Review: All-Star Superman
I've seen a lot of positive reviews for this movie. And let me say right off the bat, that may have done more harm than good when I sat down and ordered it OnDemand (I had a coupon for a free movie). I have the feeling that most reviewers re-read the books and then watched the movie. The problem with this is that the awesomeness of the books can carry over into the movie, making you think it was better than it was. I haven't read the story in about a year, so I'm going into the movie somewhat fresh, but knowing how the story goes.
I'm going to do this backwards from the standard Good, Bad, Verdict so I can get to the point right now, and then explain myself later. Be warned, spoilers ahoy! I won't tag them because I assume if you don't want them, you will just read the verdict and/or have already read the story. Also, the story, Morrison's writing and Quitely's/Grants' art is so good that story elements don't matter, context matters, the details matter, but the 1 sentence spoiler won't ruin it for you.
The Verdict (Or The Gist):
Every major scene that shows Superman's humanity has been cut out of this movie. A lot of the exciting fights have been cut out of this movie. Most scenes about Superman's increased intelligence… you guessed it, cut. The voice-acting was fine. I liked Superman, Lex, and what little bits Jimmy had left. Christina Hendricks really disappointed me as Lois. This movie is a rent, not a buy. It took one of my favorite stand-alone stories, and really did it a disservice through bad editing, and lackluster storytelling… which was surprising for such a great story. If you like the graphic novel, and want to support DC Animated Features, plunk down the $4 for a 48 hour rental. Don't buy it unless you like Superman but haven't read the GN yet, and also love extra features that I assume come with the DVD/Blue Ray.
Minor Spoilers Below
The problem with this movie all boils down to 1 thing. It is way too short. To do this movie right (so it doesn't cut out over half the story) it really needs to be another 20 to 40 minutes long. They cut out so much of the story (like I mentioned above) that some bits just don't make any sense. For example: at the beginning of the movie, Jimmy Olsen show up dressed like a woman; in the books, this is part of Jimmy's schtick where he does a something and writes a column about it called "… For A Day." This is seen a couple of times but really come into play when he gets to run Dr. Leo Quintum's P.R.O.J.E.C.T., accidentally turning Superman evil, becoming Doomsday, and turning Superman back to good. But they don't follow that plot thread in the movie. So why is Jimmy cross-dressing? They never say! Another example is Superman getting messages from his descendent Kal Kent, Superman of the 853rd Century, when Lois visits the Fortress of Solitude. Again, this come into play in a later issue where Superman is able to travel back in time with an all Superman Squad to when, as a boy, they defeated the Chronovore. During the fight, the Chronovore ate a few minutes of his life, in which Pa died. Superman went back in time to tell his father he would turn out ok. Truly a touching scene. In the movie, it's like they mentioned Kal just to show that somehow, Superman seems to have descendants that look a little like Lois's dad. Also on the cutting room floor: Htrae and Zibarro, anything involving Dr. Quintum aside from the opening scene and a brief ending scene (no, not THAT ending scene), Superman creating Earth-Q (our Earth), Superman figuring out how to cross-breed his DNA with humans is changed so that Luthor figures it out (which pissed me off from a story point, AND it was out of character), and Superman and Jor-El's conversation about how his body is becoming a radio-conciousness at which point he comes back to life briefly though it may be. Oh, and because of that whole thing with Superman's genome, you don't get that icon last page. THAT really pissed me off! They didn't even adapt it! SPOILER WARNING: Click here to reveal hidden content.
The story is so good, that even though this movie has such gaping plot holes resulting from an overly edited screenplay, due to a too short runtime, it's still a treat to watch. Superman's voice actor is really good, as is Lex's, and the 3D animation in the Solaris scene is pretty good.
Was this movie half as good as the book? No. I'd put it about 10% as good as the book. Was it the best DC Animated Feature? No, sadly, it wasn't. I like Batman: Under the Red Hood (which I hadn't read that until after I saw the movie), and Green Lantern: First Flight far better. Is it worth $5 to rent? You better believe it.
Final Score: 2.5 out of 5