The Death and Return of Superman 4K/Blu Ray Review (Warner Bros)
The Death and Return of Superman (aKa The Death of Superman & Reign of the Supermen) is a 2019 animated superhero film 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) & Jake Castorena (Scooby-Doo & Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Justice League Action, & Batman Unlimited). It is both The Death of Superman & Reign of the Supermen combined as one epic feature. The Death of Superman is based on the comic book of the same name & the story line that ran from 1992 to 1993. It had previously been adapted in the 2007 film “Superman: Doomsday”. It had it’s premiere at the San Diego Comic Con 2018. Reign of the Supermen continues the story line from The Death of Superman comic. It had a limited theatrical run with Fathom Events. This epic saga was written by Peter Tomasi (Green Lantern: Emerald Knights & Batman vs. Robin), James Krieg (Justice League Action, Batman and Harley Quinn, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, & Batman: The Brave and the Bold) & Tim Sheridan (Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost, Justice League Action, Lego DC Super Hero Girls, & Spooksville Freak Files).
After a failed kidnapping attempt of the mayor (played by: Jonathan Adams from Last Man Standing, Justice League Action, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, & Bones) by Intergang armed with Apokolips technology. Superman (played by: Jerry O’Connell from Stand by Me, Sliders, Justice League Dark, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, & Scream 2) plus the Justice League which includes Batman (played by: Jason O’Mara from Justice League Dark, Batman: Bad Blood, Batman vs. Robin, Life on Mars, & Resident Evil: Extinction), Wonder Woman (played by: Rosario Dawson from The Lego Batman Movie, Justice League vs. Teen Titans, Wonder Woman, & Kids), Green Lantern (played by: Nathan Fillion from Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Castle, Firefly, & Slither), The Flash (played by: Christopher Gorham from Justice League: War, Justice League vs. Teen Titans, & Harper’s Island), Aquaman (played by: Matt Lanter from Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, & Sorority Row), Cyborg (played by: Shemar Moore from Justice League: War, Birds of Prey, & Criminal Minds), & Martian Manhunter (played by: Nyambi Nyambi from The Good Fight & Mike and Molly) send the pieces to S.T.A.R. Labs for analysis. On the normal side of things, Clark Kent is having issues with his girlfriend Lois Lane (played by: Rebecca Romijn from Rollerball, Godsend, & Femme Fatale) on their relationship. His hidden secrets are starting to cause major problems with the couple. Silas Stone (played by: Rocky Carroll from NCIS, Chicago Hope, & Justice League: War) & his associate Dr. John Henry Irons (played by: Cress Williams from Black Lightning, ER, & Friday Night Lights) analyze the material from the previous botched crime. It ends up linked to criminal mastermind Lex Luthor (played by: Rainn Wilson from The Office, The Meg, Super, Juno, & Six Feet Under). He denies any involvement after confronted.
Capt. Hank Henshaw (played by: Patrick Fabian from Better Call Saul, Bad Ass/Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses, & Big Love) & his team are repairing a satellite aboard the Excalibur space shuttle. It’s destroyed by the meteorite’s debris. Lex Luthor sends a team down there to investigate. Everything is destroyed by unstoppable monster called Doomsday. The unknown beast is on a rampage making it’s way to Metropolis. The Justice League tries to stop Doomsday but each member gets defeated & barely surviving it’s wrath! Clark Kent finally reveals his true identity to Lois Lane at lunch trying to make things better between them. He runs off to fight Doomsday & try to save the city from more destruction. Lois Lane with Jimmy Olsen.(played by: Max Mittelman from Berserk) follows the danger to report the news. After a long & chaotic battle with the super villain Doomsday, Superman sacrifices his own life to save Metropolis. The shocking news hits everyone hard & it leaves the world a little less safe from now on. Is this really the end of Superman? 6 months following Superman’s death & sacrifice to defeat Doomsday. The world has been introduced to four new & different versions of the hero: Superboy (played by: Cameron Monaghan from Gotham, Shameless, Amityville: The Awakening, & The Giver), Steel (played by: Cress Williams), Cyborg Superman (played by: Jerry O’Connell), & the Eradicator (played by: Charles Halford from The Death of Superman, Bad Times at the El Royale, Logan Lucky, & Constantine). Each one of them is different in their personalities & crime fighting style compared to the original Man of Steel. It has them all questioning which one is the real Superman. Lois Lane tries to distract herself from her recent tragedy & decides to investigate the situation. Lex Luthor holds a press conference introducing Superboy as the true Superman, sponsored and bankrolled by LexCorp.
The Death of Superman was a shocking & game changing comic when it was first released in the early 90s. This isn’t the first time it’s been adapted into an animated film but it’s definitely closer to the original material compared to the previous Superman: Doomsday. One thing that has bothered me about the Clark Kent/Superman character was the fact it was always way too kid friendly & clean compared to other superheroes. I do realize that’s the main audience for this type of genre but sometimes it gets so repetitive & a little boring. When this comic & story line came along, it really opened up a whole new world for Superman! It just adds so much more to the iconic role. The Death and Return of Superman has one of the best assembled voice talent casts ever & it really elevates the overall production. Most of them have starred in previous DC animated features. It was well written & it had a nice balance of both alter egos. It was cool to see the Justice League show up a few times in this. The battle between Superman & Doomsday was epic! As far as villains go, that’s one of most powerful ones out there. That’s a major event in the DC universe & it was captured perfect here. I love the direction that these new animated DC films are going lately. They are very dark & they don’t have to water down their material due to mainstream appeal. They are true to their source & provide so much more than their live action counterparts. I geeked out when I seen that Tony Todd voiced one of the main villains in this. He had a great performance & it’s awesome to see the horror icon get a bigger opportunity like this. In my opinion, director Sam Liu is the master of superhero animation. His filmography features countless memorable & quality work from recent years when it comes to the sub genre. So when you see his name attached, you know it won’t disappoint & this one holds up with all the others. Top notch animation like always, when it comes to this Marvel can’t compete with them at all. The Death and Return of Superman combines both of these animated Superman films into one epic feature. It’s very fun & entertaining, it’s action packed. It has some nice twists & it keeps you on your toes, I can’t wait for the next installment, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Warner Bros! This 2160p (1.78:1) transfer with HDR10 looks stunning in 4K! Some of the animated features barely noticeable in upgrade when it comes to this newer format but I think the last few have really been improved. The colors on this UHD disc are much better than the standard blu ray. It has 3 different audio options which include English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, & Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 on the release. It sounds great especially on 4K disc, it captures all the action, chaos, music, & the dialogue is crystal clear. The blu ray has an additional German: Dolby Digital 5.1 track. It also has English SDH, French, & Spanish subtitles. The blu ray has additional subtitles which includes German SDH, Japanese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, & Swedish. Both picture & sound are high quality, as far as technical goes it definitely delivers.
Let’s discuss the special features on the blu ray disc, the 4K has no extras on it. This is definitely the greatest extra from this limited edition gift set. You get the 2007 animated film “Superman: Doomsday” directed by Lauren Montgomery, Bruce Timm, & Brandon Vietti in 4K for the very first time on it’s own bonus UHD disc! The audio is a major improvement compared to the original home video release. It features a English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track! Featuring Adam Baldwin, Anne Heche, James Marsters, John DiMaggio, Ray Wise, Swoosie Kurtz, & Kevin Smith as the talented voice cast for the production. This is a huge upgrade compared to the older blu ray when it comes to the visuals also. It’s exclusive to this release at the moment. “Long Live Superman” is a brand new almost 46 minute documentary on the comic book legend. It has interviews with all kinds of writers, artists, & fans of the Man of Steel. They celebrate that the known character has had a 100 issues published so far. They chat about looking up to him & Superman being the inspiration to so many around the world for so many years. They go into great detail about the history & origin for the superhero. It shows a variety of clips, comics, & pictures of Superman. “The Death of Superman: The Brawl That Topped Them All” is a little over 16 minutes. It covers the history of the original 4 part series that has this memorable story line. It goes into great detail about the epic saga & how they adapted into a film. “Lex Luthor: The Greatest Nemesis” is a little over 16 minutes. It’s a in depth profile on the legendary villain. It has interviews with various members of the creative team from the recent animated films. They chat about the character’s history. They go over his relationship with Superman. They go into detail about his role in the last two films. They bring up why so many like him despite Lex being a bad guy. It has a “Sneak Peak” for Wonder Woman: Bloodlines. It has “Previews” for Reign of the Supermen, Justice League vs the Fatal Five, & The Dark Knight Returns Part One/Two. “From the DC Comics Vault” features six cartoon episodes from the DC universe. Justice League Unlimited’s “The Doomsday Sanction” & Batman: The Brave and the Bold’s “Darkseid Descending!”, both episodes are around 23 minutes. Legion of Superheroes “Dark Victory: Part 1” & “Dark Victory: Part 2”, it’s the series/season finale from the TV show that aired in 2008. Both episodes are almost 23 minutes. “Heavy Metal” from Superman: The Animated Series & it’s almost 21 minutes. It introduces the Steel / John Henry Irons character. “Panic in the Sky” from Justice League Unlimited which has all kinds of characters from this film & it’s a little over 23 minutes. It’s a nice little bonus to this release. This limited edition gift set comes with a outer box, a exclusive Steel figure, slipcover, a digital code, a exclusive Superman: Doomsday 4K, & a blu ray copy of the release plus it’s numbered. This is a great package & it’s a must own for any Superman fan, it needs to be added to your collection. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!