Superman: Unbound (2013 Video)
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What follows is possibly the most epic of all Superman battles ever put to screen. We have Superman taking on hordes of advanced machines strong enough to hurt the man of steel. We have Superman facing down the cybernetic enhanced Brainiac who is smarter, faster and more powerful that he is. The movie earns its PG-13 rating with blood and violence. After all, Brainiac seeks to hoard all knowledge in the universe. What better repository of knowledge than the brains of living creatures? Ouch!
The conflict against Brainiac truly pushes Superman to his physical limits. Staggering action, epic in scale, is beautifully animated by Moi Animation who bring graceful fluidity to the movements of the characters.They manage to blend the 3D CGI vehicles seamlessly with the traditional 2D characters while giving everything a slightly more "Japanese anime" touch.
Our characters are, once again, voiced by a wholly different cast as is the case for each DC animated movie production. What stands out is how witty the humor is in the script. The humor works and it fits perfectly without feeling forced. Delivering a near perfect performance are the voice cast directed by the impeccable Andrea Romano. Special mention goes to John Noble as brainiac, Stana Katic as a very Margot Kidder-ish Lois Lane and Matt Bomer as Superman/Clark Kent. Bomer especially takes great pains to have different accents when playing the dual personality of Superman and Kent, helping to highlight Kent's Kansas upbringing. The story devotes a good amount of time in developing the relationships Superman has with Lois and Supergirl, which in the end makes for a very human look at the Man of Steel.
Central to our narrative is the theme of one being protecting others to the point of intruding into and controlling their personal lives. The way Superman is constantly looking over Lois' shoulder even in peacetime, the way Supergirl intervenes in international conflicts, how are they different from the way Brainiac keeps his captured subjects in line by policing their actions under the excuse of protecting them? That parallel is drawn more than once, along with the constant question of whether Superman's loyalties lie with Earth or other Krypton survivors.
For all its good points, Superman Unbound is one of the more visually inconsistent DC animated projects to date. The character designs are angular, somewhat skinny and rather similar to the designs seen in 2005's "The Batman" TV series. It does take some getting used to, particularly for those who did like Gary Frank's art in the original "Superman: brainiac" graphic novel. The least they could do was to keep the art consistent though. Just take a good look at Superman's chest-to-head size ratio which expands and shrinks from scene to scene.
Then you have some obvious animation mistakes that just look weird, especially this one scene where Superman seems to have a hilariously long arm. The level of detail in the artwork is good for the most part, with metallic reflections in metal surfaces on the robots, folds in Superman's costume and cape and a good light/darkness contrast in the colours. But then you have a good number of scenes where the level of detail drops to the level of a low budget TV series. Oh and remember that bit about trying to give the show a more "Japanese anime" touch? You have scenes just like Japanese anime; a still frame with minimal motion tween movements, complete with exaggerated anatomy, weird angles and action lines.
If one can look past some of the visual shortcomings, there is much to enjoy about this animated film. The music by newcomer Kevin Kliesch takes cues from both Hans Zimmer and classic Jerry Goldsmith while still paying due respects to the timeless John Williams style. The way Clark Kent and Lois Lane play off each other is cutely reminiscent of the Christopher Reeves Superman movies, and the humor is truly funny without being corny. Overall, this would have been truly awesome in live action. Hopefully July 2013's "Man of Steel" would be able to top this in all aspects of storytelling and characterization.
Whoever titled this movie "Superman: Unbound" was probably well aware of its quality and pulled "Unbound" from the "Box of titles for bad movie sequels" after the first two tries turned up "Returns" and "Lives".
This flick feels like a "monster of the day"-story for a television- series. It could make a nice two-parter in an animated superman series, but it has not the feel of a movie to it.
The basic plot is (no, that is not a spoiler): Bad guy threatens to destroy earth, superman stops him. Period. Insert super-powered fights, a mad super-villain, occasional hero-villain-banter and the last-minute- rescue in there and you got your movie.
The movie isn't more than that, it does not try to be more than that, but it fails in making a simple story an enjoyable ride. Two reasons for that are the emotionless voice-actors and below-average fight scenes. Because of that the movie fails in conveying the feeling that anything is at stake.
If you are a fan of animated superhero-movies, you won't miss anything if you skip this one, if you are not a fan of such movies, there are better movies to begin with.
Though others have described this movie as a basic super-people brawl, I found enough character development and interpersonal "stuff" to make it more interesting than a simple super-fistfight.
I would have preferred a bit of the "old" (40 years ago) comic book Braniac, as the current Brainiac doesn't seem very "brainy" in this outing, but I like what's going on with Super Girl.
My favorite Superman characteristic is that in the end he USUALLY outwits his opponents rather than simply pummeling then into the ground, and there is a version of that in this movie as well.
I don't know the numbers, but count me in as as adult fan who likes the stories to be as intelligent and "meaningful" as possible. Keep 'em coming, Warner Bros.
I am not familiar with the source material this is based on. I am going to judge this as a film by itself. As a standalone movie I thought it was a good movie. It is nothing outstanding or great, but I found it a very entertaining movie.
The characters are pretty good particularly one character. Superman comes off as a bit unlikable at the start, but he does grow by the end of the film and you care about him. I like this Superman to be honest. Out of all the Supermen in all the animate features, I personally enjoy this one the most. Mat Bomer did a great job voicing Superman. At times he really pulled off a good Tim Daly. Lois is portrayed very interestingly. She has an interesting look to her that I have never seen before in any other portrayal. Stana Katic also does a decent job voice acting. Supergirl I did not like as well. She came off as too whiny. I know she is a teenager and that teenagers can be whiny but I still found it a bit annoying.
The character that really stood out in this film is Brainiac himself. This the first time I have seen this version of him. The Brainiac in this movie is not all machine but is also partly organic. He reminds me of Martian Manhunter a little. This is the first time this version of Brainiac was ever shown on-screen and I find it quite refreshing. I like his character in this as well which ties greatly into the theme of the movie. The theme of the film I like a lot and it is one of the better things in the movie.
What I did not like was the use of adult content just for the sake of adult content. This is an issue with other animated films of the DC lineup that which I forgot to address in my other reviews. The story of this film really is something that kids can watch. The content is not really that mature. However, the studio puts some random adult content in the film like a few swear words, blood, and sexual themes in order to earn a PG-13 rating, which is much unneeded. Another problem I have with the film is how they beat Brainiac. I found that they beat him too easily. Brainiac does not seem like much of a threat to Superman really. This is a problem considering he is one of Superman's greatest adversaries.
The art, like most animated Superman films, took some getting used to. However, now I like the art style. The animation is quite smooth like always. The action is smooth and fun as usual with these films. Overall this is my favorite animated Superman film so far. It is not my favorite Superman film period, and it is nothing great. However I found it quite entertaining despite its flaws. I would say it is at least worth a look.
Besides the giant green Brainiac who seemed more human emotionally than robot, most of the characters looked and acted their parts. The problems are mostly with ridiculous plot points and lack of story. Braniac invades Metropolis, Superman wins (obiously). Fine, that's cool, as long as there's some decent action. Instead we get such ridiculous scenes, such as Lois Lane kicking an office chair hard enough to whisk across the floor and forcefully eject a super-strong Braniac robot out the waist high window. Right. A group of her coworkers then push a desk into multiple super robots which then fly out the window as if tossed by Superman himself. None of these robots fight back, seemingly entranced from the great rebellion by the wage slaves of the Daily Planet. Oh wait there's more nonsense to be had! Let's talk about the showdown.
Braniac is trading blows with Superman on Earth, until, Superman decides to mention how Braniac has a weakness being isolated in his ship. He then goes on to explain that his brain can't handle all the chaos. On cue, Brainiac's head bubbles explode as if surrendering to Supermans speech line-by-line. Brainiac falls in some mud and begins to whimper like a little bitch about the bacteria, flies and dirt that he is covered in. A missile heading to the sun is diverted by Supergirl, the missile then explodes without harming anything. Naturally, the bad guy has to now spontaneously combust for no apparent reason while Superman watches without emotion or expression. This is where the script writer decides to throw in another little pearl "Welcome to Earth", says Superman as he stands over Brainiac's ashen remains. Seriously? Clichéd and corny.
Of course we also need a happy, Disney ending; the miniaturized Metropolis is restored with the simple pull of a pin on it's glass shell. Because we all know Brainiac installed a super easy method of restoring the stolen cities to their originals just in case he changed his mind about universal domination - uh huh.
Clark kisses Lois in the midst of the staff and emergency crews at the Daily Planet who all stop attending to their patients and the injured to stare at them. Apparently it's very odd for people to kiss after a near apocalypse and express their love, but it's also OK to stop saving people in order to express the magnitude of shock the audience should feel at the revelation of their relationship. Puh-lease.
Let's go back to the likes of Superman/Batman Public Enemies, Apocalypse, Under the Red Hood, etc, which had proper storyboarding, scripting and heart. Unfortunate that garbage like this gets screen time, and monkeys get paid for making it.
"Superman Unbound" serves as a tasty appetizer for the main meal coming up. The Man of Steel joins forces with his cousin, Supergirl, to battle Brainiac after the super villain shrinks down Metropolis and adds it to his collection of cities from different planets he's destroyed. Superman must find a way to keep Braniac from destroying the Earth and save all the captured cities of the universe, including Krypton's capitol Kandor.
As is usual with the DC animated movies, "Superman Unbound" is loaded with action from the beginning to the end. Director James Tucker and writer Bob Goodman know how to keep the pace moving at a breakneck speed and demand the audience's attention. You take a 128 page graphic novel and shove it into a 75 minute film. There's no time for the viewer to get distracted or for the movie to lose steam.
The animation for "Superman Unbound" differs from what we've come to expect from the DC animated features. It varies in style greatly from "Superman vs. The Elite." One example is the Man of Steel's facial features. The other characters look different as well.
"Superman Unbound" is definitely a PG-13 movie. There are scenes of Braniac changing himself into a cyborg that would freak out little kids. His robots drill into the heads of their victims, which splashes a lot of blood around on screen. Lois Lane also flips Braniac the double birds in one scene. Superman even says a bad word at one point. There are also some light sexual references most kids won't pick up on, but they're still present.
"Superman Unbound" is a super tag team smack down with none of the heavy-handed social commentary or politically correct propaganda we experienced last time around.
Rated PG-13 for action violence & rude gesture
Bottom line is that the story was disjointed and never quite grabbed the audience. Brainiac never seems to be believable threat. And my son thought he looked too much like the Hulk. The romance between Lane and Superman seemed stifled, probably because there was never this sense of urgency or grand threat. It's my understanding that this story was based on the graphic novel, but I get the sense that a lot of things were lost in translation, and there wasn't enough effort to make it standalone in a movie format.
My son and daughter have seen all of the DC Universe Animated movies. They loved Superman/Batman Public Enemies, they loved Superman vs. The Elite (wow! that was violent dad, but a really good movie.)
My daughter fell asleep with this one and I almost did too.
In just about any Superman cartoon/comic you will see him battle an arch enemy: be it Lex Luthor, Braniac or Darkseid. Here it is Braniac.
The Braniac character sort of parallels Galactus a character in Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer cartoons/comics. Galactus is also referred to as the "Eater Of Worlds".
The plot of the film is simple: Braniace sends a drone to the planet Earth. Superman intercepts and destroys the drone before it can can transmit a locator signal to Braniac's mothership. Supergirl tells Superman from her past experience what an awesome threat Braniac is to Earth and retells about the miniaturization of Krypton's capital city of Kandor prior to the planet's destruction with her father and mother.
Superman then makes a voyage through deep space in order to track down and destroy Braniac once and for all...
P.S. I don't know what the title has got to do with this film. But if you like title beginning with "Unbound", I think you should watch this one: Frankenstein Unbound, a 1990 horror movie based on Brian Aldiss' novel of the same name. This film was directed by Roger Corman, returning to the director's chair after a hiatus of almost twenty years. This is his final directorial effort to date(he saved the best for his last).
The portrayal of Brainiac, and Superman's clashes with him, are easily the highlights of this story. Another interesting point is Kara/Supergirl representing the helplessness of a powerless civilian against overwhelming threats, and the desire for such a person to set the world right when given a chance. Less impressive however is the attempt at showcasing tension in the Clark-Lois relationship. 'Superman Unbound' is ultimately a sci-fi story at its core...and attempts to introduce romantic elements sorely stand out in what is otherwise a pretty decent production.
The worst thing about the movie - is the lack of emotion. The moment Ssman gets his butt in trouble - he gets out of it. Miraculously. Every fight feels like hardscripted Ssman solo performance. Maybe it's the standard in Ssman franchise, comics in particular, but it does not work for movies, at least not for my opinion. There has to be some emotion, some feeling of concern or helplessness. The first fight with robot took Ssman about 2 minutes. Later, he kills them like some walking dummies. Same robots can be easily thrown around by chairs or tables. Yet, rocket and tank shell barrage does not seem to shake them. Some heated laser cuts them like butter though. Excellent continuity, heh? Whole movie Ssman has punched Brainiac in every possible way. Only in the end he thought about using his breath. What happened to his eyes? Couldn't he lazor the stuff and call it a day? Seems to work on everything(almost) else. As always, some primitive Avatarish blue skinned aliens with wookie pets have technology that Earth has never dreamed of. When assaulting worlds, robots do not seem to be a valuable loss for Brainiac. Yet, when miniaturizing them to monitor cities, he carefully teleports each and every piece of them back(along with everything that holds them :|). Yes, War of the Worlds may be a good idea. But seriously, for a 10k world experienced lump to be scared by insects? What have the scriptwriters smoked? Share please, it's some good stuff. Maybe Ssman loves his capital, but planting it on some barren asteroid to rebuild?! I also like it how Metropolis was put back - by taking the bottle cap off. Totally inflatable! And of course, not without "I'll be back scene". "There must always be a Brainiac!" Every single scene is either plain and cliché or just retarded. One good thing about the movie, which unfortunately doesn't make it 2\10 - is how bitchy they made Lois. Not to mention her assets. Oh, and the eye popping at start - make sure you eat popcorn when you watch it :).
Maybe technically this movie deserves a 2-3 score, as score 1 is as impossible as score 10. But I could care less, and this movie has not made anything to change my mind, so I'd just contribute to bias the rating. P.S.: I suppose it's clear what letter have I missed in the word Ssman.
The best part about this movie, in my opinion, is the backstory on Supergirl that it provides to people who aren't familiar with her, and Brainiac too, to a degree. To me, this really should have been more of a Supergirl story than a Superman one, and she easily provides the best scenes in this movie, even though shes only in maybe a third of it, if that.
This movie's fun enough if you don't think about it too much, or at all, I guess.
Maybe it's because I watched 'The Dark Knight Returns' just before it, but this just did not do it for me. The characters are one-dimensional stereotypes. Superman is brutish, smashing everything in sight (which I realise he normally does, but it's taken to ridiculous levels here) while Lois gets the Felicity Smoak treatment here, apparently having power beyond her pay grade (seriously, what reporter picks up the phone and orders 'Get me the Pentagon'?) and bringing relationship melodrama to the table. Brainiac, for a supposedly logical computer, makes ridiculously poor decisions, such as the manner in which he 'controls' the Kandorians.
The dialogue is cliché and unoriginal and the plot is severely lacking in depth. The Lego adaptation was written better than this. It seems to be one of those movies that tries to be feminist but ends up being sexist towards both genders, to the extent that I had to check this site to be sure Marc Guggenheim hadn't had a hand in it.
The animation is sloppy and the way the female characters are drawn is overly sexualised. Gore is used gratuitously for shock value. All in all, the worst DC Animated Original movie I've seen.
This animated feature adapts a comics story by Geoff Johns. It strays from artist Gary Frank's style, probably because Frank's Superman is clearly modelled on Christopher Reeve: I quite liked the character design, but it won't be to everybody's taste. The quality of the animation varies from serviceable to excellent.
What I liked here was the dynamic between Superman and a Supergirl who is still finding her way and feeling somewhat out of place. Supergirl is a well-rounded, nicely realised character in this. And the issue of Lois Lane being at risk, which is why Superman/Clark conceals his feelings towards her, is well addressed.
I like different versions of the same thing, and Brainiac has gotten a bit more down to Earth in this movie. He feels less like an omnipotent being and more like an intelligence that is imperfect, still has ways to go to arrive at the stage that you would see in Superman TAS. I like this, it makes him much more easy to relate to. (On second thought perhaps he's just stupid and I find that entertaining!) The main story isn't reinventing the wheel and won't keep you on the edge of your seat if you've seen other encounters between Brainiac and Superman before, though the different direction to his approach shown in this movie is still nice to watch - if you like him as the villain he is shown as here. (Visually/voiceacting-wise)
The visual style of the movie and especially Superman's looks are a bit different from what you might be used to if you remember his look from TAS, Justice League or his cameo Appearances in Young Justice, but thankfully it works out - his personality is fitting and what you would expect it to be, Lois is a bit bitchy but overall likable, even though she doesn't get enough screen time to evolve into a more complex character. The same can be said for Supergirl - she's a bit harder to relate to; her back-story is not particularly deep. The animation quality is alright, anatomy is consistent but not that breathtaking (this review is written by an artist). Nowhere near as good as Young Justice's animation quality, but not horrible either. Business cuts have been made on the backgrounds and it shows - they're not annoying, but also not memorable in any way. They hold the scenes together but don't go beyond that basic purpose.
The same can be said for other aspects, too - if you were to watch this movie as the very first one in your life, you'd be left with a bunch of unanswered questions as no time is wasted establishing a deep background - you better bring that with you already. There are also some logic inconsistencies that are not rationally explained - in fact never touched at all. Frustrating? Only if you really care for clear answers.
The movie is still enjoyable to me - if you like villains and a more 'relaxed' staging of confrontations, you can have a nice calm watch of this and take a few new thoughts with you to ponder about. If you're looking for a ton of epic fights, fast-paced action with a deep jaw-dropping storyline - then there are plenty other movies out there!
The best scene was when Superman fights the robot at the start of the film, Tries to escape Kandor and the last battle.
The voice acting was pretty good especially Matt Bomer as Superman and John Noble as Brainiac.
Overall awesome movie if you are a fan of Superman you might like this movie. Ignore the bad reviews from the nostalgia fanboys .
Well, Brainiac gets to shine here. My favorite thing is probably just how well paced this film is and for a movie that's only 75 minutes long, that's no easy task. I also really like this version of Lois Lane given how snarky she seems and wants her relationship with Superman to advance. It ends on a rather uplifting note too. The action's quite good and it's interesting to see Superman in weaker times. We even get to see some of the humans contribute by fighting some robots! This may be the lowest rated movie here I've ever seen with a 100% on RottenTomatoes, but it's still good. ***
So including a replay of the "Dangerous office pranks at the Daily Planet" skit, this telling has Superman challenging a pretty scary version of Brainiac. Many aspects of this are not suitable for younger children with blood and murder and sexual innuendo.
The animation is quite good. The voice-work, done by "Castle" stars Molly Quinn and Stana Katic, is very good. (Nathan Filion has been doing work for DC's animation unit for years, and probably told them it was the easiest money they could pick up.) The actor who voices Brainiac gives the character a sense of menace.
Overall, worth watching for the DCAU fan.