Superman: Red Son is a 2020 animated superhero film produced & directed by Sam Liu (Justice League vs the Fatal Five, The Death of Superman, Reign of the Supermen, Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, & Batman: The Killing Joke). It’s the 37th installment in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series. It’s based on the 2003 comic book miniseries of the same name written by Mark Millar (Swamp Thing, Legends of the Dark Knight, The Flash, & Justice League of America). It was written by J.M. DeMatteis (Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons, Young Justice, Constantine: City of Demons, Batman: Bad Blood, & Justice League Dark). It was produced by Bruce Timm (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Justice League: Doom, Batman: The Animated Series, & Batman Beyond), Sam Register (Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpions Revenge, Harley Quinn, & Justice League Action), & Amy McKenna (Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Beware the Batman, & Scooby-Doo: Return to Zombie Island).
In the Soviet Union during the year 1946, a young boy is chased by a gang of bullies. A young girl Svetlana (played by: Winter Ave Zoli from Bosch, Legends, Sons of Anarchy, & Bad Ass) defends him by chasing them away. He reveals to her that he was not scared for his own safety but that of the bullies before demonstrating superhuman strength & the ability to fly. Svetlana tells the boy he can use his powers to help the country. A decade later, the Soviet Union releases propaganda film of an alien superhuman under the command of Joseph Stalin (played by: William Salyers from Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, Batman vs. Two-Face, & Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders) whom the American media dubs the “Soviet Superman” (played by: Jason Isaacs from The Patriot, Star Trek: Discovery, Brotherhood, & Event Horizon). United States President Eisenhower (played by: Jim Meskimen from Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Critters: A New Binge, Constantine: City of Demons, & Justice League: Gods and Monsters) tasks Lex Luthor (played by: Diedrich Bader from Office Space, Masters of the Universe: Revelation, Veep, & Justice League Action) to develop a countermeasure against the superhuman. Meanwhile, Superman prevents a satellite from crashing into Metropolis which leads to Lex’s wife Lois Luthor (played by: Amy Acker from Person of Interest, The Cabin in the Woods, Dollhouse, & Justice League Unlimited) securing an interview with him. She shows him a top secret document that leads Superman to a secret gulag where he finds a dying Svetlana. Enraged, Superman confronts Stalin about the gulag & destroys him with his heat vision. As a result, Superman becomes the new leader of the Soviet Union pledging to use his powers for good & to spread the influence of the Soviet state. Superman decides to forge an alliance with Wonder Woman (played by: Vanessa Marshall from Harley Quinn, Lego DC Super-Villains, Young Justice, & Star Wars Rebels) of Themyscira. Luthor unveils a clone of Superman dubbed “Superior Man”. The two superhumans battle until Luthor overloads the clone with excess energy. Years later, Superman stops an invasion by alien cyborg Brainiac (played by: Paul Williams from Phantom of the Paradise, Smokey and the Bandit franchise, Batman: the animated series, & Goliath). He ends up getting him to work for him. He is forced to deal with Batman (played by: Roger Craig Smith from Young Justice, Batman Ninja, & Batman Unlimited). Batman battles both Superman & Wonder Woman. In the United States, Luthor becomes President & stirs things up again. He tasks Colonel Hal Jordan (played by: Sasha Roiz from Grimm, Land of the Dead, 16 Blocks, & Assault on Precinct 13) with uncovering the immense power of the green ring found on the alien’s body which leads to the formation of the Green Lantern Corps to attack against Superman, this leads to an all out war. Who will survive this chaos? Will the world be safe again????
Superman: Red Son is a completely different take & universe on the iconic superhero. It’s nothing like you have seen before when it comes to the Man of Steel. I always thought the comic book was a unique look into the character. This film adaptation manages to pull off the same reaction as it’s original source material. Superman: Red Son gets really dark at times. Director Sam Liu is a veteran when it comes to these DC animated films, I’ve reviewed a decent amount from him so far & all these projects are so different from each other which is very refreshing. Red Son features so many familiar faces which includes Batman, Wonder Woman, Brainiac, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, Hal Jordan, & others in this. Jason Isaacs, Amy Acker, Vanessa Marshall, Paul Williams, Roger Craig Smith, & Sasha Roiz were all really good in this. Not going to lie, I thought Diedrich Bader was an odd choice for Lex Luthor. He wasn’t bad or anything but I thought that he didn’t fit the character at all in this. It has lots of action & battles in this, it’s very entertaining. I thought Superman: Red Son was very fun & a nice addition to the DC Universe, RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Warner Bros! This 2160p (1.78:1) transfer with HDR10 looks stunning on 4K. As always, DC delivers quality animation with this unique Superman adaptation. It has a variety of audio options which includes English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, & Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 on this UHD. Red Son roars through your home set up! The dialogue is crystal clear, all the action is elevated, & the music has a nice boost to it. It also has English SDH, French, & Spanish subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Warner Bros! None of the extras are on the UHD disc, they are all located on the blu ray. “DC Showcase: Phantom Stranger” is a little over 15 minutes. The voice cast features Roger Craig Smith. Peter Serafinowicz (Shaun of the Dead), Grey Griffin (Young Justice), Natalie Lander (Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay), & Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville). This an exclusive short directed by long time DC Comics producer Bruce Timm. “A young girl, seeking adventure & emancipation from her establishment parents is taken by a band of hippie acolytes to meet their guru. Can even the mystical power of The Phantom Stranger help Marcie to find her own truth?”I really enjoyed this one, I wish some of these shorts would get some full length treatment someday. “Cold Red War” is almost 17 minutes. It has interviews with the crew & some historians. It goes over the original source material & this animation production. They chat about history & how it influenced this different universe. 2 episodes from “Superman: Red Son Motion Comics” is a little over 6 minutes. It’s look into same story line with a different option. “Sneak Peek: Justice League Dark: Apokolips” is a little over 10 minutes. It has interviews with the cast & crew. It’s inside look for the upcoming animated feature from DC Comics. It has the 7 minute “A Preview of The Death of Superman” & the 8 minute “A Preview of Gotham By Gaslight”. I covered & reviewed both of these films on the site, check them out. “From the DC Comics Vault” features the two part Justice League episode “A Better World” from the 2nd season. It’s a nice extra to have, I love the animated DC shows. It also includes a slipcover, a digital code, & a blu ray copy of the release. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!