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cover: All-Star Superman (2d-2011)

All-Star Superman (2d-2011)

Director(s): Sam Liu

Theatrical Release: 2011

Cast: James Denton, Anthony LaPaglia, Christina Hendricks, Matthew Gray Gubler, Frances Conroy, Ed Asner

Genre(s): comic book, animation, Action, Dean's List

Countries: USA


Location in store: Sci-Fi & Fantasy > Comic Book

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Running Time: 76m.

Superman has sometimes been one of the tougher comic book characters to crack. It's hard to write stories for a superhero that can end almost any conflict within seconds. Some feel Batman is more relatable because he's human and has no powers. Unfortunately, some creators wind up making Superman too weak in their efforts to make him more human. Brandon Routh being shanked by a Kryptonite shiv in "Superman Returns" immediately comes to mind. Critically acclaimed writer Grant Morrison did the exact opposite with his maxi-series, All Star Superman. Morrison embraced the more fantastical elements of the Superman mythos while still capturing the very human aspects of the character. Superman has a dog like anyone else, except his dog can fly and shoot laser beams out of his eyes. The big guy also needs to get away every now and then; it's just that his hideaway happens to be an ice fortress in the middle of the Arctic.

All-Star Superman was a throwback to the Silver Age stories published by DC Comics and wasn't tied down to any established continuity. This latest film from Warner Premiere attempts to condense the 12-issue series into a 76-minute movie. "All-Star Superman" opens with the Man of Steel rescuing a research vessel orbiting the sun. Unfortunately, his archenemy, Lex Luthor has orchestrated the entire disaster in order to poison Superman with an overdose of solar radiation. The last survivor of Krypton discovers that his cells have been super charged to fatal levels. Knowing that he's dying, Superman puts his affairs in order with the first and foremost being his relationship with Lois Lane.

He finally reveals his secret identity to Lois and takes her to the Fortress of Solitude for her birthday. While most guys would give their girlfriend flowers or diamond earrings, Kal-El gives her superpowers for 24 hours. Meanwhile, an incarcerated Luthor has only just begun as he enacts another sinister plot to destroy Metropolis.

The original comics were inspired by ancient mythology, in particular the twelve challenges of Hercules as well as the classic hero's journey as laid out by Joseph Campbell. Each issue focused on a different task. Writer Dwayne McDuffie (who also penned "Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths") whittled down "All-Star Superman" to the bare essentials. A few of the side trips, such as Superman's visit to the Bizarro World, have been cut in order to center the story around the Man of Steel's relationships with Lois and Luthor. It still has an episodic feel to it as the plot takes a detour here and there, such as when Superman encounters time-traveling versions of Atlas and Samson, both of whom are trying to whoo Lois. The big guy also meets a pair of Kryptonian survivors, who are far more arrogant than the humble hero. (dvdtown.com)

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2-DVD Special Edition Features:

! Green Lantern: Emerald Knights - preview DC Universe's next animated original movie

! Explore the recent DC Universe animated original movie Superman/Batman Apocalypse

! Superman Now - how writer Grant Morrison revamped the Man of Steel for contemporary audiences

! Bruce Timm presents 2 bonus cartoons
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