"Superman/Batman Apocalypse" Review
VOCAL WORK BY
Kevin Conroy, Summer Glau, Tim Daly, Andre Braugher, Susan Eisenberg, Ed Asner
Tab Murphy, Jeph Loeb (Original Story)
Warner Brothers Animation
RETURN TO "S" ARCHIVE
In Superman/Batman Apocalypse, a full-length animated feature, a mysterious spaceship from Planet Krypon crashes on Earth with a beautiful girl (Summer Glau) inside. As could be expected, everyone wants to meet the new kid. Superman (Tim Daly) immediately embraces this connection to his past, but Batman (Kevin Conroy) is a bit leery and suspects she may be a traitor. Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg) senses a kindred spirit, while Darkseid's (Andre Braugher) desire for a champion is aroused.
The girl? She has a plan all her own and it will take a life or death battle with Darkseid for her true purpose on Earth to be revealed.
A follow-up to Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Apocalypse is largely faithful to the graphic source material upon which it is based and yet is surprisingly disappointing when compared to the livelier, more fun and more deliciously written Public Enemies. This may very well be due to the introduction of Supergirl, and the relegating of the title characters of Superman and Batman to what amounts to secondary characters.
While Public Enemies was basically nonsensical, it was an immensely fun film with crisp dialogue, great action sequences and wonderful interplay between the two characters. In Apocalypse, the interplay is largely gone while the pacing feels awkwardly off and the introduction of the new central character is completed in a rather haphazard, lazy way. Instead of fun, Apocalypse feels laborious. The true leftover from Public Enemies would be the action sequences, which remain awesome to behold.
The return of the vocal ensemble of Daly, Eisenberg and Conroy is welcome with all three shining despite the tremendously dumbed down dialogue and boring storylines. Summer Glau shines in her debut. Andre Braugher, however, is a touch disappointing in taking over as Darkseid. While Braugher clearly has the vocal presence to pull this off, he feels a bit restrained her and lacks the conviction to sell the menacing nature of Darkseid.
The animation style largely works, though occasionally it feels like director Lauren Montgomery is trying a bit too hard to blend traditional animation with anime and the result feels mismatched. This is especially true during dialogue (watch the mouths).
While Superman/Batman Apocalypse may very well please fans of DC Universe, it's most likely true that even fans of Public Enemies will consider this tto be a major step down from its predecessor. Montgomery offers enough frontloading material that viewing Public Enemies first isn't really necessary, though it might make the film a more positive view overall.
Superman/Batman Apocalypse is being released on home video today, September 28th, and is available in traditional online and brick-and-mortar video outlets nationwide.
DVD EXTRAS: Catch a sneak peek at All-Star Superman; Explore 3 other DC Universe animated original movies; Available in French, English and Spanish; The film is rated PG-13, largely owing to its action sequences and an abundance of animated female flesh.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic