Superman: Unbound

by Alan Rapp on May 14, 2013

in Home Video

  • Title: Superman: Unbound
  • IMDB: link

Superman: UnboundBased on the 2008 Superman: Brainiac arc by Geoff Johns, DC’s latest animated feature introduces Superman (Matt Bomer) and Supergirl (Molly Quinn) to a redesigned version of Brainiac (John Noble) for the first time when the Collector of Worlds heads to Earth to add Metropolis to a collection that already includes the Kryptonian city of Kandor. The result is a solid entry into the DC Animated Universe whose main issues come more from the original source material rather than the adaptation.

Given her role in the film this could easily have been titled Superman/Supergirl: Unbound as much of the emotional weight of the straight-to-DVD animated feature falls on Superman’s younger cousin. Screenwriter Bob Goodman also increases the role of Lois Lane (Stana Katic) and makes some intriguing parallels over the course of the film between how both Brainiac and Superman try to control those of interest to them.

The strengths of Superman: Unbound are the character moments, especially Superman’s interactions with Lois Lane, Kara, and his long lost aunt and uncle when he’s shrunk down to size and imprisoned inside the bottled city of Kandor. From his experiences with Brainiac, Superman learns a valuable lesson about his relationship with Lois. Kara also gets a full hero’s arc by assuming the role of Earth’s protector in Superman’s absence and finally facing the long-standing fears from her childhood.

Matt Bomer works well in as Superman and I was impressed with both Castle co-stars. Stana Katic provides Lois with the reporter’s necessary spunk, and Molly Quinn does an excellent job conveying the wide range of emotions Kara is forced to go through over the course of the film’s 75-minute running time. Diedrich Bader has a small role that’s fun, but basically nothing more than comic relief, and Alexander Gould steals a scene as Jimmy Olsen.

Superman: Unbound

The look of the film works, although the elongated head of Superman and the muted colors of the classic design of his costume do take some getting used to. Where the story struggles is with the final confrontation between Superman and Brainiac and Geoff Johns’ logic of how Superman finally beats the Collector of Worlds. To call it awkward doesn’t quite do it justice. However, the film ends on a high note with an epilogue that plays back into the strengths of the movie.

The Blu-ray comes with Ultraviolet and DVD copies of the film, featurettes on the comic history of both Kandor and Brainiac, a sneak peak at DC’s next project Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, trailers, a digital comic with the first few pages of Superman: Brainiac, and audio commentary from director James Tucker, Mike Carlin, and Bob Goodman, and four Brainiac and Supergirl episodes of Superman: The Animated Series. The highlight of the group is the Brainiac featurette which includes interviews by writers and artists including Marv Wolfman who discusses the 80’s fully robotic version of the character and his robotic skull ship (a version of which is used here).

[Warner Home Video, Blu-ray $24.98 / DVD $19.98]

travis May 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I thought this was a good way to use Geoff Johns original story but add more weight to it. The final fight between Superman and Brainiac bothered me the first time I read it too, but I think it works okay. Molly Quinn was awesome as Sueprgirl and she should really do more voice work.

ralph May 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I don’t like this version of Brainiac.

ralph May 24, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Some of the DC animated movies are better than others. I may hold off on buying this one. Much obliged.

louis June 1, 2013 at 9:14 pm

I thought this was pretty good.

CoosCoos June 9, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Finally got around to seeing this on PPV. I wasn’t impressed. Some of the logic didn’t feel right – where did Superman get a spaceship? How does he keep his powers on another world away from a yellow sun? Why doesn’t he lose his powers quicker in Kandor under their red sun (or on their new planet)? Why was the robot probe sent to earth almost indestructible, but the rest of them he could destroy easily? When faced with the destruction of earth why does he casually have a meal with his aunt and uncle? And don’t get me started on Brainiac.

Then I saw a new clip from Man of Steel ( where Superman gets the upper hand on Zod pretty much the same way he gets the upper hand on Brainiac in this movie. Doesn’t give me much hope for Man of Steel.

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