Thursday, September 30, 2010

Movie Review: Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

So Here’s What The Film Is About…
So here we are, yet again in the midst of another DC animated movie release.  This one once again brings the caped crusader and the Man of steel back together for a showdown with one of DC’s most powerful villains, Darkseid.  (Does anyone else think that name is corny and stupid?)  However, an additional player in thrown into the mix, Kara Zor-El, otherwise known as Supergirl, who finds herself unable to speak English and unable to remember who she is.

With the help of Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest of her Amazonian sisters, Kara learns the native language (because English is the native tongue in the world of comics right?) and begins her journey to discover what it means to be an Earth Girl.  While Kara ventures out on this journey of self-discovery and reuniting with her cousin Kal, Darkseid watches over this Kara Zor-El very closely and decides that she is the perfect leader for his furies on Apocalypse. 

A few punches and brawls later, Kara is kidnapped and manipulated into thinking Darkseid is her only chance at a normal life, pitting her against Superman and the rest of his gang.  Now the challenge begins of bringing Kara back and defeating Darkseid, throwing him back in the fiery pit of a planet he calls home. What will happen?  I’m sure you can figure it out.

And Here’s What I Thought About It…
You know, I DID like the film, but it has a lot of minor problems which pop up numerous times that gave me an inconsistent feeling as a viewer.  I wasn’t expecting much anyway as I wasn’t a huge fan of the arc in the comics to begin with, but it felt even MORE contrived than it did a few years ago when I read it the first time.  The choices made to push this story forward were very poor and hurt the story more than it should. 

The Doomsday fight between superman and the rest of the trinity pack felt very unnecessary, even if it did lead to a diversion in kidnapping Kara.  But having clones that don’t bleed but aren’t robots came off more comical than dramatic to me.  Likewise, Kara and her shopping spree felt very late 80’s/early 90’s; it felt as if I was watching an episode of that horrid show, Jem and the Holograms.  You remember it don’t ya?...
It was very out of place and made me look around to see if anyone else was thinking the same thing I was. 

Casting, overall, was very well done.  Having Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy return as the voices of both Superman and Batman was a great choice.  Even after 15 years of voicing these heroes, they still seem to enjoy it.  And bringing in Edward Asner to once again voice Granny Goodness was a stroke of genius; it gives us a strange sense of awkwardness resulting in a sexual identity crisis.  But Summer Glau was disappointing as Supergirl.  I expected her to be a little more riveting being a huge fan of her performance in Firefly.  But then again she didn’t really say a whole lot in that series huh?  She played the character off as a girl with little emotional attachments and even less livelihood.  Now that could be what the director was going for, but I would imagine Kara to show a little more excitement in the new world she’s become apart of.  There seemed to be a huge disconnect from what Summer was verbalizing vs. what was being displayed on Kara’s face.

The animation was an incredible, a lot better than I thought it was going to be.  I am glad it moved past the clumsy and unappealing style that was portrayed in Public Enemies and gave each hero a proportional body structure.  The fight scenes were quite detailed, even with the incredibly dull Doomsday battle.  Wonder Woman and Barda is probably the best animated battle scene I’ve seen from DC thus far.  I did find Superman to be a little odd to look at as he resembled a combination of an American boy, a Chinese male, and a feminine man all in one.  And as far as Batman is concerned, I wondered how often I was going to have scenes where his entire body was covered by his massively black cape and cowl, only showing his chin and mouth.

That final battle between Supergirl and Superman was pretty epic and kept my attention the whole way through.  The usage of different camera angles, light and detail in that ten minutes was intense and the best part of the entire film from an action standpoint.

While the story in and of itself isn’t particularly great, it still presents an interesting viewpoint to consider.  Sure, Superman was born on Krypton but raised as a regular human being who later discovered his destiny.  But here, we have Kara Zor-El who was raised as an alien knowing full well what her potential was coming to Earth.  What does one do when they are born as a superhero?  Kara must now face something that Clark never did, embrace a society 100% different from that of her now deceased planet of Krypton.  And while the choices made to make this sentiment happen in the film wasn’t as good as it could have been, it’s still an interesting and creative idea.

This film is worth the purchase from my end of things.  However, it may not be a worthy purchase for everyone.  I would recommend Under the Red Hood to anyone, comic book fan or not.  But with this film, you might want to rent it…or no wait, Blockbusters going down under…you might want to Netflix it and see what you think first.

And for your consideration, the official trailer for Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

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