‘Superman Unbound’ Trailer Pits Superman Against Brainiac

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2013 at 3:01 pm,

While DC Comics has had notoriously bad luck in getting its superhero properties to the big screen (for instance, the planned Justice League film may be on the rocks), the company has done much better with animated adaptations. Recently, DC has released a good number of straight-to-DVD feature-length movies adapted from comic book storylines – including Superman vs. the Elite, Justice League: Doom, and The Dark Knight Returns (in two parts).

The next story to receive this treatment is Superman Unbound, due out later this year. A recently released trailer reveals that the movie will adapt the Geoff Johns-penned “Brainiac” arc originally published in Action Comics.

Superman Unbound‘s preview showcases what could be an ambitious, epic animated adventure. When Superman discovers an immensely powerful alien drone, he learns from his cousin Kara Zor-El that it’s only the first scout in an invasion by the culture-collecting, world-destroying cyborg known as Brainiac. The film will follow the Super family’s struggle to save Metropolis and the miniaturized bottle city of Kandor from Braniac.

As with other DC Comics animated movies, the assembled voice cast is fairly impressive, though admittedly not quite as name-heavy as previous adaptations. Clark Kent/Kal-El will be voiced by Matt Bomer (White Collar), who is ironically one of Screen Rant’s picks to next fill the cowl of Batman (he even auditioned for the role of Superman when Brett Ratner was attached to direct Superman: Flyby). On the opposite end of the spectrum, Brainiac will speak with the voice of Fringe and Lord of the Rings veteran John Noble. The cast is rounded out by Stana Katic (Quantum of Solace) as Lois Lane and Molly C. Quinn (Castle) as Kara Zor-El/Supergirl.

Superman Unbound Brainiac Superman Unbound Trailer Pits Superman Against Brainiac

Brainiac is one of Superman’s oldest and most famous enemies. Fans have clamored for the synthetic conqueror to be the next villain in a live-action film for almost thirty years, but have yet to see those dreams come to fruition. Since the closest we ever came to a feature-film Brainiac was Tim Burton’s Superman Lives, audiences have had to settle with animated and Smallville interpretations of the alien mastermind. Will the version depicted in Superman Unbound measure up?

The most recent DC Comics animated films have been serviceable, but not particularly extraordinary. Despite the supposedly epic scope of the movie, Superman Unbound‘s trailer displays the same kind of flat, workmanlike animation of Superman vs. the Elite and Justice League: Doom – a style that tended to make even the biggest and most provocative scenes feel static. Hopefully, Superman Unbound will take full advantage of its promising voice cast and solid source material to create a movie that transcends its (apparent) technical limitations.


Superman Unbound will soar onto DVD and Blu-ray on May 7th, 2013.

Follow Kyle Hembree on Twitter @ProjectNightHam
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. I am really looking forward to this. Brainiac is one of my favorate Superman villians! I hope Brainiac is the Man of Stell sequel. I will definitely be getting this!

    • Definite possibility. There is supposedly a lot of Krypton in MOS, they could easily throw in some reference to the Braniac/Kandor invasion.

    • Id want supes to fight the parasite in the films
      or metallo, but metallo should come later as probably should brainiac.
      Dont wanna go too big too soon.

  2. Excuse me that is supposed to be the Man of Steel sequel..LOL

    • That’s what I like to see in the Man of Steel (Part 2) Superman and his cousin Supergirl as herself Kara of Argo City taken down Brainiac.

  3. I liked JL: Doom, but I agree that Superman vs the Elite was terrible

  4. I thought the last few movies were very well done….I dont care how great or sub par the graphics are i dont want my animated movies to be super realistic….defeats the purpose of animation in my opinion. its fantasy with all its glory. The stories and execution of the last movies was well done. Hope this movie follows suit and with the incredible voice actors on this one….it should be great.

  5. Anyone else wish DCAnimation stories were better off replacing the movie stories, I enjoyed Green Lantern, Superman Returns etc. but the animations released alongside them were crazy i.e.First Flight and Superman Doomsday, same goes for Man of Steel>Superman Unbound.Let’s see how these two play out.

  6. Would it kill the DC animation department to use consistent looking characters in these movies? Superman Vs the Elite was rough looking… but this superman looks horrible.


    I’ll still watch it though.

  7. Actually, the closest we’ve had to a live action Brainiac was when he appeared on Smallville. May not have been a full length film but you know, it was still live. Also I thought he was well acted too.

    • Many thanks to you and the other commenters who pointed this out. The article has been altered accordingly.

  8. Despite the animation styles being inconsistent and flat, the movies themselves were great. Superman vs The Elite was sick. JL Doom had awesome animation that is consistent with the Young Justice animation. All-Star Superman had some ups and downs since they decided to cut half of the story out, but it was entertaining at the least. The only other movie where the animation was terrible was Superman/Batman Public Enemies. Other than that, I think the animation has been amazing.
    This movie’s animation isn’t anything to brag about, but what I am worried about is whether or not they can bring such an awesome story and present it in an attention capturing way.

  9. James Marsters played an amazing live-action version of Brainiac on Smallville.

  10. To the writer of this article, although it was in tv and not film, there has been a live action version of Brainiac. James Marsters played Brainiac on Smallville.

  11. The animation itself has ALWAYS been amazing in the DC animated movies, it’s the character designs themselves that have had ups and downs. I didn’t care for how Superman looked in Superman: Doomsday, All Star Superman, and Superman vs. The Elite. I think he looks OK here though, I don’t think he looks terrible at all.

    The majority of the animated films have been great, but none of the Superman films (with the exeption of Dark Knight Returns Part 2, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Justice League: The New Frontier, and Justice League: Doom) have really moved me. Superman: Doomsday was OK. Superman/Batman: Apokalypse was OK. JL: Crisis on Two Earth wasn’t good at all. Superman vs. The Elite was OK.

    And sorry guys, but I thought All-Star Superman flat out sucked. The only thing “good” about it (in my opinion) was the plot, which doesn’t even count because all of that came from the comic. The character designs wern’t very good, the voice acting was the worst of all the DC animated films, the pacing was bad, and the directing was bad. Even the dialogue sucked. The comic went back and forth from having good and bad dialogue, but the movie seemed to ONLY use the bad dialogue. Definately the worst adaptation of a comic I have ever seen. Sure, it’s more faithful to the comic than Superman: Doomsday, but overall, that one still ended up a better film.

    As for this one, it could go either way. Brainiac is my favorite Superman villain, and I like the comic this is based off of. The trailer is good, but who knows. I loved the trailer and couldn’t wait for All-Star Superman, and ended up hating it :/

  12. All I got out of this was a mix of Superman, Terminator, and Independence Day lol.

    The design greatly reminds me of the same styling used in the animated movie “The Road to El Dorado”

    • Braibiac reminded me of the Borg from Star Trek

  13. Cannot wait for this…geoff johns is my fav writer but will admit I did not enjoy his superman run but this story was prettty cool even though I believe I did not read all of it. A great superman story that would be awesome for them to do would the legionare story he did where supes had to use a flight ring for the baddies had turn the sun red. And on that note one other story would be cool would be jla/jsa lightning saga a crossover that brought wally and his fam back also the legioners were in it also.

  14. I like the idea of John Noble as the voice as Brainiac.
    His voice conveys the appropriate tone of menace!

  15. People are really complaining about animation? All i care about is a good story!!!

    • Then go read a book. Sorry, but a movie is more than just a story in itself. You have to bring it to life effectively or else it doesn’t completely satisfy someone. The story is very important, but it isnt the only thing about a movie.

      There may be a film where Sherlock Holmes has purple hair with a Hitler moustache and even if it had some of the best writing on the planet, there would be people who would despise it because of the look.

      • I’d watch that!

      • Thanks a lot for that mental image :(
        Hopefully RDJ doesn’t read your post #SherlockInDrag

    • Soooo, if they had an awesome story, you wouldn’t care if they used stick figures?

      Call me a snob and overly picky but I would like to have BOTH a great story and animation (which this is not)

  16. Brainiac looks bad@55! I’m in!

  17. Pre ordered on Amazon yesterday! So stoked!

  18. I think that the animation is based upon the source material. Hence why it keeps changing. I deal with it just fine, sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. But there’s nothing I can do about it cause I’m not an animator. So I just sit back and enjoy it for what it is

  19. ooh looking forward to this! DC animation is pretty amazing for the most part

  20. Sorry they appear to have dropped the ball on this one. I dont like the animation/style at all.

    One of the few I will not be buying.

  21. I hate Superman’s skinny looking face, but other than that, this movie looks pretty cool.

    They have a great story to work from, that’s for sure.

    • I was thinking the samething Avenger! His skinny face and he looks pale. But the movie appears to be a good one….

      • I’ve had my fill of squared jaw Supes.

  22. Both the animation style and the characterizations (at least, what little of such was shown) worked for me in the trailer. I think DC is continuing its successful streak of animated films, and I’m looking forward to picking this up.

  23. I think David S.Goyer & Christopher Nolan shall go over the Superman: Brainiac crossover that’s what I like to see Superman saving the human race of Kandor from the clutches of Brainiac. It makes alot sense to get the origins on Superman/Supergirl off the ground to fit in the MAN OF STEEL sequels. And Supergirl shall become a remake-spin off just like Helen Slater.

    Laura Vandervoort shall go over with Kara Zor-El character from SMALLVILLE. I remember she was called Kara of Kandor City instead of Argo City.

  24. Looking forward to it! Can’t wait!

  25. everyone else gets superman lives vibe from this?

    • Nope.

      • brainiac is a head with tentacles and superman does kind of look like Nicholas Cage, plus they they have ape monster…

        • Brainiac has appeared this way multiple times in the comics (even more bizarre in some cases), and Superman looks NOTHING like Nic Cage.

          For my part, I’m quite happy to see the different animation styles in the various animated films…I enjoy the variety and the newness afforded by the depictions based on the original artists’ interpretations. Furthermore, “Superman: Doomsday” has been the least interesting to me, stylistically, but I STILL enjoyed it as an experimental experience. THIS style looks much better, so I’m fine with it…and it looks like the story will be great.

  26. I would love to see Brainiac as one of the main villains in one of The Justice League movies what better villain on earth to bring together the team? One day…

    • I like to see Brainiac appearing in the JLA (Live Action) and MOS (Part 2) and I have think who will be a great idea playing Brainiac ? I think it will be Ben Kingsley

  27. This Superman design kind of reminds me of the design they had for him in the cartoon series “The Batman.”

  28. This Superman looks TERRIBLE. The movie seems cool though, but the… drawing of superman meh.