Reign of Supermen is the newest animated superhero film produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment. The film is a sequel to the 2018 animated film The Death of Superman, an action-packed retelling of the 1993 “Doomsday” storyline. The movie is based on one of the most iconic comic book events from the 1990s. Cramming six months worth of serialized storytelling into 1 hour and 27 minutes is quite the challenge.
That movie did an interesting job of weaving the New 52 characters of the DCAU into the classic storyline but it was still a relatively straightforward swap. Reign of Supermen picks up six months after the story of The Death of Superman where the Man of Steel gave his life to save Metropolis and probably the world.
Probably the greatest strength of this film is the intimate character work that defines the different players. This film has to juggle a very large cast featuring four supermen, the Daily Planet Staff, JLA, and many classic Metropolitans including Lex Luthor (Rainn Wilson). The film does an admirable job making sure to give each character specific moments to act and react with other characters to define themselves.
Particular attention is given to the Superboy (Cameron Monaghan) and his relationship to other characters but mostly Lex Luthor. Despite the movie being named after Superman, this film is very much a journey with Lois Lane (Rebecca Romijn). Lois grounds this film and her interactions with the various supermen does a lot of the narrative lift that allows the writers and directors to shed some of the less entertaining parts of the 1993 comics run. She is the driver of the film and she is a compelling lead.
This movie does have issues. The action of the film is kind of uneven. Incredibly strong action and fight sequences occur in the first quarter of the movie but things kind of peter off after that point, the fights don’t carry the heft and weight of the initial encounters and they become pretty stock.
Additionally, the twist and reveal occurs way too early in the film for my liking and could have been held off a little later or there could have been a few more bread crumbs left on that particular trail. The final confrontation between our heroes and the movie’s true villains gets a little too convoluted as well. One of the greatest strengths of this adaptation was knowing where to cut story that just didn’t need to be told, and there is definitely some dialogue in the final confrontation that just doesn’t make sense and could have been streamlined or cut.
Overall this was a very enjoyable addition to the DCAU and a very fun comic book adaptation. It is chock full of the things you love in your DC animated adventures including cameos, awesome voice acting, good action, and this particular DCAU adventure had a very strong punch not just to the gut but also to the heart. It definitely got pretty dusty in the last 20 or so minutes. Is it worth watching? Yes! Owning? Well, it depends on how much you love Superman.
Reign of the Supermen is available on DVD and Blu-Ray as well as streaming on the DC Universe App.
Reign of the Supermen
Overall this was a very enjoyable addition to the DCAU universe and a very fun comic book adaptation. It is chock full of the things you love in your DC animated adventures including cameos, awesome voice acting, good action, and this particular DCAU adventure had a very strong punch not just to the gut but also to the heart. It definitely got pretty dusty in the last 20 or so minutes. Is it worth watching? Yes! Owning? Well, it depends on how much you love Superman.