The story of the death of Superman is a powerful one. A lot of people don't get it but there is a great deal of pathos in the idea of a Superman and the world's loss of him. He represents so much of what we strive for. Our current trend towards cynicism may reject this but it hasn't stopped many from embracing this story. There are hundreds of songs about it, a history of stories about it and now an animated movie about it.
Uber-television producer, Bruce Timm has taken his stab at the tale. While I am normally quite a fan of his work, I find this take a little disappointing. What I respond to here is the emotion. What does Superman mean? What does he represent? What do we loose when we give up on that dream? All these things are the kinds of things explored in the story arc that took place in the Superman comics that chronicled the Death of Superman. It is these themes that made Superman Returns so powerful and poignant as well. Superman is so much more than a superhero. That's why he remains what he is in pop-culture. I don't believe that Timm and company have achieved that here.
It's not for lack of trying. There is much to admire about this project. The battle sequences are extreme and exciting. They are probably too intense for too little ones. However, like the rest of the film, they fall short in that they are too short. That's the entire problem with Superman Doomsday. It can be summed up in two words: too short.
There is a lot to explore here and the film rushes it all. It jumps from the exhilarating fight sequence (which could have been so much more if the time had been taken to really build it up), to the death (which all the emotion is sapped from because it's over in seconds), to the aftermath (which doesn't get into a world without Superman enough) to the resurrection. It's all over in less than half an hour. It's just not enough time to do any section justice.
There is a brave choice to take the Toyman villain and do something totally nasty with him. This is a hint that the film makers understood how serious the death of Superman would be. It could have really gone to great places and explored some dark parts of our collective soul. It doesn't because this part is also so rushed. Like everything else about this movie, it's faster than a speeding bullet.
The film makers took on a laudable task but it's just not enough of what it should be. Make me feel it next time. This story should feel momentous cause "the world will never see another man like him..."