For the past eight years, Batman received all the love at the movies when it comes to DC Comics’ characters. That’s all about to change on June 14 when “Man of Steel” hits theaters. DC and Warner Premiere aren’t going to settle for TV commercials and trailers to get people pumped up. Two new comic books and a DC Universe Animated Original Movie entitled “Superman Unbound” are keeping the super hero fresh on everyone’s minds as well.
“Superman Unbound” serves as a tasty appetizer for the main meal coming up. The Man of Steel joins forces with his cousin, Supergirl, to battle Brainiac after the super villain shrinks down Metropolis and adds it to his collection of cities from different planets he’s destroyed. Superman must find a way to keep Braniac from destroying the Earth and save all the captured cities of the universe, including Krypton’s capitol Kandor.
As is usual with the DC animated movies, “Superman Unbound” is loaded with action from the beginning to the end. Director James Tucker and writer Bob Goodman know how to keep the pace moving at a breakneck speed and demand the audience’s attention. You take a 128 page graphic novel and shove it into a 75 minute film. There’s no time for the viewer to get distracted or for the movie to lose steam.
The animation for “Superman Unbound” differs from what we’ve come to expect from the DC animated features. It varies in style greatly from “Superman vs. The Elite.” One example is the Man of Steel’s facial features. The other characters look different as well.
“Superman Unbound” is definitely a PG-13 movie. There are scenes of Braniac changing himself into a cyborg that would freak out little kids. His robots drill into the heads of their victims, which splashes a lot of blood around onscreen. Lois Lane also flips Braniac the double birds in one scene. Superman even says a bad word at one point. There are also some light sexual references most kids won’t pick up on, but they’re still present.
The high definition presentation of “Superman Unbound” is clean and sounds good. There’s a little banding in the backgrounds, but nothing too distracting visually. The 5.1 surround sound will ensure that you’re home theater setup will tremble and shake from the explosions and other sonic treats.
Warner treats fans to a hefty batch of special features for “Superman Unbound.” Audio commentary is provided by Director / Producer James Tucker, Screenwriter Bob Goodman, and comic industry writer Mike Carlin. Two featurettes entitled “Brainiac: Technology and Terror” and “Kandor: History of the Bottle City” are included. Four episodes from “Superman: The Animated Series” are featured as well. There’s a sneak preview of the next DC Animated feature, “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.” In addition, a few pages of the graphic novel the movie is based on (“Superman: Braniac”) are highlighted.
The Blu-ray version of “Superman Unbound” is a worthy purchase for any fan of the Man of Steel. It’s packed with entertaining bonus material and an action-packed feature that’s a step above last year’s “Superman vs. The Elite.” What we get here is a super tag team smack down with none of the heavy-handed social commentary or politically correct propaganda we experienced last time around.
“Superman Unbound” is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.