Just forget the words and sing along

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Review

Alright!  Now that the long weekend has finally arrived, I can finally sit down and watch the new DVDs I ordered online TWO WEEKS AGO, but didn't arrive until back on Monday.  So let's get going with one that I was eagerly awaiting for ever since I heard about it, the latest in the DC/Warner Brother DTV series of original animated movies....

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

Directed by Lauren Montgomery

Starring the voices of Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Summer Glau, Andre Braugher, Susan Eisenberg, Ed Asner, Julianne Grossman, and Rachel Quaintance

Backstory:  OK, so the DTV movie that came out around this time last year, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, turned out to be the biggest selling DVD in this series so far.  It was so big, that Warner Brothers actually ordered a sequel to it.  Since Public Enemies was based on the first storyline in the Superman/Batman comic, it only made sense that the sequel be based on the second storyline in the comic.  The second storyline was called Supergirl, and it made ripples in the DC Universe for finally giving us a post-Crisis Kara Zor-El.  But, because Wonder Woman was the lowest selling DVD in this series so far, they weren't going to call it Supergirl.  So, they gave it the more action-packed title of Apocalypse.  With me so far?  Cuz here we go!

Plot:  Following the events of Public Enemies, Gotham City is still being pelted with leftover meteorites.  However, one of those meteorites turns out to be a spacecraft, and inside, in suspended animation, is Kara Zor-El, cousin of Superman and the last daughter of Krypton.  Young Kara is awakened, and begins to adjust to life on Earth.  But the rest of the superhero community is trying to figure out what to do with this young lady.  Superman immediately goes into "overprotective big brother" mode and tries to gently ease her into the world.  Wonder Woman argues that Kara's place is with the Amazons, where she can learn to use her powers responsibly.  Batman just plain doesn't trust her.  Then along comes the evil New God Darkseid, who's convinced that Kara would make a perfect addition to the Female Furies -- his all-girl hit squad.  And in the middle of this all is a scared young girl who just wants to be free to choose her own destiny.  What will Kara choose? 

What I Liked:  Well, just like Public Enemies, I found a lot of the Superman and Batman banter to be priceless.  I really must pick up the original graphic novels someday.  And I was really glad to see Wonder Woman given such a prominent role.  As I've said before, I think Wonder Woman is the best of these DTV films to date, and so more Wonder Woman is always a plus in my books.  Speaking of women of the DCU, Big Barda is also featured quite prominently in the film, which was also really cool.  The action scenes, as always, are amazing.  Superman/Darkseid throwdowns have been the highlights of Bruce Timm's tenure in DC animation.  And the voice acting, as always, is amazing.  Summer Glau (still best beloved as River Tam on Firefly/Serenity) does a top-notch job as Kara.  And Krypto!  Krypto's in this!  Who doesn't love the Superdog?

What I Didn't Like:  Well, the plot does seem to be quite reminiscent of the whole "overprotective parents try to save their child from the wrong crowd" stereotype.  You know, with Superman and Wonder Woman as the parents and Darkseid as the wrong crowd.  And there really needed to be more Superman/Batman banter.  And the common complaint I'm starting to have with a lot of these...it was just too short!  Barda must have a fairly significant subplot in the original graphic novel, and here, we just get frustratingly brief glimpses of it. 

Final Verdict:  A very satisfying addition to the franchise, but still nowhere near as awesome as the best in the series, Wonder Woman.

3 Nibs

Bonus Features:  I've got me the Blu-Ray!  On the Blu-Ray, you get a featurette on the history of Supergirl, a featurette on the history of Darkseid and the New Gods, two featurettes on the most prominent New Gods heroes of Mr. Miracle and Orion, a preview of the next DTV animated film All Star Superman, 4 bonus episodes of Superman: The Animated Series, and the third and final installment of the DC Showcase short films, Green Arrow.  I'll review Green Arrow in the next blog entry.

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