The DC universe animation projects in the past, have built an extremely rigid foundation for the studio and the surrealistic take on a parallel dimension of Superman’s origin is like a breath of fresh air. DC has excelled in making sure the animation projects are plot-driven while having the capability to create a unique character arc for the respective roles. The Killing Joke set a precedent for DC movies by making an animated film that comes at par with movies like Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker and even the Dark Knight Trilogy by the charismatic Christopher Nolan. 2020 addition to the list is DC’s new release Superman Red Son (Film).
Superman Red Son (Film) does justice to everything the studio is revered for, from story-line to character development, no stone has been left unturned by the studio, apart from the conclusion and we will get to that later.
What if Kal El (Superman) never landed in the USA but somewhere near the USSR? What if Batman after the death of his parents went on to become the biggest and bad ass terrorist of all time? What if Themyscra was connected to the whole world? There is a river of never-ending theories and queries when it comes to DC universe and to satiate the hunger for the answer to those questions DC comics has created a series Else-world, where various tweaks are done in the history which impact the DC superheroes and super-villains and propel them to a totally different tangent.
Superman Red Son (Film) has tweaked the fact that Kal El landed in Ukraine and not in Smallville. The basic instinct and nature of Superman were not moulded by affluent America and the result is scary as the world consuming communism now has the power of Superman. Lex Luthor becomes the last resort for the USA to avoid the communist leeches from sucking the country dry and dead. Wonder Woman is an ambassador from Themyscra and is on board with Red Son’s devastation of the world, a simple change and this Kal El is not guided by truth, empathy or remorse.
The biggest surprise is watching Batman being the Joker-like character, hell-bent on ruining everything that Superman believes in and in pursuit of this he becomes the biggest terrorist in the DC universe. Yeah! You read it correctly, the portrayal of Batman is gritty, thought-provoking and embodies brutality.
The Ending Falls Flat!
The source of this ambitious project is Superman: Red Son (Comic Book), a three-issue prestige format comic book mini-series published by DC Comics created by Mark Millar and Jerry Siegel and Millar is also billed in the cast which to me is disheartening as the ending is simply not good enough. The animation is on point with the action sequences being excellent to watch and every frame has been analysed and scrutinized to give an amazing end product.
Lex Luthor becomes the last resort for the USA and despite being an egotistical person he is far from being the villain and closer to begin a hero-like character.
The whole thing goes down the drain with the shallow ending, the whole purpose is defeated. I understand that being an animated film Superman Red Son had to have some boundaries in creativity but the vague and ambiguous end is like an injustice to the whole project.
The projects like Superman Red Son (Film) are highly ambitious and if done correctly it will always reap in benefits but creators have to understand that if these instances of shallow storytelling are continued the studios like WB won’t allocate funds for such projects in the future, no matter how successful or promising they might look.
Superman Red Son (Film) is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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