(Not a) Review of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

Thanks to RPadholic Tokz_21, I finally got around to watching Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. Following up the excellent Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, the latest DC Comics animated movie dazzled me. As a fan of Jeph Loeb’s work on the Superman/Batman comics (not to mention a fan of hot blonde Kryptonian girls), I knew I’d enjoy this movie, but I was surprised that it exceeded my expectations. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse has it all — great story, beautiful art, and visceral action. Here are some random thoughts on the movie.

Here’s a spoiler-free summary before I really get into things. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is about a naked hot female Kryptonian girl that crash lands in Gotham Bay. After injuring some civilians and damaging public property, Batman decides that he doesn’t trust the girl. After meeting Superman, the girl claims to be his cousin — Kara Zor-El. Things get wacky from there and all kinds of different locations are visited before epic fights with epic villains ensue. Now let’s get to the spoiler-riddled part of the review!

I was absolutely floored by the movie’s art, which surprised me because I’m more into plot and dialog when it comes to comics. DC has usually done a great job with its animated movies, but Superman/Batman: Apocalypse takes it to another level. The artists and animators did a masterful job contrasting the movie’s various locations. Dark areas like Gotham and Apokolips played off light locations such as Metropolis, Paradise Island, and The Fortress of Solitude. The artists also got to draw traditional superhero costumes (Supes, Bats, Wonder Woman, etc.) and funkier Jack Kirby Fourth World characters like Big Barda, Granny Goodness, and Mad Harriet. The variety and quality of the art is outstanding.

As for the story, it’s mostly good. It’s based off of the excellent “The Supergirl From Krypton” storyline by Jeph Loeb. While it’s not as good as the fantastic¬†Batman: Under the Red Hood, I enjoyed it a great deal. Part of it is because I enjoy how DC’s “big three” — Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman — play off of each other. Part of it is because I love Kirby’s Fourth World stuff. I was psyched to watch a movie with Darkseid, Big Barda, Granny Goodness, and The Female Furies. I marked out when Barda opened a closet and Mister Miracle’s costume was there. I loved the plot in the comics and liked the movie adaptation. That said, the storytelling has its flaws.

One reason the Superman/Batman comics work so well is its use of inner monologue. In the books, the thought bubbles are often more important than the spoken words. Reading what Superman and Batman actually think of each other is a different and highly entertaining. All of this is lost in the movie, which is understandable. The pacing would be dreadful if one-third of the movie consisted of characters thinking. However, a vital element of the comics was lost in translation.

The voice acting has a weak spot that can be jarring. Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly are excellent as Batman and Superman, respectively, but they’re always awesome. Andre Braugher, Susan Eisenberg, and Julianne Grossman put in strong performance as Darkseid, Wonder Woman, and Big Barda. The weak link is Summer Glau, who plays Kara/Supergirl…rather poorly. She’s the movie’s central figure. Everything revolves around her. When you have a bunch of strong voice actors playing off of a weak one, it drags the whole performance down.

There was one scene that I absolutely loved in the comics and completely worked in animated form. I marked out when Batman played Darkseid into surrendering. It’s such a cool moment — the human outsmarting the god. Andre Braugher’s concession speech is delivered perfectly.

At the end of the day, I really enjoyed Superman/Batman Apocalypse, but I don’t think that most people would enjoy as much as I did. The Fourth World characters were a big reason this movie was so much fun for me. Most people probably don’t give a damn about Stompa or Lashina and couldn’t point you to Armagetto or Necropolis on a map of Apokolips. Casual fans would prefer Superman/Batman: Public Enemies or Batman: Under the Red Hood. I’m hoping that some of you will give this movie a shot. The art is so good, the action is fantastic, and the story is enjoyable. Plus, Big Barda and Supergirl are total hotties.

Author: RPadTV

https://rpad.tv

6 thoughts on “(Not a) Review of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse”

  1. I really like the animation on this too but to me for a Superman/Batman movie it kind of didn't deal with them too much. It seemed more of a Superman movie with Batman cleaning up his mess. I also liked the part where Batman outwits Darkseid.

    1. I'm really looking forward to the Superman/Shazam movie. Black Adam is just a fascinating character. Did you know The Rock was pegged to play him in the live-action movie? I think it got killed though. He would have been perfect for the role.

      1. That was a superman/shazam movie?? I thought shazam was on his own. The rock as black adam wouldve been kool. I think the success of the GL movie will get that train back on the tracks

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