Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Superman: Unbound (Limited Edition Combo Pack with Exclusive Figure) (2013)

Superman: UnboundThis review is not on the blu-ray, but on the movie itself. I was lucky enough to see a screening of this at WonderCon along with a panel discussion with some cast and creators.

I wouldn't consider myself a diehard Superman fan, but as a fan of comics and pop culture in general, I really enjoyed this movie. Not much (if any) background is needed to enjoy it. Superman and his cousin Kara (Supergirl) are attacked by a android that turns out to be a scout searching for worlds to collect as specimens. Kara recalls how before she escaped Krypton, a villain known only as Brainiac sent similar androids to attack her hometown and literally "stole" it off the face of the planet. Now that these androids have appeared again, they fear that Metropolis may be Brainiac's next victim. Determined to prevent the past from repeating itself, Superman plans to find Brainiac and stop him before he is able to steal any more worlds.

What follows afterward is an interesting look at the characters Clark, Kara, and Lois and how they each deal with fears associated with protecting the people they love, and how these choices effect those they care for. Some pretty deep character development, as well as some witty dialog, humor, an interesting villain, and a gesture that the panel claimed gave this a PG-13 rating (done in a humorous fashion) makes this a great film for Superman fans and comic fans alike.

The cast is also a great one with Superman played by actor Matt Bomer of "White Collar", as well as "Castle" cast members Molly Quinn and Stana Katic as Supergirl and Lois Lane respectively.

My recommendation: Give this one a shot!

It's difficult to say if Superman Unbound is attempting to maintain continuity with previous DC animated films, they do after all fall on either side of the New 52 comic, franchise reboot.

The Story: Superman confronts Brainiac for the first time while Supergirl struggles to deal with being a superhero... relatively simple but nevertheless engaging.

The Look: Warner Bros. Animation Studios has developed a unique look in traditional animation for their DC series of films and this latest installment represents a definite step forward in that evolution. Although overall, the artwork for both characters and scenery looks great, I really wish they'd stop tweaking the heroes themselves because I thought Superman and Supergirl were perfect in "Superman/Batman Apocalypse". Visually, my impression of Supergirl is petite, Bratz doll and Superman (from the neck up) looks an awful lot like Colin Morgan from the BBC series Merlin, but at least they didn't use his New 52 plate armor. Also, for some reason they decided to make Lois Lane look a bit like Margot Kidder from the 80's, live-action franchise; although admittedly Margot never looked so good but the end effect is something approaching a sexy Cruella Deville and just doesn't seem to really fit the character. Brainiac however, looks absolutely phenomenal; he embodies intelligent super-villain and a legitimate threat for Superman not to mention his cybernetic henchies rock.

The Script: As with all the DC feature-length, animated films the voice-acting is superb but it just feels like the studio can't quite take the genre serious enough to give the actual dialogue a bit more depth. For me, this is where Superman Unlimited fails (and why I'm subtracting one star) as it's inundated with a host of typical, action-movie clichés and almost adolescent interchanges between characters. Also for some inexplicable reason, they decided to go with angry teenager for Supergirl's personality which is at best an unappealing fictional persona and then there's the character Lombard who struck me as something straight out of Looney Tunes (I REALLY hope they deep-6 him for future films).

Superman has always been my favorite hero and as long as he remains a champion of truth and justice, always will be and so I'm grateful this story follows the overall tenor of the franchise, being typically optimistic and conservatively heroic as opposed to the exploration into moral ambiguity of "Rise of the Imperfects" or the antithetical fantasies of "Injustice: Gods Among Us". Even with its faults, Superman Unbound reaffirms my love for the DC superhero universe and I can definitely see myself watching this one again. :o)

Buy Superman: Unbound (Limited Edition Combo Pack with Exclusive Figure) (2013) Now

I bought this in anticipation of the the looming 'Man of Steel' movie, which I bet was the whole reason for this cartoon adaptation.

The source had great art, better flow and a spectacular ending that set up some compelling stories about Kandor on Earth. Sadly, the best parts of the comic are left out (mainly the story would be to big and incomplete) for more drama about Supergirl's issues. Superman is 'unbound' a few times when Brainiac binds him, but the title seems too generic. I could do on how the movie was bad in my point of view, but I am sure some can do that better than me.

Here's what I liked:

Supergirl Unbound.

Lois Lane on Superman's case about their love life.

The jock voiced by the guy from 'Drew Carry show.' (You know, Batman's voice on the Brave and the Bold show).

John Noble as Brainiac.

The movie is watchable and not the worst of the DCU animation.

It's okay.

Read Best Reviews of Superman: Unbound (Limited Edition Combo Pack with Exclusive Figure) (2013) Here

I watched this and didn't think it was that bad. Then I went back and reread the original comics it was VERY loosely based off of. Man, what a difference.

Start with this Superman: Brainiac. Now, remove all the dialogue and make up your own. Add a 10 minute fight scene at the beginning of the movie with Superman and Supergirl vs some generic human villains. Add another 10 minute scene with Superman inside the bottled city of Kandor, remove the tragedy at the end and replace it with a nice upbeat ending, and you'll end up with this film.

Some of the changes I can understand, for example, the film has this be the first time Superman meets Brainiac. This makes explaining the very messy Post-Crisis back history unnecessary. But taking out all the original dialogue removes this exchange:

Supergirl: Thanks, Ma'am. (Catherine Grant tugs on Supergirl's cape) Hey.

Cat: My name is not "Ma'am"--

Supergirl: It's not like I called you an old woman or anything, lady...Well, that's strange.

Cat: What's strange?

(Supergirl stares at Cat's chest.)

Supergirl: My X-Ray vision is picking up some strange plastics in your--

Lois: Supergirl! There you are.


Supergirl (later, to Lois): I think that lady needs to see a doctor--

Lois: Don't say anything else. You don't want to antagonize HER.

Supergirl: But--

Lois: Just smile and say "bye."

Supergirl: Bye.

Catherine Grant doesn't get any dialogue in the film, so this whole scene is cut.

The comics had much better art, dialogue, and story. So I'm left thinking, "Why did they do this? Why do an adaptation, and then deviate so much from it? What was the thinking process?"

Well, at least we get to hear John Noble as Brainiac.

The single disc DVD has minimal extrasjust previews, including a sneak peek at the forthcoming animated "Flashpoint" movie. Flashpoint, as you may know, is the event that led to the Great Reboot of 2011, which sends this story off into "never happened" land.

Want Superman: Unbound (Limited Edition Combo Pack with Exclusive Figure) (2013) Discount?

On its own merit, if you are not a Superman comic book fan and did not read the story that this movie is loosely (and I use the term very loosely) based on, it is a decent way to spend 75 minutes of your free time and a bit of your entertainment dollars. For those of your who read the source material and were hoping that this was a true adaptation of the story, save your entertainment dollars or spend them somewhere else.

I watched the film, got distracted and thought that I had missed the best part of the story based on the reading of the source material. Alas, I was not only mistaken, but I found that the best part of the story was the box cover. As such, 2 stars are all I can give this product. If you aren't a true fan, expect a decent story. If you are, rent it. Don't buy it, or just skip it altogether.

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