Superman: Doomsday (2007):
Lois Lane: Yes. You saved us. All of us.
Superman: Good…that’s all that…matters…
All that matters indeed, Superman. Once that Doomsday battle is over, the film slows to a crawl. If you’re expecting Cyborg Superman to show up, or a retelling of “The Death of Superman” comic book storyline, you’ll be disappointed. I was. This version of the story has Superman returning as an “evil clone” created by Luthor. There’s no Steel (Metal Superman!) even! So, basically, if you watched this film, it’s to watch Superman fight Doomsday. That’s it. Once the mystery of the clone is solved, there’s no more dramatic tension left.
Of course, the fight with Doomsday is fantastic. But, that lasts like 5 minutes. Including Doomsday’s arrival. You can tell the fight is intense just by the sounds of each hit. A real super slobber-knocker! Superman is still a man though, and still gets tired. After being dragged through a power station, hit by a subway, and thrown around with a few earth quaking impacts, Superman starts to tire and stagger, while Doomsday does not. It really is like watching the ultimate boxing match. In the end, Metropolis is basically a crater.
Well, that was fun. But, what happens next? Well, not much. After the funeral, Toyman terrorizes the city (Voiced by John Dimaggio! Really, kudos to the voice casting in this movie! Everyone is spot on!) and it looks like Superman has come back, but after it’s revealed only minutes later that this is a clone under Luthor’s control which he gleefully wails on with Kryptonite knuckles, all the excitement goes away. In the original comic, there was more exploration of what people did to carry on his legacy. This is just a dumb clone plot…I honestly preferred the Evil Superman in Superman 3. At least he was the result of a split personality.
Here, when Evil Superman starts threatening old grannies and kills Toyman, it’s just awkward. I will say they did a good job explaining away early 90s Superman’s awful mullet haircut. His robot dug up his unconscious body, so presumably he didn’t have time to cut his hair. The robot is voiced by Tom Kenny! Anyway, to even the odds against his evil clone, Tom Kennybot gives him a Kryptonite gun, and a black solar suit, making him look weirdly gothic. Real Superman wins, of course. With the help of Lois Lane.
Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about this movie. It doesn’t really teach anything, and doesn’t really capture Superman’s legacy. The original comic storyline showed many different sides of Superman, some of which were evil, and some of which were good. It just seems to me that lumping all that into “Evil clone with Luthor’s personality.” is a huge waste. Luthor even ends up in the hospital once the clone becomes paranoid. So, he’s more evil than Luthor. It should’ve at least included Superboy, the good side of Luthor’s clone.
Now, a couple things this film's got right in the end, are the music and the voice acting. The Superman theme here begins from space in the intro, as it usually should. But, does that triumphant music really fit the death of Superman? I know, it’s a Superman movie…but with a title like Doomsday…you know what you’re really getting is that last, or should I say first, fight! Secondly, the voice-acting is stupendous, as I said before. And it does deliver on that Doomsday battle!
Seeing one of the most iconic Superman comic book stories reduced to a one-note doppelganger plot is hugely disappointing. But, it does have redeeming qualities, most of which I’ve listed above. (Voice-acting and music, Doomsday, etc.) It succeeds in a strong presentation of weak ideas. Really, it’s all about that Doomsday battle. Oh, and explaining away that mullet! 2/5 stars. Not very super, but makes you expect it will be. And that’s worse! I mean, you might like it, but like Superman, the film nearly dies after Doomsday.