Whilst I haven’t had the chance to watch the film yet, DC’s usual continuity within the DC Animated Film Universe came to an end with 2020’s Justice League Dark: Apokolips War and whilst we knew this wasn’t the end of the animated film releases, fans were left to wonder where the new films would take us from here on out.
Then came along this new film, Superman: Man of Tomorrow and after watching this at DC FanDome on September 12th, I realised that the new direction was hopeful.
Let me just say that this isn’t an origin story. I mean it is in some ways but it’s mostly a ‘Year One’ story. Clark Kent is an intern at the Daily Planet, and he’s already flying around Metropolis saving people. He just doesn’t do it in his iconic blue spandex yet. Clark’s journey is one of discovery, not just in learning where he comes from, but also learning who he is as a being and where his moral compass is at.
Lois Lane works her way up the food chain as she proves her fierce journalism skills and feisty personality that makes her the prize winning journalist we know and love in her later years that we are used to seeing.
Meanwhile Lex Luthor continues to be the usual genius asshole we know him to be, but his evolution in this film leaves us questioning at points where his true morals lie.
Clark meets his first challenge in the form of the main man from Czarnia, Lobo. However, his greatest challenge comes later, in the form of Parasite, a human turned creature that proves tricky to beat, even for Superman.
Superman: Man of Tomorrow differs greatly from the usual animation/art style that we are used to in the DC Animated Universe films, with this style taken on a more nostalgic cartoon feel, with heavy use of outlines and line work on facial features, to really make it pop out from the screen. Though it is unlike any DC Animated movie, it shares a resemblance to the same style of other animated products such as the hit Netflix series Archer, though the colour palette for Man of Tomorrow is certainly lighter for the films aspects of hope and a brighter future. as well as Archer using more shading on character facial features.
It’s hard to truly express how brilliant the voice casting for this feature is, but I’ll certainly try with some short but sweet notes on some of the cast.
Darren Criss brings a soft but powerful voice to the role of Clark Kent/Superman, which helps separate the two when needed. There honestly feels like there’s that sense of hope within his voice when he talks to citizens as Superman.
Zachary Quinto has always been a great villain portrayal to me, from the first time I saw him in Heroes (2006) as Sylar, to him now voicing one of the greatest villains in the multiverse, Lex Luthor. His voice excels at bringing forth the little twisted sense of friendliness whilst also giving us that thought of “something’s off about this character”. Even when he seems to be helping you can just tell he’s scheming, so when I heard Lex Luthor’s voice in this film, I heard Lex Luthor, not Quinto.
Alexandra Daddario brought the fiery personalty out of Lois Lane that makes her stand out from every other character. Her pure passion for the hottest stories and determination to get the scoop are key elements to what makes Lois Lane, Lois Lane. Daddario was able to bring her to life and get the balance between sweet but fierce just right, so that fans could fall in love with her in every scene she’s in. Even when she’s with characters like Lobo, and Superman himself in the same frame, I felt that Lois stole each scene she was in.
Speaking of Lobo, Ryan Hurst brought the main man to our screens with that gruff voice you’d expect Lobo to have that compliments his appearance, and not only that, but his humour was there also, with perfect timing and excellent pitch for each little quip he makes throughout.
Ike Amadi gave us the stern and strong voice of Martian Manhunter, who helped carry the movie, and Superman’s character, along with ease and understanding. From being a shifty character in the background to a strong ally of Superman, Amadi as Martian Manhunter brought the emotion with his voice as the character explains who he is, and who Kal-El is.
If you’re a long time fan of Superman, just starting out or never watched or read anything about the character before, then Man of Tomorrow is certainly and excellent film to watch. It has all you need from a Superman film, from 3 different types/levels of villains within Lex, Lobo and Parasite, as well as the more jittery side of Superman’s life as Clark Kent, as he struggles not to make a fool of himself in front of Lois Lane, the woman he is so madly in love with. Throughout the film you can feel the impact of the situations he faces, as well as the emotion of every scene.
Not to mention the inclusion of Martian Manhunter to add that sense of belonging for Superman on earth, whilst also portraying the humans reactions to discovering aliens exist. It all adds up to creating one hell of a viewing experience. If this is the future of the DCAU then it is certainly a great starting point, but as a stand alone film, it excels in bringing life to the characters we have read about on the pages of the comics.
With Tim Sheridan’s writing and Chris Palmer’s directing, not forgetting all the other BTS crew that worked hard on this film, this is certainly an excellent instalment in any DC Fans collection and the DC Universe itself.
You can own Superman: Man of Tomorrow on Digital and on DVD/Blu Ray now!
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