Super Types

October 17, 2010

Stay Tooned Sundays: Superman/Batman Apocalypse

Welcome back, stay tooners! Yeah, I don’t know about the “stay tooners” thing yet, either, just trying it out. Hope you all had some enjoyable TV going experiences since last I left you. This week I am super excited for the premier of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which debuts this Wednesday on Disney XD. Also, two weeks from today (Halloween night), The Walking Dead makes its premier over on AMC. I don’t know about you guys, but I am dieing to see this show (pun very much intended).

As some of you may know, the New York Comic Con was held last week and some exciting news was revealed on some upcoming animated projects. Among shows discussed was Cartoon Network’s Young Justice, about a team made up of some of DC’s best superhero side kicks. The series takes place in an alternate universe (Earth 16 from the multiverse) and will star Jesse McCartney as Robin, and Alan Tudyk (Dollhouse) as Green Arrow. The pilot will air in November and new episodes will begin weekly in January. Bruce Tim also gave some dirt on Green Lantern: The Animated Series. This series will also be on Cartoon Network and will come out late next year, after the live action movie is released. The stories will take place mainly in space and the show will be more of a science fiction based series than any we have seen before. Both of these new shows sound awesome and I can’t wait to see how they turn out.

Now on with the our regular programming. This week we look at the DC Universe animated original movie, Superman/Batman Apocalypse. This recently released film is based off the Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner story arc from the Superman/Batman comic book. The character designs for the film are interpreted from Turner’s designs and the plot somewhat follows that of the comic, with a few changes here or there, including a new ending.

Title: Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Written by: Jeph Loeb (original story), Tab Murphy (screenplay)
Director: Lauren Montgomery
Company: DC Entertainment; Warner Bros. Animation
Distributed by: Warner Premiere
US Release Date: September 28, 2010
Length: 78 min.
MPAA: Rated PG-13

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is the origin story that reintroduces Kara Zor-El, Superman’s cousin from Krypton, into the modern age. Kara’s spacecraft crash lands on Earth after being stuck inside of a Kryptonite meteor for several years. During that time Kara was in some kind of suspended animation. Batman is the first to discover the girl, and after a few mishaps, is finally able to capture her using a piece of Kryptonite. After examining her, Batman and Superman realize that Kara is from Krypton, and she informs them that she is Clark’s cousin. Batman immediately doesn’t trust Kara, while Clark quickly accepts her with open arms. After a short stay in the Fortress of Solitude,where she quickly learns Earth culture, Clark decides to take Kara to Metropolis and show her around the real world. Not long into their stay in Metropolis, the duo are attacked by Wonder Woman and a group of Amazon warriors. Wonder Woman wants to take Kara to Themyscira where she can be trained to control her vast  powers. With persuasion from both Batman and Wonder Woman, Clark reluctantly agrees.

Some time later, Superman and Batman visit Kara on Themyscira, and while they are there, the island is attacked by an army of Doomsdays. Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman lead an army of Amazons in battle against these Doomsday clones, but while they are fighting Kara gets kidnapped. The trio soon learn that Darkseid was behind the attack and has taken Kara in hopes of using her for his own sinister agenda. With the aid of Big Barda, the trinity of heroes storm Apocalypse in hopes of rescuing Kara, before it’s too late.

What i liked about this movie, right off the bat, was the casting of Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, and Susan Eisenberg as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, respectively. For anyone who watched Justice League (Unlimited), these three actors are forever ingrained as the voices of the big three. Summer Glau (Firefly) was also a great choice for the voice of Kara/Supergirl. In fact, there was only one misstep in the casting of this film, and that was with the role of Darkseid. Andre Braugher is a fine actor, but his voice does not work well for this character. With Darkseid playing such a large part in this movie, they really should have gotten Michael Ironside to reprise this role. His voice is deep, grainy, and has a level of grandiose that you would expect to come out of someone looking like Darkseid. Even if Ironside was not available, they could have found someone far better for this part.

There are a few plot points that were added or changed from the original story, that ended up hurting the movie. One scene in particular that was unnecessarily added was a scene in which Clark takes Kara out shopping in an attempt to help her assimilate to life as an Earth girl. This bit has way too much slapstick comedy and does not fit in well with the rest of the movie. Another unnecessary change was to the ending of the story. The original ending in the comic worked great, and this new ending is a bit of a let down. I wont spoil either ending for you, but just take note that the comic book ending  is way more dramatic and has a better pay off than the one in this movie.

My final word on Superman/Batman Apocalypse is that it’s definitely not one of the best DC Universe animated flicks, but it’s not horrible either. The movie is worth seeing for any die hard Superman or Supergirl fans, and the DVD does have a cool Green Arrow short, two Darkseid bonus cartoons, and a short Supergirl documentary. If you haven’t read the comic yet, I recommend seeing the movie first and then reading the comic, otherwise you will probably be let down.

Nick Zamora