A communist Superman, gay Wonder Woman, killer Batman... DC's animated film adaptation of 'Elseworlds' story 'Superman: Red Son' is a delight at various levels. While keeping the soul of the superhero genre alive, this Sam Liu directorial sets free a bunc
A communist Superman, gay Wonder Woman, killer Batman... DC's animated film adaptation of 'Elseworlds' story 'Superman: Red Son' is a delight at various levels. While keeping the soul of the superhero genre alive, this Sam Liu directorial sets free a bunc

'Superman: Red Son' analysis: How DC's Elseworlds movie discusses gender, power and politics in Cold War backdrop

A communist Superman, gay Wonder Woman, killer Batman... DC's animated film adaptation of 'Elseworlds' story 'Superman: Red Son' is a delight at various levels. While keeping the soul of the superhero genre alive, this Sam Liu directorial sets free a bunch of Cold War ghosts that could impress not just hardcore comic fans but history buffs as well.
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THE POLITICAL WOMEN: Three women are central to the story of the Soviet Superman. They all are people of substance and have no intention to play the helpless fangirl avatar. Though not appearing throughout the movie, his childhood friend Svetlana becomes instrumental in his decision to serve 'the State' under Premier Stalin. Years later, when the duo meets again, it is not the kindest of circumstances but Svetlana reveals she always had faith in her friend's leadership. Once again, she changes the course of Superman's life.
THE POLITICAL WOMEN: Three women are central to the story of the Soviet Superman. They all are people of substance and have no intention to play the helpless fangirl avatar. Though not appearing throughout the movie, his childhood friend Svetlana becomes instrumental in his decision to serve 'the State' under Premier Stalin. Years later, when the duo meets again, it is not the kindest of circumstances but Svetlana reveals she always had faith in her friend's leadership. Once again, she changes the course of Superman's life.
Then there is Lois Lane - a woman of character who is untamed by the way the society of men works. She is a successful journalist (no surprises there) and married to Lex Luthor!  She elaborates why she can't afford to 'look' unfit like her privileged husband in the patriarchal society and names 'amazing sex' as a reason for not abandoning the egoistic man.
Then there is Lois Lane - a woman of character who is untamed by the way the society of men works. She is a successful journalist (no surprises there) and married to Lex Luthor! She elaborates why she can't afford to 'look' unfit like her privileged husband in the patriarchal society and names 'amazing sex' as a reason for not abandoning the egoistic man.
The story happens in the 1950s and feminism and women's rights as we know it are very far from mainstream. When Superman breaks down the evils of American capitalism, she retorts with classified reports about the Soviet Gulags - initiating the Man of Steel's conflict with Stalin.
The story happens in the 1950s and feminism and women's rights as we know it are very far from mainstream. When Superman breaks down the evils of American capitalism, she retorts with classified reports about the Soviet Gulags - initiating the Man of Steel's conflict with Stalin.
The Superman-Wonderwoman relationship never stops amusing the DC fans. The Kryptonian and Amazonian Princess could make a powerful couple but make no mistake - love is certainly not in the air her.
The Superman-Wonderwoman relationship never stops amusing the DC fans. The Kryptonian and Amazonian Princess could make a powerful couple but make no mistake - love is certainly not in the air her.
A good dance and brief talk later, Soviet Premier Superman makes the wrong move which she confidently ends. 'I come from an island of all women,' Diana says. 'Work it out for yourself.'
A good dance and brief talk later, Soviet Premier Superman makes the wrong move which she confidently ends. 'I come from an island of all women,' Diana says. 'Work it out for yourself.'
Diana is Themyscira's diplomat, who is instantly attracted by Superman's communist vision of building a utopia. She wishes to become the bridge between the US and USSR for the greater good of humanity. Her mother is pessimistic about the world of men but she finds them different and is honestly hopeful of them mending their ways.
Diana is Themyscira's diplomat, who is instantly attracted by Superman's communist vision of building a utopia. She wishes to become the bridge between the US and USSR for the greater good of humanity. Her mother is pessimistic about the world of men but she finds them different and is honestly hopeful of them mending their ways.
Diana is the epitome of women standing up for themselves. Time and again comrade Superman disappoints her with his ill-measured decisions and she isn't the type who let it become a loop. Fighting off a band of airborne Green Lanterns, Wonderwoman interrupts Superman's spirited lecture -- a classic 'stop mansplaining me' stroke -- and flies off telling that 'the doors of Themyscira will stay hidden for men's eyes for all eternity.'
Diana is the epitome of women standing up for themselves. Time and again comrade Superman disappoints her with his ill-measured decisions and she isn't the type who let it become a loop. Fighting off a band of airborne Green Lanterns, Wonderwoman interrupts Superman's spirited lecture -- a classic 'stop mansplaining me' stroke -- and flies off telling that 'the doors of Themyscira will stay hidden for men's eyes for all eternity.'
A SAVAGE BATMAN: The Batman vs Punisher debate ends here. The caped crusader here isn't the orphaned son of a Gotham billionaire. He is a counter-revolutionary in Superman's socialist Moscow who lost parents to the Gulag. Unlike the masked vigilante, a terrorist has no problem taking lives and he does so, time and again, to prove Superman's administration is worthless. The fight sequence between the two brings back memories of DC's 2016 flick 'Dawn of Justice'.
A SAVAGE BATMAN: The Batman vs Punisher debate ends here. The caped crusader here isn't the orphaned son of a Gotham billionaire. He is a counter-revolutionary in Superman's socialist Moscow who lost parents to the Gulag. Unlike the masked vigilante, a terrorist has no problem taking lives and he does so, time and again, to prove Superman's administration is worthless. The fight sequence between the two brings back memories of DC's 2016 flick 'Dawn of Justice'.
SUPERMAN TOO, KILLS: 'A God among men' theme is redefined in the movie as the Soviet Premier is okay with taking lives as long as it is justified. We see Superman ripping through South Korean fighter jets and justifying before media how he ended the war fast, limiting the casualties to a few thousand while it could have been millions. This is the same hero who we are used to seeing being merciful to villainy including his archrivals despite countless attempts of gruesome violence. A welcome change, says many.
SUPERMAN TOO, KILLS: 'A God among men' theme is redefined in the movie as the Soviet Premier is okay with taking lives as long as it is justified. We see Superman ripping through South Korean fighter jets and justifying before media how he ended the war fast, limiting the casualties to a few thousand while it could have been millions. This is the same hero who we are used to seeing being merciful to villainy including his archrivals despite countless attempts of gruesome violence. A welcome change, says many.
NOT VERY AMERICAN SUPERMAN: ‘Truth and justice the American way’ is a joke for Superman in the film. He questions the shortfalls of the US economy and criticises over its helplessness to help the starving millions.
NOT VERY AMERICAN SUPERMAN: ‘Truth and justice the American way’ is a joke for Superman in the film. He questions the shortfalls of the US economy and criticises over its helplessness to help the starving millions.
The movie deserves appreciation for calling a spade a spade, as it is not a narrative of the 'US good vs Soviet evil' extreme. While siding with a Soviet hero, Sam Liu dares to tell the Americans that we weren't perfect during the Cold War years.
The movie deserves appreciation for calling a spade a spade, as it is not a narrative of the 'US good vs Soviet evil' extreme. While siding with a Soviet hero, Sam Liu dares to tell the Americans that we weren't perfect during the Cold War years.
THE GOOD-GUY LEX LUTHOR: Lex Luthor is more or less a Tony Stark here. He enjoys himself while spilling money on super suits and robots while building a universe around him. While he isn't the best example for humanity around, Lex is not pure evil as in the mainstream storylines and gets to sit in the White House before teaming up with Superman for battle. A perennial wrongdoer is restructured to join hands with the hero and it works.
THE GOOD-GUY LEX LUTHOR: Lex Luthor is more or less a Tony Stark here. He enjoys himself while spilling money on super suits and robots while building a universe around him. While he isn't the best example for humanity around, Lex is not pure evil as in the mainstream storylines and gets to sit in the White House before teaming up with Superman for battle. A perennial wrongdoer is restructured to join hands with the hero and it works.
WHAT ARE 'ELSEWORLDS' STORIES?: While Marvel got ‘What If?’,  DC has the ‘Elseworlds’. These stories happen outside the company's canon. 'Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles', 'Batman & Dracula', 'The Golden Age' etc are some of the most popular Elseworld stories.
WHAT ARE 'ELSEWORLDS' STORIES?: While Marvel got ‘What If?’, DC has the ‘Elseworlds’. These stories happen outside the company's canon. 'Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles', 'Batman & Dracula', 'The Golden Age' etc are some of the most popular Elseworld stories.

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