I have to admit, I think I may have been a little bias before I even pushed play on this one, simply because Linda Danvers is my all time favorite Supergirl. I remember being highly disappointed with the Superman/Batman series when I read the end of the Public Enemies storyline because at the time I had been anxiously awaiting Lee of Fallen Angel to be revealed as the Linda Danvers Supergirl. Then to see a modern age Kara Zor-El surface, I knew my dreams were shot. Oh well, in the words of Linda’s creator PAD, but I digress…
You have to love DC Animated PG-13. I look forward to these films and it was nice only having to wait a couple months from the release of Under the Red Hood for this one.
Apocalypse picks up, pretty much directly after Public Enemies, with a news report confirming Luthor is imprisoned and more meteors have been falling to earth. Why they didn’t just end the first movie with “you know who” coming out of the asteroid is beyond me… it would have built up the anticipation so much more for this release though. Guess we have to assume a sequel wasn’t planned…
The action starts with Scuba Batman scuba-ing down to investigate said meteorite and a blonde haired “Little Mermaid after she was first turned into a human”-esque girl hijacks the Bat-boat and crashes it into Gotham Bay. She goes on to walk the streets of Gotham in her birthday suit and kick the crap out of a couple perverts for thinking she was a street walker. After the crap kicking the cops track her down and- CHASE SCENE!
Some nice moments with her not being able to control these new powers granted from earths sun…. at night... while the sun is down…
Superman saves the day and Batman literally takes this girl back to his cave and ties her up. Bats “runs some tests,” which don’t seem to show much of anything, and the girl escapes. Completely unappreciative of Batman’s hospitality, she smashes and destroys his stuff (partially to get free and partially in anger), but is ultimately stopped by Superman who apparently explains to her in Kryptonese who he is, to which she replies something else we the viewer couldn’t understand but know means - she is Kara Zor-El, Superman’s cousin.
Batman doesn’t trust her, doesn’t like her and most importantly, doesn’t trust her. Did I mention that he doesn’t trust her?
Apparently Kara’s father, Jor-El’s (Superman’s father’s) cousin, also built a space ship to escape the imminent destruction of Krypton, but only Kara was on board as the planet collapsed and she witnessed her family collapsing along with it.
One major compliment I have of this movie- Ed Asner as Granny Goodness. Brilliant casting! Plus, a Darkseid story is always a treat for DC fans.
More character cameos as Harbinger wakes from a nightmare of what appears to be Kara dead in Superman’s arms (no, not in the Crisis On Infinite Earths pose).
For some reason throughout this movie whenever Summer Glau (Kara Zor-el’s voice actor of SARAH CONNER CHRONICLES fame) says “Kal-El” it sounds like “Cow-El.” I mean, like every time. The entire movie I kept hearing her say “cow, cow, cow.” It got to be kind of humorous actually.
After a cute little comedic shopping scene with Kara and Cow, we get one of the best lines from the film, Kara calling Batman “grumpy ass.” Simply classic. The laughs don’t last and action ensues when the super cousins are ambushed. In the scuffle Kara accidentally trashes the Superman statue that the people of Metropolis bow down and worship on a daily basis. The attackers are revealed to be a group of Amazons, lead by Wonder Woman, and none other than old Grumpy Ass himself. Wondy says that the Amazons are going to take Kara back with them because she is dangerous. I mean, look she destroyed the Superman statue! She could have killed somebody. If I was Supes I would have brought up that, uh… this only happened because YOU ATTACKED US! She was ambushed and defending herself!
Cut to Kara on Themescryia, where she has apparently been for two months, but it has been only two minutes in TV time. Supes and Wondy argue some more and Batman butts in (of course), but the whole time I am just wondering – why are the men allowed to walk in Themescryia? I thought that was against the rules? Then I start to realize how funny looking Superman’s face is animated throughout this entire film. He looks like a female mannequin or something.
Apparently Harbinger told everyone but Kara about her death dream. Oh well, it is only someone else’s life that they are playing with, not their own…
Suddenly a boom tube goes off and out hops not one, but hundreds of Doomsday’s! This is classic Jeph Loeb- BATTLE SCENE! And Supes be literally killing them; blasting the beasts into dust with his heat vision while Wonder Woman slices them up into pieces. Batman, of course, has no reservations about killing monsters, but even the fact that they are clones is little consolation for Cow-El who cherishes all life no matter how bent, deranged and monstrous.
After the battle we find that Kara has been kidnapped by Darkseid and Harbinger sacrificed herself showing that she was in fact the deceased blonde girl and not the Krptonian blonde.
Time for a little field trip to Apokalips, but first a pit stop in…the suburbs?
Darkseid does what does and tries to work over Kara to his side by giving her one of his patented anti-motivational (is that a pun?) speeches. He excels at that.
The only thing better than a story involving the evil gods of Apokalips, though, is a story involving the gods of New Genesis. We get a little homage to the Giffen/Dematteis days as the suburbanites stare and glare at Superman and Wonder Woman roll up in Big Barda’s house. And Big Barda is in a towel, no less. Does it really get any better than Big Barda in a towel cracking an invisible jet joke to Wonder Woman?
Barda recounts her origin as a Female Fury under Darkseid and Granny Goodness as Supes and WW argue that they need to borrow her motherbox to make the journey to Apokalips. Meanwhile, Batman appears out of nowhere (natch), but says nothing during the entire conversation (double natch). Barda agrees to let them use her boom-tube to get there, under one condition, she is coming with them. After a Batman one-liner and quick shot of Mister Miracle’s costume in the closest the gang is off…
Off to Apokalips. The land of fire and brimstone and lava and smoke and soot and ash and flames and BOOM tubes - in (or is it out) comes Barda and company with another one-liner, “there’s no place like home.” The reunion is in full force as Parademons in big cat tanks attack. It’s on like Mighty Joe Young! Lots of action and fire and brimstone and lava and smoke and soot and ash and flames and… you get the point.
After the battle we are treated to a few more one-liners and Batman straps on this tough Orion looking suit and flies off. The group splits up, but for some reason Wonder Woman and Barda stay together. Not sure what’s up with that, except to place them into some sticky situations- like going toe to toe with the current Female Furies.
Meanwhile Bats and Supes have their own individual battles. It appears that Batman gets eaten by a giant dog, but Supes takes out the trash, busts into Darkseid’s lair and demands his cousin back.
The girls battle starts to settle down and we have a pretty cool stand-off between Wonder Woman and Granny Goodness who has a knife to Big Barda’s throat.
Back at the Superman/Darkseid stand-off Kara reveals that she likes to dress like a lady of the night and has apparently fully embraced this female fury identity on Apokalips. She kicks the crap out of cuz (I’m sure he is holding back) and- cut scene- Batman isn’t dead or captured! He lets off a smoke bomb in robo-dogs mouth and he is good to go. Not only is he free, but he has discovered a room of hell spores (which control the fire pits of Apokalips).
Wondy and Barda kick some major booty as they break free from Granny and her ladies. Things get deep as Barda contemplates killing Granny and ending the torture that she inflicts on so many, but opts to just walk away instead.
Kara is still kicking the crap outta Superman, but she finally ticks him off after throwing him into a fire pit. He doesn’t just beat her down though. He also lectures her with one of his patented motivational speeches.
During the fight Batman comes rolling in with some highly advanced armor (or at least I assume it is more than just normal armor) and tells Darkseid if he don’t cut the crap all those hell spores he rolled up on earlier are going to be detonated and he can kiss his twisted little planet goodbye. Darkseid is a bad man. He chokes Bruce out, throws him through walls and is just a big bad dude, but Batman insists in a grumbling tone “free Kara Zor-El.” Don’t forget that Batman is voiced by Kevin Conroy in this film, so this IS Batman. Darkseid then gives a speech, and actually compliments Bats, and lets the girl go! I actually like that in the end the way to free her wasn’t from fighting, but from talking. Superman and Batman then go on to talk some nonsense to Darkseid and he is not impressed.
Kara wakes up on earth to see Superman with a scar on his face from the battle and Supes (as voiced by the mighty Tim Daly) gives a heck of a line describing Darkseid and essentially pure evil in general stating “[Darkseid has] hypnotists, scientists and sadists who’s only function is to break people spirits…”
Cow-El then takes Kara to a place where she can “be herself.” We’re thrown a red herring in thinking it is Themyscira, but it is actually the Kent farm in Smallville. Happy ending here come, wait, no it’s DARKSEID! He was hiding in the Kent house this whole time! He messes Supes up with some sonic boom lookin’ punches and even a blast of the omega beams. Kara then steps up and really takes Darkseid to town.
Lots of cool action in the Kara/Darkseid battle which can really only be down in animation form. I am staunch believer that animated comic book adaptations will always be superior to live-action. There is just so much more that can be done, and quite frankly in live action the heroes just don’t seem “super” enough. Not as “super” as they seem in animation anyway.
But, of course, Superman saves the day. Has there ever been a story that Superman has been in where he didn’t save the day? In the end, Kara boom-tubes Darkseid’s butt into deep space and we see a quick glimpse of him floating around out there. Good thing he can hold his breath a very long time.
The movie ends with another Superman speech that seqways into the unveiling of Kara Zor-El as the new Super-Girl. She’s no Linda Danvers, but really, who is? We got some cool Batman moments in this and hey, Big Barda was a main character! So it wasn’t a total bust. It’s as well written as the comic book story it was adapted from, in my opinion, but the art really wasn’t up to par with the comic series. This time around I actually preferred the animated short, Green Arrow. Another sweet female heroine cameo in that one, as well, but I’ll try not to spoil it for you….okay, okay, it was Black Canary! It’s Green Arrow, duh!
In : Movie / TV Reviews
Tags: superman batman dce dcau "dc animated"
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