Review: Superman: Brainiac Attacks (2006) My Reviews 20 JUL 2012

Embittered by Superman’s heroic successes and soaring popularity, Lex Luthor forms a dangerous alliance with the powerful computer/villain Brainiac. Using advanced weaponry and a special strain of Kryptonite harvested from the far reaches of outer space, Luthor specifically redesigns Brainiac to defeat the Man of Steel. But when Brainiac betrays Luthor and reveals its sinister plans for world domination, Superman must brave the mysterious Phantom Zone to find the strength to survive this deadly showdown – and save the life of his beloved Lois Lane!

Superman: Brainiac Attacks is a 2006 direct-to-video animated film directed by Curt Geda for Warner Bros. Animation, based on a script by Duane Capizzi and Christopher Simmons.

In terms of story, Superman: Brainiac Attacks delivers knockout action from start to finish, mixing a touch of humor here and there and tempered by plenty of drama, just as was done in the original Superman: The Animated Series run. On top of the whole Brainiac and Lex Luthor plot, the film also weaves in a subtle inner turmoil as Clark Kent continues to pine for Lois and toys with the idea of letting her in on his secret identity. However, whilst the build-up to the big finale is pretty well handled, I must say that the film kind of loses it two thirds of the way in, where it rushes the whole Phantom Zone scenario, provides a rather silly golden liquid solution to the problem at hand, before end off with a rather cheesy “kiss saves her life” routine, which feels rather out of place amongst all the action going on in the background.

Nevertheless, the film isn’t all bad and the heavy hitting action it delivers is pretty top notch (even if the design of the Brainiac robot isn’t exactly the most menacing around) – in other words, certainly doing enough to satisfy most fans of the Man of Steel.

Animation is done in the same visual style as what was used in the original Superman: The Animated Series television franchise, which does mean fairly simple lines, but also means immediate familiarity for anyone who grew up watching the revival of the Man of Steel on the Silver Screen. That said, there are moments where the animation is spotty, particularly in terms of proportions and face layouts, but for the most part the animation is solid, complemented by some great choreography, especially during the many explosive fight scenes.

The soundtrack by Thomas Chase Jones is top-notch, and the voice cast sees the welcome return of many of the voices who did Superman: The Animated Series, including Tim Daly who had been absent from the character during the Justice League animation run. However, the choice of franchise newcomer Powers Boothe is a bit of a mistake, as the character of Lex Luthor is completely off, coming across as more of a Joker from the Batman universe than anything else, detracting from what is normally quite a menacing figure in the Superman universe.

Overall, Superman: Brainiac Attacks is a competent animated superhero movie, though it did feel a little more cheesy than normal. Nevertheless, it does pack in quite a lot of walloping Superman action, so fans of the Man of Steel will probably enjoy catching this one.

I personally can’t really see myself bothering to watch it again though, truth be told.

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.