Sunday, January 16, 2011

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies - Review

Lex Luthor is the President - Oh Snap!

Continuing my tour of DC Universe Animated Features, I watched "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" this morning while exercising. The movie is based on a graphic novel in which Lex Luthor assumes the Presidency of the United States, and soon has every hero under his command by will of the country. Superman and Batman aren't convinced that he's turned over a new leaf, and the oncoming threat of a meteor the size of small country, as well as being made entirely of concentrated kryptonite, reveals some of his true motives.

I've never been the biggest fan of Superman, but I do like certain representations of him. Bruce Timm has always shown Superman in a light that I can get behind. Instead of being this all powerful god that many of the books and movies tend to do, Timm has always represented Superman as a character who could be beaten to death by any other super villain strong enough to do it. Not only that, his Superman makes tons of mistakes, taking the initiative without thinking or sticking to close to his school-boy heroics. This is where pairing him with Batman sets off a storyline like a wildfire. The two completely different methods of vigilantism clash and work together so well, it's a wonder why they don't do more stories of just the two of them.

The overall execution of the movie is pretty much a slug fest. Batman and Superman take on hordes of villains and heroes who are fighting for a one billion dollar bounty on Superman's head, framed for a murder he didn't commit. Most of the villains and heroes are from DC's popular and obscure rogues gallery, so villains like Mr. Freeze are instantly recognizable, while villains like Killer Frost are for dedicated fans.

The art and style of the story isn't my favorite. I'm not too keen on the character designs of this installment. The muscles are a little over the top, and Powergirl's cleavage looks like it could crush Superman in a single hug. But the voice acting has Tim Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) and Tim Daly (Superman: The Animated Series), reprising their roles as the Dark Knight and Man of Steel, which give it a really nostalgic feel. The movie also nails the thought-processes and motivations of Lex Luthor 100%.

This movie is a fun one to watch if you've seen many of the others, but I wouldn't say it's on par with all of the other DC Universe Animated Features that have come out in the past few years. It's good, just not awesome.

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