Superman: Man of Tomorrow

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 9/8/20;
Warner;
Animated;
$24.98 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence, some bloody images, suggestive material, language, smoking and brief partial nudity.
Voices of Darren Criss, Alexandra Daddario, Zachary Quinto, Ike Amadi, Ryan Hurst, Brett Dalton, Neil Flynn, Bellamy Young, Eugene Byrd.

The latest DC Comics animated movie takes a look at young Clark Kent’s early days as Superman as a fresh-faced potential journalist newly arrived in Metropolis.

This version of Clark, while aware of his powers, has no clue about his Kryptonian origins. He begins attracting the attention of the press through a series of heroic deeds, though he has yet to be branded Superman or even don his iconic costume (though his reasons for needing the costume provide one of the film’s biggest laughs)..

However, his exploits also get noticed by the notorious intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo, who comes to Earth looking for a fight. Though Clark finds an ally in the mysterious Martian Manhunter, his battle with Lobo ends up unleashing a deadly creature known as Parasite, who grows stronger by absorbing energy and draining the life force of his victims.

To stop Parasite’s rampage, Clark (voiced by Darren Criss) must enlist the help of Lex Luthor (Zachary Quinto), a man destined to one day become his sworn enemy. But this story occurs before all those pieces fall into place.

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The movie also gives some attention to the young Lois Lane (Alexandra Daddario), a recent graduate looking to establish herself as the top reporter at the Daily Planet, where Clark has been working as an intern bringing everyone their coffee.

The film does a nice job of establishing Clark’s eagerness to fit in. He knows he’s an alien, but isn’t sure from where or who else knows, so he knows his heroic excursions come with an element of risk. In fact, one of the big motifs of the film is finding the humanity in beings who otherwise aren’t human, particularly as Superman tries to re-connect with the man Parasite used to be.

Man of Tomorrow, the 40th entry in the DC Universe series of animated superhero movies, is a standalone film, not connected to the brand’s recent string of interconnected movies, though it could very well prove a good jumping off point for a new continuity.

The animation is crisp and lively, and the colors pop in high-definition. The filmmakers have crafted some exciting action sequences, including the initial all-out brawl between young Clark Kent and Lobo. The third-act battle against Parasite takes on much of the flavor of a typical “Godzilla” movie, but for the most part this is a pretty entertaining Superman adventure. Fans of Lobo should get a kick out of finally seeing him in action in one of these DC movies.

The Blu-ray includes two Lobo-centric episodes from “Superman: The Animated Series,” plus a 10-minute featurette on the history and popularity of Lobo.

There’s also a nine-minute featurette about the legacy of the Martian Manhunter.

Rounding out the extras are a trailer, featurettes for earlier DC animated movies, and a 12-minute preview of the next animated DC movie, a kung-fu-style Batman adventure set in the 1970s.

Warner Slates Animated ‘Superman: Man of Tomorrow’ Movie

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the animated movie Superman: Man of Tomorrow through digital retailers Aug. 23, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Sept. 8.

The latest entry in the DC Universe movie line from Warner Bros. Animation deals with young Daily Planet intern Clark Kent (Darren Criss) in his early days as Superman, as Metropolis is introduced to a new age of heroes. As the budding hero fights for good, he confronts the intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo (Ryan Hurst) and the power-hungry alien Parasite (Brett Dalton).

The cast also includes Zachary Quinto as Lex Luthor, Alexandra Daddario as Lois Lane, Ike Amadi as Martian Manhunter, Piotr Michael as Perry White, Neil Flynn as Jonathan Kent and Bellamy Young as Martha Kent, plus Cristina Milizia, Eugene Byrd, April Stewart, Cissy Jones and David Chen.

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Blu-ray and digital extras include the featurettes “Lobo: Natural Force of Chaos” and “Martian Manhunter: Lost and Found,” the “Superman: The Animated Series” episodes “The Main Man” parts one and two, and previews of other DC Universe animated movies.

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Warner;
Animated;
$24.98 Blu-ray; $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for bloody violence, language and some sexual references.
Voices of Matt Ryan, Jerry O’Connell, Jason O’Mara, Taissa Farmiga, Stuart Allan, Tony Todd, Rosario Dawson, Shemar Moore, Christopher Gorham, Rebecca Romijn, Rainn Wilson.

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is among the most brutal superhero movies and animated movies one is likely to encounter.

The film is the 15th and final chapter of the DC Animated Movie Universe, a series of direct-to-video films that started in 2013 with a string of ‘PG-13’ adventures and gradually pushed the envelope into ‘R’-rated territory. This film earns its rating, with multiple scenes of superheroes being dismembered and torn in half.

The film begins with Superman (Jerry O’Connell) urging the Justice League to attack the planet Apokolips to end the threat of Darkseid, who has attempted several invasions of Earth throughout these movies. However, the battle is a disaster for the heroes, who are nearly all slaughtered, with many being turned into cyborg minions of Darkseid’s army.

Cut to two years later, and Darkseid’s forces have conquered Earth and are sucking minerals from the planet’s core. Superman, depowered due to kryptonite poisoning, recruits the few remaining heroes, as well as Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad, on a desperate mission to divide the armies of Apokolips so they have a chance to kill Darkseid.

Key to the plan are John Constantine (Matt Ryan), the practitioner of the dark arts whose magics are needed in the final battle, and Damian Wayne (Stuart Allan), the son of Batman (Jason O’Mara), who has been brainwashed into serving as Darkseid’s chief tactician.

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The filmmakers have pulled out all the stops for this one, producing an animated equivalent of Avengers: Endgame for the DC Comics characters. The film manages to involve nearly every character who ever played a part in one of the movies of the series, even if it’s just a small background cameo.

One of the key strengths of the film is how it serves both as a fitting conclusion to the 15-movie cycle while also working effectively well as a standalone adventure. The extreme circumstances the heroes find themselves in almost qualify the movie as an Elseworlds alternate reality tale, which adds to the fun.

It also helps that the premise gives a lot of the franchise’s quirky breakthrough characters to shine, with Matt Ryan’s Constantine (a role he also plays in live action on “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”) is practically an institution at this point, and always a sure bet to carry the story to where it needs to go.

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The Blu-ray includes a good commentary track with executive producer James Tucker, directors Matt Peters and Christina Sotta, and screenwriter Ernie Altbacker.

The disc also includes a good 15-minute featurette about the comic book history of Darkseid, plus a few bonus cartoons.

There are also previews for other DC Universe animated movies, including the upcoming Superman: Man of Tomorrow.

The Blu-ray also includes the 16-minute animated short film DC Showcase: Adam Strange, a gritty mini tale for the classic character (voiced by Charlie Weber) who finds himself trapped on a mining colony after his homeworld is invaded. Unable to return to his family and unaware of their fate, he finds himself scorned as a drunk, but must rise to defend the people who would cast him aside when they are attacked by a horde of deadly insects. It’s a decent update to the character.

Animated ‘Justice League Dark: Apokolips War’ Due in May

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the animated movie Justice League Dark: Apokolips War through digital retailers May 5, and as Blu-ray/DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo packs May 19.

The latest installment of the DC Universe series finds the heroes of the Justice League, Teen Titans, Suicide Squad and others joining forces to save Earth from the devastation of the alien warlord Darkseid. The film is rated ‘R’ for bloody violence, language, and some sexual references.

The cast, many reprising their roles from earlier movies in the series, includes Matt Ryan as Constantine, Jerry O’Connell as Superman, Taissa Farmiga as Raven, Jason O’Mara as Batman, Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman, Shemar Moore as Cyborg, Christopher Gorham as The Flash, Rebecca Romijn as Lois Lane, Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor, Tony Todd as Darkseid, Camilla Luddington as Zatanna, Ray Chase as Jason Blood/Etrigan, Roger R. Cross as John Stewart and Swamp Thing, Liam McIntyre as Captain Boomerang, Hynden Walch as Harley Quinn, Stuart Allan as Robin/Damian, Sachie Alessio as Lady Shiva, and John DiMaggio as King Shark.

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Home video extras include filmmaker audio commentary;  the featurette “Darkseid: New God/Evil Classic,” a look at the motivations of the character and importance of Deities in classic and modern fiction; the featurette “Look Back: Justice League Dark,” a look at the previous film to feature Constantine and the misfit members of dark version of the Justice League who battle supernatural forces; taking on the malevolent forces that go beyond our plane of existence; “Look Back: Batman and Harley Quinn,” a retrospective at the earlier animated feature film; animated episodes “Zombie King” and “Abate and Switch” from “Justice League Action,” and “Nevermore” from “Teen Titans”; and a preview of the next DC Universe Movie, Superman: Man of Tomorrow.

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The home video release will also include the new DC Showcase animated short Adam Strange, featuring Charlie Weber as the title character, a heroic space adventurer whose backstory plays out in flashbacks as he struggles to save an asteroid mining colony from a horde of deadly alien insects.

‘Teen Titans’ Talent Reflects on OG, New Series Movie Matchup

It’s a clash between the OG and new superheros in the new animated movie Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans, available on digital Sept. 24, and Blu-ray combo pack and DVD Oct. 15 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

The movie had its world premiere July 21 during San Diego Comic-Con International, attended by cast and creators.

The direct-to-video movie is a clash of two superhero universes, pairing the modern-day Teen Titans from the current ‘Go!’ series with their 2003 counterparts from the original in a fight to foil Trigon, Hexago and even Santa Clause to save the multiverse.

“It’s really fun, and fans of the new one will be happy because there are so many funny moments. It’s so comedic. Fans of the original will be happy, too, because the stakes are very high, the danger’s very real, the acting is very authentic,” said voice actress Tara Strong, who plays both versions of Raven. “It’s the perfect dichotomy and both fandoms really get to come together and appreciate each other, and then of course there’s this multiverse of Teen Titans that you never knew.”

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In a way, the movie allows the two fandoms to air their differences, filmmakers said.

“If you’re a fan of the original I feel like the original Titans in this movie are speaking for you because you are seeing the ‘Go’ Titans through their eyes,” said producer/director Jeff Mednikow.

Voiceover stars had to play both the new and old versions of their characters, sometimes having conversations with themselves.

“I think the ones that are furthest apart are probably Robin and Robin,” said co-writer Jeremy Adams.

“I think the new Robin tests the original Robin’s patience,” said Scott Menville, who plays both.

The two Trigons were the “most fun” villains to play against each other, said co-screenwriter Marly Halpern-Graser.

“Switching between Cyborgs is like me with a lot of caffeine versus maybe just a half a cup,” said Khary Payton, who plays both Titans.

“The original Beast Boy is more like a dog, and ‘Teen Titans Go!’ Beast Boy is more like a hyena,” said Greg Cipes (Beast Boy), who brought his canine friend to the screening to emphasize the point.

The cast members are close and have a rapport that informs the project.

“They just know what they’re doing,” said co-writer Adams. “They know it so well.”

“They know these characters better than I ever could,” added co-writer Halpern-Graser.

News of the comeback of the Titans for “Go!” was the “best phone call I’ve ever gotten,” said Hynden Walch, who plays both Starfires.

“We play off of each other a lot,” Walch said, noting that sometimes the script will say “Titans argue” and the actors will improvise.

“We really vibe off of each other a lot,” Payton added, joking that his ad libbing didn’t work as well for his role in “The Walking Dead” and producers asked, “Khari, could you please just stick to the script?”

Animated ‘Batman: Hush’ Due July 20 Digitally, Aug. 6 on Disc

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Batman: Hush, the next installment of the DC Universe line of animated movies, digitally July 20 and on Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and the DC Universe streaming service Aug. 6.

An adaptation of a popular comic book storyline from 2002 and 2003, the film centers on a shadowy new villain in Gotham City known as Hush who uses Batman’s rogues gallery to attempt to destroy his crime-fighting career, as well as Bruce Wayne’s personal life, which has become complicated by a relationship with Selina Kyle, the alter ego of Catwoman.

Batman: Hush is the 35th film in the DC Universe animated movie brand and the 14th film in the DC Animated Movie Universe, a shared continuity started by Son of Batman and Justice League: War.

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The voice cast includes Jason O’Mara as Batman, Jennifer Morrison as Catwoman, Jerry O’Connell as Superman, Rebecca Romijn as Lois Lane, Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor, Vanessa Williams as Amanda Waller, Jason Spisak as Joker, Peyton List as Poison Ivy (reprising her role from the “Gotham” TV show), Peyton R. List as Batgirl, Geoffrey Arend as the Riddler, Sean Maher as Nightwing, Maury Sterling as Thomas Elliot, Bruce Thomas as Jim Gordon, Adam Gifford as Bane, Sachie Alessio as Lady Shiva, Stuart Allan as Robin, James Garrett as Alfred, Hynden Walch as Harley Quinn, Chris Cox as Scarecrow, and Tara as a reporter.

The home video release will include the “DC Showcase” animated short Sgt. Rock, based on DC Comics’ gritty World War II hero.

Other extras include the featurette “Batman: Love in Time of War,” about the relationship between Batman and Catwoman; audio commentary executive producer James Tucker, director Justin Copeland and screenwriter Ernie Altbacker; a preview of the upcoming animated movie Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, starring Rosario Dawson; and the episodes “The Underworld Underground Caper” and “Partners in Peril” from the 1968 animated series “The Batman/Superman Hour.”

Reign of the Supermen

Completing the adaptation of the classic 1990s “Death of Superman” comic books, Reign of the Supermen pays off the storyline began in last year’s The Death of Superman with some solid action sequences and some nice character moments that will be appreciated by fans of the DC Universe animated movies.

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 1/29/19;
Warner;
Animated;
$24.98 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of action violence.
Voices of Jerry O’Connell, Rebecca Romijn, Rainn Wilson, Cress Williams, Cameron Monaghan, Patrick Fabian, Tony Todd, Charles Halford, Jason O’Mara, Rosario Dawson, Shemar Moore, Nathan Fillion, Christopher Gorham, Nyambi Nyambi.

As the second part of a two-film event, Reign of the Supermen provides a worthy conclusion to the storyline set up in last year’s The Death of Superman.

Six months after Superman seemingly died stopping an alien monster from destroying Metropolis, four new heroes have arrived in the city to claim the legacy of the Man of Steel. And since Superman’s body disappeared from his tomb, there’s some discussion in the media as to whether one of these new heroes actually is Superman.

The most likely candidate is the Cyborg Superman, who claims his robotic appearance is due to a Kryptonian healing technique.

Another candidate is the mysterious Eradicator, who isn’t big into sticking around and talking after eliminating the bad guys.

A third is Superboy, who is working for Lex Luthor as part of his efforts to rehabilitate the city. Lois Lane discovers he’s a clone of Superman created by Lex to fill the void left by the original Superman with a hero Lex can control.

And finally, there’s Steel, who isn’t a clone or robot or anyone claiming to be Superman, but a man in a super-powered suit with a rocket-powered hammer. He’s basically a Superman-inspired version of Iron Man (with a little Thor’s hammer mixed in).

As Lois continues to investigate what’s really going on, the Justice League’s launch of their new orbital headquarters is interrupted by an alien attack that only raises the stakes in discovering the true nature of the impostor Supermen.

Reign of the Supermen is not as character driven as its predecessor, but still offers some impressive action sequences, especially when the various Supermen have to fight each other. And there are some nice touches that play off moments from several of the previous DC Universe movies.

In fact, this probably should have been the basis for a Man of Steel sequel in the live-action DC films had they not muddled their Justice League storylines in their crash course attempt to catch up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

While The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen are distinct on their own, they also fit together nicely as a nearly three-hour epic, which is how they were shown in some Fathom events screenings prior to the disc release. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Warner release a Blu-ray that edits them into a single film, as was done with The Dark Knight Returns a few years ago.

The Reign of the Supermen Blu-ray offers an interesting 16-minute featurette about Lex Luthor that analyzes some of his best-known character traits and what makes him a good Superman villain. The disc also includes episodes from “Superman: The Animated Series” and “Justice League Unlimited” that deal with similar subject matter as the movie.

Finally, there’s a 10-minute preview of the upcoming animated movie Justice League vs. The Fatal Five, which appears to be a tie-in with the “Justice League Unlimited” continuity and style, and not a continuation of the DC Universe animated continuity (though Reign of the Supermen does provide a post-credits tease for where its storyline could be headed next).

Reign of the Supermen

Warner Plans Bi-Coastal Premiere of ‘Reign of the Supermen’

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will premiere Reign of the Supermen, the next entry in the DC Universe series of animated superhero movies, with a pair of events in Los Angeles and New York in January.

The Los Angeles premiere will take place Jan. 10 at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, followed Jan. 28 by a premiere at the Directors Guild of America in New York. Each screening begins at 7 p.m. local time and filmmakers and cast members will participate in a panel discussion afterwards.

The movie, a follow-up to The Death of Superman, deals with four super-powered individuals emerging in Metropolis to claim the legacy of Superman after the original’s body disappears, leading to the question of whether he’s still alive.

The cast includes Jerry O’Connell, Rebecca Romijn, Rainn Wilson, Cress Williams, Cameron Monaghan, Patrick Fabian, Tony Todd, Charles Halford, Rocky Carrell, Jason O’Mara, Rosario Dawson, Shemar Moore, Nathan Fillion, Christopher Gorham and Nyambi Nyambi.

A limited number of free tickets are available to the general public. Fans who want a chance at a ticket should send an email containing just their name, number of tickets requested (up to four) and a valid email address to ReignSupermenLA@gmail.com for the L.A. event or ReignSupermenNY@gmail.com for the New York event, and include the location (L.A. or N.Y.) in the subject line. Tickets will be assigned on a “first come, first served” basis, and fans will be notified via email.

Reign of the Supermen will be available through digital retailers starting Jan. 15, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Jan. 29.

 

DC Universe SVOD Service Offers Holiday Discount, Will Bow Titles Same Day as Disc

DC Universe animated movies will be available on the DC Universe SVOD service the same day as each title’s 4K and Blu-Ray combo pack release beginning Jan. 29 with Reign of the Supermen, the service announced.

Also, DC Universe (dcuniverse.com), which launched Sept. 15 and showcases DC comic book characters, is offering membership discounts for U.S. subscribers for a limited time. Viewers can get the first three months of membership at $3.99 per month (regularly $7.99 per month) or a full year for $59.99 (regularly $74.99) plus taxes through Dec. 20 at dcuniverse.com/join.

From Dec. 14-24 DC Universe members have a chance to participate in 10 days of gifts directly from favorite characters. Ten winners will have the chance to win one of 10 prizes, to be revealed each day, featuring DC Super Heroes and Super-Villains such as Batman, The Joker, Swamp Thing, Wonder Woman and The Flash.

Other new DC animated movies coming in 2019 include Reign of the Supermen, due Jan. 29, plus Justice League vs The Fatal Five and Batman: Hush.

Also, DC Universe has released the final trailer for the first season finale of original series “Titans,” which will include the face off of Robin vs. Batman. The finale debuts Dec. 21, on which date all episodes from season one will be available to binge.

In the three months since its debut, “Titans” has been viewed by 97% of members, according to the service.

Other series available to binge include “Green Lantern: The Animated Series,” starting Jan. 1, and “Batman (1989),” “Batman Returns,” “Batman Forever” and “Batman & Robin.”

Members have read 2.7 million comics on the service to date, with viewers reading comics that relate directly to the video content they are viewing, according to the service.

“This early glimpse at how our members are engaging with DC Universe points to why fans joining the digital service are not just video viewers; they are reading comics, participating in the community, and winning rewards on a service that allows them to not only stream exciting series and movies but share their fandom in a place that is all their own,” said Sam Ades, SVP and GM, DC Digital Services.

The “DC Daily” show, which has released a new episode every weekday since launch, is among the most-watched programs on a daily basis, according to the service. Guests have included Kevin Smith, Minka Kelly, Brian Michael Bendis, Caity Lotz, Jesse Rath and Paul Dini.

Since going live, the service has run weekly sweepstakes giving away rewards to members, including a tour of DC, a ride in the Batmobile, a trip to the Aquaman movie premiere, tickets to screenings across the country, and hundreds of books, posters, toys and more.

The DC Universe service is available in the United States on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Android TV and the Roku platform, as well as the web and mobile web.

The Death of Superman

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 8/7/18;
Warner;
Animated;
$19.98 DVD, $24.98 Blu-ray, $39.99 Blu-ray gift set, $39.99 UHD BD.
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of violence and action including some bloody images.
Voices of Jerry O’Connell, Rebecca Romijn, Rainn Wilson, Jason O’Mara, Rosario Dawson, Shemar Moore, Nathan Fillion, Matt Lanter, Christopher Gorham.

The Death of Superman packs a punch, in more ways than one.

The latest entry in the DC Universe brand of animated superhero movies is one of the more faithful representations of its source material, resulting in one of the most emotionally resonant movies based on a comic book in quite some time.

The Death of Superman is based on the legendary 1992-93 storyline that saw Superman sacrifice himself to save Metropolis from an unstoppable alien entity called Doomsday. Subsequent storylines dealt with Superman’s return amid the arrival of four new heroes each claiming the legacy of the Man of Steel, but that’s the subject for the next DC Universe movie, Reign of the Supermen.

The “Death of Superman” has provided inspiration for several adaptations over the years, most prominently in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (though the subsequent Justice League movie ignored most of the comic book’s storyline for his resurrection). A highly condensed version of the death and return arcs formed the basis of the first DC Universe animated movie, Superman: Doomsday, back in 2007.

And while Superman: Doomsday remains among the best-selling of the DC animated movies, it’s also regarded as something of a lost opportunity to really dive into the juiciest aspects of the storyline, given how much of it was altered to fit into the limited running time of a single movie. The Death of Superman does much to rectify that.

The new film is a continuation of a continuity that has established within the DC Universe films the past few years, allowing this film to build upon pre-existing character relationships. However, Superman was mostly a background player among an ensemble in those, so this is really the first of the sub-group to really give the character his due.

The movie begins with Superman, in his guise as Clark Kent, fumbling through a newfound love affair with Lois Lane, and getting relationship advice from, of all people, Wonder Woman, who had dated Superman in one of the earlier films.

The screenplay by Peter Tomasi is filled with wonderful insights about the Lois and Clark relationship as it explores the challenges of finding love when one is living a double life to conceal superpowers, as well as the tug-of-war between being a hero for the public and enjoying a private life.

There are also fun nods to other movies featuring the characters, such as Wonder Woman joking about an uptick in her popularity in the past year, and references going as far back to the 1978 Superman movie and its own iconic portraying of Superman’s courtship of Lois Lane.

The effectiveness of the story is given considerable weight by a great voice cast led by real-life husband-and-wife Jerry O’Connell as Superman and Rebecca Romijn as Lois (whose natural chemistry comes through despite the two not recording their lines together).

Rainn Wilson also has some fun in his portrayal of Lex Luthor, who is maneuvering in the background to understand what makes Doomsday tick even as Superman and the Justice League give their all to stop the monster’s rampage.

The film’s efforts to layer in its character dynamics pay off with a terrific climactic fight between Doomsday and Superman, who is all that stands in the creature’s way when the rest of the Justice League can’t stop it.

The Blu-ray includes a 16-minute featurette called “The Death of Superman: The Brawl That Topped Them All,” a good retrospective about the original comic book storyline involving many of the creative minds behind it, intercut with an analysis of the fight itself.

There’s also a 10-minute preview of the Reign of the Supermen movie due next year.

Finally, the Blu-ray includes the “Legion of Superheroes” certoon series two-part episode “Dark Victory,” which incorporated some ideas from the “Death of Superman” storyline.