February 21, 2015

Review: Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

Review: Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

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Lex Luthor is the beloved President of the United States.  Most of the world’s superheroes, including Power Girl and Captain Atom, are agents for his government.  Refusing to join up, Superman and Batman are wanted criminals in the Warner Bros. animated movie Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.Based on the graphic novel by Joseph Loeb and Ed McGuinness, this alternate-universe story creates a low barrier of entry for any fan.  I didn’t have to watch all the previous DC Universe animated films or the Batman and Superman animated series to follow what was going on.  An engaging opening montage sets the stage for this alternate universe, and the focus is on the most well-known characters Luthor and Superman.
But as the story progresses, Superman and Batman teaming up against heroes and villains alike.  There are characters in this movie I’ve not thought of since I watched Challenge of the Super Friends in the 70s, including Solomon Grundy, Captain Cold and Black Manta.  For fans of the DC universe this deep roster of characters including Starfire, Bane, Metallo, Giganta, and dozens moren.  Plus there were many more characters I didn’t know but the comic fans would likely will be a treat to see in full-motion animation.  Power Girl, voiced by Allison Mack, gets a critical role as well in her first film appearance (boob window in full effect).The story reminds me of the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us where heroes fight heroes and villains in mortal combat.  It may be base, but it’s really fun to watch Superman punch out Shazam and Batman taking on Captain Atom.  The story is not what keeps me engaged–it’s the action.  In the end, it’s simply a fun film.
The animation is detailed, not feature film quality but better than most TV shows.  More than serviceable, it has moments of beauty.  With so many character designs it’s impressive that each get detailed representations.The ending is very silly (involving a robot that is literally half Superman and half Batman, split down the middle like Prince in the “Batdance” video), but getting there is fun.

I finished this movie thinking next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice  will be damn lucky if it is as good as Public Enemies.  Recommend.

Arnie is a movie critic for Now Playing Podcast, and host of the Marvel collecting podcast Marvelicious Toys.Hear Arnie review every Marvel Comics based film, and most DC Comics films, in the Archives at NowPlayingPodcast.com

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Comments 4

  1. Billy Green

    Great review. I haven’t watched the DC animated films, so good to know I don’t need a deep knowledge of them to watch this. Couldn’t find it on Redbox or Netflix though. I’ll have to rent it from iTunes. You guys are making me spend too much money on movies 🙂

    BTW, can anyone comment on the Doomsday/Death of Superman animated movie? Lots of good memories of that storyline from when I was 14. Does it do it justice?

  2. Brad Wykes

    I read and watch DC and have to admit most of the non-Batman animated movies are watch once and forget dross. Flashpoint was good, as was Public Enemies. Throne of Atlantis is actually more adult than I expected. Dropping the odd swear word here or there. The new 52, ok start.
    To answer Billy Greens post, ignore Death of Superman. Alec Baldwin does the voice if I remember correctly – not impressive. The story is a horrible contraction of the plot of Death of Superman comics and not a good movie to watch if you ever paid money to read any part of it in book form.

  3. Chris S

    Big fan of now playing, loved Public Enemies great action and emotionally a great movie depicting heroism, friendship and sacrifice all things “The Worlds Finest” are known for. Batman and Superman had a team up comic called Worlds Finest during the silver age running for well over 20yrs, the Superman/Batman composite robot was a homage to those earlier campy comics. But not sure why your calling this an alternate reality story Lex was elected president of the US in 2000 he was impeached at the end of the Public Enemies Story arc for treason. This graphic novel was the first arc in the Batman/Superman comic series which ran monthly till the New 52 Reboot.

  4. Jeremy F.

    I did enjoy this D.C.A.U. It felt like a three part episode to Justice League. We got the D.C.A.U. voice cast. I bought the DVD for the features. Which didn’t disappoint, especially the round table discussion. Composite Batman/Superman has been referenced a lot. All in all, a guilty pleasure.

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