OK, so I recently saw this movie. Here's what I thought.
First of all, let me be clear that I have never read the comics this was inspired by. I have read the Funeral for a Friend aftermath stuff, but never actually had the opportunity to read the actual death or the follow up stuff with the replacements and the rebirth. This, of course, has an influence on what I felt about the movie.
I kind of liked it. I also kind of didn't like it.
The story itself was pretty fun. I know there were some pretty severe changes, and some similarities. The way I see it, the first half of the story was pretty good. The fight with Doomsday was sweet. The death and funeral bits had me tearing up. I didn't really like how the Superman/Lois Lane romance was handled. It seemed a little too risque for a Superman story in my opinion. Superman sort of sounded like a pervert at times there.
After the death, the movie suffered a bit. Toyman was lame. The return of Superman was lame. The complete lack of an actual Superman until the very end was lame. They should have opted for some additional time and used the replacements from the comics. I would have loved some Steel, Superboy, Last Son of Krypton, and Cyborg Superman action. Hell, even one or two of them would have been batter than what we got.
Frankly, the Luthor clone Superman didn't work anyhow. An exact clone, with the Luthor programmed memories, that suddenly turns from a regular Superman into a "Justice lord" style Superman didn't work in the time they had. It felt sudden, and contrived. Just an excuse to have Supes fight himself, really.
I also didn't like the complete and unexpected change in Jimmy Olsen. I have a hard time imagining the death of Superman making him suddenly become a materialistic, sleazy tabloid photographer/paparazzi wannabe. More like the exact opposite, I would think.
I also had issues with the animation style and the voice actors. While the actors did a decent job, I really wasn't feeling it. I kept thinking how the character sounded wrong. I wanted the JLU versions. The animation was the same. It was just close enough to what I am used to with the DC Animated Universe that it felt familiar, while just different enough to kind of make me feel something was off. Superman looked old. Luthor looked too thin. Lois looked sleazy. Toyman looked like a pedophile. I want my regular animated universe versions back.
Now, the good side to the whole thing is that this weekend, when I get my comics, I am totally going to pick up the trades of the Death and Rebirth of Superman, as well as attempt to dig out my Funeral for a Friend issues to see what I was missing out on.
Also, the DVD extras included a brief preview of what the New Frontier movie will be like, and that totally has me psyched. It also had a documentary on the creation of the Death of Superman story from the comics. That was the best part of the whole DVD. The how and why of the story planning, the stuff I never would have noticed (the use of the number of panels on a page to show the severity and scope of the battle). I would almost buy this movie just to have that documentary.
I guess, all in all, the movie was fun and entertaining. It just wasn't quite u[p to the level of the usual DC animation stuff.