We’re living in a pretty crazy world right now, so maybe this alternative history story, in which that most American of superheroes, Superman, was raised in the Soviet Union and is a communist hero squaring off against the United States, doesn’t seem as quite as out there as it normally would. . . .
I don’t watch superhero movies as a general rule. No offense to folks who like them, but they’re just not my thing, but I was intrigued by this movie after Julie mentioned it to me. That’s partially because, as I have mentioned on here before, Soviet history is an interest of mine and partially because the premise sounded so interesting.
I didn’t really know too much about the story going into this movie, and I don’t want to reveal too many details because part of what I enjoyed so much was the surprising directions the plot took. Suffice it to say, that the characters and the plot were both more nuanced and complicated than I had anticipated. The result is an amalgamation of weirdly funny, seriously disturbing, and oddly sweet.
Now, this is an animated feature, but it benefits from having a great cast doing the voices. I’ve always been a big Jason Isaacs fan (The Patriot, Harry Potter movies), and he does a fantastic job as Superman. (His Russian accent is pretty good, too, and not overwrought as far as movie accents go.) Between this and The Death of Stalin, I’m wondering if his acting contracts say he gets dibs on any movies made that are set in the Soviet Union. 😉 Also putting in good performances are Dietrich Bader (Napoleon Dynamite) as Lex Luthor, and Amy Acker (Person of Interest) as Lois Lane.
I also thought the animation was pretty good, though (like superhero movies), that’s really not my thing as a general rule. The fight scenes were exciting and well balanced with quieter, more character-driven moments. My only complaint is I feel like there was a missed opportunity for Soviet Superman to have an all-red costume–I mean, come on, he’s a Soviet Superman!–which is a little confusing when he fights one of his doppelgangers who is wearing the same color blue suit.
I will admit, I have no familiarity with the original comic this was based on, so I can’t evaluate it as an adaptation or compare it to its source material (which we do have in the system as well). But on its own merits, I really enjoyed it.
Do you like superhero movies? Do you like alternative histories? Do you enjoy reading about and watching Russian history? Tell us in the comments! You can put it on hold by going to our online library catalog.