'Death of Superman' Is Already Doing Right What 'Dawn of Justice' Did Wrong
For a microcosm of DC’s identity crisis, look no further than its live-action movies versus the home video animations. The trailer for The Death of Superman, an upcoming feature based on the 1992 Superman comics, is going to kill Superman just like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice did two years ago. The only difference is that the DC Animated Universe has earned the right to kill the Man of Steel, while the DCEU blew it right out of the gate.
On Friday, IGN revealed the trailer for The Death of Superman, an animated film directed by Jake Castorena, and a remake of 2006’s Doomsday, the first time DC adapted the comics to film. True to its name and source material, the story follows the arrival of Doomsday, a powerful, genetically-modified being who wipes the floor with the Justice League, leaving Superman literally the only one able to stop him. As fans remember from the last few times DC told this story, it doesn’t end well for the Superman — at least for awhile.
The film will be the tenth movie in the DC Animated Universe, an ongoing series that began in 2013 with Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (based off 2011’s Flashpoint) and Justice League: War. Because of this, the DCAU has earned a sense of familiarity from its audience, whose characters have been played by (mostly) the same voice actors the past five years. (Did you know Michael B. Jordan voiced Cyborg?) So it will actually matter if The Death of Superman lives up to its title and kills Superman, which should have been a massive moment for pop culture when it happened in Dawn of Justice. But it didn’t, and it wasn’t.
Want proof? Notice how the internet shared in its collective grief after Avengers: Infinity War. Even with the gut instinct that all the dead heroes will return for Avengers 4, the MCU earned the right for an emotional payoff by being patient. Infinity War and Dawn of Justice did remarkably similar things, but the difference was that one movie took nineteen more movies over ten years to do it. And only one movie had people talking in a positive way.
Though it’s a significantly smaller scale, the DCAU has quietly pulled off the Marvel formula while no one was looking.
The Death of Superman will be released on August 7 on Blu-ray and Digital HD.