Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Advance Movie Review - Superman / Batman : Public Enemies

The much anticipated next installment of the DC Animated Universe is almost here and Clever Name Blog got an advance look at this action-packed movie. Click below for more :

Warning! If you haven’t read Jeph Loeb & Ed McGuiness’ Superman / Batman comics then there will be spoilers below.

I say again, possible spoilers if you haven’t read the comics.

Still with me? OK. Let’s start at the beginning. In the first sequence we get filled in on how Lex Luthor became President of the United States. If you were following the comics then this was no surprise to you, but the public in general may be surprised to find Luthor holding the top office. Apparently after an economic collapse, Luthor steeped in and gave everyone hope, building up popularity and….hey, this sounds like…nah. Moving on. I would have liked to have seen the first few pages of the comic as an opening where Bruce and Clark compare their very different evolutions into the world’s greatest heroes.

We get the first animated appearance of Power Girl in this movie. Allison Mack (Smallville) does a nice job of bringing that character into the mainstream with a spunky but tough attitude. It’s a shame she doesn’t have any experience being a spunky, tough blonde from anywhere else…..

The big news , of course, is the return of Clancy Brown (Lost) who is the iconic voice of Luthor, Tim Daly (Wings) as Superman and Kevin Conroy (Batman) as ummmm….Batman. These three provide the voices that we’ve grown used to over the past few years and it’s nice to see them back for this movie. Also returning is CCH Pounder (Warehouse 13 / Justice League) as the ever-scheming Amanda Waller.

Rounding out the cast we have John C. McGinley (Scrubs / Justice League) who I feel definitely needed more dialog. I have always seen Metallo as a taunting, boastful villain who would talk the whole time he’s handing you your ass. McGinley’s sarcastic tone would have been perfect for this (just substitute JD for Superman) but he has about 4 lines. Levar Burton (Star Trek / Reading Rainbow) also has few lines but is well cast as Black Lightning.

This is the best animation that I’ve seen of any DC Animated project so far, barring maybe New Frontier but I’m a bit biased towards Darwyn Cooke’s art anyway so that’s hard to top for me. They took Ed McGuiness’ uber-muscled style and toned it down a bit but still kept the edge that makes these heroes so iconic. Colors as usual are vivid and I can’t wait to see what the BluRay version looks like, but I’ll have to wait until release day for that :-)

Much of the original material’s great moments are here. The fight between Metallo, Superman and Batman (although the setup gets tweaked a bit), Bruce and Clark trading comments in the Gotham Sewer, and the fight between Superman & Batman and every DC super-villain (although it takes place in Metropolis and not Washington DC). The video takes some different routes to get places but for the most part it stays intact.

One major part that I missed was the whole “Superman from the future” part of the story. In the comic it’s a rather small part but I liked it and it does change the ending a bit from the comic.

DC is just cranking out these direct to DVD / BluRay releases and they have been, for the most part, fantastic. This definitely ranks up there with Wonder Woman and Justice League : New Frontier and is a must-buy for any fan of Superman and Batman.

1 comment:

Kal said...

I do not think it needed a Supes from the future the way they laid it out.

While not 100% original, it did not need to be. It was well made and a lot of fun. It had to be the biggest single collection of DC comics heroes and villains since Crisis on Infinite Earths!

Here is my take on it with a little humor and LOTS o' pics of you are interested.