All-Star Superman Review

All-Star Superman (2011) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin

All-Star Superman

Director: Sam Liu
Writers: Jerry Siegel (character created by: Superman), Joe Shuster (character created by: Superman) Dwayne McDuffie (written by), Grant Morrison (graphic novel) &
Frank Quitely (graphic novel)
Stars: James Denton, Christina Hendricks, Anthony LaPaglia

All-Star Superman is regarded as one of the most popular and humanisation of the character the Man of Steel. A dying Superman decided to fulfil his lifelong dreams after being poisoned by the sun’s radiation due to Lex Luthor overdosing him with solar radiation and having his own agenda whilst Superman’s quest is to leave the world in a better place than the one he came to as an infant.

What I enjoyed from the kick off is that part of the story is dealt with very quickly and sets us up for the rest of the movie. Don’t get me wrong, at times the pacing of the film is a little jolty and there are some unnecessary scenes involving Atlas and Samson which I felt were unneeded and pointless. One thing I did like was the fact that Superman knew he was dying and also knew that Lex Luthor was responsible for this. I think this is the first time since Superman: Doomsday we see the Man of Steel vulnerable and questioning his own mortality. 

The Animation in All-Star Superman is okay I guess. It didn’t have the high speed action sequences of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse or Batman: Under the Red Hood but most of the shots reminded me that this film was base off a specific comic book and I believe the animators have stuck to keeping it’s look in the film. Very much like Superman: Doomsday, Justice League: The New Frontier and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, so I can appreciate that look and feel to this movie.

Sadly this would be a swansong for writer Dwayne McDuffie who sadly passed away 1 day before the movies release. His adaptation for All-Star Superman from the Graphic Novel by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely works mostly throughout although at times it comes across as a episodic experience. McDuffie’s experience in his field was phenomenal in video games like Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage from 1994 and Justice League Heroes in 2006 to television series like Justice League, Teen Titans, Ben 10 and Young Justice. His writing presence is evident in the DC Animated film I have already reviewed Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010) and a film I have watched but will review soon in Justice League: Doom from 2012. At the age of just 49 Dwayne McDuffie will be sadly missed.

James Denton as Superman at times was a little flat and emotionless. He reminded me a lot of Billy Crudup’s performance in Watchmen (2009) as Dr. Manhattan / Jon Osterman. Very cold and distant. In this case I suppose the predicament Superman was in kinda justifies this performance. Denton wasn’t bad in the role and actually portrayed a very good and convincing Clark Kent. Supported with Christina Hendricks as Lois Lane / Superwoman (Which was a nice surprise), Anthony LaPaglia as Lex Luthor (Who I have been a fan of since he appeared in So, I Married An Axe Murderer (1993) and Edward Asner as Perry White was great. I felt Hendricks portrayed the character well and for once had a prominent role and presence in these DC Animated Films. Lois Lane as Superwoman could have been naff but actually served the story well and as previously mentioned was probably over utilised in the pointless scenes involving Atlas and Samson. Believe me there was no need to this part of the film.

Overall and I have to be honest here, the film doesn’t flow well in parts  and effects the whole experience, not to the point of ruining the film but having that episodic feel doesn’t work in this film. I think Superman fans will enjoy this film and seeing their favourite character used in a different and vulnerable way. I’m unsure on how hardcore fans reacted to this film, whether it adapted well or not. My own experience is that although not my favourite DC animated film, it is still worth a watch and I would recommend giving it a go. One thing though, don’t pick it as your introduction to this world. Recommended.

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