Superman: Doomsday is an animated movie adapting the comic storyline of The Death of Superman, and is the very first of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies.An illegal excavation funded by Lex Luthor for an energy project inadvertently unleashes an unstoppable monster that had been buried there long ago, whom Superman now has to fight, even at the cost of his own life. But shortly after his funeral, it appears the Man of Steel has returned. But things aren't all what they seem...
Provides examples of:
Adaptation Distillation: The four pretenders to the Superman name were pared down to a single clone of Superman who started out anti-hero like The Last Son of Krypton before becoming the big bad like The Man of Tomorrow.
Adaptation Dye-Job: Mercy is blonde here as she is in the mainstream DC universe, instead of being brunette as per her native continuity, the DCAU.
Blood from the Mouth: At one point, Doomsday holds up Supes by the head and continually punches him in the gut, causing Supes to vomit a good deal of blood.
Bloodier and Gorier / Darker and Edgier: The sheer graphicness of the violence in the movie along with Toyman's paedophilia seem to be an exercise in seeing how much the moviemakers could get away with now that the rating was PG-13.
Bus Full of Innocents: The Toyman hijacks a school bus full of children and holds it over the edge of a building with his mechanical spider, threatening to dump it if the police don't back off. Lois Lane manages to sneak on board and get most of the children out, but ends up falling with the last child on the bus when the Toyman drops it, only to soon be rescued by Superman who turns out to be a clone under Lex Luthor's control.
Clark Kenting: Of course. Rather conveniently, Clark is transferred to Afghanistan as a war correspondent just in time for Superman to die. Lois has also figured everything out at the beginning of the story, but Superman refuses to make it explicit.
Composite Character: The cloned Superman combines elements of three of the replacement Supermen from the comics - The Last Son of Krypton (who killed common criminals), The Man of Tomorrow (who turned out to be the villain of the arc) and The Metropolis Kid (who was a clone of Superman).
Also seen in using Luthor as the creator of the Superman clone as opposed to yet another character they would have had to introduce. In the comics, the "Last Son" was a byproduct of the Eradicator, Cadmus made the Superman clone, and Hank Henshaw actually has multiple origins through interactions with various forms of Phlebotinum.
Conveniently Empty Building: In the making of the production, the production team mentioned that they had to redo several frames of animation so that Superman didn't save Lois by sending Doomsday into a occupied building.
Death Seeker: It's hinted that Lois may have developed some of these tendencies following Superman's death out of grief — she's still throwing herself headlong into dangerous situations but, as Perry points out to her, Superman isn't around to swoop in and save her anymore.
Determinator: Superman. Even when Doomsday's got him on the ropes, he just. Won't. Quit.
Dungeon Bypass: Lex thinks he's safe in a panic room full of kryptonite and lit with red sunlight lamps. Clone Superman locks the door, rips the room out of the building, and drops it to the street below.
Explosive Leash: Clone Superman discovers that Luthor has implanted a tiny lead-walled pellet in his brain containing Kryptonite, which Luthor can break open remotely if he feels the need to take Clone Superman down.
Gory Discretion Shot: Used for most of the murders Doomsday commits, but one example sticks in your mind. Towards the end of their fight Doomsday has Superman in a neck lift and is repeatedly ramming a fist into his stomach with enough force to make the ground shake. Cut to Lois looking on and flinching away as we hear the fourth punch... and we hear Superman vomiting, and Superman's blood splatters across her face. Her horrified expression as she realizes this says it all.
Grave Robbing: Lex Luthor steals Superman's corpse from his grave, and then Superman's robot assistant steals it back.
Have You Told Anyone Else?: Poor Mercy. Though in this case, it's more like "have you cleaned up every loose end besides yourself?"
Innocent Bystander: A little girl is crying off slightly to the left when Doomsday rampages, this is enough to earn his murderous ire since he can't distinguish between friend or foe, something threatening or harmless.
It's What I Do: A variation is used just before Superman goes after Doomsday one last time, after Lois tries to convince him not to re-enter the battle.
Knight Templar: The clone Superman, to a truly creepy degree. The guy kills Toyman (who, to be fair, had just killed a four year-old, but this is Superman), and here's the speech he gives a woman after saving her Cat Up a Tree:
Now you know, Persian longhairs really shouldn't be outdoors. ... It really irks me when folks don't take responsibility for the little things. Don't get me wrong—I'm here to help. But every time I have to stop and sweat the small stuff, it potentially keeps me from attending to more urgent matters. Life-threatening matters. You may wanna think about that next time you leave the screen door open.
Adam Baldwin really sells the moment so well that you're not sure if Clone Superman isn't going to kill that cat or not.
Lack of Empathy: Lex Luthor says that his duplicate Superman has the same morality as the original, but he doesn't seem to notice the obvious difference.
The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Played with; Superman and Lois have begun a romantic (and, it's heavily implied, sexual) relationship, but Superman refuses to tell Lois his secret identity. Lois, however, has clearly already worked out that Superman and Clark Kent are the same person, but just wants him to open up to her as a sign of trust and commitment. The fact that he won't causes tension between them.
A lot of the stuff in the Fortress is a callback to various other incarnations of Superman (the special mission suits from Superman: The Animated Series, the prisoner rings from the movies, one of the Mechanical Monsters and the Bullet Car from two of the Fleischer Superman cartoons). Toyman's giant robot spider and Kevin Smith's mocking of it refer to a well-known script that was proposed for a Superman movie. The teenaged Superman clones in Luthor's lab resemble the Superman design from Season 1 of the Legion of Super Heroes cartoon.
The above mention line about curing AIDS but deliberately stretching out the treatments is a reference to an early Post-Crisis storyline. In the comics, Luthor came up with a cure for Lois's mother's unspecified illness, but manipulated the formula to require extended and unaffordable treatments to maintain leverage over Lois.
Superman's trying to cure cancer, having a machine that receives transmissions from the future, creating miniature suns from dwarf star matter and Lex Luthor's Kryptonite Gun are all references to All-Star Superman.
The clone Superman's rescue of an old lady's cat from a tree is reminiscent of a scene from Superman: The Movie.
A Superman II reference: Someone gets thrown into a soda billboard during a war between supermen.
Luthor's reaction when he expects the clone to join him in the red sun room for a kryptonite powered beating as usual and the clone simply closes the door and tears the room out of the building.
Also his reaction when the clone has turned against him and the kryptonite is gone from the clone's brain.
Lex: Oh, hell.
The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Luthor isn't happy about Superman being randomly killed by a nameless space monster. He wanted it to happen through one of his evil schemes, darn it!
Pragmatic Adaptation: Among other things, it streamlined the Reign of the Supermen segment/act and put Luthor in his traditional appearance and role rather than the long hair and beard he was sporting and pretending to be his own son like he was at the time of the story it's based on. Unfortunately, they also had to cut out Steel.
Product Placement: Anyone notice the wrecked BMW Z3 Convertible on the bridge before the Doomsday-Army/Superman Battle?
Right-Hand Cat: Deconstructed. Clone Superman rescues a persian cat from a tree. He has recently started to kill evildoers, and then gives a slow and frightening lecture to its owner, a very scared old lady, while caressing the kitty. During the lecture, you ask yourself if he's gonna kill the old lady, the cat, both of them or none. Finally, he just asks her to be more cautious.
Luthor: If an alien race possessed the technology to trap that thing and use Earth as their personal toilet, they did so for one reason... They couldn't kill it.
Secret Keeper / Secret Secret Keeper: Played with, Lois knows Superman is Clark Kent, but wants Superman to willingly tell her. However, Superman knows she already knows, but still doesn't want to admit it. He finally does admit it in the end.
Shooting Superman: Actually worked this time... with his evil clone. Granted, it was a kryptonite bullet.
Also lampshaded early on with the army, who realize exactly how stupid it is but try anyway, because they have no other choice but to.
Shout-Out: There's a scene of Superman (actually his clone) fighting Toyman's giant mechanical spider. This was a shot at how movie producer Jon Peters wanted a giant spider in Superman Lives, written by Kevin Smith. Smith even voices a citizen in Doomsday that remarks, "Like we needed him to take care of a giant spider."
Stock Phrases: Not quite to the point of "the universe will be destroyed including Earth", but doubled for Robo Speak.
Stock Scream: Wilhelm makes an brief appearance as one of the workers screaming during Doomsday's first rampage.
SuperCloning: Seriously, how many times has Supes been cloned now?
Successfully (i.e. not counting Bizarros and other screw ups) no more than once per continuity. Generally, they have to wing it or fake it.
Take That: The giant robot spider is a Shout-Out to an infamous (never filmed) draft for a Superman movie.
To further drive the point across, Kevin Smith actually makes a cameo in Ink-Suit Actor form, commenting on how lame the giant spider was. Mr. Smith was originally forced to include a giant spider into the script of said never filmed movie by the producer.
The Toyman looks suspiciously similar in style to a Tim Burton character. Tim Burton was hired to direct the aforementioned script but had Smith cut out from the project.
Take Up My Sword: A weird example: Clone Superman tells the real Superman to carry on the fight.
This Is Gonna Suck: When Luthor sees that clone Superman took out the kryptonite grenade, he sums up his situation nicely.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Clone Superman at the end just tells his real counterpart to protect Metropolis, which was his sole priority in the first place.
What Could Have Been: In-universe: Clark invokes this when stating that Clone Superman is himself if he were raised by Lex Luthor.
What the Hell, Hero?: Lois delivers this to Superman at the beginning of the movie. She's long ago realized that Superman is Clark Kent, but the fact that he refuses to just say it outright makes her think that's it's just a bog-standard fear of commitment. She also ties this into Superman's questionable invocation of It's Not You, It's My Enemies as a reason to keep their relationship secret—the entire city already thinks they're dating anyway.