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Review: Superman Unbound

HTF’s Fwah Storm gets a sneak preview of Superman Unbound and gives us his full and frank opinion ahead of it’s release.

Title: Superman Unbound

Certificate: 15

Release Date: June 3rd 2013

While many of us are eagerly awaiting the release of the new Zack Snyder helmed Superman movie known as ‘Man Of Steel‘ there has been something else on the minds of Superman fans across the globe. The anticipation of the release for ‘Superman Unbound‘ the latest installment from the DC Animated Universe!

Superman has already graced the screens in animated form for this particular universe. Sometimes on his own, other times with Batman, and a handful of times with his fellow members of the Justice League. So now it’s time to be reminded of well the man of steel can do when he stands on his own two feet alongside his cousin Kara, who fans will know as Supergirl.

Superman Unbound‘ is based off of the best selling Graphic Novel ‘Superman: Brainiac‘ which featured monumental moments in the Superman mythos. So it’s no surprise that DC/Warner Bros. were so eager to get this story told before or around the same time as the release of ‘Man Of Steel‘.
Superman Unbound‘ takes place just a few months after Supergirl first arrived to earth, and she’s finding it hard being a super powered being on a planet that she knows nothing about. However, her cousin is trying to help her go in the right direction in life, even thought he is having a few issues of his own learning about how to be a good boyfriend to Louis Lane.
That’s when a mysterious object from space hurtles towards earth, and Superman’s natural intentions is to stop it from causing any damage, and harming the public. But that’s when he discovers that this object is a scout robot for a higher being. Upon his research Supergirl informs Superman that she had seen those particular robots before, and that their arrival is an early sign of inevitable doom for the planet. When these ‘scouts’ appear, a mighty and evil being by the name of Brainiac is sure to follow, but Superman isn’t ready to let earth turn to ashes just yet.

It’s safe to say that while Marvel have been taking the lead in their action packed Live Action adaptations, DC have been quite contempt in advancing with their animated universe. Such animated features as ‘Superman Vs. The Elite‘ & ‘Green Lantern: First Flight‘ have really hit home the potential DC have while Warner Bros. back their animated movies. And Superman Unbound is no exception to this.
The animation style is most of the DC’s previous animated adventures have kept that Warner Bros. quality mixed with Anime influence (except for suck outings as ‘Batman: Gotham Knight‘ which was animated and directed by several professionals in the anime industry). However, ‘Superman Unbound’ seems to have shed it’s skin of the any anime influence, and stands out because of it. The style of art and animation takes a couple of miutes to get use to, but once you have gotten use to it you’re greeted with a fantastic opening that really makes the point of just how powerful both Superman & Supergirl are.
The dynamics between the main characters is dealt with very well, but sadly the characters with less screen time seem to be very cliched. This doesn’t take too  much away from the story, which is well written, but for some people it will bug them to an extent.
The actual animation is handled very well. On the odd occasion you can see that traditional animations from the earlier half of the 20th Century were used as reference, and come across as almost child orientated. But one thing for sure is that this feature is not for the little ones.
Even in the opening sequence we are treated to some brief images that aren’t gruesome, but will be unsettling for younger viewers. Although, later on there are moments of blood shed that take place off screen, and finish on screen. They may only last a second, but they really help make sure that the viewer understands how devastating these moments in the story truly are.
The other thing that works in this films favor is the action sequences. They have been beautifully designed, and any given moment where the battle takes place in mid air is just mesmerizing!

I’m not the sort of person who likes to point out the disadvantages in a feature, but it would be unfair of me to just praise a feature like this. So lets start with the cast. Most of the cast members do a great job, and are definitely in the right rolls. Matt Bomer does wonders voicing the man of steel, and Stana Katic really does manage to sell Louis Lane. But I can’t say the same for Molly C. Quinn who voices Supergirl…Don’t get me wrong, she is very talented, and she does a good job in this movie, but to me her voice just didn’t suit the angst that Supergirl was experiencing. In many ways I think it would have been a better move if they had switched roles for Molly C. Quinn & Stana Katic.
The only other con to this adventure is that I think it ostracizes the non Comic Book fan a little too easily. These animated adventures are obviously a way of keeping Comic book fans happy, which is appreciated, but there needs to be just enough of an opening for new potential fans to step in. Their other offerings such as ‘Wonder Woman‘ & ‘All Star Superman‘ managed to do it, but alas Superman Unbound didn’t.
But even with that said, Superman Unbound does what it set out to do. It entertains you, and keeps you gripped until the very end. To me that deserves praise, especially as animation is not an easy thing to pull of, no matter how advanced the technology for animation has become.
All in all Superman fans are going to enjoy this. Comic Book fans will enjoy this, and if you’re an avid fan of animation, then you will most certainly want to check it out.

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