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- Director: Lauren Montgomery
- Writers: Tab Murphy, Jeph Loeb (graphic novel)
- Stars: Andre Braugher, Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly
- Release Date: September 2010
- Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
- Run Time: 78 min
The End is Near
I loved the first Superman/Batman movie, “Public Enemies”. And I love this one even more. It has everything that made the first one great while fixing some PE’s flaws.
First, the plot: a girl crashes to Earth in a spaceship and it turns out she’s Superman’s cousin, Kara. She tries to adapt to her new life and powers, but is soon targeted to by alien tyrant Darkseid to be molded into the ultimate soldier. Superman, along with Batman, Wonder Woman and Big Barda, goes to the evil planet Apokolips to rescue his cousin from being brainwashed into a heartless killer.
For starters, “Apocolypse” looks better than its predecessor. While PE based its animation on Ed McGuinness’ ridiculous art style, this one tries (though doesn’t always succeed) in imitating the gorgeous artwork of the late Micheal Turner, which greatly helps it.
It also gives its characters more depth. In PE, a number of DC Comics characters just showed up almost randomly, many not even identified by name, let alone telling us about them. I watched it with some non-fan friends in the room and they were confused by the lesser known heroes and villains who seemed to show up out of no where and they didn’t learn anything about. Here, we get to learn about many of the characters, at least to some degree. Fittingly, Kara gets a lot of focus let us get to know her well quickly and her relationship with Superman is quite stirring.
It even benefits from more time. While PE was the shortest DC Animated film, this one is the longest (even if it’s just by a few minutes), it makes good use of every second.
However, it’s not perfect. While most of the voice cast does a wonderful job, Andre Braugher is surprisingly underwhelming as Darksied. The spot on dialog would’ve sounded better and been more intimidating if they’d used Micheal Ironside or even Frank Welker, but Braugher’s performance just isn’t very menacing.
It also drops a few too many things from the original comic storyline. One such unfortunate side effect of the dropped material is Lyla/Harbinger, whose death is treated with much sadness and importance by the characters, but viewers have little reason to sympathize. To be fair, the character had been so underused/misused in the comics that by the time the storyline happened I doubt many fans cared. But I can imagine her getting enough depth in the comics to give us more reason why we should be as moved by her death as the characters are. Other things I miss are Mr. Miracle, the Justice League’s appearance at the end, and explanation why the Doomsday clones are such wusses. Though there are elements I’m glad they dropped like Batman fighting Darkseid and the Source Wall.
As far as I’m concerned, this is one of DC’s best animated films. It has everything that made “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies” cool, while surpassing it in a number of areas. A great movie for any DC Comics fan.
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