Superman: Unbound

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Superman: Unbound Movie Poster Image
Superman fights, learns life lessons in animated thriller.
  • PG-13
  • 2013
  • 75 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Superman learns that trying to protect Lois Lane all the time stops them both from living life to the fullest. He also learns a lesson from Brainiac: one can't obtain knowledge or grow by trying to contain and control everything. Also, Supergirl learns to face her fears and overcome a traumatic experience in her life.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though Superman does get into a lot of fights, he's always a role model for kids and teens who feel like outcasts. He's a genuinely good person, always trying to help others and do good, even if the path is not always clear. Even though he's all-powerful, he still has to deal with all kinds of tough, everyday decisions.


There's lots of comic book-style fighting in this movie. Super-characters punch and pummel each other with tremendous force. Terrorists appear and threaten the city, shooting guns and threatening bombs. Brainiac steals cities and launches missiles, hoping to destroy planets. At one point, Brainiac catches Superman and some Super-blood is shown. During the opening credits, Brainiac undergoes some kind of gory transformation (an eye is plucked out, etc.).


Superman/Clark Kent and Lois Lane have an adult, romantic relationship in this movie. They have lovers quarrels and kiss, though it never goes beyond that. (Sex is never hinted at or mentioned.) Jimmy Olsen goes gaga when he sees cute Supergirl for the first time. Both Lois and Supergirl are dressed in sexy clothing.


"Hell" and "God" are used as exclamations. Lois gives a double-fisted, rude finger gesture to the bad guy.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Superman: Unbound is a straight-to-DVD feature-length animated movie that contains heavy fantasy/comic book-fighting, as well as terrorist attacks, guns and shooting, bombs, and missiles, plus some explosions (no casualties) and a little Super-blood. Superman and Lois have a relationship in this one, including quarrels and kissing. Lois and Supergirl both wear somewhat sexy outfits. Language is minimal, but Lois uses a double rude finger gesture in one scene.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTinyToya January 4, 2014

Not a Bad DC Flick

This is a fairly decent Superman movie that showcases The Man of Steel as he faces off against Braniac. The film is pretty entertaining because it has some nice... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bytrueratingexposed113 October 13, 2018
not the best but by far not the worst one rude gesture in the middle of the movie a fair amount of violence a little creepy nothing to worry about
Kid, 8 years old May 23, 2015

Perfect thriller has lots of violent action.

My rating PG-13: some intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, including language.

What's the story?

As our story begins, Superman (voiced by Matt Bomer) already has his hands full with his secret relationship with Lois Lane (voiced by Stana Katic), and with his rebellious, uncertain cousin Supergirl (voiced by Molly C. Quinn). Things get tougher as Superman learns about the villainous Brainiac (voiced by John Noble), who was responsible for capturing the Kryptonian city of Kandor, shrinking it, and keeping it inside a bottle. Unfortunately, Brainiac decides to make the Earth his next target, with Metropolis the next addition to his collection.

Is it any good?

For some reason, the Superman stories that have been coming out of the DC superheroes animated pipeline have been far more thoughtful than the rest, and this one is among the best of them. Superman is often written off as a simplistic hero with no inner demons, but he's certainly the center of some fascinating moral conundrums.

Director James Tucker, who has much experience in animation but makes his feature directorial debut, provides clean appealing lines for the characters and a strong sense of space, clarity, and gravity. Superman's fight scenes really pack a punch here. Tucker deftly balances the story -- which is based on a 2008 series of comic books by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank -- allowing for character development, rich ideas, and slam-bang excitement. It fills out its 75 minutes perfectly.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the cartoon violence in this movie. Does Superman still seem like a hero even though he's always fighting and punching bad guys?

  • Have you ever felt uncertain, like Supergirl does in this story? How does her story compare to yours?

  • Does Supergirl present an unreasonable model for girls' body image? How are superheroes -- both male and female -- usually represented physically?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love superheroes

Themes & Topics

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