Superman: Man of Tomorrow is the latest offering from the DC Universe Animated movies collection — of which I’m generally a big fan – and this film doesn’t disappoint. Over the years, we’ve seen almost as many depictions of the Superman origin story as we have of the Batman origin story. We practically know it by heart, beat for beat. That’s not what this movie is. Rather, it’s an exploration of who Superman is and a glimpse at the journey he took in his early years, towards becoming the Man of Tomorrow.
As such, we begin, not with Kal-El, Last Son of Krypton, being sent to Earth as a baby, but with elementary school-age Clark Kent, wondering why aliens are portrayed as scary, evil, ugly creatures.
Fast forward a few years, and we see adult Clark (Darren Criss), a couple of months into his job at the Daily Planet—as the news team’s coffee boy. He’s shy and awkward, just as we’ve always known Clark to be. But his awkwardness isn’t merely a façade to mask his godlike powers. Rather, we get the impression that, as a result of not knowing who he is or where he comes from and having a deep, dark secret that he has to hide from the world, Clark just naturally evolved into a shy, awkward person. Wouldn’t you?
Then, someone shows up who knows all about Clark’s origins—and it’s not who you’d expect. Lobo (Ryan Hurst), the crude space biker/bounty hunter who tends to hover around as an irritating antihero rather than full on villain, shows up on Earth looking for the last Kryptonian. And he doesn’t care who gets hurt or what he destroys along the way. When Lobo’s recklessness leads to an even bigger problem, it may end up being too much even for the Man of Tomorrow to handle.
What I love about the DC Universe Animated movies is that they often delve into deeper, more mature issues than you typically get from animated superhero fare. Man of Tomorrow is no exception. There are some great characters in this one. Not only do we get to explore a side of Clark/Superman that we don’t often see, but Lobo and even Lex Luthor (Zachary Quinto) show us the multiple dimensions in their personalities, as well.
The one character who’s kind of difficult to like is Lois Lane (Alexandra Daddario). We’ve seen her in the past as the over-zealous, single-minded reporter who risks life and limb to go after the scoop. Here, however, she’s a step beyond that. Kind of full of herself, she’s shown to care about pretty much nothing and nobody except for the story she’s pursuing—or the story someone else is pursuing, if it happens to look good to her. Still, she does have a decent character arc, which helps.
In general, Man of Tomorrow is enjoyable and well worth watching. The 4K/Blu-ray also has some great special features, including a bunch of featurettes, plus a couple of episodes of Superman: The Animated Series. I particularly recommend checking out the featurette on the upcoming animated film, Batman: Soul of the Dragon. Not only does the movie look like a lot of fun, but the featurette itself is also really funny.
If you’re a fan of the DC Universe Animated film series, or just a fan of Superman in general, you’ll want to check out Superman: Man of Tomorrow. It’s got great action, great characters, and is basically just a lot of fun.
Creative Team: Chris Palmer (director), Tim Sheridan (writer), Darren Criss (Clark Kent/Superman), Zachary Quinto (Lex Luthor), Ike Amadi (Martian Manhunter), Brett Dalton (Rudy Jones/Parasite), Alexandra Daddario (Lois Lane), Neil Flynn (Jonathan Kent), Bellamy Young (Martha Kent)
Production Companies: Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment
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