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Western Animation / The Death of Superman

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A 2018 movie in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line and part of the DC Animated Movie Universe, The Death of Superman is an Animated Adaptation of the comic arc of the same name based on the New 52 continuity of DC Comics. It is part of a Movie Multipack with 2019's Reign of the Supermen.

Having had an Offscreen Breakup with Wonder Woman since the events of Justice League vs. Teen Titans, Clark Kent, a.k.a. Superman, is dating his co-worker at the Daily Planet, Lois Lane, but is concerned with what letting her in his world might do to her. At the same time, a mindless monster from another world arrives on Earth and starts rampaging through the United States, requiring the Justice League to intervene—and Superman to possibly make the ultimate sacrifice to stop him.

As it is set in the DC Animated Movie Universe, it features many of the same voice actors returning, including Jerry O'Connell as Superman, Jason O'Mara as Batman, Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman, Matt Lanter as Aquaman, Christopher Gorham as The Flash, Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern, and Shemar Moore as Cyborg. Among the newcomers are O'Connell's real-life wife Rebecca Romijn (X-Men Film Series) as Lois Lane, replacing Juliet Landau; Rainn Wilson (The Office (US)) as Lex Luthor, replacing Steve Blum; Nyambi Nyambi (Mike & Molly) as the Martian Manhunter; Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul) as Hank Henshaw; Cress Williams (Black Lightning) as John Henry Irons; and Paul Eiding and Jennifer Hale reprising their respective roles from Superman vs. the Elite and Legion of Super-Heroes as Jonathan and Martha Kent.

You can see the first trailer here.

This film and its sequel were rereleased on October 1, 2019 in a Extended Cut Compilation Movie, The Death and Return of Superman. A tie-in digital comic was released which was eventually published as The Death of Superman: The Wake, which has three different plots across twelve issues: the first four issues show Superman in his last few hours before his death, the next four show Jimmy Olsen investigating Intergang during the film, and the last four focus on the Justice League telling stories about Superman as they explore the damage done to the Hall of Justice during Superman's fight with Doomsday.


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    Film Tropes 
  • Adaptive Ability: Downplayed, but Doomsday visibly mutates and gains increased abilities at several points in the film. The most prominent examples are his sporadic use of Eye Beams and, at the battle's climax, when he sprouts a jutting blade-like growth of sharpened bone on the back of each wrist.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Bibbo Bibbowski, in contrast to his comic appearance or his look in Superman: The Animated Series, borders on being a hunk in this film.
  • Adaptation Distillation: While Truer to the Text than Superman: Doomsday, the movie still simplifies a lot of things in order to streamline the story.
    • The Martian Manhunter is his usual self rather than the amnesiac Bloodwynd.
    • In the comic, Maxima was in the iteration of the Justice League that took on Doomsday. Here, Wonder Woman fills her role as the Large Ham Proud Warrior Race Guy Blood Knight, with several of Diana's lines being evocative of Maxima's lines when confronting Doomsday.
    • The Matrix Supergirl is nowhere to be seen. (same with Supergirl herself)
    • Lex Luthor is also his usual self rather than pretending to be his own red-headed Australian son. (See Mythology Gag though)
    • A good chunk of Funeral For A Friend was about how various people wanted to steal Superman's body for different reasons (including Luthor, so he could clone him and create Superboy) with it eventually ending up in the hands of the Eradicator. The movie skips pretty much all of this in favor of showing that Luthor was already working on Superboy, and the Eradicator steals Superman's body immediately.
    • The Underworlders, who served as a Starter Villain for Superman at the beginning of the original story, are replaced with the better-known Intergang.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Superman promises to be back for Luthor the moment the League finds proof he gave Intergang their tech. Luthor mockingly asks if Superman knows something he doesn't.
    Superman: Only that this city's never going to love you...just for hating me.
    [He flies off, leaving Luthor absolutely seething]
  • Ascended Extra: Many of the characters that are appearing in this movie weren't in the original story, only really showing up for the follow up Funeral for a Friend. This one effectively brings in the Big Seven and a handful of others to battle Doomsday.
  • Big "NO!": Lex screams this when Superman saved him from his failed attempt to destroy Doomsday himself.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: Doomsday attacking the Atlanteans results in copious amounts of this trope.
  • Brick Joke: Back in Justice League vs. Teen Titans, Flash suggested boarding school for Damian. This film, Batman mentions he has a meeting with the headmaster of Damian's boarding school.
  • The Bus Came Back: This marks Hal Jordan's return to the DC Animated Movie Universe after being absent from Justice League vs. Teen Titans, and John Stewart filling the Green Lantern role in Justice League Dark.
  • Call-Back: When Superman meets John Henry Irons, he asks if they had met, with Irons replying "at a construction site". Superman had saved him way back in Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
  • The Cameo:
    • Kate Kane is one of the attendees at the memorial service at the end.
    • Titus is with Bruce and Damian in Wayne Manor.
    • Cheetah and Metallo appear in a fight simulation.
    • The extended version does see the Teen Titans (sans Wonder Girl) watching Superman's funeral in Titans Tower.
  • Catching the Speedster:
    • After Hawkman gets taken out by Doomsday, The Flash takes up his mace and begins whacking away at Doomsday with it, moving too fast for Doomsday to retaliate. Eventually, Doomsday stops attacking and merely defends, as his eyes watch Barry's movements. Finally, the beast predicts where Barry will go next and Barry runs headfirst into a well-time punch, resulting in a One-Hit KO.
    • As Superman faces Doomsday alone, he attempts to fight the creature in the air, using his speed and flight to knock Doomsday around and carry him out of Metropolis. However, as he goes in for a hit, Doomsday reacts quickly enough to clothesline Superman, catches his cape, and starts headbutting Superman repeatedly as the two fall back into the city.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: The members of the Justice League are defeated one by one when they try to take down Doomsday. By the time they recover and show up in Metropolis to assist Superman, they find out both he and the monster have already died.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Shazam, John Stewart, and Justice League Dark are nowhere to be seen. The Teen Titans are at least name-dropped, though the extended Compilation Movie version does include a glimpse of Raven, Starfire, Nightwing, Blue Beetle, and Beast Boy watching Superman's funeral, though this does also leave out Wonder Girl.
  • Clark Kenting: Notable by its absence. Clark isn't drawn different from Superman, and Jerry O'Connell doesn't change his voice. Clark even wears tight, short-sleeved shirts that show off his super muscles. Then he finally decides to tell Lois he's Superman... and she laughs. He looks around to make sure no one's watching, takes off his glasses... and it still takes Lois several seconds to grasp the truth. In the next film, she notes she's rubbish when it comes to secret identities.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The Flash announces his wedding to Iris at a JLA meeting.
    Superman: Does Iris know?
    Flash: She'd better, she picked the date.
  • Composite Character: Doomsday acts like his comic self, is designed slightly more like his DCAU counterpart and has the heat vision that his Batman v Superman counterpart has.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Hank Henshaw's space crew and the Excalibur satellite just happened to be on the flight path of meteorite that was carrying Doomsday in the vastness of space when it could have dropped anywhere else. If that isn't unlucky, I don't know what is.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Even with this team being the big legendary version, Doomsday still tears them apart, though not as bad as the original team to face Doomsday.
  • Death by Adaptation: In a Type 2 example, Hank Henshaw's space crew originally died after getting back to Earth, with two of them dying from horrific mutations while his wife was Driven to Suicide out of despair despite being saved from a similar mutation. Here they're all killed before even getting back to Earth when the asteroid Doomsday is tied to rams into their shuttle.
  • Demoted to Extra: Mera, Damian, and Alfred appear in brief, non-speaking cameos.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Lex decides to attack Doomsday with his Mini-Mecha even after Doomsday has proven more than a match for Superman. It nearly gets him killed.
  • Divided for Adaptation: The film is the first half of a Death of Superman duology, with the second half, Reign of the Supermen, released in 2019.
  • Epic Hail: A teenaged girl streaming a video of Doomsday's rampage and begging for the Justice League to come stop him. Doomsday isn't that happy when he notices her doing it, but the Justice League arrive Just in Time to distract him from her.
  • Eye Beams: Superman, naturally, but in a departure from his comic book counterpart Doomsday also has them. Likely done as a Shout-Out to Batman V Superman.
  • Facepalm of Doom: Wonder Woman is on the receiving end courtesy of Doomsday when she tries to attack him.
  • Foreshadowing: The Supermen are all hinted at within the first half of the film. The film opening with Intergang using Apokoliptan tech; Superman, Flash, and Cyborg briefly recounting the events of Justice League: War; and the meteorite carrying Doomsday coming out of a Boom Tube all foreshadow the reveal in Reign of Darkseid's role as the Greater-Scope Villain.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The final battle between Superman and Doomsday will end with Superman's supposed death.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Lex speculates that Doomsday did not come here by chance but was sent to "soften up" the Earth by some unknown alien threat. It is hinted to be Apokolips / Darkseid, since Doomsday appeared in the solar system through what looks like a Boom Tube. Reign of the Supermen confirms that Doomsday was ultimately a "doomsday weapon" for Darkseid.
  • Go Through Me: Lois appears willing to let her life be sacrificed just to distract Doomsday from beating Clark to death.
  • The Hero Dies: It's right there in the friggin' title! In this continuity, Superman's impaled as his last ditch effort attack ends up wrenching Doomsday's head around a full 180 degrees.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Clark is injured and exhausted from his lengthy fight with Doomsday, and Doomsday is no worse for wear, so Lois Lane exploits this trope at the climax, deliberately getting Doomsday's attention in the hopes that seeing Doomsday about to attack her will give Clark the strength he needs to defeat Doomsday. It works.
  • Hope Spot: Hank Henshaw sees a silhouette and briefly thinks Superman has come to save them, but it's just a comet about to hit the ship.
    • A trio of Badass Normal cops who've managed to Hold the Line against Doomsday for a while briefly think that they've killed him in an explosion, then he comes out of that and crushes them by shoving cars across the ground and into them.
  • The Juggernaut: Doomsday, he breaks Green Lantern's Hard Light with sheer strength and is fast enough to catch Flash off-guard.
  • Lack of Empathy: Lex wasn't too upset when his crew got killed by Doomsday, merely raised an eyebrow.
  • Manly Tears: Jonathan, Bibbo, Jimmy, and one of Superman's pallbearers are shown crying as part of their reaction to Superman's death.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Discussed Trope, as Clark considers revealing his secret identity to Lois.
    • Averted with Barry Allen; Iris knows he is the Flash and they are getting married.
  • Mutual Kill: The battle between Superman and Doomsday ends with Superman neck snapping Doomsday with a high speed punch while being gored by the monster's bone blade in the gut at the same time.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Out of the members of the Justice League, the Martian Manhunter was present in the comics early in the fight, but under a different identity.
    • Lex Luthor disguises himself with a red wig and fake beard which resemble his appearance during the print run of the original story.
    • Clark's parents mention "The girl on the swim team... Lori Lemaris," and then add some fish jokes.
    • "What a lucky man I was..."
    • Like in Batman V Superman, Doomsday hurls a car at Diana, who cleaves it in two with her sword, then alludes to a different movie with the sword being ineffectual on Doomsday and shattering. And the moment Superman delivers the killing strike, Doomsday mortally impales him with a bone spur.
    • Superman kills Doomsday by snapping his neck.
    • Cyborg remarks, "Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel," at a League meeting.
    • Superman and Lois have the dialogue "I've got you." "You've got me? Who's got you?", with the twist that Lois is the one who says Superman's line and Superman responds with Lois' line.
    • STAR Labs has Superman's Kryptonian spacecraft until circumstances cause it to activate by itself and break out from their facility and fly off; similar to what happens in Superman: Earth One.
    • While Superboy is in the tank, he's sporting a black costume with red accents similar to the New 52 Superboy.
    • Doomsday's displays of Adaptive Ability count as this, as he didn't display this trait until he was brought back in the comics. In particular, his sporadic use of Eye Beams is a nod to his backstory as a bio-engineering experiment conducted by a pre-Kryptonian race on primeval Krypton, as was revealed in Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey. The eye beams are also a nod to Doomsday's appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
    • The Flash slamming into an armored foe capable of taking out the League, forcing it into a Three-Point Landing. We've already seen a case of that... if a slightly more successful one.
    • At one point, Doomsday and Superman find themselves crashing down to Earth as a fiery ball of destruction, similarly to how their fight ended in Superman: Doomsday. Only this time, Superman is the one on the receiving end of the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown instead of Doomsday.
  • Neck Snap: Superman's final attack on Doomsday twists the beast's neck around a full 180 degrees.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Doomsday punches out and then ground-and-pounds Wonder Woman.
  • Offscreen Breakup: Clark and Diana had broken up sometime between films and Clark is now in a relationship with Lois Lane.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Thanks to its setting (a New 52-esque shared universe) this movie features an A-list Justice League lineup (along with Barry Allen who was still dead at the time) and a plainly-himself Lex Luthor, whereas the original Death of Superman featured a Justice League made up of mostly B-listers and Lex Luthor was pretending to be his own nonexistent Australian illegitimate son at the time.
  • Properly Paranoid: STAR Labs won't trust Lex with Doomsday's remains, rightly suspecting he would use them for evil.
  • Race Lift: Cat Grant is reimagined as African-American.
  • Sanity Slippage: Henshaw begins to suffer this as he and his crew (including his wife) are in trouble, believing Superman will come and save them after being saved by him once. After the crew got blown out of the hull, when the asteroid containing Doomsday flies towards him, he believes it's Superman.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: The League's weekly meeting starts out like this, with Cyborg noting they've gone over their allotted power budget. Batman notes he'll take care of it; Wonder Woman then notes sales of her merchandise were good this year and she can chip in if the Wayne Foundation falls short. Batman turns to her going, "You're kidding, right?" before they move on to a more plot-important discussion.
  • Shield Bash: Wonder Woman repeatedly punches Doomsday in the face with the edge of her shield.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: Wonder Woman's hair ring shatters during the battle against Doomsday.
  • Starter Villain: The pre-credits sequence focuses on Superman fighting Intergang boss Bruno Mannheim.
  • Stealth Sequel: The second part of the story, Reign of the Supermen, reveals that both movies, while already set in the same universe, are this to Justice League: War with the reveal of Darkseid as the Greater-Scope Villain, foreshadowed in this movie by the meteor carrying Doomsday coming out of a Boom Tube; Intergang using Apokoliptan tech left over from that movie; and Clark, Barry, and Vic briefly recounting the events of War.
  • The Stinger: We get four during the credits. The first is shown in Luthor's lab, where something has busted out of one of the tubes and a figure grabs a coat and runs out of the room. The second, John Henry Irons at his work station making a Superman emblem out of steel. The third, we go to the arctic where a Superman-like figure raises the Fortress of Solitude. And fourth, we see Cyborg-Superman flying through space.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Subtly done by Batman. Having just saved Flash from Doomsday, he contacts the rest of the League, stating "Alert: three Leaguers down and we only just got here. Send backup."
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Lex is shown wearing a neck brace and an arm sling after the battle, but in private it's shown he doesn't actually need either of them, implying that he was only wearing them to gain the public's sympathy when holding a speech honoring Superman.
  • Trash the Set: The battle between Doomsday and the Justice League wrecks a lot of real estate, ending with Superman and Doomsday bringing down the Hall of Justice.
  • Truer to the Text:
    • Said to be a more faithful adaptation than the very first DC Universe Animated Original Movie Superman: Doomsday, despite the New 52 stylings. The movie features the Justice League, who took part in the fight against Doomsday in the comics (albeit a completely different Justice League which included Maxima, Guy Gardner, Blue Beetle, Bloodwynd and Booster Gold) but were absent from Doomsday. Also, this movie has Superman and the League battle Doomsday across several locations in the United States of America, like in the comic, whereas Superman: Doomsday and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice both shrunk the conflict with Doomsday down to a single fight. The Stinger also heralds the debut of the four Supermen from the comics, who were condensed into a single character for Doomsday.
    • The depiction of Mercy seems closer to her original portrayal in Superman: The Animated Series than any other subsequent version, being a brunette human that serves as Luthor's bodyguard.
  • Villain Has a Point: Lex complains about the public's love for Superman, accusing them of being faithfully blind to an alien. Which ends up being true to Henshaw who gets killed in space. Except he doesn't.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Lex tries to take on Doomsday with a Mini-Mecha, only for Doomsday to tear it apart and require Superman's rescue . After the battle, he's given credit for giving Superman some time to recover (though it's clear from his facial expressions that he's not all that happy about it, due to it also being remembered Superman saved his life and being made to say nice things about him).
    Janet Klyburn: You may have been cleared, but no one believes you're innocent.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Shazam is nowhere to be seen. Especially noticeable after Batman calls for all Leaguers in response to Doomsday.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Diana's sword is shattered when it meets Doomsday's fist.

    Comic Tropes 
  • To Absent Friends: The last four issues show the Justice League recovering things from the destroyed Hall of Justice that makes them reminisce about Superman: Wonder Woman finds a photo that reminds her of when she knew her romantic relationship with Superman wasn't going to last, but that they were going to be better as friends; Flash finds a trophy he won after he beat Superman in a race set up by Mr Mxyzptlk; Aquaman finds Superman's pet mollusk that he took in when he helped Aquaman fight Ocean Master; and Batman finds the kryptonite Superman gave him in case he ever became dangerous.
  • Adaptational Expansion: The comic reveals that between introducing Lois to his parents and having their lunch where he tells her his secret Superman saved her father from Metallo, imprisoned Parasite, defeated Toymaster and worked with Lobo while also recovering Terri Henshaw's body. It also reveals that Jimmy Olsen had been having his own adventure behind the scenes.
  • Better as Friends: Diana notes that she and Clark were this after they broke up.
  • The Bus Came Back: Ocean Master and Shazam return in this comic, both having disappeared after Throne of Atlantis.
  • Continuity Snarl: In Wonder Woman's story, she claims that the first time they encountered Parademons was while they were dating which disregards the events of Justice League: War. Also the exact details of the League's fight shown in Jimmy's story doesn't really match what was shown in the film.
  • Out of Focus: Green Lantern, Shazam and Cyborg don't share any stories about Superman themselves despite having known him since the team was formed, and instead simply asks questions that lead to the others telling the stories.
  • Robotic Reveal: Toymaster discovers that he is a robot before dying, having false memories given to him by his "father" of growing up in foster homes to motivate him to kill his creator's enemy.