Starring Jason Isaacs in the title role, Superman: Red Son is the latest entry in the DC animated canon. Taking place in a universe where baby Kal-El landed in the Soviet Union instead of the United States, the world has become a very different place. Raised with the ideals of communism ingrained within him, Superman ends up taking more and more power across the world in an attempt to safeguard his adopted home.
This in turn ends up pitting the Soviet hero up against other major figures across the world, including a Russian anarchist insurgency led by the violent Batman and the machinations of the American scientist Lex Luthor – who in this reality is lauded as a hero for his commitment to bring down Superman.
It’s a remarkably dark DC movie, with more violence than one usually expects from the character. The Russian version of Superman is harsher than most typical versions of the character, although there is still an everlasting ideal of hope for the future that motivates him. It’s still recognizably Superman, just a wholly unique incarnation of the character. Superman’s moral dilemmas are only amplified by Jason Isaacs’ performance, which stands out as a man trying to be good but not quite understanding how best to achieve his good intentions.
The Illuminerdi got the chance to speak with Superman: Red Son star Jason Isaacs and discuss what appeals to him about this version of the Man of Steel, and if he thinks there could ever be another Elseworlds film that could reach the same level of intrigue and uniqueness as Superman: Red Son.
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JASON ISAACS ON SUPERMAN: RED SON
What about this version of Superman do you admire as a character?
Jason Isaacs: I admire everything about him. He’s incredibly committed, he’s incredibly honest. He’s devoted to making the world a better place. He’s the same as every Superman you’ve seen before, it’s just that he landed in Russia and has a different set of political and social ideals and he views the world through a different lens.
He’s confronted throughout the film with a lot of [dyanmics] and he’s challenged in a lot of ways that he hasn’t been challenged before. His political consciousness is challenged in a way that no other Superman has been challenged.
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Are there any other bizarre locations/settings that you’d like to see the DC Universe tackle next? I don’t know.
Jason Isaacs: I have a feeling you won’t get better than this. It’s done so brilliantly. I don’t want to just sound like I’m banging the drum for something that I’m in, but I was stunned when I watched [the movie]. Not just because it’s a very clever concept but it’s carried through in so many ways, not just with Superman but with Lex and Lois and other people are constantly in dilemmas that aren’t simple.
They’re complicated, and they mirror the complicated kind of questions we have to face in our own lives. ‘What’s the right thing to do’, which sometimes what’s the right to do isn’t always clear, and it’s certainly not clear in this film. I don’t think you could do it as well with any other superhero. Let’s face it, Superman is the ultimate superhero, nothing can bring him down but his conscious.
Directed by DC Animation veteran Sam Liu, Superman: Red Son stars Jason Isaacs, Amy Acker, Diedrich Bader, Phil Morris, Phil LaMarr, Vanessa Marshall, Sasha Roiz, Roger Craig Smith, and Paul Williams. The film is now available digitally and will be released on home video March 17th.