Dave’s 1-Word Review:
Practically every year, it appears that an annual tradition has been set to release a new superhero cartoon with a PG-13 rating. For the most part, these cartoons are based off of DC Comics, so Marvel has yet to join the fun. The reasons to up the rating for these films vary, and are mostly related to more language and even sexual themes that adults can enjoy. Let’s face it, those of us with kids remember how great it was to watch Saturday morning cartoons, and now that we’re older, wish we could still watch them and not feel like a toddler doing so, that’s just one of the things these films offer. The latest PG-13 cartoon to hit the market is Superman: Unbound.
If you are one of the bigger fans of Superman, you probably know who Brainiac is. A green-faced alien genius hell-bent on destroying Superman’s life and those around him that he loves…pretty much the same goal of any Superman villain. In the TV series, Smallville, Brainiac was described as the Brain Interactive Contstruct, and was played by James Marsters. In this film, he is this massive heart of a flying skull-ship that kidnaps cities and their knowledge, and continues to destroy their planets. Brainiac (John Noble) is such a threat to Earth that Superman must find him and destroy him before Metropolis ends up being his next target, along with all of its city-dwellers.
Matt Bomer stars as the voice of Superman/Clark Kent in this film, which is interesting, because this is one of the only incantations where Superman actually changes his voice quite dramatically. Normally, Clark Kent talks like a clumsy Superman, while this one pretty much talked like a higher pitch…almost feminine version of Superman. You can’t say that doesn’t make sense, seeing how he needs multiple facets to hide his identity. Voice just seems obvious. This is also one of the only Superman movies to actually show Supergirl, and give her the screen time that she deserves.
The thing about these PG-13 films that are just so well done is the fact that they are just right. It doesn’t try too hard to be adult-centric, it’s still Superman, it is. It has the right amount of language to separate itself from the toddler range, and what it has that the toddler show would never have is emotion. People actually die in these cartoons, so it’s more realistic. Superman can’t save everyone, and neither can Supergirl. That’s life, the fact that there was violence, and realistic emotions based on that violence is perfect.
Superhero films in general can easily get away with having the simplest of plots. It’s good versus evil, and that’s pretty much it. These films have a way with providing Superman with a villain worthy to combat. Somebody that can match him punch for punch, and the audience actually worries for Superman…Superman!
Now, obviously this isn’t the Man of Steel, so you’re not going to find advertisements for it everywhere you go. The production value for the film is also not sky high, but it is a decent flick, and you’ll enjoy watching it. Does it have to be the best? Not at all, even though a lot of people do regard this film as the best PG-13 Superman film. I wouldn’t say that, I don’t even know where they get Unbound in the title…if anything, Superman is bound more than unbound in this film by Brainiac.
It is great for a one-time watch, and many Superman lovers will add this film to their collection. Either way, check it out, you’re…bound…to enjoy it! Superman: Unbound