Since I found out that this DC animated film was in production I have been impatiently waiting for it’s release. Superman: Red Son has been one of my favourite Superman stories to date, and I have always wanted to see it adapted into something more, and now that has finally happened – I am certainly a happy Tasmin.
Although I love the true Superman mythos and continuity in comic books, I am a sucker for an ‘Elseworld’s’ story too. I love seeing things twisted and different to the norm, I just find it really exciting and it really gives both comic writers and artists complete control when it comes to unique ideas and using their imaginations. This one always stuck with me, even though Superman is raised by others and in a completely different location he still has the same attributes that we are used to seeing. I think this is also one of the few stories where Superman is manipulated, especially to this extent. In this story we see SO many sides to the Man Of Steel, but it is handled perfectly. We see him unleash his full power, we see anger, contentment, and sincerity. There are just so many facets to the character that we rarely see, of course alongside the usual traits that we know and love. Mark Millar really captured every aspect of Superman’s origin and flipped it upside down in the best way.
First of all I’m going to say, YES there are a lot of changes to the original here, but I think of them as enhancements and alterations rather than complete changes. I’ll be honest I think that the changes that have been made make for better entertainment and heightened the emotion in the film and that really made an impact on me.
The film does tends to pin Superman as the person that’s in the wrong a little more, but only ever so slightly. Personally I liked that, for once in my life I found myself actually disagreeing with Superman and that isn’t something that happens often. He’s just much more ruthless it felt, and there were moments I was completely shocked at his actions. This is what an ‘Elseworld’ story is all about, and I love that the creative team here embraced that.
This film has emotion, heart, betrayal and plenty of action. It has everything, and although there are some differences, Sam Liu and J.M DeMatteis have really captured the tone of the original and made it into something of their own. The action is actually almost relentless,which keeps the film exciting throughout and really keeps the audience engaged. The way that the film is written is perfect, as is the way that it’s told. When reading the book I sometime felt a little lost, mostly in the moments that we jumped so many years ahead. I felt like I had missed something, or thought some pages were missing from my copy! The storytelling in this really cleared that up, it was clear and precise at all times, and for a film that has that much going on, the team handled it perfectly.
It’s safe to say that the animation style has taken a huge step forward since the last DCAU film. These animated films no longer feel like animated films, but are instead worthy of being a blockbuster film event. The background animation and scenes are so damn realistic, whilst the characters that are in the forefront have that perfectly animated Bruce Timm style design. The two really contrast well with one another and that just adds to the multi-dimensional feel to it. The textures and colours used on the background artwork are just fantastic. You can just tell what material everything is made out of just at a first glance, a great example of this is The Daily Planet, and that is a skill that is rare and difficult to master.
The animators and designers have really nailed each of the characters in that iconic Bruce Timm style designs. The suits featured in this story line are some of my favourite versions, so unique and so impactful, the creative team here really did do them justice as they brought them to life.
There are so many action sequences that just feel like they are from a blockbuster film. The sound effects really add to the impact of that as well. Each scene, scenario and action is combined with incredibly realistic sound effects which really enhance the experience as a whole. You really do feel every punch, blow and ability that Superman and his enemies use against one another, it’s brutal. The character art and animation really showcase the emotion on the characters faces perfectly. Nothing needs to be said, you can just see exactly how they are feeling, the expressions are so realistic and that’s what adds the emotion to the film.
There are also some homage sequences (well I think they are homages), as several scenes really remind me of things and styles that we have seen before. There were scenes reminiscent of Man Of Steel, Batman V Superman and artwork by Neal Adams and Francesco Mattina. As a fan of these films and media it’s a great little nod and something that I really appreciate seeing, creators respecting other creators.
The score used in the film by Frederik Wiedmann is so beautiful, and that is really enhanced when used in certain scenes. I think one of my favourites is the opening scene. That scene combined with this uplifting score is just so inspiring. It really is a piece of music that I hope is used in the future when it comes to Superman. The title theme is very dramatic too, and not in a bad way. That music combined with the incredible artwork featured is just epic, it really reminds me of a Bond Film.
Linking in with the sound – the voice actors are perfect in this film too. Since the casting announcement, I have been so excited! This really is a star-studded and experienced film and my god did they deliver. Every single cast member bring their characters to life, and brought everything they had to the table.
Sam Liu and the entire team have created their very own version of an iconic classic. There are many changes to the original material, some things added, and some things missing, but that is not a bad thing. I won’t go into what exactly has changed, I’ll let you see for yourselves, but of course, you need some things switched up otherwise you would know what to expect and no-one wants that. It’s nice to anticipate what is going to happen and being completely wrong, that’s what brings the excitement and this film has plenty of that involved.
It’s safe to say that this is a fantastic interpretation of Superman: Red Son in which they have put their own unique stamp on it. It could also be classed as an alternate version of the story in fact. There is only one thing I wished we saw in this adaptation, and that was the Krypto statue that featured in his Fortress, I really wanted to see that.
Superman: Red Son is available NOW on digital download from places like Amazon or ITunes.