All Star Superman Review by: Spencer
Grant Morrison & Frank Quietly's acclaimed All-Star? Superman has become the most recent entry in DC's series of animated movies. I got a chance to watch the premiere screening at the Paley Center for Media in New York, which included a roundtable interview with voice director Andrea Romano, writer Dwayne McDuffie?, and voice actor Christina Hendricks (Lois Lane).
For those familiar with the comic, it follows the general story but makes a few omissions for the sake of time constraints. For those who haven't read the story yet: SPOILERS AHEAD.
The movie has two main components: first, the main story arc follows Superman after he has been poisoned by Lex Luthor and is left with a limited time to set his affairs in order before he dies.
Second, a series of smaller vignettes provide a more complete picture of Superman's life.
Unfortunately, they also serve as a distraction from the main story and at times pull the audience out of the movie. Oddly enough, it seems like the way to fix this would not have been to remove the vignettes, but to include more of them. Not only would this have better fit with the “Superman's Greatest Deeds” concept mentioned early in the movie, it would have allowed them to feel more natural by their sheer number.
Aside from this small misstep, the movie was excellent. The characterization was particularly well done, with strong performances by the whole cast. James Denton's Superman was a good combination of Christopher Reeve's bumbling Clark and some of the darker incarnations of the character (his “no mercy” was especially good). Hendrick's Lois was equally strong, with equal parts awe and attitude. Anthony LaPaglia's Lex really stole the show, with a full and believable character arc.
The animation work was also solid, with clean work across the board and some pretty cool effects such as the scene with Parasite.
The style is a modified version of the Superman: The Animated Series look, but the extra details may take a few minutes to get used to.
So overall, All-Star? Superman looks good, sounds good, and is based on a solid story that translates pretty well. I do wish the vignettes had been handled a little differently, but they weren't enough to break the movie. I definitely recommend checking it out.