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The Death Of Superman – Limited Edition Gift Set (Blu-ray Review)

The next film in the wonderful DCAU canon is The Death of Superman. Yes, you heard that correctly. We all know that 11 years ago they did this story with Superman: Doomsday. But, that was now over a decade ago, and now they want to do it with their current Justice League DCAU canon. Also, they aren’t cramming the whole thing into one and out to prove these things matter. That Superman Doomsday is the film that laregely got us where we are with the DCAU. This new version solely focuses on the Death portion with Reign of the Supermen to follow. You can pick this one up on August 7th, and there are different limited edition versions going around through specific retailers and the like. This review will cover the set that includes the battered and beaten Superman figurine. 

Film 

Superman and the rest of the Justice League unite to battle a hulking monster named Doomsday — but it’s ultimately up to the Man of Steel to save the day as the two titans square off in the heart of Metropolis. As he juggles with revealing his secret identity to Lois Lane, Superman must ultimately choose the suddenly endangered world over his own personal life.

It feels like its been awhile since we were in the Justice League DCAU canon. There have been a lot of Batman-centric one-off elseworld stories (Ninja, Gaslight & the Batman: TAS Harley Quinn movie). But we are back with Jerry O’Connell’s Superman in the swan song tale. And honestly, I’m guilty of poking fun at the DCAU essentially telling this story again, but I was sucked in and it wound up being worth it. They are actually going to span this Death of Superman thing over a couple of films to his Rebirth.

One element that is different this time is that they have not only modernized the story, but they added in the Justice League to up the stakes. But, what’s great is not just the fight scenes, but a terrific boardroom meeting with them that winds up in some wonderful humor. Wonder Woman even makes a fantastic meta-jab over at Batman that I’m not going spoil here but it got a loud chuckle from me. Seeing these characters banter like this is essentially what we love more than the action. Its what Marvel gets right in their live action movies. Its what DCAU and DCTV has been on the money with as well. And Justice League…kinda sorta felt like it was “looking into it”.

Impressively, this film is a longer Act I and a humongous fight sequence for the majority of the rest of the film. There’s a subplot with Clark Kent struggling to finally tell Lois Lane his secret identity, but while that is going on, the Justice League is trying to take out Doomsday on their own before Superman has to go it alone once they have all fallen. There is also a nice performance here by Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor, who has his own agenda in fighting Doomsday, that makes me hope we get to see more of him soon. None of the fighting feels repetitive and none of th heroes feel like they are favored or get the short end of the stick. Its really well done.

I’ll eat crow. The Death of Superman was worth retelling the Doomsday story for the animated universe. Hell, it works so much better than Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. They even unforcefully planted seeds for the next part of the story, “Reign of the Supermen” so it doesn’t have to crowd that film. Like always, the DCAU is going strong, lets hope the live action ones have turned that corner and are able to get on a similar track (And that audiences are still trusting).

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The Death of Superman arrives on Blu-ray with a rock solid, par for the course picture quality that holds up with all the other films. Its been awhile since a film in the current Justice League canon has been released, but this picks up and look just like the rest of them. It features a good, crisp picture, with strong details and good attention on the color.

Depth:  This is a mainly 2D film, but we get some cool three dimensional moments like a bridge under attack and some groovy space shots. Movements are pretty smooth with no real distortion issues. Some of the more choppy motions I think are just how they wanted it animated to be honest.

Black Levels: Blacks are kinda deep, but with a little hint of graying to them. No crushing was witnessed on this viewing.

Color Reproduction: Colors prove strong and the palette is no different than that of a Justice League: War or similar DCAU movies. They pop when appropriate, but keep a bold, strong appeal throughout. Red and greenare colors that stuck out a little better than others.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, German 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Castilian) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Latin American) 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, German SDH, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish

Dynamics: The Death of Superman comes rolling in with a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track that does the trick overall. The volume here is set lower than usual. You’ll notice the second you watch a bonus feature and jolt in your seat a bit. Yes, you’ll have to dial it up, but once you do, this one is pretty solid. There are some good dynamics on display and a nice blend in this balanced mix.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer delivers some light booms, but is pretty satisfactory overall, especially during the carnage ridden fight that takes up much on the runtime.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is mostly a front heavy track, though the battle at the end proves to use the rear speakers to help fill the metropolitan arena of citywide destruction. Volume placement and movements are tracked pretty accurately.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras 

The Death Of Superman – Limited Edition Gift Set comes with the DVD edition, a digital copy and a figurine of the battle-worn Superman.

A Sneak Peak at DC Universe’s Next Animated Movie, “Reign of the Supermen” (HD, 9:33) – Cast and crew give a little bit about this movie, but look forward at the comic arc this next film is pulled from and why this particular story showed how important that singular Superman would be proven to be.

The Death of Superman: The Brawl That Topped Them All (HD, 16:23) – Here’s you basic behind the scenes of this film, but its moreso a study of this classic comic story and why things worked, what Superman was thinking and how they made an epic 4-issue fight.

From the DC Comics Vault

  • Legion of Superheroes Season 2, “Dark Victory: Part 1” (HD, 22:54)
  • Legion of Superheroes Season 2, “Dark Victory: Part 2” (HD, 22:50)

Trailers (HD, 3:24) – Batman: Ninja, Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay

Summary 

The Death of Superman proves its worth in a rock solid and impressive little movie. This Blu-ray gives it a pretty solid presentation overall. The bonus features are pretty good and they’ve returned to including classic episodes of old TV shows as extras. If you’ve been keeping up with the DCAU, this actually is one of the better ones in the canon storyline.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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