All-Star Superman

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
All-Star Superman Movie Poster Image
Violence and minor sensuality in reflective Superman tale.
  • PG
  • 2011
  • 75 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

When Superman learns that he's dying, he attempts to wrap up his unfinished business. He shows love, kindness, tolerance, bravery, inclusiveness, and -- most importantly -- forgiveness. When two Kryptonian villains try to take over the world, Superman tries to help them. And, in the end, even Lex Luthor comes to understand that all life is connected and that everyone should be doing his or her best to help others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Superman is a terrific role model here; he's a kinder, less violent hero than in other depictions. He's concerned with helping others and considering others' feelings and needs. Most often, and most obviously, he shows forgiveness.

Violence

This movie is about the impending death of Superman, which makes it potentially difficult viewing for kids. The first scene has a pretty scary monster and some brutal violence (with bodily fluids). Another scene shows prison guards firing guns at an escaped villain, and Lois Lane fires a laser gun. In the most disturbing scene, Lex Luthor goes to the electric chair and screams as the electricity surges through his body. Also standard superhero fighting, with punching, body-slamming, etc.

Sex

Lois takes a shower, but her body is covered by lots of steam. She also wears sexy outfits. She and Superman flirt and kiss, and another couple is seen kissing.

Language

"Son of a bitch" is heard once, and "hell" is heard twice. A character also says an awestruck "my God."

Consumerism

Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that All-Star Superman contains the usual cartoon/superhero violence, with at least three scary and/or intense scenes, plus some minor sensuality. Far from a kiddie cartoon, this story centers on the Man of Steel's impending death, which lends a dark tone to the movie. But this Superman is also a hugely admirable figure, showing forgiveness, bravery, empathy, and inclusiveness as he wraps up his affairs. It's a very touching story with some powerful messages. The violence keeps it from being age appropriate for younger kids, but teens should enjoy it, as well as any grown-up Superman fans.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTinyToya July 29, 2011

All Star Superman Falls Flat, but Still Manages a Decent Story

*Spoiler Alert!*This movie was not the riveting action adventure I was expecting. This was more of a slow-paced tragedy to be honest. Superman tying up loose en... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bylyrehc March 16, 2011
*This review may contain spoilers* This is the best DC animated film I have seen. It does not have much of the high-action fight scenes we usually associate w... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMitchell Charleston June 17, 2013

Good movie.

Not as good as most Superman films, but still very good. The animation was kinda blury, but everything else about All Star Superman was good.

What's the story?

After rescuing a scientific mission from the surface of the sun, Superman (voiced by James Denton) learns that he has increased powers -- but he also finds out that he's dying. He tries to wrap up some unfinished business, like telling Lois Lane (Christina Hendricks) about his secret identity. Meanwhile, he must also deal with various meddlers -- like super-strong time-travelers Samson and Atlas and lost explorers from Krypton who wish to take over the Earth. Ultimately, it turns out that Lex Luthor (Anthony LaPaglia) is responsible for Superman's predicament; Superman must deal with the villain's nefarious plans, which include turning Earth's yellow sun red, thereby draining Superman's powers. But in doing that, Luthor has unexpectedly poisoned the sun; can Superman survive long enough to save humanity one last time?

Is it any good?

Despite some gruesome violence here and there, the movie is surprisingly powerful as Superman considers his life and legacy. It focuses on strong ideas like forgiveness, empathy, inclusiveness, and tolerance, as well as love. Likewise, the voice performance of Denton, who is new to Superman, is wonderfully soft and modulated; he's the most laid-back Superman yet. Though the action and fight scenes still pack a punch, it's the quiet moments here that are the most memorable.

Based on Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's reboot of Superman, this animated feature has the difficult task of boiling 12 comic books down to a relatively brief 75 minutes. The result is that the movie plays mostly in self-contained episodes rather than in a linear story, but veteran superhero director Sam Liu (Planet Hulk, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths) sustains the thoughtful, reflective mood of the movie throughout.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. Is it exciting here, or is it more ugly and disturbing? How does the movie achieve this mood?

  • How does it feel to watch a movie about how Superman is dying? Is the movie sad or reflective? What kinds of things does it make you think about?

  • How is this Superman different from others you've seen in comics, TV shows, and movies?

  • What lesson does Lex Luthor learn at the end of the movie after "borrowing" Superman's powers?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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