‘Superman Unbound’ Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated November 15th, 2014 at 12:42 am,

Superman Unbound Reviews DVD Blu ray 2013 Superman Unbound Review

Superman: Unbound just proves that Brainiac would be a fantastic antagonist for a Man of Steel sequel, offering both a worthy storyline and threat for Superman.

Superman: Unbound is based on the 2008 comic book miniseries “Brainiac” by DC Entertainment creative head Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank. The story re-imagines the titular Brainiac – one of Superman’s most iconic villains – as an alien-turned-cybernetic organism seeking to catalogue and control countless alien cities, which he shrinks down and keeps as mementos aboard his ship, before destroying the very planet he robbed.

When a Brainiac probe droid lands on Earth, Superman intercepts it and learns from his cousin, Supergirl, that Brainiac once attacked Krypton and made off with the city of Kandor – an attack Supergirl barely survived. Determined to free Kandor and stop Braniac, Superman flies off into space; however, Brainiac is stronger and more cunning than the Man of Steel could’ve imagined, leaving Metropolis vulnerable for theft, and Earth facing destruction.

Quite possibly one of the most faithful DC Universe animated feature adaptations, Unbound captures the imagination and emotional arc of Johns and Frank’s story pretty well (sans the subplot involving Ma and Pa Kent). Especially well adapted is the story of Kandor and Supergirl – her struggle with the powerlessness she felt on Krypton, versus her new identity as a super-powered heroine on Earth. Also well conveyed is the sub-plot about Superman’s need for control over his life with Lois Lane, which is cleverly juxtaposed to Brainiac’s delusional hope to control and comprehend all life in the universe.

In short: like Johns’ tale, Unbound offers a story that has plenty of depth – but don’t worry, there’s plenty of action, too.

Lois Lane and Supergirl in Superman Unbound Superman Unbound Review

Fans have gotten to the point where they like to see Superman facing off against an antagonist who’s as much of a physical threat for the Man of Steel as he is an intellectual one (Lex Luthor) – and Brainiac certainly combines both of those elements. Johns and Frank introduced the notion that “Brainiac Prime” is a being that Superman has never met before – an organic organism extended through a cybernetic network – and in this film that organism is pretty formidable.

Fringe star John Noble is the perfect voice for the robotic villain, and his familiar barritone seethes menace and calculated intelligence in every melodramatic line he delivers. The film certainly has fun with the full range of power at Brainiac’s disposal – from remotely controlling hordes of robotic soldiers and other machines, to drag-out hand-to-hand combat, to a suit of armor that contains a nice array of weaponry. Superman is certainly put through the ringer several times – much to the entertainment of the viewer.

Brainiac in Superman Unbound Superman Unbound Review

With a good villain in place, a good hero is needed – and White Collar star Matt Bomer certainly fits the bill. Bomer has been approached in the past to play Superman on live-action film, and while that job has ultimately gone to other men (see: Man of Steel star Henry Cavill), Bomer demonstrates in Unbound that he certainly has the voice for the job, and is a suitable substitution for fan-favorite cartoon Superman, Tim Daly.

Unfortunately, the character design by James Tucker doesn’t really favor Superman or Lois, or Supergirl – or any of the human characters, for that matter. Brainiac and all his technology are wonderfully designed and visualized, but the human characters are all sketched in the stretched-face skinny look of Ninja Scroll anime. It’s pretty distracting in the more mundane scenes of say, Clark and Lois having a heart-to-heart conversation, or scenes between Supergirl and Ma Kent. Once the action moves into battle scenes or off-planet exploration, the animation is much easier to take.

Supergirl in Superman Unbound Superman Unbound Review

Along with the primary players, the supporting cast of ladies - Lois (Castle‘s Stana Katic), Supergirl (Castle‘s Molly C. Quinn) and Ma Kent (American Horror Story‘s Frances Conroy) are all very well cast and have great voice chemistry(?) with the other actors. All in all, the scenes in the film are engaging and believable to the ear.

In terms of violence: Superman: Unbound could definitely be scary for kids under double digits. While the Superman fight scenes aren’t anything especially bad, there are several sequences of Brainiac’s merciless murder and destruction of worlds that are pretty intense, even in animated form.

If anything, Superman: Unbound just proves that Brainiac would be a fantastic antagonist for a Man of Steel sequel, offering both a worthy storyline and threat for Superman that could (and will in this animated feature) thoroughly entertain fans.


Blu-Ray Special Features

Superman Unbound Blu ray Cover Front Back Superman Unbound Review

  • Standard and high definition versions of the feature film
  • Featurette – “Kandor: History of the Bottle City” – An all-new featurette. Kandor: a peaceful scientific community dedicated toward the preservation of all that is good on Krypton, the home world of Superman. That is, until the city was ripped from its world and placed into a small glass bottle! This is the short story highlighting the shrunken city of Kandor. Its history just as fascinating as it is unique, here is how it ties in directly with the Man of Tomorrow.
  • Featurette – “Brainiac: Technology and Terror” – An all-new featurette. Mostly machine, but part sentient being, Brainiac steals cities and destroys worlds. Is he the most vile of Superman’s villainous foes? Experience the Brainiac mythology and find out why Superman barely stands a chance!
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring members of the creative team: Mike Carlin, Bob Goodman and James Tucker.
  • Four bonus episodes from Superman: The Animated Series (“The Last Son of Krypton, Part 1”; “New Kids in Town”; and “Little Girl Lost, Parts 1 & 2”), all handpicked by producer Alan Burnett.
  • Digital Comic – Excerpt from the graphic novel Superman: Brainiac by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.
  • Sneak Peek at Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, the next DC Universe Animated Original Movie [CLICK TO WATCH]


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Superman: Unbound will be released on DVD, Blu-ray, VOD and Digital Download through streaming providers, on May 7, 2013.

Our Rating:

3 out of 5

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  1. Can’t wait for Tuesday!

    • Tuesday?!? C’mon maaaaaan? This is the internet?!? lol. I saw this post, and then I saw Blueray quality version of the movie! lol. It’s pretty good by the way. Review is spot on, except I MIGHT push for 4stars only because while I DID find the animation style annoying, it didn’t take me long to be able to ignore/look past it if that even makes sense here? lol

  2. I’m guessing Brainaic will be hinted at if not outright mentioned as the one pulling Zod’s strings in MOS.

    • Maybe Zod is recruiting Superman to help him take down Brainiac as revenge for Krypton.

  3. I’ve seen it and was disappointed. This was the worst Superman or JLA movie in a while. I am not going to give any spoilers, but I think the Superman versus the Elite was a much better movie until they when with the cliche’s at the end which pretty much ruined it.

    In this movie you aren’t going to see anything new, and the side characters (Kara and Louis) are really non-interesting.

    Maybe it is just me, and I am possible expecting more from these movies, but it just didn’t do it for me. If I wasn’t watching it with my kids I probably would have turned it off. I never do that, even with bad movies.

    But if you are a fan check it out, there may be somethings in there you like. The whole ending just seemed trite to me.

    • I actually thought Lois was the most interesting character of the film. Didn’t like her intro but she grew one me throughout the rest of the film. Loved it when she gave Brainiac the double middle finger.

      • LOL that was actually the best part of the movie!

        • I agree. This movie wasn’t great by any means, but I liked Lois.

    • I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to as well. I didn’t think it was terrible, but it just didn’t offer anything new. They could’ve done so much more with Brainiac.

  4. Saw this recently. I would give it a 2 out of 5. I thought this version Braniac was kind of lame! Like a poor man’s Galactus. Smallville’s version of Braniac was much better (and that’s saying something).

    • I’m sort of with you. I did enjoy the movie, but I prefer the TAS origin story of Brainiac. I like the parallel that Superman, the most powerful and righteous of beings, is the indirect cause (Kryptonians)of creating the most dangerous being in the universe.

      Pssst, I like every animated movie DC and marvel movie they spit out. :D

  5. Gotta say I was quite dissappointed ithis. Something waslost in the adaptation as this was a weak story. The bad a** Superman didn’y work and the over protective Clark while in a secret relationship was just completely lame. Supergirl was annoying and full of uncessarry angst.

    The animation was good, Lois Lane (character and voice acting) was amazing and the guy who played Brainiac did good jib aswell. I’d give it a 6/10 at best. Superman vs The Elite was better. Hopefully Man of Steel gives us a proper Superman film.

  6. You gave me a lot to consider, Kofi. Excellent review.

    I usually get these and I have been on the fence on this one.
    I am out off by the look of this and that matters in any animation.

    By the way, is The Iceman review coming back or has that been iced?

  7. Holy sh*t…this scored more than IM3.
    In Kofi we trust!

  8. This was supposed to be 3.5 stars. Sorry for the 4-star typo!

    • Yeah right Marv…forget it ;)

    • why haven’t u gotten the new man of steel tv spot here yet?

  9. Eh. I’ll save my money For the ABC’S of death. I think after , Batman under the red hood the DCU movies got bland.

    But! I think if they do go with the big brain for the live action sequel they should have Lex in their as a side character , maybe bring in Doomsday for the third film.

    • and Darkseid for the third and fourth. third movie as a side character and fourth as the main villian

    • Under the Red Hood was brilliant! Favorite animated thus far and it got me into the Black Mask.

      • I loved Under the Red Hood, along with the Dark Knight Returns. Superman vs. the Elite was OK, but I HATED All Star Superman (like the comic, not the movie) and Crisis on two earths. Green Lantern Emerald knights was kind of bland too.

  10. @ Kofi

    You guys are usually on point when it comes to ANYTHING NEW MOS related… but there has been a new TV spot with new footage for a few days now and not one word from you guys… what gives?


  11. Wow, shocked the bad character designs brought it down to a 3.5. But, still a fair review. I haven’t seen this yet, but now I’m pretty excited. Brainiac is my favorite Superman, I can’t wait for this :)

  12. It was okay. Pushed it as far as they would dare in all honesty, but John Noble (being a ‘Fringe’ fan) was very good as Brainiac and as has been mentioned, Lois giving Brainiac the double finger was a moment so perfectly timed in its execution I actually have it as screensaver now.

    Give it a rest with Supergirl though. She just annoys the life out of everyone, both on the screen and in theory.

    • No, Supergirl doesn’t annoy “everyone;” I for one am a fan and always will be, and there are plenty of other fans, also! :)

  13. After a rough comic book weekend (being disappointed by IM3 beyond belief) – I look forward to this come Tuesday. The last solo Superman animated movie (Superman vs. The Elite) was superb & looking forward to what this one has to offer.

  14. watched a bit of this and couldn’t stand the overly colourful and childish looking animation. i don’t think i’ll watch another animated movie as epic as TDKR part 1, that is hands down the best 2d animated movie i have seen.

  15. Saw it last night. Not a bad film but not one of DC’s best. I would give it 3/5.

  16. Notice how the disc cover art is entirely different than the animation style.
    An admission of sorts that the art design is problematic diminishing its appeal.

  17. Damn, all these people are hating this movie. Is it even worth Torrenting?

  18. It was ok. Really nothing special. It tries to evoke a lot of emotion and depth but mostly fails. The animation style also has some oddities and the faces should have looked more natural, but that’s minor to me.

  19. Hmmm. I haven’t seen this – I just don’t find most animated Superman stuff very compelling, so not sure that I will. I do like these DC films, but usually gravitate to Batman, WW, GL.

  20. This Superman: Brainiac Crossover needs to become The Man of Steel sequel

  21. Was wondering “why” they Made Brainiac look kinda just like , Jon The Martian Manhunter?