SUPERMAN: MAN OF TOMORROW AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL NOW AND ON DVD, BLU-RAY™ & LIMITED-EDITION BLU-RAY™ WITH MINI-FIGURE SEPTEMBER 7TH
If Justice League Dark: Apokolips War was the end of the DC animated universe then Superman: Man of Tomorrow is absolutely the start of a new one. This is not a Smallville esq origin story of Clark Kent, Man of Tomorrow is a Superman year one story, and a very good one.
Thank you to Warner Bros UK for the advance copy and opportunity to review and the use of all images.
PLOT AND STORY
Clark Kent has recently moved from Kansas to Metropolis and has taken an internship at the Daily Planet. Having spent his life hiding his powers Clark can’t stop himself from jumping into action when someone needs help. The arrival of Lobo which finally brings Superman out into the public eye.
Writing a Superman origin story or even a year one story is not an easy task. There are not many people on the planet who don’t know the story of Kal El, the last son of Krypton sent to Earth following the destruction of his home planet. Man of Tomorrow writer Tim Sheridan does an amazing job by taking a well known story and giving it a modern, refreshing edge which feels both original but playing true to the comic lore. Superman Man of Tomorrow feels like the Superman of today.
I often hear people moan about Superman stories being boring because he is so powerful or that you only need Kryptonite to kill him. Tim Sheridan took a different approach with this movie and one which I think plays out incredibly well. How else do you truly compete with Superman? You give him not one, not two, but three villains to comprehend with. What three villains do you put him up against to give the audience a believable story? His arch nemesis Lex Luthor of course has to be involved by manipulating people to his will. When you then add Lobo and Parasite into the mix as a viewer you are genuinely struggling to see how Superman will save the day.
Darren Criss is our Superman now what a great fit his performance was for the role. Taking Clark on a more modern, younger journey I found Darren to have the perfect blend of youthful energy and strong american hero charm. As we follow Clark on his early adventures at the daily planet we meet all the usual characters. A young, attractive and passionate reporter called Lois Lane played elegantly by Alexandra Daddario. The stressed out, over the top Editor in Chief Perry White played with such energy by Piotr Michael.
Clark has three main supporters throughout the movie, the first being his earth parents. Martha and Jonathan Kent are played by Bellamy Young and Neil Flynn respectively. Clark also meets and befriends The Martian Manhunter J’onn J’onz. J’onn is played by Ike Amadi who provides such a calm and steady personality that Director Chris Palmer said it best during the Fandome event when he said “Ike should have his own line of meditation tapes”.
Rounding out the cast is our trio of villains. I always thought Rain Wilson was my Lex Luthor but after hearing Zachary Quinto take on the role I am torn. Zachary has one of those voices you just know following his breakout role on Heroes and proves that there isn’t anything he can’t do. Rudy Jones who becomes Parasite is played by Brett Dalton and after seeing him over at Marvel’s Agents of Shield for so long it’s nice to have him in the DC family now.
Last but by no means least was the main man himself Lobo. Method actor Ryan Hurst takes on the role this time and absolutely nails it. Seen most recently on the Walking Dead as Beta, Hurst is an actor who can do almost anything as he perfectly encapsulated the persona of Lobo’s crazy, over the top, egocentric, masochistic personality.
Man of Tomorrow takes Warner Bros. animation in a very different direction. Moving away from the standard animated formation we have come to expect from DC movies, Man of Tomorrow displays a unique more animated style which somehow gives a more realistic feel. It compares to the likes of Archer, but with a slightly better finish which at times reminded of the movie A Scanner Darkly. Time and reviews will tell if this is the right direction for the animation studio but I for one found it to be very enjoyable on the eyes.
This style of animation manages to tweak those more human elements that animation sometimes misses. The human figure and emotions are the two main points this has enhanced. An example is Lois Lane, who is obviously going to catch Clark’s eye, but the way she is given a more womanly and realistic figure makes the audience see her appeal. A specific moment of this was when we first met her at a press conference. She enters the scene from behind and commands the eyes of the room and the audience in a way I can only compare to Jessica Rabbit entering the scene in the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Action is something Warner Bros. animated movies has never had a problem with and it’s nice to see this formula continue. You feel every punch and you hear every kick in the way an audience should. The beauty of a Superman movie is how much power and destruction can be caused by super powered beings and they take that to its limit in this movie. I in particular enjoyed quite a long drawn out battle between Superman and Lobo early in the movie. This really encapsulated how difficult this battle would be for both parties and what destruction it would cost the city.
Superman: Man of Tomorrow feels like the start of something beautiful. If you are a fan of Superman or DC comics then you will enjoy this movie. It feels like a solid foundation to what could and should be a new DC animated universe.
This movie is full of action and fun characters. It has some very funny moments, especially a scene when Clark decides he needs to wear a cape. The story has the heart and emotion any good Superman story should have as he struggles to deal with being different. These are the kind of relatable themes that are incredibly prevalent in the modern world and stories a younger generation needs and wants to be told.