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Reign Of The Supermen (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

After being more than pleasantly surprised with last year’s The Death of Superman movie from the DC Animated Universe, Reign of the Supermen has become hotly anticipated for me. This is the second half of the story and after seeing the care crafted in the first half, you must be eager to see these four Supermen brought to life via the trusted hands of the DCAU. Once again, they are going all in here with the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format for a DCAU movie, which we know how that goes. But if you want the best you can grab, then you’ll be able to pick it up when it releases on the format on January 29th in stores and online.

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Film 

Reign of the Supermen finds Earth’s citizens – and the Man of Steel’s heroic contemporaries – dealing with a world without Superman. But the aftermath of Superman’s death, and the subsequent disappearance of his body, leads to a new mystery – is Superman still alive? The question is further complicated when four new super-powered individuals – Steel, Cyborg Superman, Superboy and the Eradicator – emerge to proclaim themselves as the ultimate hero. In the end, only one will be able to proclaim himself the world’s true Superman.

Like the comic arc it was adapted from (For this writer at least), Reign of the Superman is neat at first but never feels up as much importance or interest as the story it preceded. The film is pretty well done and gets the story pretty right, but the source material wasn’t that strong to begin with. Due to its consolidation in making a 90 minute movie, it may actually do better a service to the story, but ultimately just feels like a waiting game for Kal-El to return.

Its not an awful watch by any means, no, I may have just been too hyped up after Death of Superman to end up watching a comic arc that is more interesting in seeing new “elseworld-like” Superman designs in play than it is caring or investing in any characters. Heck, one of the new Supermen even got his own live action movie at one point. There are some very cool action pieces that showcase the characters, which are fun, but none of them really pulled me in.

There are some nice dramatic turns and I really did feel for what they were doing in moments with Lois Lane and Cyborg Superman. Many of their scenes are the highlight of the entire film. Rebecca Romijn pulls of a hell of a vocal performance here, really digging in deep and also able to pull off Lois Lane’s bravado and leadership with ease. She even gets some funny self-aware lines that she delivers for comedic value quite well.

Reign of the Supermen is a comedown from Death of Superman, but its still pretty much in line with the most “all right” entries in the DCAU canon. It leaves us in a very interesting place and a story being adapted that I’m not familiar with. While I’ve seemed down on the film, I did enjoy it overall, but it didn’t enamor me like the one that came before.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Warner Bros is continuing to push out these DCAU movies on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray for some reason or another (Apparently they are selling?), but viewing makes one wonder how much of an upgrade it really is and if my mind is telling me things are just a hair better when in actuality the difference might not even be noticeably discreet. Its a crisp image with good full color, but the standard Blu-ray appears to be just as impressive. If anything, like always, the difference (If there is one), isn’t much to sway.

Depth:  Its a 2D film but it does have a nice sense of space and some of the flight sequences give way to a little bit of a 3 dimensional zest. Motion is smooth with no rapid movement distortions.

Black Levels: Blacks are natural and do well in outlining and figuring dark or shaded sequences with no crushing.

Color Reproduction: Colors prove strong and the palette and on par with previous releases. They pop when appropriate, but keep a bold, strong appeal throughout. Red and greenare colors that stuck out a little better than others. HDR seems to maybe show a little bit of added glow in areas, but nothing completely discernible from the standard Blu-ray.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

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

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: Reign of the Supermen reigns over your surround system with a good, loud and impactful presentation. Foley work is rich, with good layering and depth to make each environment feel its come to life and been destructed right before you. The balance here is strong and every aspect gets its moment to shine without being obvious or drowning out the other elements.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: This is a booming, pounding subwoofer presentation with crashing, blasting, exploding and loud beams really pushing the thump.

Surround Sound Presentation: Every environment is pretty well thought out with good unique ambiance lurking in all corners. Sound travel is quite accurate and never afraid to travel the lengths of your viewing space to capitalize on accurately portraying an action sequence.

Dialogue Reproduction: Clear and crisp with good attention to diction and mouth sounds.

Extras 

Reign of the Supermen comes with the Blu-ray edition and a digital copy of the film. All bonus materials are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

A Sneak Peek at the next DC Universe Movie, Justice League vs. The Fatal Five (HD, 9:29) – An entertaining, insightful exciting look at the next animated film in the popular DC Universe Movies collection.

Lex Luthor: The Greatest Nemesis (HD, 16:08) – Creators of this animated movie take a look through the history of Lex Luthor in all media forms and bend it in to how they’ve applied him to the DCAU.

From the DC Vault

  • Superman: The Animated Series, “Heavy Metal” (SD, 20:52) 
  • Justice League Unlimited, “Panic in the Sky” (HD, 23:04)

Trailers (HD, 4:10) – Shazam, The Death of Superman

Summary 

Reign of the Superman was a bit of a comedown from Death of Superman, but its still fun and something I think fans of the arc will enjoy and appreciate. Once again Warner Bros brings a DCAU movie to the 4K UHD format which isn’t much of a jump at all from the standard Blu-ray. Extras prove a little lighter than normal but still plenty substantial. A solid pickup, but I’m not sure if you need to go all in on the 4K UHD version.

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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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