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Reign of the Supermen (2019)
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 1/29/2019
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/28/2019
Adapting a comic book for a feature should be a fairly easy enterprise, but history has shown that there are a lot of challenges, most of which are self-inflicted. (If the team making the movie would simply stick to the script, it would be a piece of cake.) One hardship which occasionally arises is creating and maintaining quality through a series of animated films. Creating one can be daunting, but continuing to churn out something which will satisfy the fans can be herculean. This is what stood in the way of Reign of the Supermen.
Reign of the Supermen follows hot on the heels of last year’s . That feature showed how Superman (voiced by Jerry O’Connell) fought a monster called Doomsday to the death. As this continuation opens, the world is in mourning, and Lois Lane (voiced by Rebecca Romijn) is lost. Everyone is stunned when Superman’s tomb is found to be empty. (Biblical references anyone?) Following this, four new “Supermen” suddenly appear. “Superboy” (voiced by Cameron Monaghan), “Steel” (voiced by Cress Williams), “The Eradicator” (voiced by Charles Halford), and “Cyborg” (voiced by Patrick Fabian) all want to fill the void left by Superman. But, who are these people and are any of them an actual reincarnation of the Man of Steel? These questions take a backseat as a threat from beyond the stars not only eliminates the Justice League, but will the resolve of the people of Earth.
As previously discussed, “The Death of Superman” story arc in the Superman comic titles was the comic book event of late 1992 and early 1993. This interested continued when “Reign of the Supermen” appeared as a follow-up. However, the hype created by the media event which was Superman #75 soon began to die down, as readers started to suspect that they were witnessing yet another comic book cheat death. Yes, what started as a mystery of “Who is the real Superman?” soon turned into, “Oh, I’ll bet he’s not really dead.” And, in no time, Superman was back (although, with a new goth look).
We get a similar (albeit condensed) response with Reign of the Supermen. The movie introduces the four new Supermen, shows them in action, introduces the threat, and before you know it, we get a sneaking suspicion that the real Superman may be lurking in the shadows. The movie can’t help the fact that it has to rush through a story which spanned several issues in the comic book world, but it does rob the proceedings of some suspense. Lois talks to Superboy and Cyborg and attempts to learn if they are linked to Superman. However, we get very little of Eradicator, the one which has the physical attributes of Superman. And as for Steel…well, I’ve never understood this character (or why a movie starring Shaq was made). Did anyone, either in the movie or in the audience, actually think that this was Superman?
Those issues aside, Reign of the Supermen is a good companion piece to The Death of Superman. The story moves along at a nice pace, and elements of the mystery are rolled out in an organic way. The movie supplements the absence of Superman by bringing in some other characters. The appearance by the Justice League is not just fan service, but it surprisingly helps to provide some funny moments. The finale is well-done and be sure to stay for the coda after the credits. While Reign of the Supermen takes some liberties with the original story from the comic books, it shows that is some good source material exists, use that story and you’ll most likely get a decent movie.
Reign of the Supermen could have used a lot more Green Lantern on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 18 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain or defects from the source materials. The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The picture is somewhat soft at times, which may be a result of the animation style. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.8 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The action sequences provide a nice array of surround and subwoofer effects. The surround and stereo effects are detailed and often highlight sounds coming from off-screen.
The Reign of the Supermen Blu-ray Disc contains only a few extra features. “Lex Luthor: The Greatest Nemesis” (16 minutes) offers an overview of the history of the character and comments from several members of the creative team at DC Comics. The only other extras are two bonus episodes of DC television shows, one from Superman and the other from Justice League Unlimited.
Review Copyright 2019 by Mike Long