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Sam Liu
Jason Isaacs, Diedrich Bader, Amy Acker
Writing Credits:
JM DeMatteis

What if baby Kal-El's rocket landed, not in Kansas, but in the Soviet Union?

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
German Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 84 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 3/17/2020

• “Phantom Stranger” Animated Short
• “Cold Red War” Featurette
• Motion Comics
• Sneak Peek at Justice League Dark: Apokolips War
• “Preview of The Death of Superman
• “Preview of Gotham By Gaslight
• Two Animated Episodes
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Superman: Red Son [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 12, 2020)

Icons don’t get much more all-American than Superman. But what if the Man of Steel didn’t wind up in the good old US of A?

2020’s Superman: Red Son explores that concept. Krypton’s final survivor crash-lands in the Soviet Union, and there he grows to support the state’s ideology.

In 1955, adult Supeman (voiced by Jason Isaacs) creates fear in the US. As a response, the government taps genius American scientist Lex Luthor (Diedrich Bader) to find a way to combat this apparent threat.

Make no mistake: Son comes with a fun premise. Does the end result live up to the cleverness of the conceit?

Meh. Parts of Son maintain the expected intrigue, but the story tends to be a little “soft” and hurried.

By “soft”, I mean Soviet Superman doesn’t come across as the Communist True Believer one might expect. It seems to me that half the fun of Son would show a warped vision of the character, one who buys into the Soviet line as much as “real Superman” supports truth, justice and the American way.

I suppose Son wants to illustrate that good always prevails. Despite a life of Soviet brainwashing, the Superman of Son still believes in a form of objective right/wrong, so he doesn’t come across as the opposite we might expect.

While I feel like I should embrace that notion, instead it feels toothless. The movie’s summary sets it up as an “Opposite Day” project, one where Superman acts as a villain and Luthor the hero, but the tale doesn’t play out that way.

Not that Son lacks shades of gray, as it doesn’t make Soviet Supes a total paragon of good. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with the breathing room it needs to explore its themes well.

Based on a graphic novel, Son tries to pack an awful lot into its 84 minutes. The story spans about three decades and includes a slew of DC notables.

I won’t mention them so I can avoid spoilers, but Son just bites off way more than it can chew via such a brief running time. With such a rushed, hurried tale, the various guests we meet feel gimmicky, as the movie can’t hope to explore them in a satisfying manner.

These factors make Son a disappointment. It provides enough action and surprises to keep us semi-interested across its running time, but it feels too scattered and half-baked to really work.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Superman: Red Son appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As expected, this became a satisfying image.

Sharpness excelled. The movie always came across as tight and well-defined, so don’t expect any signs of softness.

Jaggies and moiré effects also remained absent, and the image lacked edge haloes or artifacts. In addition, print flaws were a non-factor and didn’t appear at any point.

In terms of colors, Son went with a fairly bright palette that could lean teal, but it also emphasized primary colors. The tones looked solid within those parameters.

Blacks were deep and tight, while shadows showed nice clarity. Across the board, the image worked well.

I thought the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Son opened up the comic book material in an appropriate manner. The forward channels brought out the majority of the material, but the entire package added a lot to the movie. Music presented strong stereo imaging, while effects cropped up in logical spots and blended well.

The surrounds also contributed good information. For the most part, these reinforced the forward channels, but they also contributed a fair amount of unique material.

These instances mainly occurred during bigger action scenes, but they spread out in quieter scenes as well and even featured some directional dialogue. The back speakers brought out a nice sense of space and environment.

Audio quality always satisfied. Speech was warm and natural, without edginess or other issues.

Music sounded lively and full, while effects displayed good definition. Those elements seemed accurate and dynamic. All of this led to a positive presentation that deserved a “B+”.

As we shift to extras, we find DC Showcase: Phantom Stranger. This offers a 15-minute, seven-second animated short that features the title character.

Set in the early 1970s, the mysterious Stranger (Peter Serafinowicz) helps save an innocent woman from a cult. It provides moderate entertainment, though I’m always happy to hear from the talented Serafinowicz.

Via Cold Red War, we find a 16-minute, 57-second featurette that offers notes from director Sam Liu, DC Entertainment Creative Director Mike Carlin, artist Dave Johnson, Professor of History Dr. Miriam Neirick, and Professor of American History Dr. Michaela Crawford Reaves.

“Cold” looks at the history that influences Son as well as aspects of the story/characters, and related elements. It becomes a decent overview.

A Motion Comics version of Red Son fills six minutes, three seconds. As implied by the title, this takes the original graphic novel and makes it semi-animated based on the original art.

It’s fun but too short, as it offers only the introduction to the source book. This makes it essentially a tease, though a good one, as it tempts me to get the graphic novel.

A look at a May 2020 release, we find a Sneak Peek for Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. In this 10-minute, 23-second reel, we hear from Carlin, screenwriters Mairghread Scott and Ernie Altbacker, co-directors Christina Sotta and Matt Peters, executive producer James Tucker, voice director Wes Gleason, co-producer Jim Krieg, and actors Rebecca Romijn, Jerry O’Connell, Taissa Farmiga, Matt Ryan, Rainn Wilson and Tony Todd.

As usual, this “Peek” brings a summary of story and characters for War as well as cast/crew. It’s promo material and that’s about it.

For the next “Peek”, we cover The Death of Superman. In this seven-minute, five-second promo, we hear from executive producer James Tucker, co-director Jake Castorena and voice director Wes Gleason.

Like the prior program, this one gives us a general summary of the project. It acts to sell the movie, so don’t expect insights.

The final “Peek” previews Batman: Gotham By Gaslight. It goes for eight minutes, 29 seconds and features DC Entertainment Animation Creative Director Mike Carlin, writer James Krieg, and executive producer Bruce Timm.

They tell us about the source comic and aspects of the film’s story and character areas. It’s a promo piece but it’s an effective one.

Under From the DC Comics Vault, we get two episodes of the Justice League animated series: “Better World Part 1” (21:42) and “Better World Part 2” (23:20).

“World” presents another universe in which the fascistic “Justice Lords” run the Earth via intimidation – and they try to get the Justice League to do the same. It’s clever and entertaining;

Trailers provides promos for Batman: Hush and The Death and Return of Superman.

Despite a fun premise, Superman: Red Son doesn’t live up to its potential. The movie seems rushed and superficial, so it fails to explore its themes in a satisfying manner. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals as well as very good audio and a reasonable roster of bonus materials. This becomes a nice release for a somewhat disappointing film.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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