The newest DC Universe animated feature entitled “Superman/Batman: Apocalypse” is ready for release on DVD and Blu-ray next week (September 28).
Based on the DC Comics series/graphic novel, “Superman/Batman: Supergirl” by Jeph Loeb, Michael Turner & Peter Steigerwald, this newest movie picks up right where the last Superman/Batman movie, “Public Enemies” left off. Based on news reports we hear in the opening scene, we learn that President Luthor has been removed from office and meteor showers from the Kryptonite Asteroid Batman blew-up have begun to subside. That’s when the action begins with a rather larger object crashing into Gotham Bay.
Like with “Public Enemies,” fan favorite voice actors Tim Daly (Superman) and Kevin Conroy (Batman) return to reprise the roles they have become so well known for since the early days of the Batman and Justice League animated TV series. Emmy Award winner Ed Asner also returns to reprise his role as Darkseid’s second hand villain Granny Goodness. A role he originally voiced for the “Superman: The Animated Series.”
The story for this one remains true to the comic book series on which it is based. After a spaceship splashes down in Gotham City Harbor, Batman and Superman encounter a mysterious Kryptonian with powers as great as those of the Man of Steel. The Kryptonian is soon revealed to be Kara, cousin of Superman, who takes her under his wing to educate her about the ways of Earth. Darkseid, however, has other plans. Seeing an opportunity to finally defeat Superman, Darkseid abducts and gains control of Kara, utilizing the powerful Kryptonian to do his bidding. It’s up to Batman and Superman along with the help of Wonder Woman and Big Barda to save Kara, but they’ll have to take the fight to Darkseid within his hostile world Apokolips.
The movie is loaded with action and fight scenes, and the chemistry between Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman (which many of us have come to love from the JLU animated series) is well portrayed in this movie. Kevin Conroy, as always, just knocks it out of the park with his portrayal of Batman. It’s always great how he takes the seriousness of the Dark Knight character and brings almost a comedic relief to his scenes. One such instance is when Barda tells Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman that they need to just get over it because she is coming with them to Apokolips to help save Kara. After a moment of silence, in his normal serious tone Batman tells the other two that he doesn’t know about them but he’s over it.
Another thing I love about this movie is seeing the superpower-less Batman holding his own and often outperforming his allies who are some of the most powerful people in the Universe while taking on threats like Doomsday and Darkseid. At one point in the movie, Batman even manages to get the upper hand on Darkseid in a completely realistic manner, one of which even impresses the evil one himself.
One of the big differences between this movie and “Public Enemies,” which I like, is the shift in focus from Superman/Batman to other characters like Kara coming to grips with who she is and some nice character interaction between Wonder Woman and Barda.
For the animation, like with previous DC animated films, the look and feel of this one is dead on. There is a big fight scene towards the end of the movie between Superman and Darkseid, and at one point you almost want to just put your hands over your eyes as the animation sequences make you feel as if Superman’s face could be burned off at any moment. I won’t tell you whether it does or not, but it is a nicely done scene.
For special features on the DVD/Blu-ray 2-disc combo, you have some nice featurettes on the New Gods along with a preview of the next DC Animated movie which is called “All-Star Superman.” The disc set also contains 4 bonus “Superman the Animated Series” cartoons featuring picks from producer Bruce Timm and a DC Showcase short-film featuring the Green Arrow, which I think is one of the better Showcases they have had on these DVD’s. In this one, Green Arrow must save a young girl who has been targeted for assassination because she is about to become a queen to a small country. The short basically revolves around a chase/fight scene in an airport and involving lots of arrows going back and forth. Nothing too in-depth but still more enjoyable to me than the last one I saw (the Jonah Hex one).
If you have enjoyed the previous Superman & Batman team-up movies or are fan of the Batman/Superman/JLU animated series, then I think you will definitely want to pick this one up when it comes out next week.