Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Superman: Unbound (2013)

Superman: Unbound
Superman: Unbound is a DC Universe Animated Original Movie based on the comic "Superman: Brainiac" written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Gary Frank. Although I haven't read that particular comic yet, I am familiar with work from both Johns and Frank.
The basic story of Superman: Unbound is that Superman encounters drones which were sent by the cyborg Brainiac. Superman tries to stop Brainiac before more drones attack Earth, while also having to deal with his changing relationship with Lois Lane and helping his cousin Supergirl adjust to life on Earth.
I really liked the characterization of Supergirl in this. Supergirl is a character that I never cared much for in Superman: The Animated Series, but I found her quite interesting in this story and was actually glad she had a lot of screen time. Supergirl aka Kara is chronologically older than her cousin Kal-El. However, she arrived at Earth later than Superman and struggles to adapt to her new planet since unlike Superman, she grew up on Krypton. Later on in the movie Supergirl discovers that her parents are still alive in Kandor, a Kryptonian city captured by Brainiac. I also enjoyed the spin on the Lois/Superman relationship as well as Lois' "rude gesture" to Brainiac. It was nice to see that both supporting female characters Lois Lane and Supergirl were given solid character arcs.

While I liked the way Superman: Unbound handled those characters, I wasn't thrilled with the portrayal of Brainiac. I prefer the Brainiac from Superman: The Animated Series, though to be fair I've heard that was different from how he normally is in the comics. I would have liked more back story on Brainiac to explain why and how he was created, especially since I'm not familiar with the usual back story of the character. There was a line that implied Brainiac was extremely old and not a Kryptonian supercomputer, but I think this should've been fleshed out more. His motivations were fine and not too different from the Brainiac in Superman:TAS.
Superman: Unbound was directed by James Tucker. While this is his first feature length project, he previously directed episodes of animated superhero TV shows such as Batman Beyond.
The animation in Superman: Unbound was good though I wasn't big on this style. I guess I just prefer a more classic or retro style of animation for Superman. The poster for this movie is pretty cool, but doesn't represent the actual animation style used in the film.
They probably should've kept the title from the original comic as I'm still not sure what "unbound" is supposed to refer to. My guess is that it's a reference to the fact that Clark Kent is no longer hiding his relationship with Lois, but that doesn't have anything to do with Brainiac.
After having seen Man of Steel (my review is forthcoming), Superman: Unbound is still my favorite Superman movie of 2013!

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