Thursday, July 29, 2021

Review: "REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN" Does Not Reign

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 48 of 2021 (No. 1786) by Leroy Douresseaux

Reign of the Superman – video (2019)
Running time:  87 minutes
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of action violence
WRITERS:  Jim Krieg and Tim Sheridan (based on characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics)
PRODUCERS:  Sam Liu and Amy McKenna
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Sam Register and James Tucker
EDITOR:  Christopher D. Lozinski
COMPOSER:  Frederik Wiedmann  
ANIMATION STUDIO:  Maven Image Platform


Starring:  (voices) Jerry O'Connell, Rebecca Romijn, Rainn Wilson, Patrick Fabian, Cress Williams, Cameron Monaghan, Rosario Dawson, Nathan Fillion, Christopher Gorham, Matt Lanter, Shemar Moore, Nyambi Nyambi, Jason O'Mara, Jonathan Adams, Rocky Carroll, Trevor Devall, Paul Eiding, Jennifer Hale, Charles Halford, Erica Luttrell, Max Mittelman, Toks Olagundoye, and Tony Todd

Reign of the Supermen is a 2019 straight-to-video animated superhero film from Warner Bros. Animation and director Sam Liu.  It is the thirty-third film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series and is a direct sequel to the 2018 film, The Death of Superman.  The movie takes its story from “Reign of the Supermen!” a 1993 story arc that was part of “The Death of Superman” DC Comics story line and publishing event (1992-93).  In Reign of the Supermen, several new people present themselves as possible successors to Superman, in the wake of his death.

Reign of the Supermen opens six months following the death of Superman at the hands of Doomsday (as seen in The Death of Superman), and the rising crime rate in Metropolis has spread beyond the city.  Meanwhile, four new super-powered beings have emerged to take Superman's place.  Still grieving the loss of Superman and, by extension, his alter-ego, Clark Kent (Jerry O'Connell), reporter Lois Lane (Rebecca Romijn) of The Daily Planet has been investigating the new Supermen by gathering whatever information she can from different sources.

One Superman is a gold-visor wearing, energy blast-shooting vigilante called “The Eradicator.”  Another is “Steel,” the armored hero who is the identity of a young scientist, John Henry Irons (Cress Williams).  The third is a teen clone of Superman created by a scientist working for Lex Luthor (Rainn Wilson), and the public starts calling him “Superboy” (Cameron Monaghan).  The fourth, who seems the most like Superman, is part-man and part machine and is called “Cyborg Superman.”

The four “Supermen” are controversial and mysterious, and one of them is conspiring with Darkseid (Tony Todd) in the lord of Apokolips' plan to invade Earth.  Meanwhile, the Justice LeagueWonder Woman (Rosario Dawson), Batman (Jason O'Mara), Aquaman (Matt Lanter), Cyborg (Shemar Moore), Flash (Christopher Gorham), Green Lantern (Nathan Fillion), Hawkman, and Martian Manhunter (Nyambi Nyambi) have been sidelined.  Now, Lois and the three truly heroic Supermen must uncover the mystery of what actually happened to the real Superman if they are going to stop a plot to take over the world.

Some of the central conceits of superhero comic books and their media adaptations are that the superheroes will almost always win; the bad guys will lose; a superhero's death will ultimately not benefit the super-villain; and the villains will plot even in defeat, while the superheroes remain vigilante.  If you are never bored by this, you will generally always like or love superhero fiction.

In the case of Reign of the Supermen, the conceits are alive and well.  While the idea of Superman dying always causes the fanboy in me some internal discomfort, I found myself mostly bored by Reign of the Supermen.  I couldn't wait for this movie to end, but I wanted to finish it in order to write this review.  I did like the four “Supermen” and the drama in the film built around them.  Everything else only mildly interested me.

I found that the battle between Superman and Doomsday that made up the second half of The Death of Superman saved that movie.  The battle that dominates the last act of Reign of the Supermen only made me care about the movie a little more.  I really liked the Supermen of Reign of the Supermen, but not much else about this movie.

5 of 10

Saturday, May 29, 2021

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