A destructive force is devastating planets across the galaxy – with Earth next in its sights – and even Superman may not be capable of halting the terror in the latest entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies, ‘Superman: Unbound.’
‘Superman: Unbound’ is based on the Geoff Johns/Gary Frank 2008 release ‘Superman: Brainiac,’ where we find the Man of Steel aptly handling day-to-day crime while helping acclimate the recently arrived Supergirl to Earth’s customs, all while managing Lois Lane’s expectations for their relationship. Personal issues for the last son of Krypton have to take a back seat when the horrific force responsible for one of the worst days in the history of Krypton (the day Brainiac stole the city of Kandor) arrives. Brainiac has crossed the universe, collecting cities from planets with intelligent life and now begins his descent upon Earth. And when the all-knowing, ever-improving android has his sights fixed on Metropolis. Superman must summon all of his physical and intellectual resources to protect his world, city, cousin, and the love of his life.
This latest outing has one of the most stellar voice casts in recent DCUA memory. ‘Superman: Unbound’ is led by Matt Bomer (‘In Time,’ ‘Chuck,’ ‘White Collar’) as Superman, John Noble (‘Fringe,’ ‘The Lord of the Rings’ films) as Brainiac, Stana Katic (‘Castle’) as Lois Lane, and Molly Quinn (‘Castle’) as Supergirl. Additional voices in the cast include Golden Globe Award winner Frances Conroy (‘American Horror Story,’ ‘Six Feet Under’) as Ma Kent, Wade Williams (‘The Dark Knight Rises’) as Perry White, Diedrich Bader (‘The Drew Carey Show,’ ‘Batman: The Brave & The Bold’) as Steve Lombard, Stephen Root (‘Boardwalk Empire,’ ‘Justified’) as Zor-El, and Alexander Gould (‘Weeds’) as Jimmy Olsen. This group brings everything you expect from an Andrea Romano directed cast, with lots of emotion, urgency and passion.
I’m not one to fault actors when the source material is not necessarily up to par, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Matt Bomer and Molly Quinn as Superman and Supergirl in this movie. As a matter of fact, I would place Bomer up near the top of Superman voices. That being said, ‘Superman: Unbound’ is like a lot of what Geoff Johns has done over the last few year; great concept, strong start and then it just kind of fizzles out. When you compare this Superman movie to ‘All-Star Superman’ and ‘Superman vs. the Elite,’ it comes up wanting. It may sound like I’m not a fan of ‘Superman: Unbound,’ but I really did enjoy this movie, and anytime we get a chance to see Superman use intellect, deduction and logic to beat the big bad, it’s a Superman story that I can get behind.
Story aside, the animation is excellent to go along with the great vocals, and I spent a small portion of the movie debating with myself: Superman’s cape… is it better with or without the “S” Shield? I landed on without. The character designs are true to the original characters while still coming across as fresh and clean (even if Lois is kind of pale and looks like an updated Morticia Addams, but it works). The muscle bound Brainiac is a nice diversion from the last decade’s purple shirt with a white collar preppy guy. He had the look he needed to be able to stand toe-to-toe with the Man of Steel.
But the real surprise and bright spot of ‘Superman: Unbound’ is Supergirl. There have been a few tries at Supergirl in these DCUA movies, and THIS version of Kara Zor-EL has them all beat. She is vulnerable and scared, while standing up for the little guy and looking out for anyone being bullied. This Maid of Might is the real deal, and when it comes down to it she puts her fears and doubts behind her and saves the day.
SUPERMAN: UNBOUND Blu-ray™ Combo Pack has over 4 1/2 hours of exciting content, including:
- Standard and high definition versions of the feature film
- Sneak Peek at Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, the next DC Universe Animated Original Movie
- Featurette – “Kandor: History of the Bottle City” – An all-new featurette. Kandor: a peaceful scientific community dedicated toward the preservation of all that is good on Krypton, the home world of Superman. That is, until the city was ripped from its world and placed into a small glass bottle! This is the short story highlighting the shrunken city of Kandor. Its history just as fascinating as it is unique, here is how it ties in directly with the Man of Tomorrow.
- Featurette – “Brainiac: Technology and Terror” – An all-new featurette. Mostly machine, but part sentient being, Brainiac steals cities and destroys worlds. Is he the most vile of Superman’s villainous foes? Experience the Brainiac mythology and find out why Superman barely stands a chance!
- Audio Commentary – Featuring members of the creative team: Mike Carlin, Bob Goodman and James Tucker.
- Four bonus episodes from Superman: The Animated Series (“The Last Son of Krypton, Part 1”; “New Kids in Town”; and “Little Girl Lost, Parts 1 & 2”), all handpicked by producer Alan Burnett.
- Digital Comic – Excerpt from the graphic novel Superman: Brainiac by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.