"Superman: Unbound" is the latest release from Warner Bros. Home Video in their popular series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies.
The film is based on the Geoff Johns/Gary Frank 2008 storyline "Superman: Brainiac" in which the Man of Steel and Supergirl battle the alien being known as Brainiac who travels the galaxy endlessly collecting knowledge and cities from planets that he later destroys.
The animated storyline follows closely to the 2008 source material and kicks off with Lois Lane being rescued by Supergirl from a group of kidnappers with Superman eventually joining in to help as well.
We learn that Supergirl is relatively new to Earth and is still learning how to fit in and adjusting to her newly acquired powers while Superman & Lois (who knows Clark and Sups are one in the same) are facing a crisis in the form of taking the next steps in their relationship.
As the film progresses, a robot probe sent by Brainiac, to survey new planets for him to ravage, arrives on Earth and battles with Superman. Before the probe can transmit it's findings back to Brainiac, Superman is able to destroy it's transmitter but takes the robot back to the Fortress of Solitude for study and to learn of it's origins.
Upon seeing the robot probe, Supergirl tells Superman what she knows of Brainiac. When she was younger, his probes killed countless Kryptonians while the city of Kandor, along with several surviving inhabitants, was shrunk down and taken by Brainiac's ship.
Following another uneasy conversation with Lois pertaining to their relationship, Superman takes off in search of Brainiac to put a stop to his actions and to prevent the imminent threat to Earth that the alien being poses.
From this point forward, the action sequences really begin to kick into a higher gear with the true heart of the film's storyline shining through.
At it's core, "Superman: Unbound" is a story of the sacrifices that each central character must go through in their everyday lives; Superman protecting the citizens or Earth while facing the obstacles this poses in his relationship with Lois, Supergirl wanting to follow the ideals set by her cousin while trying to fit in & dealing with newly acquired powers, and Brainiac destroying countless worlds & lives in his quest for knowledge while never being able to leave the confines of his ship due to a complication in his software.
The overall animation is top-notch and some of the cleanest and most fluid that has ever been featured in a DC Universe Animated Original Movie. There is also a very noticeble inspiration from the Japanese style of animation in the film such as elongated, squared-off faces on male characters and overly large eyes on female characters.
The film also lives up to it's PG-13 rating as there are quite a few sequences of death and destruction with Brainiac's probes jabbing their tentacles into the brains of victims and quite a bit of blood featured during Superman's encounters with Brainiac himself.
While humor is rarely featured in the film, sequences in which it takes place are quite funny such as Lois Lane letting Brainiac know exactly what her opinion of him is in the form of a certain hand gesture.
The casting of the central characters is absolutely superb in "Superman: Unbound." Matthew Bomer (who was lined up to star on screen as Superman at one point) does an outstanding job as both Superman and Clark Kent while providing two entirely distinct voices for each character.
Stana Katic is wonderful as Lois Lane and puts her own stamp on the iconic character, while Molly Quinn as Kara Zor-El/Supergirl is perfectly cast and brings out the superheroine's anger and struggles while adapting to life on a new world.
Lastly, John Noble is absolutely phenomenal as Brainiac and portrays the character exactly as one would expect; a cold, uncaring, emotionless being whose only concern is his quest for knowledge no matter the circumstances.
All-in-all, I can confidently state that "Superman: Unbound" is easily one of the best Superman animated movies from Warner Home Video & DC Entertainment thus far. The movie has all the character development and action that you can ask for and then some. From the script, directing, animation & voice acting; everything comes together extremely well and, whether you have read the original "Superman: Brainiac" storyline or not, this is definitely one title you will want to have in your DVD/Bluray collection.
Pick up the DVD or Bluray of "Superman: Unbound" when it hits stores on May 7th.
The "Superman: Unbound" Blu-ray™ Combo Pack has over 4 1/2 hours of exciting content, including:
Standard and high definition versions of the feature film
Sneak Peek at Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, the next DC Universe Animated Original Movie
Featurette – “Kandor: History of the Bottle City” – An all-new featurette. Kandor: a peaceful scientific community dedicated toward the preservation of all that is good on Krypton, the home world of Superman. That is, until the city was ripped from its world and placed into a small glass bottle! This is the short story highlighting the shrunken city of Kandor. Its history just as fascinating as it is unique, here is how it ties in directly with the Man of Tomorrow.
Featurette – “Brainiac: Technology and Terror” – An all-new featurette. Mostly machine, but part sentient being, Brainiac steals cities and destroys worlds. Is he the most vile of Superman’s villainous foes? Experience the Brainiac mythology and find out why Superman barely stands a chance!
Audio Commentary – Featuring members of the creative team: Mike Carlin, Bob Goodman and James Tucker.
Four bonus episodes from Superman: The Animated Series (“The Last Son of Krypton, Part 1”; “New Kids in Town”; and “Little Girl Lost, Parts 1 & 2”), all handpicked by producer Alan Burnett.
Digital Comic – Excerpt from the graphic novel Superman: Brainiac by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.
* Superman: Unbound UltraViolet offer is a limited time offer. Restrictions and limitations apply. Go to ultraviolet.flixster.com/ info for details.
Superman: Unbound is currently available for pre-order through Amazon.com on both Blu-ray and DVD.