Find Me At Screen Rant

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

All-Star Superman



Adapted from Grant Morrison's acclaimed graphic novel, All-Star Superman adapts a handful of Morrison's tales into a choppy theatrical narrative, but ultimately delivers a particularly profound Superman story by its conclusion. All-Star Superman is a modern day continuation of the "Silver Age" version of the Man of Steel, complete with all of its hokey 1950s comic book trappings like Superman robots guarding the Fortress of Solitude, Superman's menagerie of alien pets (a "sun eater") and weaponry (a "gravity gun" and a "Phantom Zone projector"), and pseudo-science where normal humans can drink a serum to give them Superman's powers for 24 hours. (Note that Smallville more or less subscribes to Superman's Silver Age concepts.) The Super serum in question plays a pivotal role in the story, with both Lois Lane and Lex Luthor drinking it to gain Superman's powers, with decidedly different results. This is Superman at his most wholesome and square-jawed; in terms of his abilities, Superman is at his most god-like. Already nigh-almighty, Superman begins the story by being tricked by Lex Luthor into absorbing more solar radiation from the sun than his cells can handle, causing him to manifest even more power while he slowly dies from solar poisoning. Nonsensically slapped-together interludes with Lois Lane, the mythical troublemakers Samson and Atlas, two fellow Kryptonians looking to squat on Earth, a battle against a grotesquely mutated Parasite, and a final showdown with Lex Luthor comprise All-Star Superman's haphazard narrative. Grant Morrison's whizziest sci-fi concepts are saved for the end, where Luthor, using Superman's Super Vision, is stunned to see the building blocks that comprise our physical universe, and is so humbled, he finally reforms. Superman, his body transmuting into pure solar energy, goes on a final mission to destroy Solaris the Sun Tyrant and restore our sun from red to blue to normal. (Missing, perhaps for the best, are Morrison's confounding stories about Superman trapped on Bizarro World.)  The animation aims to replicate the artwork of Frank Quitely with reasonable success, while the voice acting - starring James Denton, Christina Hendricks, and Anthony LaPaglia as Superman, Lois Lane, and Lex Luthor - sounds a bit sleepy but is satisfactory. All-Star Superman doesn't quite succeed in capturing all of the heady, pulpy thrills of Morrison's comics, which have been heralded as the best Superman stories in decades, but it does the Man of Tomorrow justice.