superman, it has a really quirky and fantastical tone to it.  This is based off of a Grant Morrison story after all so you would expect it to be really out there at times.  Some of the pseudo science is pretty wacky but Superman’s world is pretty strange to begin with after all.  This is also because Morrison tried to capture the spirit of the silver age comics where everything was possible and anything could and usually did happen.  That sense of raw imagination abounds in both the All Star Superman comic books and film.

The only real qualm I had with the movie was that sometimes it felt too condensed.  They did a good job of putting in the most important elements and story lines from the twelve issue series but even to a person who has read the original source material, it felt like events where too crammed in at times and felt like there wasn’t enough time for certain situations to breathe and play out further.  There is still a solid story at the heart of the movie but if you are not versed in Superman lore or have not read the All Star Superman books, I could see some confusion arising.

All Star Superman is a great portrayal of the character.  The movie shows Superman as extremely admirable and endearing.  Unless your heart is made of Kryptonite like Metallo, you will love the Man of Steel after watching this flick. Also it would be a crime if I did not recommend that anyone who likes this movie go out and pick up the original All Star Superman comic books.  The two volumes are available as graphic novels or you can get the fancy Absolute version which has the two graphic novels in one over sized book.

Liked:

  • Art style is a very good representation of Frank Quietly’s
  • Excellent voice acting by the entire cast
  • Faithful to the original comic books

Disliked:

  • Sometimes felt too condensed
  • Movie could have been a bit longer

All Star Superman was produced by Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett & Sam Register. It was written by Dwayne McDuffie (R.I.P) and based off the original All Star Superman comic books which were created by Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly and published by DC comics. The animation was done by Warner Bros Animation and was distributed by Warner Home Video. It is available now on DVD and Blu-ray for $24.99 if you get the Dvd/Blu-ray combo. The screenshots used were taken from Blu-ray.com.

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