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Monday, November 15, 2010

Movie Review -- Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam

Alright, I do so love to review the direct-to-DVD movies I purchase here on the blog, so let's get going with my latest aquisition!  Let's take a look at....

DC Showcase:  Superman/Shazam -- The Return of Black Adam

Directed by Joaquim dos Santos

Starring the voices of George Newburn, Jerry O'Connell, Arnold Vosloo, James Garner, Zach Callison, and Kevin Michael Richardson.

Backstory:  So, all this year, DC Comics and Warner Brothers have been running a little side project with their straight-to-DVD animated films:  DC Showcase, a series of animated short films that focus one some of DC's better-known B- and C-list heroes.  With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, DC has taken all of the DC Showcase shorts and compiled them on their own DVD.  And, in order to entice you to buy them again, added an all-new short, featuring the team-up of Superman and Captain Marvel.  So let's take a look at the latest DC Showcase short.

Plot:  Young Billy Batson is only 10 years old, and has already had a rough life.  His parents were killed...he's bounced from foster home to foster home...and now finds himself living on the streets.  But he's always retained his good heart.  But then, his life is turned upside down when a villain from beyond the stars, Black Adam, returns and vows to destroy young Billy.  Superman shows up to save young Billy, and this gives Billy enough time to meet the wizard Shazam and be bestowed with superpowers, becoming Captain Marvel.  Will the combined power of Earth's Mightiest Mortal and the Man of Steel be enough to defeat Black Adam?

What I Liked:  Like a lot of the other DC Showcase shorts, it quickly turns into a gigantic superhero slugfest, as Superman, Captain Marvel, and Black Adam come up with new and creative ways to pound the snot out of each other.  The animation is sharp.  The music is top notch.  And it's good to hear George Newburn back voicing Superman.  He did the voice of Superman on the Justice League cartoon, and it's good to see him back in action.  And James Garner is good, too, voicing the wizard Shazam and once again proving that he's all kinds of awesome. 

What I Didn't Like:  Again, this kind of showcases my frustration with how DC Comics is dropping the ball with their animated films.  Captain Marvel could easily carry his own film, but instead, he's given a short film where he's second banana to Superman.  Just plain too short, is what I'm saying.

Final Verdict:  A very enjoyable superhero battle.  Lots of fun, but too darn short.

3 Nibs

Bonus Materials:  This is a compilation of the DC Showcase shorts, so you get the other 3 that have been produced to date:  The Spectre, Green Arrow, and Jonah Hex.  Each of these shorts is presented as a "director's cut," with an extra 2-minutes or so of footage they had to cut out the first time.  Each short has a running commentary with its writer, and you get a selection of DC Universe cartoons focusing on the characters featured in the shorts. 

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