REVIEW: Red Son: Genesis – Part One

The first entry of the fan film ‘Red Son: Genesis’ from Luke Harris and Time Capsule Productions introduces us to the Elseworld based on Mark Millar’s mini-series. Where past and future blend in a surreal way and Superman’s ship that brought him here landed a couple thousand miles away from where it should’ve been. The 15-minute first chapter interweaves familiar scenes of Superman’s, or rather Khal as his parents in the Soviet Union called him, childhood and a briefing he attends with the Soviet higher-ups as Red Leader. 

Red Son: Genesis Released

Young Khal (Marsel Mamjan) is raised by the Kantors, Ivan (Andrii Klymenko), and Marta (Elena Romanova). As he grows up, he realizes that there’s something different about him with his developing powers. As they become more apparent, it comes time to show him the craft that he was sent in as well as unlock the secrets of technology for the Soviet Union with the collective he was raised having taken possession of it. 

This is interwoven in the present day with Khal now Red Leader (Luke Harris) attending a Supreme Soviet meeting in Moscow. With technology decades ahead of the curb that enabled them to win the space race and a superhero, the Soviet Union continued to expand, and everything seemed almost perfect to them. Lena Lazarenko (Elena Romanova) shows a news report from overseas in America by Lois Lane (Linda De La Fonteijne) and Jimmy Olsen (Len Nash) showing that they are doing quite the opposite. While the Cold War never officially ended in this world, Red Leader is sympathetic to the United States, seeing them in need of saving rather than conquering or defeating. Meanwhile, President Lex Luthor (Peter Welch) appears to have gotten his hands on some kryptonite. 

The power of ‘Red Son: Genesis’ comes from its establishing shots. The old architecture of Estonia that Harris said he especially shot combined with the computer-generated cyber-feeling buildings create a surreal world where past and present meet in the Soviet Union that never collapsed. This would be the science fiction world that Harris wanted to set and expand upon further than it had been done in the comics. The classic running against a train scene is recreated in Khal’s growing-up scenes in what is a timeless inspiration. 

The native languages being spoken in each country add a new level of immersion that the animated movie was lacking. In our interview, Harris had said that he had been learning Russian for a little under two years and those not familiar with him may think him one of the native speaker actors. There were a lot of technical challenges to overcome with the script translation, dialogue coaching, and learning the language. The local costumes from the theaters in Estonia add to that authenticity. 

The Superman suit Harris went with was one of the more expensive parts of the $30,000 budget from Replica Industries. Compared to other suits across TV, films, and fan films, this one falls under the same category as Henry Cavill’s. It’s got to be that rough leathery armor look. It would make sense for Superman’s suit to be made of such material as opposed to cloth, so it doesn’t burn off when he flies.

Luke Harris and Time Capsule Productions have something special with this. The only thing ‘Red Son: Genesis’ lacks is more episodes, which means it succeeds as what is meant to be the first entry.  

You can watch Red Son: Genesis here

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