All-Star Superman (2010)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 10/6/12
Producer: Bruce Timm
Music: Christopher Drake
Cast: James Denton, Christina Hendricks, Anthony LaPaglia

Lex Luthor (Anthony LaPaglia) engineers the death of Superman (James Denton) by overexposing him to deadly solar radiation. Realizing that he's dying, Superman finally reveals himself and professes his love to a sharp and sexy Lois Lane (Christina Hendricks), and imbues her with super powers for a romantically charged 24-hour date. Meanwhile, Luthor is sentenced to death for crimes against humanity, but manages to cheat death with a superpower potion of his own. Facing Superman on a level playing field for the first time, a power-mad Luthor terrorizes Metropolis and unleashes all of his pent up rage on the faltering Superman. But in the end, it's all for naught. With one last chance to save the world, Superman embarks on his final mission to repair the sun, while Luthor ruminates on recent events in a prison cell.

Splendidly animated in a clean old-school style and bolstered by a bold and heroic music score from Christopher Drake, but I found the pacing to be sluggish and the narrative wasn't as tight as it could have been. Excellent performances by Denton, LaPaglia, and Hendricks, and the character design is fabulous. Lois Lane is extremely sassy and sexy in this story, and nearly steals the show. Superman comes off as a bit weak and overly sentimental, and his endless acts of kindness, generosity, and self sacrifice only validate Luthor's intense hatred of him. Luthor is at his maniacal best as a mad genius trapped in a mortal and inadequate human body. Good stuff, with a classical silver age appeal to it.