Superman: The Last Son of Krypton

Region 1 Edition

Starring: Tim Daly, Dana Delany and Clancy Brown
Warner Home Video
RRP $14.98
Certificate: Not Rated
Available now

Brainiac, the composite of all knowledge on the planet Krypton, decides to dispute Jor-El's scientific findings that the increasing seismic activity will cause the planet's destruction. While Brainiac uploads itself to a mobile satellite, Jor-El places his infant son Kal-El in a lifeboat escape pod and fires it off to Earth as a mighty earthquake signals the end. From then on it's the standard Superman backstory (Smallville, Lana Lang, Metropolis, Daily Planet, Lois Lane, etc.) until the super-powered benign alien goes up against the ultimate battlesuit engineered by Lex Corp...

Superman The Last Son Of Krypton is an hour-long animated feature produced by the same team who won an Emmy award for the Batman animated series. On first viewing that's surprising because this isn't a patch on Batman. Only on reflection does it become apparent that it's the concept itself which is at fault.

Whereas the majority of Batman action takes place at night in the grand but sinister setting of Gotham City and features a host of mentally-deranged psychotic villains which counter Bruce Wayne's own unbalanced mental state, in Superman everything is too bright and happy, and the idea of somebody flying around in bright blue and red spandex would be open to extensive ridicule, no matter how powerful he was. The costume of Batman is designed to instil fear in the hearts of the criminal fraternity, giving him an advantage for those vital first few seconds. The main difference here is that Batman is human; he can be hurt or killed, and relies on his money, ingenuity and physical prowess.

When a character like Superman is impervious to practically anything unless the plot demands someone wave a chunk of green rock in his face, then you have no depth and so grow bored with proceedings. There is a nice reference to "that nut in Gotham City", but the truth is this DVD will only appeal to a very young audience.

Extras include the interesting but short Portrait of a Hero: How to Draw Superman, demonstrated by character designer James Tucker; Superman: Family, Friends & Foes, a low-down of the characters using clips; Escape From Planet Krypton, a game which stubbornly refused to work properly on my machine; and Trailers for other Warner animated shows, one example of which (Batman: The Mystery of the Batwoman) was more entertaining than the entire Superman feature.

Ty Power

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