Starring: Darren Criss, Zachary Quinto, Ike Amadi, Alexandra Daddario, Brett Dalton, Eugene Byrd, Ryan Hurst
Written By: Tim Sheridan
Directed By: Chris Palmer
Studio: Warner Bros. Animation
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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of this Blu-ray set that I reviewed in this post. The opinions I share are my own.
“Superman: Man of Tomorrow” is a fresh new look at the Man of Steel circa year one where the world doesn’t know of the existence of aliens outside of their normal realm of thinking.
With Clark Kent newly arrived in Metropolis and serving coffee as an intern at the Daily Planet, he is working a rocket launch funded by Lex Luthor and meets Lois Lane as the freshly minted journalism grad takes down Luthor with a recording of his scandalous plans. When things go wrong Clark sans costume saves the day and is dubbed the flying man. People are curious of the flying man with some thinking he’s simply gained superpowers as others around the world have been rumored to have or if he’s some kind of alien. The arrival of Lobo seeking to claim the bounty on the Last Kryptonian and the appearance of the Martian Manhunter to help Clark against the Main Man not only brings about the arrival of Superman but also the dawn of the alien age.
During Clark and Lobo’s battle, an experimental weapon goes off unexpectedly causing the materials to bond with an unsuspecting janitor thus forming the creature known as Parasite. Seeking energy, the creature starts rampaging throughout the city. Clark, now donning the Superman outfit for the first time, teams with the Martian Manhunter to take down Parasite but the creature is too strong and leaches energy from Superman and the Martian Manhunter gaining their powers and apparently killing the Martian Manhunter in a ball of flame. Weakened, Superman seeks refuge and with the help of a story-stealing Lois Lane, asks Lex Luthor for help.
Luthor, currently serving a fifteen year prison sentence, decides to help the Man of Steel but does it his way. With the help of his new employee Lobo, the three of them set out to defeat Parasite who has grown ten times his original size and threatens to leech the energy from Metropolis’ power plant. As Superman and Lobo try and fail to take down Parasite due to the fact that the effect of gaining one’s powers and weaknesses is temporary, Superman lets Parasite steel his powers once more in order to regain his weakness of Kryptonite. With Lobo in pieces due to his vest of bombs and Superman drained of his powers, Lex takes the opportunity to try and take out Parasite and Superman in one fell swoop with his Kryptonite amplification gun. Unbeknownst to everyone, the Martian Manhunter is still alive and stops Luthor.
Angered, Parasite looks to destroy the power plant and the puny humans that stand before him. Superman asks Parasite to look deep inside himself and ask himself what his human side Rudy Jones would do. He asks him to do the right thing. With the crowd restless and uneasy, they attack Parasite with debris, further agitating the beast but suddenly the power plant starts to glow and hum with power. Parasite turns towards the plant and, with his last ounce of strength, absorbs the excessive energy turning the creature into dust.
Superman, the Martian Manhunter and Lobo agree to a truce and go their separate ways, but the world has had their eyes opened to the coming of the aliens from other worlds that live among us.
With the DC Animated Universe and their continuous stories coming to an end, “Superman: Man of Tomorrow” is the first Trinity story told after the fact and is a fresh new take and new look at Superman in the vein of “Batman: Year One”. Superman is so fresh-faced that he doesn’t have that name or his costume and has yet to encounter any big bads. Throwing in Parasite as an introductory villain worked out in regards to the ease of introducing him and he’s known to come back from even the most definite of deaths. I found the introduction of Lobo kind of strange as he ushered in the arrival of aliens in the people’s eyes but it made sense to force Superman to find out who he really is after it was forced upon him, and those two have some comic book history as well. It was a welcomed surprise to add in the Martian Manhunter as a foil to Lobo and his blunt ways.
The animation was much different than any of the other DC animated features where they went with a much more comic book style look with hard ink lines and a bright color palette. It was somewhat reminiscent to “Justice League: The New Frontier” in some ways and I liked the change of pace.
I’m not sure if this movie is the possible launch of a new DC Animated Universe or just the first in a series of self-contained Superman animated movies but I think that it works well either way. I was somewhat skeptical and anxious about what was next after the end of the continuous animated movies but “Superman: Man of Tomorrow” was much better than expected and fits right in with the other standalone excerpts from Warner Bros. animated DC films.
• Lobo-Natural Force of Chaos
• Martian Manhunter-Lost and Found
• A Sneak Peek at the Next Animated DC Universe Movie “Batman: Soul of the Dragon”
• Plus: From the DC Vault: 2 Bonus Cartoons
DTS-HD Master Audio English 5.1 Dolby Digital: French and Spanish
English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles
Blu-ray Feature: 1080p High Definition 16×9 1.78:1
Bottom Line: “Superman: Man of Tomorrow” may or may not be a jumping point for a fresh animated universe but as a standalone movie it surprises you with its unique animation style, excellent writing and superb voice cast. And we got Lobo and the Martian Manhunter in the same movie! Bonus!!!
Running Time: 86 Mins