Following the closure of the DC Animated Universe with the brutal but epic Justice League: Apokolips War, Superman: Man of Tomorrow marks the beginning of a brand new timeline. The latest animated instalment features a star studded new voice cast, along with a fresh art style.
Directed by Chris Palmer and written by Tim Sheridan, Superman: Man of Tomorrow focuses on a young Clark Kent (Darren Criss) as he navigates an internship at news outlet The Daily Planet, while mastering his super-powered abilities. Following the arrival of intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo (Ryan Hurst) and the subsequent creation of Parasite (Brett Dalton), the young hero teams up with fellow extraterrestrial individual Martian Manhunter (Ike Amadi) to become Metropolis’ protector.
Thankfully skipping baby Clark’s tragic origins on Krypton, Sheridan opts to pick up events with a fresh faced, inexperienced Superman who’s still finding his way in the world. Throughout the film he quickly meets all the major players from the well known mythos, along with some lesser explored DC characters. Whilst interning at the Daily Planet he bumps into Lois Lane and his soon to be nemesis, Lex Luthor – there’s even a hilarious nod to Batman!
It’s definitely an interesting time of Clark’s life to explore. There’s plenty of hurdles for the character to conquer in order to become the Man of Steel, including wrestling his self doubt and embracing his dual identity. It’s refreshing to see such a raw and honest portrayal of one of DC’s strongest superheroes. Additionally with the inclusion of Lobo and Martian Manhunter, there’s also a timely exploration of xenophobia threaded throughout the narrative. Particularly as the people of Metropolis are quick to negatively perceive and fear species that are different to them.
At times Sheridan doesn’t shy away from pulling out the big, emotional punches, but tonally he strikes a great balance throughout with plenty of fun and hopeful scenes typical of a Superman outing. There’s also a number of unanswered plot threads intriguingly hinting at potentially more adventures in this world, particularly thanks to Lobo’s tantalising closing bombshell.
Although it’s a sad to see a departure from the usual DCAU suspects, Man of Tomorrow features a hugely talented voice cast who are so well suited to their comic counterparts. Darren Criss wonderfully captures a wide-eyed, younger Clark, who’s bond with J’onn J’onzz makes for the emotional heart of the film. Zachary Quinto expertly captures the dastardly nature of Lex Luthor, while Brett Dalton surprisingly brings a lot of tragedy to Parasite. Ryan Hurt’s rough and ready Lobo is by far the standout though, bringing a whole load of fun to the anti-hero.
Featuring a brand new animation style with a bright and bold colour palette, this feels like a particularly fresh and more hopeful outing in comparison to the previous darker DCAU instalments. There’s plenty of action included, with multiple showdowns between our heroes and villains, particularly in the explosive third act. The inclusion of Clark’s pre-Superman suit was also a really nice touch, creating an arc full of growth. Subsequently signifying the importance of earning the upgrade to his iconic costume.
Fun, full of hope and plenty of heart, Superman Man of Tomorrow is a breath of fresh air, hopefully initiating the beginning of a new arc for the central trio.
Superman: Man of Tomorrow is available on digital now and on DVD, Blu-ray™ & limited-edition Blu-ray™ with mini-figure from 7th September.