REVIEW: ALL STAR SUPERMAN

 

CAST (VOICES)
James Denton (Desperate Houswives)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Anthony LaPaglia (Summer of Sam)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Frances Conroy (American Horror Story)
Linda Cardellini (Super)
Cathy Cavadini (The Batman)
Steven Blum (Wolverine ad The X-Men)
Alexis Denisof (Angel)
Matthew Gray Gubler (500 days of Summer)
Finola Hughes (Generation X)
Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy)
Dr. Leo Quintum and his team are exploring the Sun when they are sabotaged by a booby-trapped genetically-enhanced clone, turned into a time-bomb by Lex Luthor. Superman stops the clone but in doing so receives an overdose of solar radiation. Though the radiation is slowly killing him, it does give Superman new powers. Luthor, having orchestrated the death of Superman while under the employment of General Sam Lane, is arrested by the military thanks to Clark Kent’s article and sentenced to death by a Metropolis tribunal. Superman asks Dr. Quintim to keep news of his impending death secret from the public. Wanting to spend as much of his remaining time with Lois Lane, Superman reveals to her that he is Clark Kent. Lois doubts his revelation because she had been unable to prove Superman’s “Kent” identity herself. Superman takes her to the Fortress of Solitude. During this visit, Superman’s secretive behavior and her indirect exposure to alien chemicals heightens Lois’ paranoia.
She is startled by Robot 7, shooting it and then Superman with a kryptonite laser. The solar radiation having made him immune to green kryptonite, Superman is able to calm her, explaining his caginess was to hide her birthday present, a serum granting her superpowers for 24 hours. Now as a Superwoman, she and Superman stop an attack by Subterranosauri led by Krull in Metropolis just as Samson (who tricked Krull into leading an attack on the surface world) and Atlas arrive. After the Subterranosauri are returned to the center of the Earth, their leader Tyrannko states to Superman that Krull will be dealt with. Samson flirts with Lois and gives her a necklace, the crown jewels of the Ultra-Sphinx. When Superman tells him to back off, he shows Superman a newspaper that reads “Superman Dead” and challenges Superman to contests to win Lois. The Ultra-Sphinx travels through time to reclaim the jewels Samson had stolen, placing Lois between life and death. Superman must answer an unanswerable question to save Lois. The unanswerable question is “What happens when the Unstoppable Force meets the Immovable Object?” Superman beats Ultra-Sphinx’s challenge with the answer being “they surrender.” Superman then defeats Atlas and Samson in a double arm-wrestling match before spending the rest of the day with Lois as her powers fade.
Later, Kent meets Luthor in his death row cell for an exclusive interview at Stryker’s Island. However, Superman’s energy allows the Parasite to free himself and cause havoc in the prison. Clark stops him while not revealing his secret identity, with Luthor disclosing his respect for Clark as both a journalist and a man. Luthor then reveals a tunnel from his cell for Clark to escape through, aided by Luthor’s delinquent niece Nasthalthia. Luthor chooses not to escape as the satisfaction of outliving Superman is rewarding enough. Clark tells Lois he’s dying, before leaving to take the city of Kandor to a new planet to thrive, as he does not believe he’ll survive the trip back. Lois denies it, speaking of their future together with their super-children. Clark informs her that their biology is too incompatible for them to bear children. Clark leaves with Lois promising to wait for his return.
Two months later, Superman returns to find Metropolis has been repaired with Kryptonian architecture and that Earth has been protected by Bar-El and Lilo, lost astronauts from Krypton. They followed the trail of the vessel that brought Superman to Earth. To his dismay, the two have less altruistic goals and intend to turn Earth into a new Krypton. As they fight Superman outside of the Daily Planet, Bar-El and Lilo begin showing signs of illness: the two had passed through the remnants of Krypton and thus were saturated with Kryptonite. To save them and at their request, Superman places the two in the Phantom Zone until a cure can be found.After settling his affairs, Superman proceeds to finish his last will and testament. Luthor reprogrammed one of the Fortress’ robots to steal the serum he made for Lois’ birthday. Having the powers of Superman, Luthor’s death by electric chair failed and he escapes unfettered. He meets with Nasthalthia below one of his lairs to continue his plans. Superman finishes his will when he learns of Luthor’s secret ally Solaris, the tyrant star computer has betrayed Luthor by tampering with Earth’s sun and turned it blue. With his robots, Superman engages Solaris in space. However, Solaris’ raw power output vaporized all of the robots, with Robot #7 sacrificing itself to damage Solaris to redeem itself for being manipulated into stealing the super serum. All seems lost until Superman’s pet Sun-Eater sacrifices itself to weaken the tyrant star, which allows Superman to destroy Solaris.
Clark returns to the Daily Planet, very ill, and collapses upon completing his article, “SUPERMAN DEAD”. When the staff tries to save him they realize that he has stopped breathing and his heart stopped. But before they can do anything to help Clark, the super-powered Lex Luthor arrives and attempts to kill Lois. Clark revives and fires a gravity gun at Luthor. Superman tells Luthor he has been on to him ever since Superman Robot #7 first malfunctioned. As his powers fade, Luthor briefly sees the world as Superman sees it and weeps as he gains a measure of understanding of the subatomic and how it interconnects. The gravity weapon has warped time causing Luthor’s powers to burn out at a faster rate. As his powers drain, Luthor wishes the experience to continue. He believes he can solve the grand unification theory but when he reaches for his next vial of serum, he realizes that Superman has stolen his supply. Superman then destroys the serum over Luthor’s protests, pointing out that if Luthor truly cared about solving the world’s problems, he would have done so long ago.
With Superman’s body starting to turn into pure energy, he and Lois embrace one final time and he proclaims his love for her once and for all. He gives her his cape as a way to remember him before he leaves and flies into the Sun, seemingly sacrificing himself to save the Earth.
Later, when Lois sits on a bench in front of a statue of Superman, Jimmy invites her to attend a memorial service being held for Superman. Lois does not go as she believes Superman is not dead and will return after he repairs the sun. Quintum visits Luthor in his cell. Now enlightened from his ordeal and accepting his impending death, Luthor presents Quintum with the only thing that could redeem him for his actions over the years….a formula to recreate Superman’s genetic structure through a healthy human ovum. As Quintum leaves, he sadly muses “They always said they wanted children”. The movie ends with a picture of Superman fixing the sun and Lois’ voice once more stating “He’s not dead. He’s up there fixing the Sun. And when he’s done, he’ll be back.”
An excellent take which sticks closely to its source material. Approach with an open mind and you shouldn’t be disappointed
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REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS

CAST (VOICES)

William Baldwin (Backdraft)
Mark Harmon (NCIS)
Chris Noth (Sex and The City)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
James Woods (Family Guy)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Brian Bloom (The A-Team)
Bruce Davison (High Crimes)
Josh Keaton (Transformers Prime)
Vanessa Marshall (STar Wars Rebels)
Nolan North (Ultimate Spider-Man)

In an alternate universe where evil usually triumphs over good and where the roles of the heroes and villains are reversed from their counterparts in the mainstream DC Universe, heroic analogues of Lex Luthor and the Joker (called the Jester) are attempting to steal a device, the “Quantum Trigger”, from the headquarters of the Crime Syndicate. The pair trip an alarm but manage to secure the device. The Jester sacrifices himself to allow Luthor to escape and kills J’edd J’arkus and Angelique (alternate versions of Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl respectively) with a radioactive bomb. Luthor is confronted by the remaining Syndicate members (Ultraman, Superwoman, Power Ring, Johnny Quick and Owlman) but escapes to the Earth of the heroic Justice League by activating a dimensional travel device.

Luthor locates a police station and is mistaken for the evil Luthor where he ends up strip-searched. The Justice League is summoned and Superman’s x-ray vision confirms Luthor’s reversed organs indicate that he is from a parallel Earth and that the evil Luthor is still incarcerated at Stryker’s Island. The Justice League take the alternate Luthor to the Watchtower, where they learn of the Syndicate threat. As the Justice League debates the matter, Luthor hides the Quantum Trigger on the satellite. With the exception of Batman, the rest of the Justice League (Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash and Martian Manhunter) travel to Luthor’s Earth. Arriving at the parallel Justice League’s base, the heroes begin to attack Syndicate targets. After a successful series of raids in which they capture Ultraman, the League confront United States President Slade Wilson, who releases Ultraman and explains that acceding to the Syndicate’s demands saves millions of lives. His daughter, Rose, however, regards him as a coward. Martian Manhunter inadvertently reads her mind and explains that as a military man her father actually holds life more dear than others. Martian Manhunter foils an assassination attempt on Rose and the pair fall in love.

Owlman constructs a weapon, the Quantum Eigenstate Device or Q.E.D., which the Syndicate intend to use as the equalizer to the threat of a nuclear reprisal. When pressed by Superwoman, Owlman admits the weapon can destroy entire worlds. Believing there are many parallel Earths, and that each one develops from the choices that each person makes, Owlman becomes obsessed with the idea that nothing he does can possibly matter, as there will always be parallel worlds where he explored another option. As a result, he begins fervently seeking Earth-Prime, the very first Earth from which all other universes originated, intending to use the Q.E.D. to destroy it and spark a chain reaction that would erase the entire multiverse, as it is the only action that would not result in the creation of another universe. He then sends Superwoman with three of her lieutenants to the League’s dimension, and on the Watchtower they battle Batman, Aquaman, Black Canary, Black Lightning, Firestorm, and Red Tornado. Superwoman and one of her lieutenants escape with the Quantum Trigger, but are followed by Batman.

Batman tricks and defeats Superwoman, and summons the League. J’onn and Rose bond, and Rose decides to learn the location of the Syndicate base to allow the Justice League to confront them. The League arrive at the Crime Syndicate’s moon-base with the captive Superwoman, and eventually battle the Syndicate. Owlman fights off Batman and takes the Q.E.D. bomb to Earth-Prime, finding it to be uninhabited and lifeless, having suffered an unknown cataclysm that caused it to leave solar orbit. Luthor speculates that a speedster might be able to vibrate and match the temporal vibration of the teleported Q.E.D. device and open a portal. Flash volunteers but Batman states that he isn’t fast enough, only Johnny Quick is. Johnny agrees and opens a portal.

Batman pursues Owlman to Earth-Prime and defeats him. He then teleports Owlman and the Q.E.D. device to another lifeless, uninhabited Earth. Although Owlman is able to abort the countdown and save himself, he realizes an alternate version of himself would make the opposite choice regardless, stating “It doesn’t matter.”, and allows the bomb to detonate and destroy that alternate Earth, killing himself in the process. Batman returns to discover that the strain of acting as a vibratory conduit has aged Johnny Quick to near death. Before dying, Johnny correctly deduces that Batman had lied about Flash not being fast enough and knew what would happen to him. Despite this, he shows no ill will toward Batman, dying with a smile. Martian Manhunter returns, accompanied by President Wilson and the U.S. Marines, and together they arrest Ultraman, Superwoman, and Power Ring. Wilson thanks the heroes, and although Rose asks Martian Manhunter to remain with her, the group return to their dimension. Batman and Superman later discuss a membership drive, with the five heroes summoned previously greeting the League.

This movie is smart, interesting, and grabs you from the get-go. The action is top notch, the animation is ultra sweet, and if these direct-to-video DC Universe movies have proven anything, it’s that they know how to make a good Justice League flick.