All Star Superman
All Star Superman 2011
One thing that I enjoy about this site is when I go into a movie completely blind. I’ve done a bit of research and have had help to create a very inclusive list of comic book and superhero movies, and yet when I actually choose one of the movies I’ve never seen before, I don’t seek out synopses, or watch trailers, I like to go into the movies completely blind, and this was the case with All Star Superman. Many of the Superman stories I enjoy the most are the ones that try to get to the heart of his humanity, and yet All Star Superman really embraces his alien nature more than just about anything I’ve seen before. I have to admit that at first it was quite offputting, but by the end of the movie there was enough heart in it to win me over.
The main arc of the plot is that Superman is tricked into flying into the sun by Lex Luthor with the intent of giving him a yellow sun radiation overdose which will eventually kill him. The rest of the movie is more or less about how Superman faces his inevitable death, and not anywhere near the same way as his death at the hands of Doomsday. He spends his final months doing the things he always wanted to do, like reveal his secret to Lois Lane and various other things, but along the way he’s faced with what feels like dozens of opponents that keep getting in his way.
The biggest problem I have with this movie is its complete unrelatability. When Superman casually says that he is keeping a sun eater as a pet, and he feeds him little suns that he creates on his cosmic anvil, that is just so incredibly unbelievable that it had me laughing hysterically. And there are many moments in this movie that are just like this. Not only that, but it moves at such a fast pace that there is hardly any time to linger on any of these ludicrous moments, like when Samson and Atlas come by from the future to have an arm wrestling match, and also trick Superman into helping them defeat the Ultra-Sphinx, and a fight with Parasite in the Metropolis jail where Parasite looks kind of like No-Face from Spirited Away, and a visit from two other Kryptonians who over the course of maybe five minutes: take over Metropolis, defeat Superman, contract Kryptonite poisoning from the debris they flew through in space, befriend Superman as they lay dying, and submit themselves into the Phantom Zone to escape certain death. And this is only halfway through the movie.
But when the fluff is stripped away, the core of the story is still an interesting one, with the relationship between Superman and Lois Lane, and the antagonistic relationship between Superman and Lex Luthor. It’s unfortunate that Lois is so much of a weak character in this story, when Lois is told the truth of Superman’s secret identity, she finds it hard to believe instead of reasoning it out afterwards. Not only that, but when Samson and Atlas challenges Superman’s relationship with her, she gamely flirts with them, and finally when Superman does leave, her response is merely to wait for him to return. I do kind of like the fact that in this version, Lex more or less befriends and trusts Clark Kent. But at the same time, I disliked the extremely clownish and clumsy version of Clark Kent, tripping and falling over things practically every few moments. While I did enjoy the moments of oafishness in Christopher Reeve’s Clark Kent, in this version it was a little too much slapstick. It just seems like every part of Superman and Clark Kent is taken to the extreme.
Lex Luthor is also taken to the extreme in this movie, his intelligence is used in several instances where he’s a super genius to the extreme, able to create ultra advanced technology and infiltrate Superman’s Fortress of Solitude even while in jail, he’s shown more than once to be at the point where he is ready to accept his own death, but at least one of those times it’s just part of his calculating plan. I’ve said it many times already, but nearly everything in this movie is taken to the extremes. There are many great moments towards the end of the movie, and I do have to admit that I did enjoy many moments along the way, but several of those were bordering on the “so bad/cheesy it’s hilarious” variety. The animation is excellent as always, and the voice work is great too, although I thought James Denton as Superman was often a little too stoic and emotionless, yet another reason why in the end, I found this movie a little harder to relate to than other Superman stories. Even Jena afterwards said “This is the stupidest Superman movie I’ve ever seen”, and when I asked why, she said “because it had too much weird stuff in it.” While I disagree about the stupid part, I couldn’t agree more about “too much weird stuff”. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.