After the polarizing “adaptation” from 2007, DC and Warner take another crack at the taking one of the most controversial and news making comic book storylines of the nineties and bring it to the big screen. With a little tweaks, of course. The whole of “The Death and Return of Superman” is compact, but it takes a good effort in streamlining the entire arc for a movie. The whole epic storyline spanned a ton of DC titles from Supergirl, Green Lantern, and Justice League, so Jake Castorena and Sam Liu have to squeeze it in to two whole movies, and they do a pretty great job of it, save for glaring flaws here and there.
After Superman reveals his identity to Lois Lane due to their evolving romance, a massive beast with the only desire to kill and destroy, emerges from the Earth and begins wreaking havoc. Known only as Doomsday, it’s up to Superman to put him down when the Just League fail. A year after Superman sacrifices his life to take down Doomsday, Earth realizes how much they need him, including the League. Suddenly four mysterious super beings: a Steel Superman, a teenage Superman, an Alien Superman, and a Cyborg Superman emerge, all resembling the Man of Steel in some form, and claiming to be the Man of Steel. Stunned, Lois Lane begins investigating them, and uncovers a plot involving clones, a threat waiting in another universe, and the true intentions of the foursome.
Overall, I think DC and Warner should have taken this storyline and turned it in to a trilogy, devoting an entire film to what a world without Superman looks like. Some of the most heartfelt moments from the death of Superman are chronicled, with new superheroes trying to take his place, including his number one fan Bibbo. In either case, the adaptation of the iconic epic Superman storyline changes some elements here and there, but it does a great job of getting the point across while also showing us how fun but eccentric the four Supermen were.
Everyone from Cyborg to Superboy get their spotlight, but Steel thankfully gets the biggest chance to shine as a superhero here, with the underrated DC character showing how dynamic he is, even when he’s merely a living and breathing tribute to Superman. “The Death and Return of Superman” is combined in to one film, as DC adds more footage amounting to a feature film that’s over two and a half hours long. Your mileage may vary depending on your love for the storyline and new directions they take, but I love it, and I think DC has come through with a saga that works as two films and one whole epic.
The new Limited Edition Collection from Warner comes with the 4K UHD disc, the Blu-Ray, and a Digital Copy available for redemption at the Movies Anywhere subscription service. This release also includes a bonus copy of the controversial 2007 animated film “Superman: Doomsday” in 4K UHD for the first time. Included for collectors is also a pretty great figurine of the cinematic saga’s MVP “Steel” with cape, signature hammer and all.
Included within the content, is “Long Live Superman” is a segment about Superman, his creation, his influence, his legacy, and his progression in to the “Death” storyline which became one of the most polarizing storylines in comic book history. “The Death of Superman: The Brawl That Topped Them All” is a segment that explores the brawl between Superman and Doomsday that leveled the DC universe and resulted in the death of the man of steel. The creators of the comic along with the producers of the movie discuss the humongous fight along with the help of a martial arts expert.
“Lex Luthor: The Greatest Nemesis” is a segment about one of the most iconic super villains in pop culture history. This documentary looks at the creation and history of Luthor, and explores his motives, his intentions toward mankind, his ethics, and whether he’s a true super villain or just a misunderstood anti-hero. There’s so much to unpack here and it’s an engaging and entertaining documentary, especially if you like Lex Luthor as much as I do. There are bonus episodes of classic DC animated series from the DC Vault included such as Legion of Superheroes, “Dark Victory: Part 1”, Legion of Superheroes, “Dark Victory: Part 2”, Superman: The Animated Series, “Heavy Metal”, and Justice League Unlimited, “Panic in the Sky.”