by Kroze Kresky, Media Editor
The neverending line of DC Animated Universe Original Movies coming out of Warner Premiere continues chugging away with the release of Superman: Unbound, which premiered friday at WonderCon 2013.
Fresh off of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns duology, DC has decided to adapt a comic that is less a drastic undertaking by using Geoff Johns’s Superman: “Brainiac” storyline as its base. Brainiac has come a-knockin to Earth to catalog the human population of the planet into his collection, and the only one who can stop it is Superman. What good ol’ Supes isn’t aware of is that his own homeworld was once a stop on Brainiac’s great galactic road trip of city solvenieres. Can he stop a force that not even his own kind could resist against?
The story begins with Supergirl (voiced by Molly Quinn of Castle fame) coming to terms with being on Earth, going through a very teenage rebellious stage in her life (haven’t we all been there before?). She almost ends up killing someone when the Man of Steel steps in and tells her off. Superman (Chuck’s Bryce Larkin, Matt Bomer himself) is having a few life problems of his own with Lois (being voiced by another Castle cast member, Stana Katic) both unsure of how they want their relationship to be portrayed as. Clark is scared to commit since if anyone were to find out her relation to superman then they could possibly use it against her. Everything comes tumbling down when Brainiac’s pod hits earth with a scouting drone meant to collect information on humans. After a short battle to disable the droid, Kara finds out about the scout and warns Kal-El of the oncoming storm known only as Brainiac and what havoc it unleashed upon Krypton (including shrinking the entire capital city of Kandor and locking it away in a bottle). When Superman hears of this injustice, he sets out to find this being and bring it down and prevent what it has done to other species and planets from being done to Earth.
Right off the bat, the highly stylized feel will catch the attention of most viewers who are familiar with the normal DC Animated Universe renditions of our favorite characters. The character designs feel very slick and thin with their angled flat edged shapes. This is most noticeable on Clark out of everyone in the cast. Yet none of this feels out of place and you will quickly adjust to it. The voice cast of stars Andrea Romano keeps putting together for these films continues to amaze and shine. Putting Matt Bomer as Clark/Superman was a very inspired choice. The same goes for Fringe alumni John Noble as the cybernetic and race enslaving Brainiac. Molly Quinn while decent continues to suffer the same fate as previous Supergirl voice actor Summer Glau where in trying to make Kara sound like a bitter teenager, it doesn’t convey the same way the original source material did for the character.
While Unbound uses a storyline right from the comics, it was less adapted panel by panel and more so embellished upon and expanded in order to fill an entire run time for a movie release. The problem with this is that the original comic was straight to the point and concise, adding the extra storylines into it all takes away some of the focus from the main story. It definitely feels artificially extended and the parts that are not part of the main storyline feel a bit too slow and unneeded.
Overall Superman: Unbound is an interesting film. It is in no way the weakest entry in the DC Animated Universe lineup, but falls very short from being up there with Batman: Under the Red Hood and the recent Batman: The Dark Knight Returns releases.
ComicsOnline gives Superman: Unbound 3 out of 5 fingers up to Brainiac.
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