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You can’t keep a good superhero dead for long – certainly not Superman, the most Jesus-y of them all. Reign of the Supermen, the latest in DC’s mostly straight-to-video, fan-orientated animated series, is showing in cinemas as a one-night-only double bill with last year’s The Death of Superman. In the latter, Supes came a cropper in an almighty dust-up with a monster after revealing his true identity to Lois Lane. Reign is set six months later, as the world reels from the death of a god among men. (In lesser news, Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent is missing.)
In Metropolis, copycat Supermen have flooded the market for rescuers of small children from burning buildings. And after the operatic grandiosity of the live-action movies, this street-level crimefighting is a nostalgic treat. Still, the movie doesn’t do any favours for spandex beginners. The Superfakes are presumably fan favourites, but I mostly found them samey, and all the smashy-bashy clashes a thundering bore. Though Superboy, the cocky teenage clone hatched in a lab is hilarious. So, too, is his creator, Lex Luthor, here a lean, mean bald babe seductively voiced by Rainn Wilson as an archvillain to root for. There’s a real flavour of Greek myth in the father-son dynamic between Superboy and Luthor.
Elsewhere, the voice actors offer intriguing alternatives to what’s going on in the live-action franchise. Rosario Dawson plays Wonder Woman as a tough city gal, less yogically blissed out than Gal Godot’s Amazonian warrior – though she’s blandly animated.
It’s not venturing into Spoilerville to say that Superman is down but not definitively out. And if gym buff Henry Cavill really is quitting the role in the movies, as has been rumoured, the film-makers could do worse than to follow the direction here, opening a vacancy for a skinny, long-haired Superman with an earnest hipstery vibe that screams Adam Driver.
Source: The Guardian
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