Sue me but it’s pretty cool to be seeing a Hispanic man playing Superman for once; if only for one time in an Elseworlds tale. “Gods and Monsters” is set in an alternate DC Universe that has its own Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, and damn it they’re not the clean cut superheroes and titans we know them as. Imagine an alternate fate for the trio of titans. What if Zod programmed his DNA in to Superman and Superman was taken in by a Mexican farming couple rather than Kansas farmers. Imagine if Wonder Woman was from the new gods, and Batman was actually a bat like man who sucked people’s blood.
This is what the alternate DC Universe has wrought and it’s a slick new vision. There’s no introduction of the proper versions, as this new film features a trio of alternate superheroes that aren’t all cut and dry. Now the government uses the trio to stop rebels and terrorist threats, and they have their own form of justice which includes leaving a slew of bodies in their wake. The government has pretty much turned over their form of lawmaking to Superman and his cohorts, all of whom have plans to dominate Metropolis and soon enough the world. Superman is a Hispanic Zod like individual who has grand plans for him and his teammates, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. But when a trio of monsters show up that match the anti-heroes’ powers, Batman begins investigating.
Along the way we’re given a lot of glimpses in to alternate fates of the DC world, a reality where Victor Fries is a normal scientist, and Ray Palmer hasn’t quite become the Atom just yet, and probably never will. The new vision from Sam Liu and Bruce Timm is stark and often times very violent, and I really enjoyed where they took this concept, from building on the origin of Superman, right down to revealing the origins of our two other DC titans. Batman’s origin is the most elaborate as he was a scientist using bats to help cure his cancer, and this ultimately transformed him in to a vampire-like being. Everything in “Gods and Monsters” is just like we know the original characters, except tweaked just a little bit to add a little spice.
It’s interesting to see Superman in particular, who begins discussing world policies and the lower class, as he explains that he grew up with migrant farmers and faced the harshness of life. One glaring problem with “Gods and Monsters” is that it takes way too long to establish our anti-heroes. The movie is only seventy minutes in length, and spends most of the narrative establishing their back stories, with the mystery of the alien monsters taking a back seat for a least a half hour total. It’s a shame we couldn’t leave much of the explanation to suggestion and visual exposition and explored the more interesting aspects of the megalomaniacal avengers. With at least ten more minutes injected, “Gods and Monsters” could have been so much more compelling. As it is, “Gods and Monsters” is a bold reworking and one I hope we can see more of in the future, just to hear Benjamin Bratt kick ass as Superman all over again.
The Blu-Ray/DVD combo features a 19 minute segment about the various storylines about alternate realities in the DC mythology and how the production company used that for this elseworlds tale. “Calculated Risks” is a twenty four minute behind the scenes segment featuring interviews with the cast and crew, and their take on this new elseworlds tale. “The New Gods” is a twenty two minute look at Jack Kirby’s legendary universe and takes a spotlight on Highfather, Darkseid, Mister Miracle, and Orion. “From the DC Comics Vault” features two episodes from the DCAU including “Phantoms” from “Legion of Super Heroes” and “Brave New Metropolis” from “Superman: The Animated Series.” Finally there’s a twelve minute look at “Batman: Bad Blood” which introduces the animated version of Batwoman.