Sunday, May 5, 2013

Superman: Unbound

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Or we can visit Krypton--oh, wait, never mind.

Superman: Unbound – 4 out of 5

I spent most of my childhood trying to figure out what
muscles I need to flex in order to achieve fact, I still
do.  I'm guessing it's a butt muscle.
 I’m a big fan of Superman. I’ve been enjoying the escapades of the big Boy Scout in Red & Blue since I was just a wee widdle boy but there was a time when I felt he needed to be retired. Not long after the boy from Krypton was killed by Doomsday and returned, I started to feel like he ran his course and, with the addition of not having a decent film since the first movie with Christopher Reeves, I began to turn my back on the man with the “S” emblazoned on his chest. Then, after Superman Returns hit the theaters and I lost all hope for humanity, I pretty much wanted nothing to do with Supes anymore. However, as time passed, DC won me back with their animated films (especially Superman: Doomsday) and now with my foaming at the mouth—near ravenous—desire to see Man of Steel this year, I’m back standing proud behind Superman…Superman: Unbound really helped as well.

For some reason, Lois Lane has purple eyes in the film.

 Superman: Unbound is based on the graphic novel from 2008 called "Superman: Brainiac" by Geoff Johns. It tells the story of the Superman and Supergirl defending Metropolis from the evil Brainiac: A being with an insane obsession with collecting all the galaxy’s knowledge and to use it to rule all. This threat hits close to home with Supergirl as she’s seen first hand the power Brainiac holds and fears she won’t have the will to face him again. Superman, however, driven by his own strong-as-steel moral code and his desire to protect his love; Lois Lane, stops at nothing to deter Brainiac from destroying his new home world.

Then, at one point, he travels back in time to try and stop production of
Terminator:  Salvation.  His failure proves to be the saddest part of the film.

My eyes started bleeding from the sheer epicness of this
 First and foremost, the animation in this film is fantastic. The character designs look amazing and the action is mind-blowingly awesome. They really did a great job of creating the power that lurks behind Superman’s punches and gives the viewer a feel for how strong the Kryptonian really is. The story, sadly, may suffer slightly in the end as it’s a little underwhelming, however, it follows the comics pretty closely and the ending is not much different (for the most part) from what was on the pages.

"You have a mosquito on your face, let me get it."

The strongest thing this DC animated feature had going for it, and is one of the reasons DC continues to outperform Marvel in the animation department (in my humble nerd opinion) is the superior voice acting. One would think Superman would be easy to voice act because all you have to do is a generic hero voice full of bravado but the problem with that is it can easy become a satire of all that it means to be Superman. To accurately portray Superman, the actor needs to ride the line of being that typical boy scout that’s become an American icon as well as also stopping short enough to make sure he’s not just coming off silly. Matt Bomer really brought Superman to life and made him come together as a legitimate hero—similar to Reeves in his iconic performance in the classic live-action films.  Yeah, even in Quest for Peace.

The movie does NOT shy away from the blood.  But that's
strawberry jam you see there, kids.

To have a great and powerful hero like our yellow sun-powered Man of Steel you need an equally powerful or, at the very least, an extremely deceitful or cunning strategist for a villain. In the case of Brainiac, you have both so you need the right actor to bring life to the animation and they picked correctly for this project. John Noble, the false king Denethor and the only reason I watched Fringe (Seriously, that show would have been absolute mustard-reeking crap if John Noble wasn’t there as Walter), brings a creepy, cold and calculating presence to the info/control obsessed villain that rides in a skull-shaped space ship. Noble’s low monotone growl made Brainiac come off as a threat beyond the simple fact that he has superior technology and the information from a million beings he sucked out of their brains swimming around in his dome. If this form of Brainiac came to life and spoke with Noble’s voice, an uncontrollable stream of fear-induced urine would not be far behind me if we crossed paths. Noble’s deliver was so dramatic and a joy to hear that I wished that Brainiac would get to have every single cliché supervillain monologue that’s ever been documented. I wanted the “We’re not so different, you and I” and the whole “Let me tell you my whole plan before I make a foolhardy attempt to kill you”—I would have even allowed the cry-fest that occurs after the villain gives off his painful past that pushed him into the path of evil.

The face doesn't help calm the flow of fear-piss either.

Is this because I talked about your purple eyes?

If I was forced to say anything bad about this animated feature—say, I was being held by a nemesis of Supes while Lois Lane was simultaneously in danger and chances are he wasn’t going to get to me in time to save me (because he has to get his girl first) so I had to say something negative about the film or I would be murdered (it could happen)—it would be the story moves fast and offers very little in the form of backstory drama. Sure, we get to see a little into Supergirl’s past and we see Lois and Clark’s relationship evolve after this adventure but a key element from the graphic novel was left out and it would have made for a great addition to the animated feature. 

Meanwhile, a crowd armed with camera phones and flashlights fill the streets below.

Superman: Unbound is just another notch in the belt of DC’s animation department. While Marvel may lead in the live-action film arena, they clearly can’t compete with the animated features of their iconic books that DC continues to put out. While Superman has had a lackluster history with his films (but check out Richard Donner’s cut of Superman II, he really redeemed that one with his edit) he has shown time and time again that his grand adventures can translate quite well to the world of animation…although my hopes are unbelievably high that this will change with Man of Steel.

This is how I felt after watching Superman:  Unbound.

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