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Superman: Man Of Tomorrow (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

As mentioned many times prior in reviewing the title, DC Animated Universe is really where its at when it comes to some quality superhero material and comic book arc adaptations. Personally, their elseworlds and one-off tales are where I wish the feature films would play with our more familiar characters. Superman: Man of Tomorrow, the latest effort, finds a retelling of the man of steel’s origin story with not only some different details (Oh, hai Lobo) and introducing a newer animation style. Releasing on the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format, the combo pack set will contain bonus features both new and old to go along with some classic Superman: The Animated series episodes in tow. In addition to a regular edition there is a collector’s edition that contains a collectible figurine. You can pre-order now, using the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review to ensure yourself a copy for when it arrives on September 8th.

Film

It’s the dawn of a new age of heroes, and Metropolis has just met its first. But as Daily Planet intern Clark Kent – working alongside reporter Lois Lane – secretly wields his alien powers of flight, super-strength and x-ray vision in the battle for good, there’s even greater trouble on the horizon. Follow the budding hero as he engages in bloody battles with intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo and fights for his life to halt the attack of power-hungry alien Parasite. The world will learn about Superman … but first, Superman must save the world!

After he died and came back, it appears its time to reboot the man of steel again in the DC Animated Universe. However, they’ve not taken the traditional approach to Kal-El’s origins. In this tale we start with a prologue showing him as a kid before getting to a younger version that is an intern at The Daily Planet. This new fresh take adds a lot of modern touches and sensibilities to the proceedings and adds more characters and such from DC’s mythology to help usher in a new Superman. It all feels true to character, form and the overall arc for Superman’s beginnings.

With the new film, it feels they are trying to also introduce us to some new characters. Putting them as integral to the DC golden boy’s first story, it helps add a sense of importance to them. Man of Tomorrow gives us the Martian Manhunter and Lobo to set the stage as equals to Kal-El. Perhaps this is setting the stage for future stand-alone adventures for the two alien characters. Lex Luthor is a prominent figure in the story and the first villain for this Superman is Parasite. Which, Parasite makes me wonder “Why aren’t we doing THIS kind of stuff in a Superman live action movie?”

DC Animated Universe isn’t just resetting Superman here with a new story and cast, they are also taking a fresh approach to the appearance as well. This story has a rather unique look on its animation that stands out and sets it apart from what has come before. Its very anime in its inspiration whilst taking some primary flat color and motion aesthetic that reminds me of something like TV’s Archer. It works quite well for the action scenes, but I’m not so sure for the in-between and drama moments as much.

Superman: Man of Tomorrow is a refreshing new take on the man of steel. Personally, I’m all for these new approaches. This one takes in the factor that EVERYONE knows his damn origin, so they skip a lot of the givens and focus on some other things while makes some fun changes and alterations. Also, I need to mention that Alexandra Daddario is a hell of a fun Lois Lane. A shame we done get the visual of her in live action as it. The film does drag in spots, but overall works and is some solid, effortless fun.

Video

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail:  Superman: Man of Tomorrow makes its 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray debut as an upconvert, but a pretty noble one at that. The colors are more bold, saturated and the image gets a lot deeper, natural blacks. The outlines and such are much smoother to go along with a crisper picture that features more fluid motion.

Depth:  Movements are smooth and quite confident. It has a flat 2D animated look but with some 3D capabilites that shine through. No motion distortions occur.

Black Levels:  Blacks are quite deep and natural with a flat coloring that helps to thickly outline the characters and objects. There are some good uses of shading and some smaller details to be found. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are well saturated with a bold appearance The animation style is pretty flat overall but there are some nice textural touches. The HDR does add a nice glowo to some instances of lighting, monitors and possessed eyes.

Flesh Tones:  N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

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: Superman: Man of Tomorrow features a solid 5.1 track that is the same accompanying the standard Blu-ray. Its a fine track that is nice a loose, but also tends to focus its efforts up front. There are some good layering and balances in the mix. Overall, it gets the job done but leaves a bit of room that could’ve been used for a much more impressive track.

Height: N/A

Low-Frequency Extension:  The subwoofer provides some solid rumbling with good deep tones in the appropriate areas of the action in the movie.

Surround Sound Presentation: There is a lot aside from ambiance that the surround brings to the table. Sound travel is mostly up front and doesn’t bring about the greatest of impact.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are loud, warm and capture some solid diction from the voice actors.

Extras

Superman: Man of Tomorrow comes with the Blu-ray edition and a Digital Code.

Lobo: Natural Force of Chaos (HD, 10:23) – Creators and such tell us all about who Lobo is as a character and his origins, personality, excitement and potential.

Martian Manhunter: Lost and Found (HD, 8:47) –

A Sneak Peek at DC Universe’s Next Animated Movie (HD, 11:56) – A fun look forward at 1970s Kung Fu inspired Batman: Soul of the Dragon.

A Preview of Justice League vs. The Fatal Five (HD, 9:29) – A vintage preview featurette for a movie that is already out.

A Preview of Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (HD, 7:44) – Another vintage preview of an older DCAU movie.

Superman: The Animated Series, “The Main Man: Part I” (SD, 20:17)

Superman: The Animated Series, “The Main Man: Part II” (SD, 21:21)

Trailers (HD) – Justice League: Apokolips War, Mortal Kombat Legends, Superman: Red Son

Summary

Superman: Man of Tomorrow provides a pretty fascinating new take on the Kal-El’s origin story. Before huffing and puffing, just remember how ingrained in your brain the classic tale is and how man versions we’ve had of that same ‘ol same ‘ol. Something like this is a fun arena to play in for better or for worse. The 4K presentation is one of the better ones for the animated group with a decent enough 5.1 job in accompaniment. The extras are up to par for these releases and a solid dive in after the movie is over. Collectors will want to pick this up as its the best way to watch and other may want to wait for it on HBOMAX before forking over dollars.

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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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