The announcement of a new movie by Bruce Timm featuring voice casting from the ’90s cartoons, it seemingly came out of nowhere and plesantly surprised us all. I know I for one found out about it by complete accident and made a news post here out of the blue (as well as discussed other supposed animated projects). It finally came out this way and I, being the uber-nerd I am, eagerly found myself a copy and had a nice private viewing in my new home theater sound (46″ TV and digital 5.1 surround sound, baby!). And now I present to you a nice little review of said film on this easy going Friday. Don’t worry, though – there will still be a Friday Recommendation brought to you by everyone’s favorite Gil, so keep your eyes peeled for that. This is just to tide you over for a bit.
I’d like to start off by saying this is probably the best DC Animated film since the adaptation of New Frontier. Seriously – this film is GREAT. I should point out as well that I went into the movie with a bit of negative prejudice due to it being based on an arc by the bane of my comic existance, Jeph Loeb (entitled “The World’s Finest”, the first arc of the Superman/Batman comic book). Gil tells me it’s a great arc, but I have my reservations against the writer. I was plesantly surprised on all accounts by how amazing the movie was, and I would highly recommend it to any comic book or superhero fan of the DCU.
The film, as I said, is based off of “The World’s Finest” by Jeph Loeb. In the story, Lex Luthor makes a vie for the oval office and wins, becoming the new President of the USA. As he does this, he instigates a new policy in which all superheroes need to register and work for him (Civil War, anyone?). Some of the early candidates for registration are Captain Atom and Power Girl, for example. Superman isn’t really having this, though. Before long, a giant meteor made of Kryptonite is spotted headed for Earth, and Luthor uses this as an opportunity to set up a move against Superman: either Superman registers and works for him, or Luthor will make Superman into Public Enemy #1 of America. Superman obviously refuses, and Luthor sics Metallo on him. Luckily, Batman comes to the rescue at the last second and the two barely escape. Thus sets the stage for Luthor to announce a one million dollar bounty on the two as he plans to deal with the meteor in his own way. Batman and Superman end up on the run from every super hero and villain imaginable, all the while doing their best to figure out how to stop the impending meteor.
For starters, the film boasts a very impressive cast of character appearances. We’re talking everyone from Black Manta to Solomon Grundy, Gorilla Grodd to Mongol, Giganta, Captain Cold, and Bane, all making passes at Batman and Superman to collect the bounty. And that’s just the villains! Expect to see Captain Marvel, Black Lightning, Hawkman, and Starfire (and more) as well. It boasts a very impressive group of heroes and is very clearly designed for people who enjoy the DC Universe and all it’s various character. It’s very appreciated, to say the least. On top of that, the characters themselves make comments that are very specifically comic based. At one point when fighting in a graveyard, Batman makes note that they should leave so that the fight doesn’t turn into their funeral, to which Superman replies, “I’ve already had one.” Awesome.
This of course leads into the next point I want to make about the movie – although it’s animated, it very much isn’t geared towards younger kid fans in the way that (yesterday’s review) Super Hero Squad Show is. Not only is there all the aforementioned fan-service placed in the movie, but there are several moments of the movie that are clearly geared to an older crowd. Not only does Luthor at one point swear in the movie, but there is direct references to Power Girl’s oversized breasts, as well as a scene where several swears are very obviously bleeped out. In the opening to the movie as we see how Luthor became president, a talk show host that is most likely a parody of John Stewart makes commentary on Luthor’s presidential run, saying that anyone who would vote for him clearly must also “be a fan of getting ****ed in the ***.” When I saw/heard that at the beginning of the movie, not only did I laugh pretty hard, but I acknowledged that this in turn somewhat sets a precident for the rest of the film. In that one little scene I realized that this movie really is geared for the older fan crowd, and that makes me love this movie even more.Continued below
I started off by throwing it out there that I think this is flat out one of the best adaptations of all time. It’s definitely second best to New Frontier and all the above reasons are definitely a part of that. But that’s not all! Clancy Brown, Tim Daly, and Kevin Conroy all reprising their roles, as well as Bruce Timm’s involvement, help show how big of a win this movie is. The fight scenes are a-plenty, and they are very big, very involved, very well animated, and just flat out very cool. Like I said, I didn’t read the comic this was adapted from, but even if it is a Loeb comic I think I’m going to have to go and give it a good read. I’d like to see how much of it was in the book in the first place. It’s just such a great and fun film, easily one of the best animated movies I’ve seen in a while. It never lets down, either. All the new voice casting is great, the animation is crisp and smooth through out the entire film. There are some fight scenes (and I don’t want to ruin who is in them) that play out so amazingly that I have to sit back and just watch the animation carefully to say, “Wow, look at how much effort was put into that.” They stay away from over doing the CGI-animated bits and it’s all very well hand drawn (although there is a small bit with CGI). It just looks and sounds great.
I really have no complaints about it whatsoever. Seriously! I feel like this and New Frontier set a good standard for how these animated films should be done. Sure, the previous movies were all fun, and the Marvel movies are good times too, but this book gets me jazzed to read the original comic in the way that New Frontier did. I could definitely watch this movie a lot, and I can’t say that about movies like Wonder Woman or Batman: Gotham Knight, because they just don’t play out as well as this one does. This one is great from beginning to end, however, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Final Verdict: Buy it. It’s great.