A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this Superman is chock-full of action, no fatalities or injuries are shown onscreen. The steadfast, invulnerable nature of the Superman character (Kryptonite is curiously absent in this opening installment of the series) guarantees that grammar-school-age childrenwon't be worried about the outcome of the numerous violent sequences. Older children into superheroes and science fiction will enjoy Last Son; those weaned on the darker visions of the '90s Batman animated series and certain Marvel creations may find Superman's exploits a bit lacking. Teen and adult comics fans and fantasy-addicts open to kinder, gentler forms of superheroics will be entertained by Last Son.
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What's the story?
The animated SUPERNAM: LAST SON OF KRYPTON begins on Krypton, where scientist Jor-El predicts that the planet is about to explode. He and his wife Lara send their son Kal-El off to Earth in a spaceship. In Smallville, Kansas, the boy is found and raised by the Kents. As a high school student, he gets in touch with his super-powers. The adult Clark moves to Metropolis and works as a reporter for The Daily Planet. He soon becomes the city's "guardian angel" but is dubbed "Superman" by Lois Lane (voiced by Dana Delany), a fellow reporter. Clark has eyes for Lois, but she fancies Superman. Superman tangles with evil millionaire Lex Luthor who has his own expensive "battle suit" stolen in order to cheat the government and aid a foreign power. Superman retrieves the suit and exposes Luthor.
Is it any good?
While the first live-action Superman movie devoted a large amount of time to the character's origin, Last Son of Krypton does the same task more quickly, and with greater imagination. The writers also focus squarely on Clark's confusion once he has comprehended the extent of his powers -- he complains to his adopted parents that he will have to "give up [his] life" once he becomes a public figure.
Last Son moves beyond the rather dull-edged depiction of Clark that's predominated in the past. Here, the man of steel is more of a distant cousin to the hyper-neurotic Peter Parker (Spiderman) and Bruce Wayne (Batman, or as Mrs. Kent calls him, "that nut in Gotham City"). Other new additions to the Superman mythos include the notion that archvillain Brainac started life as a computerized presence on Krypton and the fact that Lex Luthor used to date Lois Lane. Though clearly intended as a follow-up to the Batman animated series, this Superman is far less edgy than its Gothamite predecessor. The voice cast, however, is well chosen, with Delany and Malcolm McDowell proving quite memorable.
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