The Man of Steel has spanned over sixty years of continuous comic books, and when Zack Snyder challenged DC to sum up his entire history in sixty seconds, they said a minute was just too short. But two minutes was plenty. Those worried about the recent movie’s character direction have nothing to fear, because Bruce Timm was brought in to make the animation short really fly. And “Bruce Timm” is how you say “the best DC animation” in only two syllables. With the man behind the classical gothic glory of Batman: The Original Series, and exploring the all-powerful ensemble of Justice League Unlimited, the short is an uplifting adventure through the collected comic book history of the world’s most definitive hero.
Literally breaking out of the cover of Action Comics #1 (and using that long-suffering green car to do so), Superman leaps a tall building in a single bound, and every instant after that is just as classic. Brainiac, Doomsday, Giant Turtle Jimmy Olsen, soaring from the four-color phase through a cloud-bank of black and white TV, back into brighter colors than ever before.
Towards the end we’re forced to leave the lovely comic books behind, Superman’s suit gaining modern lines and some bizarre snake-style scaling, but that’s a small price to pay for such a tribute to everything that made him great. And while the short collects the most definitive moments of the Superman story, they wisely left that whole recent “killed a guy” bit on the cutting room floor.