To celebrate Superman turning 75 (!), Warner Bros. Animation has teamed up with “Man of Steel” director Zack Snyder and “Superman: The Animated Series” co-creator Bruce Timm to create a nifty piece of animation that, in the span of just two minutes, covers a whole lot of that 75 years, mixing both traditional hand-drawn and computer generated animation, and making your heart leap out of your chest in the process. Prepare to feel like a little kid again (for two minutes).
The short, of course, begins with Superman’s first appearance on the cover of Action Comics #1 (way back in June 1938), this dazzling short chronicles the character’s evolution, and not just in comic book form, although there is a lot of that. You get to see the character take on the animated guise of George Reeves, who portrayed the character for nearly a decade, as well as the character’s appearance on the Saturday morning cartoon “Super-Friends,” and Christopher Reeve‘s interpretation in Richard Donner‘s big screen “Superman” (1978), the movie that convinced people a man could fly. We see the character in videogame form, in Timm’s series, hell, there’s even a “Smallville” reference (what, no “Lois & Clark?”) Of course, never missing a beat, it goes all the way up until Snyder’s “Man of Steel,” complete with Hans Zimmer’s rousing score.
The animation is beautiful, the references spot on (how many super-villains did you count?), and the entire tone is wonderful; it’s celebratory without being pompous. This character really is a true American: Superman has a varied background (some Greek mythology here, some Biblical analogy there) but was brought to life, in the very truest sense of the word, thanks to the power of the American idea. Two Jewish kids from Cleveland (Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster) certainly believed in its power, and now, 75 years later, whole generations are still feeling it. Pretty amazing stuff.
Like we said: must watch. So watch it, below.