Do you remember where you were when Superman “died” back in the 90s? You may not have been born yet, but as for me, I was a teenager in shock like the rest of the world when one of the most beloved icons in all comic book history had been killed off. But of course we’d learn later it was just a gimmick to sell comics in a dying comic book world back then, and that the hero would slowly but surely return.
Warner Bros. tried to make an animated feature on this before with the so-so Superman: Doomsday film, but now we have a proper film cobbled out of two recent animated films in The Death and Return of Superman. If you’re like me and have been waiting to see a good animated adaptation of this infamous story arc from the comics, this is as good as it’s going to get.
In case you missed our reviews for them, this film is comprised of stitching The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen movies together with some never-before-seen footage mixed in to bring us a near three hour experience. Feel free to check out the reviews by Travis and Besu, but basically the plot revolves around (you guessed it!) the death and return of Superman as he’s taken out by the monster Doomsday, and is soon replaced by not one, not two, but four different supermen who are trying to fill the fallen hero’s enormous shoes with the help of other famous DC Comics heroes as a glimmer of hope signals his return.
After being burned by Superman: Doomsday, I didn’t think we’d ever get a decent adaptation of the death of Superman arc, but I’m so glad they went back and took their time making both of these movies, and even better taking the movies and combining them into this one (yeah I know, double-dipping). What we get is an action-packed yet deep and moving tale that’s perfect for fans and those who enjoy good comic book movies.
Warner Bros. was very kind enough to send over the limited edition 4K HDR package, so everything looks and sounds fantastic as details from the picture and Dolby HD audio will pull you in for the drama and send you hiding behind the couch when the action explodes through your home theater setup.
There’s also some nice special features and extras, most notably the cool gift set they sent us is part of a numbered, limited edition release and also includes and cool exclusive “Steel” figurine, and a bonus 4K disc of Superman: Doomsday, making it the first time it’s been released in UHD. That was enough to wow me over, but let’s go into the on disc features.
“Long Live Superman” is a nice piece that goes into how Superman is widely regarded as the world’s greatest hero and why we’ll always need a Superman, “The Death of Superman: The Brawl That Topped Them All” goes into the epic battle between Superman and Doomsday and how the crew working on the film brought in a martial arts expert to help choreograph the fights. “Lex Luthor: The Greatest Nemesis” talks about Superman’s greatest foe and what makes him the villain we love to hate.
I love when Warner Bros. throws in some classic DC animated shows “from the vault” on their releases, and it’s good to know they’re still doing it as we have “Legion of Superheroes – Dark Victory: Part 1 and 2”, “Superman: The Animated Series – Heavy Metal” and “Justice League Unlimited – Panic in the Sky” episodes that are just as fun as they were when they aired on TV.
The Death and Return of Superman is one of the best DC animated films I’ve seen in awhile. The action is powerful and on point, yet the dramatic sad and inspirational moments are just as crucial as the superhero battles are. If you’re looking for some good old fashioned comic book action for your TV, treat yourself to the limited gift set if you can, but definitely don the cape and fly to the store for this one.