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The Death of Superman (film)

The Death of Superman is a 2018 American animated direct-to-video superhero film produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment. It is based on the DC comic book storyline of the same name. The film, which chronicles the battle between Superman (Jerry O'Connell) and Doomsday (a story previously adapted in Superman: Doomsday), is the 32nd installment in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies and the 10th film in the DC Animated Movie Universe. Released on July 24, 2018 the film received a limited theatrical release on January 13, 2019.[4] A sequel, Reign of the Supermen, was released on January 15, 2019.[4]

The Death of Superman
Blu-ray cover
Blu-ray cover
Directed bySam Liu
James Tucker
Produced bySam Liu
Amy McKenna
Written byPeter J. Tomasi
Based onThe Death of Superman by
DC Comics
StarringJerry O'Connell
Rebecca Romijn
Rainn Wilson
Music byFrederik Wiedmann
Edited byChristopher D. Lozinski
Distributed byWarner Bros. Home Entertainment
Release date
Running time
81 minutes[3]
CountryUnited States


Superman has become a hero to the citizens of Metropolis while infuriating billionaire and super villain Lex Luthor, who considers our hero a threat to his city and the influence he has in it. In an attempt to kidnap the mayor, Intergang – armed with Apokolips technology, including the Mother Box – are foiled by Superman; he and the Justice League send the recovered devices to S.T.A.R. Labs for analysis. In an interview with the Daily Planet's ace reporter Lois Lane, Superman presents the rocket that brought him to Earth from Krypton and its birthing matrix, containing Kryptonian DNA technology to the world. Lois is in a relationship with fellow reporter Clark Kent who, unbeknownst to her, is Superman's alter-ego. Despite meeting his parents Jonathan and Martha, Lois remains apprehensive of Clark's secrecy. His reluctance to reveal his past makes Lois reconsider their relationship.

At S.T.A.R labs, Silas Stone and Dr. John Henry Irons determine Intergang's devices contain both Apokoliptian and Earth elements, leaving only one suspect with the means to synthesize these technologies: Lex Luthor. Superman confronts Luthor, confined to house arrest, who denies any involvement. Meanwhile, Superman admirer Captain Hank Henshaw leads a team of astronauts aboard the space shuttle Excalibur when a boomtube sends a meteorite hurtling towards the shuttle. As Henshaw waits for Superman's rescue, the shuttle is destroyed, leaving Henshaw's body unaccounted for. The meteorite crashes to the Atlantic Ocean floor, monitored by Luthor's underground research facility. Luthor escapes his house arrest with a decoy and sends a deep sea exploration team to the crash site. They encounter Atlanteans, and both groups are destroyed by a monstrous humanoid that emerges from the wreckage.

The monster reaches the U.S. coastline and murders two campers and a grizzly bear before rampaging against the police. The Justice League arrive and are brutally defeated, but the Martian Manhunter’s telepathy reveals the creature to be a living weapon designed to annihilate entire civilizations. As the monster heads for Metropolis, Batman notes that their last hope is the Man of Steel. Meanwhile, Clark and Lois meet for lunch at a restaurant owned by Superman fan Bibbo Bibbowski, where Clark finally reveals himself as Superman to a shocked Lois. The two resolve their differences, and Clark receives the Justice League’s distress call. He arrives just in time to save Wonder Woman from the rampaging creature.

Lois, reporting live by helicopter with her cameraman Jimmy Olsen, dubs the monster "Doomsday" as his fight with Superman rages through Metropolis and reaches the Hall of Justice. A battlesuit-clad Luthor joins the fight against Doomsday, aiming to become Metropolis’ “true savior,” but he is incapacitated and saved by Superman. Realizing the toll the battle has taken on Superman, Lois attempts to sacrifice herself to Doomsday to force Clark into using lethal force. As the beast prepares to kill Lois, Superman hurls himself at Doomsday – he breaks the villain's neck, but is fatally stabbed at that moment, and dies in Lois’ arms.

Jimmy broadcasts Superman's death across the globe as the world mourns. After a state funeral for the fallen Man of Steel, the Kents welcome Lois into their family. Jimmy brings Lois to Superman's mausoleum where they find his coffin open and witness a figure resembling Superman fly away. At S.T.A.R. Labs, an exonerated Luthor tries to gain custody of Doomsday's corpse for Project Cadmus before Superman's rocket self-starts and flies off.

Four mysterious figures are introduced during the ending credits: First, as numerous failed Superman clones are destroyed at Cadmus, the sole surviving prototype escapes. Second, Dr. Irons forges Superman's symbol onto a suit of armor. Third, a Superman-like figure watches as Superman's rocket buries itself under the North Pole and creates a vast crystalline structure. Lastly, high above the Earth, a cyborg resembling Superman arrives.

Voice castEdit


The Death of Superman is intended to be the 32nd installment in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line, the 11th film in the DC Animated Movie Universe, and is based on the 1992—1993 DC comic book storyline of the same name. The story had previously been adapted in the 2007 film Superman: Doomsday. However, Superman: Doomsday greatly altered and condensed the story to fit it within a 75-minute runtime, including the events associated with the return of Superman and that sequel-based comic. The Death of Superman was written to be much more faithful to the original story; according to DC's Tim Beedle, the film is "much less condensed and will include many of the fan-favorite moments from the story that were left out of Doomsday."[5] The film is co-directed by Jake Castorena[6] and produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Films.[7] According to supervising producer James Tucker, a primary theme of the film is relationships and their impact on Superman's world.[6]


The Death of Superman had its premiere at the San Diego Comic-Con International on July 20, 2018[8] and released in direct-to-video on August 7, 2018, distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on DVD, Blu-ray, and on digital distribution platforms on July 24, 2018.[2] The film was also released in a limited theatrical release alongside Reign of the Supermen on January 13, 2019.[4] The movie has been re-released on home video, edited together with its sequel, on October 1, 2019 as "The Death and Return of Superman"[9]


Reviews for The Death of Superman have been positive. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a rating of 92% based on 13 reviews.[10] Newsarama called the film "One of DC's Best Animated Films in Past 5 Years", praising the epic and emotional punch the film accomplishes in all three acts.[11] i09 gave another positive review, praising Superman's character arc, his relationship with Lois, and the story at large because the DC Universe Movies adaptations currently "graft pre-Crisis storylines onto a new continuity, which affords different angles, strengths, and weaknesses... Because the backdrop for this version of Death of Superman is different, new choices get made to communicate a sense of threat." It was because of that, that "The Death of Superman film adaptation justifies its existence."[12] IGN put out their own mixed review, pointing out that "The Death of Superman marks the third time in 11 years that a movie has killed off the Man of Steel... making this latest DC animated offering a tedious case of been there-done that. While this new version hews more closely to its bestselling 1992–1993 namesake comics event than either 2007’s Superman: Doomsday or 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice did, it nevertheless lacks anything truly fresh or revelatory to add to this now well-worn tale."[13]

The film earned $919,629 from domestic DVD sales and $5,033,391 from domestic Blu-ray sales, bringing its total domestic home video earnings to $5,953,020.[14]

Comic book tie-inEdit

In August 2018, DC announced a 12-part digital comic series titled "The Death of Superman: Part 1",[15] by veteran Superman writer Louise Simonson. In the US, retailer Best Buy offered an exclusive "Deluxe Edition" Blu-Ray containing a hardcover graphic novel titled "The Death of Superman: The Wake."[16] The Best Buy graphic novel includes the last four chapters of Simonson's digital comic series.


A sequel titled Reign of the Supermen, was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on January 15, 2019. It is based on the second part of the storyline. The cast includes Cameron Monaghan as Kon-El / Superboy, Cress Williams returning as Steel, Charles Halford as Eradicator, and Patrick Fabian as Hank Henshaw / Cyborg Superman.[17][18]


  1. ^ "Comic-Con 2018: World Premiere of The Death of Superman". Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "The Man of Steel Meets His Match in Death of Superman Trailer". May 16, 2018.
  3. ^ "The Death of Superman". August 7, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2018 – via Amazon.
  4. ^ a b c "'The Death of Superman' and 'Reign of the Supermen' Coming to Theaters". DC. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  5. ^ Beedle, Tim (July 21, 2017). "The Death and Return of Superman Gets a Two-Part Animated Movie". DC Comics. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Cecchini, Mike (March 29, 2018). "The Death of Superman Trailer Arrives". Den of Geek. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  7. ^ Holbrook, Damian (March 26, 2018). "'The Office,' 'The Librarians' & More TV Faves Join 'The Death of Superman'". TV Insider. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  8. ^ "Comic-Con 2018". Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  9. ^ "The Death and Return of Superman Complete Film Collection Gets a Release Date". Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  10. ^ "The Death of Superman". Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  11. ^ Calamia, Kat (July 23, 2018). "Advance Review: DEATH OF SUPERMAN 'One of DC's Best Animated Films in Past 5 Years'". Newsarama. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  12. ^ Narcisse, Evan (July 22, 2018). "The Death of Superman Movie Changes Up a Classic DC Comics Story Just Enough to Work". io9. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  13. ^ Vejvoda, Jim (July 22, 2018). "The Death of Superman Review". IGN. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  14. ^ "The Death of Superman (2018) The Numbers Listing". The Numbers. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  16. ^ "The Death of Superman [Blu-ray/DVD] [Graphic Novel] [Only @ Best Buy] [2018]". Best Buy.
  17. ^ Bonomolo, Cameron (February 24, 2018). "'Death Of Superman' Animated Movie First Look Released". Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  18. ^ Matadeen, Renaldo (February 25, 2018). "Death of Superman Animated Film Debuts First Image". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved April 16, 2018.

External linksEdit