All Star Superman cover Now some people call him Superman. Whilst other people refer to him as Clark Kent. Though he is also known as, the last son of Krypton, the man of Steel, the man of tomorrow, and Ka-El, too. Therefore, what I would like to know is how can a man who has been known by so many names, be defined so consistently throughout the years? Just as he has been in this 77 minute animated film made in 2011.

All Star Superman : The Film - The Graphic Novel

Due to a ploy instigated by Lex Luthor, Superman rushes in to save Dr Quantum whilst he is on a mission in outer-space. However, I am afraid to say, that the results of this intervention is somewhat bi-polar in nature. Luthor is caught and then sent to prison to be executed. Whereas Superman supercharges his genetic make-up so much, the he inadvertently shortening his life span rather severally.

Ouch! What does a Superman do about this fateful news, huh?

SUPERWOMAN: Feeling that he should come clean to Lois Lane about his true-identity, Clark Kent reveals to her that he is Superman. Moreover, he flies her to the Fortress of Solitude and wines and dines her. Plus he gives her a ‘Superwoman’ costume and superhuman powers that last for 24 hour.

Wow! Isn't that great? At first. Yes. But suddenly, before Superman can lavish Lois with any more treats, their day is interrupted by two super humans from the future, Sampson and Atlas. Now these pompous power-houses, brashly flirt with Lois, whilst at the same time get on Superman’s nerves. For example; with a battle involving the underground race called the Krulls. Then, with a confrontation involving a super sentient called the Ultra-Sphinx. And finally, with a... sigh... arm wresting competition situated upon a desert island. 

What a bunch of gits.
CLARK AND LUTHOR: Now if it wasn't bad enough that Clark Kent had to go to Stryker's Island Prison, and interview Lex Luthor before he is sentenced to death. Worst still, whilst Clark is having a chat with Lex in his cell, Lex's neighbor, the Parasite, absorbs some of Kent’s powers and starts a prison riot within the vicinity. 

Bad turn of events, I am sure you will agree. But have no fear, Lex with save Clark. 

Strange. But true. Kind of.

THE KRYPTONIAN ASTRONAUTS: As soon as Superman comes back to Earth from a two month space-trip to save the bottle City of Kandor, he returns to a transformed Metropolis, now conceptualized by two newly arrived Kryptonian astronauts, Bar-El and Lilo.

OK, under normal standards this would be a nice thing for anybody to do. But I am sad to say that these two stray Kryptonians are... err... f*king a$$-holes, and demonstrate as such when  they meet Superman. 

Lets hope that they see the light soon, huh? In a manner of speaking.

THE DEATH: Most people would surmise that Lex Luthor dying in an electric chair was a good thing all and all. But no. Apparently not. All this does is start a chain of events that will forever live on in infamy. Luthor gains power - Solaris, Luthors secret ally, consumes the Sun - people pray - battles are fought - hope is lost - Kryptonians fall - and a savior gets his time to shine.

Now you have to take on board these four points before I say what I am about to say, OK? (1) I am familiar with the mini-series that this film was based on. (2) I have a great deal of knowledge of comic book lore. (3) I am a film buff. And (4) I am also somewhat of a stickler for ‘super hero movies’ as well.

Therefore, it is with a heavy heart, that I now declare 'All Star Superman' to be the best Superman movie I have ever seen in my life!

Phew! Thank God I have gotten that over with!!!

All Star Superman

So why is this animated movie so good then? Well, for a start, it is a fairly accurate depiction of the comic book mini-series that it was adapted from – as written by Grant Morrison – and in essence, captures the tone of what the overall story was meant to be all about. You see, the initial premise of this tale, is an amalgamation of Superman’s silver-age yarns, overlaid upon the pretext that he is about to die. Fair enough, I know that this does sound like a strange thing to do. Nonetheless, at the same time, it does lend itself a certain weight in credence, whilst enhancing and justifying the parable like nature of this tale. Also, in addition to all of this, the animation on display was fairly accurate. Complementing the original artist – Gary Frank – in an almost benign and unpretentious manner.

Personally speaking, my favorite segment of this story – apart from the ending of course – was the part when Clark went to Prison to interview Luthor. I just could not help but smile all the way though this chapter, as it captured a jovial silver age spirit that I have not seen in a cartoon in a very long time. Moreover, I did find it funny that Luthor liked Clark, and wanted to save him from the rioters. Granted, the end of this segment did feel kind of contrived. But by in large this part of ‘All Star Superman’ was the most fun for me to watch.

All Star Superman

However, to contradict my overall positive vibe, there was an aspect that I did not really like about this piece. And that is all to do with how this cartoon was structured, plus it's fragmented nature.

Fair enough, not ‘the nature’ per-say. But rather how I think that each of the individual story’s within this tale, should have been divided with something like a chapter heading or a voice over narration. Well, you have to take into consideration that the original mini-series was basically a collection of short stories, with the 'Superman is going to die' element acting as the loose plot-thread to tie them all together. Regrettably, the guys and girls in charge of this film missed a trick by not highlighting this episodic slant within this picture. Still, this is only a minor grumble really, and after the first couple of segments, you get used to this cartoons fragmented tone.

All Star Superman

Overall, ‘All Star Superman’ is up there with the other great DC animated films, like 'Batman - Under The Red Hood' for example (click here for the review). Therefore, I would surmise that if you like that from the Bat-camp, I am sure that you are going to love this from the Super-camp. Plus, if you were / are a collector of silver age tales of old – from the likes of Mort Weisinger, Jerry Siegel, or Otto Binder – or even a fan of Grant Morrison himself, this is a animated must see for you.

It’s just Super! Right Grant?