by Brian Tudor
First thing first, much like Under the Red Hood, I am so very happy I didn’t finish reading the All-Star Superman comic book run before seeing the movie. I bought the first 3 issues and then got frustrated because it wasn’t coming out on a regular basis so I kind of just let it go.
All-Star Superman is a story about ending, but more than that it is a story of hope and inspiration. Lex Luthor sabotages a mission to the sun, which requires Superman to save the day, only in the process his cells are overloaded with solar energy and while he becomes more powerful than ever, those powers are killing him.
I’ve stated before I am not the biggest Grant Morrison fan, but when he is on he is great. All-Star Superman is one of his more lucid moments; his take on the Man of Steel as his end nears gives the character everything he needs to be complete. One of my biggest problems with Superman is his near indestructibility, not just in terms of his powers, but also with his emotions. How could he not be emotionally stable, he was raised in middle America by two loving parents teaching him right from wrong and to only use his powers to help. The Kent’s taught Kal-El how to be human, how to be Clark Kent. More importantly they taught him to be not just a man for the people, but a man of the people. This is where Superman differs from Lex Luthor (and even Batman) the most, and it is this component I feel like Morrison captures so well in All-Star Superman.
All-Star Superman brings another voice of Superman, this time from James Denton (Desperate Housewives), I was worried at first because I don’t know a whole long about Denton other than the handful of times I’ve seen him on Desperate Housewives. I have to say my worries were almost immediately set aside. Denton’s soft-spoken voice is perfect to go along with Frank Quietly’s artwork, he portrays Superman’s journey to his end with the right balance of fear, bravery and inspiration. While Denton’s Superman is great, he really knocks it out of the part with his Clark Kent. You have to watch to know what I’m talking about, but wow!
Mad Men’s Christina Hendrix is the voice of Lois Lane, and while I’m most familiar with her work from Firefly and Life than Mad Men; I have to say she fills Dana Delany’s shoes as our favorite Metropolis report admirably. The scenes when she is paranoid are great, and when her superpowers start to wear off it is heartbreaking when she still refuses to believe Superman and Clark are one and the same. Hendrix ability to get Lois Lane’s love and affection for Superman to be something you can grab showed me she understands this character and hopefully she will get another shot at it down the line.
We finally come to Lex Luthor, he is voiced by the always outstanding Anthony LaPaglia (So I Married an Axe Murderer). Like Bruce Greenwood in Under the Red Hood and James Denton in All-Star Superman, LaPaglia has great shoes to fill when it comes to voicing Lex Luthor. While, Clancy Brown (Justice League Unlimited) will always be the first name to come to mind when thinking of an animated Lex Luthor, LaPaglia’s gritty even dark offering is one to behold. The jealously Luthor holds for Superman is well known, but the understanding of the Man of Steel is something new, and while Clancy Brown is great, I don’t think anyone else could have pulled this off. Watching Lex and Superman battle on equal footing has to be one of my all time favorite animated fights of all time. The way Lex was able to improvise and use each ability to the fullest was pretty cool.
The rest of the vocal cast is round out by; Arnold Vosloo (Bar-El), Alexis Denisof (Dr. Leo Quintum), Ed Asner (Perry White), Matthew Gray Gubler (Jimmy Olsen) and Linda Cardellini (Nasthalthia Luthor). This is a very solid voice cast, none overshadowing the main characters, yet all holding their own to be memorable enough to stand out.
All-Star Superman is one of the finest DVD outings yet for DC Entertainment and Warner Bros., it is full of adventure, sadness and hope. I encourage you to check it out on BluRay, DVD, OnDemand or Digital Download on February 22, 2011.
– Brian Tudor (follow @briantudor on Twitter)
Based on the Eisner Award-winning DC Comics series/graphic novel of the same name by Grant Morrison with illustration by Frank Quitely, All-Star Superman is executive produced by animation guru Bruce Timm and directed by Sam Liu (Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths) from a script by acclaimed comics writer Dwayne McDuffie (Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths).
All-Star Superman 2-Disc Special Edition DVD features approximately 1 1/2 hours of exciting extra content, including:
• Feature film (est. 75 min)
• Sneak Peak at Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, the next DC Universe Animated Original Movie
• Featurette: “Superman Now” – In a moment of inspiration, Grant Morrison was provided an opportunity to revamp the Man of Steel into something modern, something more relevant for today’s audience. This is the story of All-Star Superman – where it all started, and what it came to be
• Two bonus episodes from animated television series handpicked by Bruce Timm
All-Star Superman Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack will include approximately 2 1/2 hours of intriguing bonus features, starting with all of the content available on the 2-Disc Special Edition DVD and adding:
• Featurette: “Incubating the Idea” – A conversation with Grant Morrison
• Audio Commentary: Bruce Timm and Grant Morrison
• All-Star Superman Digital Comic Book
• Standard and high definition versions of the feature film
• Digital copy on disc of the feature film