Superman: Red Son Parent Guide
With a more distinctive plot than most live action superhero movies, this film takes a daring departure from the Superman canon.
Parent Movie Review
Superman has always been as American as apple pie. But what if his story started not in the American Midwest but in the USSR?
Following the Second World War (known to Russians as the Great Patriotic War), the Soviet Union is grappling with the mass destruction of infrastructure and loss of life caused by the Nazi invasion. But they’re about to discover a great advantage – a young boy has realized that he has unusual powers. Committing himself to the betterment of the Soviet Union, Superman (voiced by Jason Isaacs) builds hydroelectric dams and even stops a satellite from falling on the American city of Metropolis, a gesture of goodwill he hopes will awaken the American people to the injustice of their capitalist system. But back in the USSR, Superman finds that his own government has been perpetrating injustices against its citizens, and he realizes that politics are more complicated than Joseph Stalin (voiced by William Sayers) led him to believe.
Animated DC movies have consistently been more interesting than their live action counterparts, and this is no exception. What you lose in special effects you gain in coherent storytelling. Yes, the animation quality has a very “made for TV” feel, but you also don’t have to sit through the nearly 3-hour nightmare known as Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Better yet, Superman: Red Son actually gives its characters developmental arcs - almost everyone learns some kind of lesson by the end of the film.
This is a niche market film and clearly isn’t ideal for mass-market consumption: I’m not a huge comic book fan, and there were times where I got the impression that I was missing out on some of the deeper parts of the story due to my unfamiliarity with the source material. It’s not a deal breaker, but it can be slightly disorienting at times. If you’re a new fan of the franchise, this seems as good a place to start as any: as with all alternate-universe stories, you get an introduction to the most basic aspects of the characters, but you don’t have to worry too much about the consequences.
Superman: Red Son can be watched by tweens and teens, although there are a number of scenes that make it inappropriate for elementary aged children. The violence is by far the largest consideration, and it largely falls into the umbrella of “superhero violence”. Frankly, this production is milder than most live-action offerings, so if you’re comfortable with your youngsters watching the average Marvel movie, this shouldn’t pose a problem. The only other catch is whether the kids in question have enough historical background to understand the Cold War political elements of the plot. If they don’t see why it’s weird that JFK is still president in 1967, they’re going to miss a lot. Older viewers with a fondness for thought experiments and alternate realities will likely get a kick out of the story’s general weirdness – especially if they have a quirky sense of humor.Directed by Sam Liu. Starring Jason Isaacs, Amy Acker, and Deidrich Bader.. Running time: 84 minutes. Theatrical release June 19, 2020. Updated August 31, 2020
Watch the trailer for Superman: Red Son
Superman: Red Son
Rating & Content Info
Why is Superman: Red Son rated PG-13? Superman: Red Son is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for violent content, bloody images, suggestive material, language, thematic elements and some smoking.Violence: People are beaten, hit with rocks, melted by laser vision, thrown into the sea, and blown up. Someone commits suicide with a bomb.
Sexual Content: There are a few brief and non-descriptive references to sex.
Profanity: There is one scatological profanity and a handful of mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: People are shown smoking at a time when smoking was prevalent.
Page last updated August 31, 2020
Superman: Red Son Parents' GuideSuperman struggles with the implementation of his ideals, resorting to a number of immoral methods to ensure obedience. What could he have done differently? Do you think he would have had similar results? What were his ideals? How did history change as a result of his control of the USSR? What were some of the things that the real Josef Stalin did to ensure compliance? Wonder Woman also has difficulty with Superman’s methods. Why does she stand by him for so long? Which of their ideals were the same? Where did they differ?
Loved this movie? Try these books…The film is based on a graphic novel of the same name by Mark Millar, Dave Johnson, and Kilian Plunkett. For a graphic novel set in the Soviet era, check out Julia Alekseyeva’s Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution. For a basic introduction to the history of this period, try Daniel Turner’s books, Simple History: The Russian Revolution, Simple History: A Simple Guide to World War II and Simple History; The Cold War.
The most recent home video release of Superman: Red Son movie is March 17, 2020. Here are some details…
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Obviously, the classic Superman film is Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman, starring Christopher Reeve as the titular hero. The superhero was revamped for the 2006 mixed-bag known as Superman Returns starring Brandon Routh. The character has most recently reappeared in Man of Steel, followed by appearances in Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, none of which are worth watching unless you’re a fan of Henry Caville. Another “what if Superman were evil?” movie was the nearly unwatchable Brightburn, released in 2019.