Starring: Jerry O’Connell, Rebecca Romijn, Rainn Wilson, Cameron Monaghan, Cress Williams, Patrick Fabian, Jason O’Mara, Rosario Dawson, Shemar Moore, Nathan Fillion, Christopher Gorham, Nyambi Nyambi and Tony Todd
After the death of Superman, several new people present themselves as possible successors.
Following on from The Death of Superman, six months have passed and Metropolis is still reeling from the loss of its hero. Recently, the city has witnessed the action of four versions claiming to be the true Superman come to life, each with their own different personalities and crime-fighting styles compared to the original Man of Steel. The question becomes, which one is the real Superman?
Reign of the Superman is the latest DC animated feature to come from Warner Bros. Animation, serving as a sequel to The Death of Superman released last year. Six months have passed since Superman sacrificed himself to defeat Doomsday and the city is still reeling from the loss of its hero. The sadness soon turns back to hope however when four slightly different versions of the original Man of Steel begin to pop up fighting crime, claiming to be the real Superman. Lois Lane decides to investigate further to see which one out of Superboy, Steel, Cyborg Superman and the Eradicator is the real Superman.
I was starting to fatigued with the whole DC animated original movies content that’s been released over the last few years and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen serves as a worthy sequel here, focusing on Lois Lane as the lead trying to uncover the identities of the four copycat Supermen with each one claiming to be the real Superman. Each of the Supermen have their own unique personalities, with Superboy being a clone of Superman that is heavily sponsored by LexCorp, John Henry Irons serving as the man in he suit of Steel with a jet powered hammer for good measure, then there’s the Eradicator who looks like the Man of Steel but has more violent tendencies in getting the crime-fighting job done and finally there’s Cyborg Superman, a robot that has pieces of flesh that resembles the original Superman and might talk like Superman, but Lois feels odd around him. Superboy has a bright personality on screen in comparison to the other Supermen, with two being robotic for one and John Henry Irons being quite stoic at times, providing some laughs during the course of the film. I liked the arc they gave Lois Lane here and the character easily carries the film here, with Rebecca Romijn providing really solid voice acting here. Another character with an interesting arc is Lex Luthor, who still attempts to serve his own best interests as he attempts to tries to showcase to the world as he bankrolls Superboy that he’s the real hero of this story. I wasn’t too sure of Rainn Wilson’s version of Lex in The Death of Superman but his voice performance is great here and there’s one dickhead-ish thing that Lex does here that had me laughing. Patrick Fabian gets to shine with his performance as Cyborg Superman and unfortunately Cress Williams doesn’t get much to do as John Henry Irons aka Steel here once we get to the latter half of the film.
The Justice League return here but serve as more backdrop characters to the story, leading to some taking issue with the lack of JL involvement in this one but considering the story it was adapting it makes sense to focus on that rather than be Justice League: Reign of the Supermen. The final act somewhat feels rushed and there’s certain clarity missing in regards to the consequences of said ending. The animation is solid enough, though the film is being unfairly getting some flack for lacking the flair shown in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and believing that WB Animation is getting stale. There’s quite a gap between getting a budget for straight-to-video animation and film studio budget folks.
Reign of the Superman is a worth sequel to The Death of Supermen and serves as the best back-to-back storyline in the DC animated films catalogue since The Dark Knight Returns. Be sure to check out the end credits to start anticipating on where the story goes next. 7/10