Video Vices

Reign of the Supermen Review

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Release Date: 2019.
Director: Sam Liu.
Producers: Sam Register and James Tucker.
Written By: James Krieg and Tim Sheridan.
Cast: Jerry O’Connell, Rebecca Romijn, Rainn Wilson, Patrick Fabian, Charles Halford, Cameron Monaghan, Cress Williams, Rosario Dawson, Nathan Fillion and Christopher Gorham.
Running Time:
1 hour and 27 minutes.

George Santayana was right when he said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Although last year’s The Death of Superman brought the goods when it came to the kick ass action in the last act, it inserted a lot of nonsense that spoiled the film for those who have read the original story. Giving Lois Lane, a supporting character, top and equal billing in what is not just any Superman movie but one in which Superman dies was absurd and another example of the American entertainment industry playing and pushing their politics.

Unfortunately more of those politics in what should be a straightforward adventure story are on display again in the sequel The Reign of the Supermen, courtesy of writers Tim Sheridan and Jim Krieg. While it makes sense that Lane would investigate the death of Superman and the emergence of four would-be feuding heroes who have risen to take his place and fill the void he has left on Earth, there is an entire segment of the film devoted to Lane being disrespected by every man she runs into.

Firstly, there is the new Lex Luthor sponsored Superboy who is described as “handsy” and makes a quip about “measuring up”.

“How old are you?” Superboy winks as he hits on Lane.

Then, there is a sleazy scientist employed by Lex Luthor. Lane uses her womanly wiles to convince the adulterous egghead to spill Superboy’s secrets and allow her access to his lab. He too flirts with Lane until Luthor grandly interrupts them and cruelly punishes the scientist for revealing trade secrets.

And to top the segment off, Lex Luthor, of all people, makes an uncharacteristic play for Lane when an explosive blast makes him fall right on top of her.

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I get the idea of perhaps showing how a female journalist might be mistreated by a Neanderthal who obviously doesn’t represent the entire male gender to push home Lane’s persona of being a tenacious reporter but to hammer the point home again and again and again in one long segment is preachy, unwarranted and puts a real damper on the rest of the film.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that Lois Lane has to be the one who saves the day as she did in the last movie. As a journalist let me make one thing clear, while many of us have great deductive skills, we are not world class spies. You won’t find us driving like Mario Andretti or fighting like Bruce Lee. Lane being elevated to the level of a Robin or a Jim Rhodes is preposterous.

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Lane playing Miss Marple and looking into the true origins, uncovering the secrets of Superboy, Cyborg Superman, Steel and The Eradicator while learning whether Superman is truly dead or not all makes sense. Her trading blows with a world class super villain does not.

The substitute Supermen themselves are a wild bunch. We have Steel, an established DC superhero who was featured in that dumpster fire of a 1997 film starring Shaquille O’Neal. If any film deserves a remake that one surely does. There is the creepy Cyborg Superman. We have The Eradicator, who is more of a  hardcore vigilante than an alien boy scout with an ‘S’ on his chest. He blasts baddies to radioactive dust first and asks questions later. And finally, there is Superboy, Lex Luthor’s replacement for the Man of Steel. Their real stories and motivations for stepping in where Supes left off are what will keep mainstream fans watching despite that gratuitous political interlude earlier on.

Just like The Death of Superman, when the filmmakers aren’t busy pushing Hollywood’s political agenda, unnecessarily rewriting characters and top-notch stories, Reign of the Superman offers a decent superhero story and some great action. If the producers focused on those two things instead of their political grandstanding like anime makers do perhaps America’s animated superhero films might be worth their weight in Kryptonite one day.

Gravestones

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Two people are killed in a superhero brawl.
One person is devoured by monsters.
A costumed baddie bites the dust.
An entire gang is killed.
Someone dies in outer space.
An entire mob is wiped out.

Naughty Bits

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None.

Memorable Dialogue

Green Lantern: Okay, who left the front door open?
The Eradicator: There is only one Superman.
Lex Luthor: Count me in, team.
Green Lantern: Robo people? Come on! How long were we gone?
Wonder Woman: Just between us, I like the brutal one with the visor but apparently I have a type.

Pints of Blood

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Rating

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