Sunday, July 14, 2013

Superheroes 2.4 Superman (Part 1 addendum)

Superman Unbound (2013)

So, tacking this between this and this.

This is the latest DC animated flick to come out post-Dark Knight Returns.
Finally got around to seeing it.

I liked it....but with reservations, like "Man Of Steel".

The pros.
  • Animation is great.
  • Great character meat between Lois and Supes, Supes and Supergirl, and Lois and Supergirl.
  • The three lead good guys are pitch perfect in both in writing and performance, their scenes truly are a delight.

The cons.
  • Brainiac is a cardboard mustache twirler. I mean, yeah, he's an emotionless cyborg, and yet...he's not...he's got hate, contempt...that's enough to give us some depth, let us see what he's about, instead of this stock comic-booky "Muahahahaaa! I'm so evil, let me show you how evil I am!", horseshit. They had meaty stuff for the good guys, why raise my expectations there to let me down with the bad guy?
  • The violence and profanity was a bit high for an animated thing. It doesn't bother me personally, I'm a solid clump of anti-censorship sentiment, but...who are they marketing this to? The basic plot is stock comic book stuff, it's no DKR, you could have trimmed the gore, and been able to sell it to kids. If they want to scare off kids, then who is this for? Teen fanboys? Maybe. Adult fans like me? Well, then give me more adult stuff with the character development. They just took a standard Superman comic book plot, and threw Lois flipping double birds, Superman going "go to Hell", and a bunch of needless head-crushings in there. The tone confused me. 

The nitpicky.
  • Took me awhile to get used to Lois's character design in this. Her face and hairdo looked harsh, she resembled Ursa (from Superman 2) more than Lois. But, maybe that's just me.
  • I can't really dissect this too much without giving away spoilers, but the moral message to this was all over the place. It seemed to want to say something about too much control, and they mirrored the control Supes/Clark was having over his relationship with Lois, and the control Brainiac exerted over the planets he conquered, and the cities he bottled up....but, it was very inconsistent. Hey, if control is bad, and anathema to the evolution of life, you might wanna consider quitting the superhero business, Clark. 
  • Maybe this is just me, but it felt like in the end that Brainiac was a strawman for introvert geeks (which further confuses me as to who the audience for this is). 
  • This bit got under my skin from a character perspective, and, sorry, spoilers ahead, it seemed in the very-very end, Brainiac had some kind of mental illness. Like a super-duper-duper agoraphobia. He had the sensory overload thing that young Clark had in "Man Of Steel", but Brainiac lost the fight, and went nuts. If Brainiac is nuts, wouldn't/shouldn't Superman HELP him? If he's nuts, he can't help it. If you can fix him, he can be redeemed. Nope, Superman in this lets him fry, and gloats over him. Maybe Superman made the calculation that Brainiac to too dangerous to leave alive, but if so, let's see some fucking regret. It's fucking Superman, not Punisher. 
  • It really is a shame they had that out of character moment there, because, as said in pros, all the characters were dead-on up until then.
  • All of the above is what makes me suspect that it's a strawman for geeks. It's not Superman talking, it's the writer with his prejudices. 

So...overall...I dunno how to rate it.

It's certainly MILES better than "Superman: Brainiac Attacks".
Stayed with me better than "Superman vs. The Elite".
Not quite as good as "All-Star Superman".
The good character meat scenes are actually better than "Man Of Steel", IMHO.
But yeah, the ending, and moral, and drab villain drag it down pretty hard.

Good rental, wouldn't buy it.
Your mileage may vary.

Up next for DC animated, "The Flashpoint Paradox".
That's gonna be a Justice League thing, and have Kevin Conroy.
If that can reach the standard of "Crisis On Two Earths", and "Doom", I'll be a happy camper.


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