The Superman/Batman comic stories' main attraction has always been the
character interplay. How the two famous superheroes, different in every
aspect like oil and water, lend their perspective on similar situations
and in the end, pull together for the greater good. In that respect,
"Superman/Batman: Apocalypse" does not disappoint as Superman, Batman
and even Wonder Woman bring their unique personalities to the table
when they face their latest little "problem".
The "problem" in question is the unexpected arrival of Kara Zor-El (Summer Glau), Superman's cousin who crash lands to earth, disoriented, unclothed but unhurt and lost in Gotham. In perhaps an intentional homage to Glau's previous Terminator character in "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles", She "procures" a coat from a trio of overly eager warehouse workers, but not before almost accidentally killing them. The unintentional destruction she causes while trying to flee from the cops alerts both Batman and Superman who take her into their custody. While Superman is overjoyed at finally meeting a fellow survivor of his home planet, Batman is skeptical and naturally suspicious (she did trash Gotham without even trying). More trouble follows when Superman tries to get Kara assimilated into earth culture but Wonder Woman has other plans for her as she too fears Kara's lack of control over her powers. But on the burning planet of Apokolips, the dreaded DarkSeid has his sights on the young kryptonian girl to be the latest addition to his warriors. What follows is a perilous incursion into Darkseid's palace with one deadly confrontation after another with the forces of Apokolips.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse adapts the "Supergirl" story arc (NOT "Death of Superman" as another review mistakenly pointed out) of the Superman/Batman comic series by Jeph Loeb and the late Michael Turner. It is a rather faithful adaptation barring a few changes here and there and as such shares both the good points and the shortcomings of its source material. For one thing, the story proceeds at a rather fast pace, which is good as it keeps things from getting boring. However that means the time frame of the tale is difficult to follow. For example Kara was supposed to have been training with the Amazons for a few months but it seemed like only yesterday. We only know about the time skip thanks to some mandatory exposition.
Rather than its truncated story, it is the snappy character interplay, well written dialog and a top notch cast of actors that carry this show. Tim Daley, Kevin Conroy and Susan Eisenberg return comfortably to their DCAU roles of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Everyone else is perfectly cast, especially Summer Glau, lending much emotional weight and realism to the characters. The only role that did not seem to fit as well was Andre Braugher's unmistakably African American sounding DarkSied. The tone of voice was right but a more neutral accent would have fit better.
Judging from the way the characters are handled, the target audience is most definitely long time fans who are already familiar with the personalities of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. That is because the "DC trinity" get little character development here, allowing Supergirl to take most of the development spotlight. That is not to say that the main trio do not get their chance to shine. Their differing views on life clash often and shed some light on their inner natures. There is even a dramatic comparison between Batman and one of the villains regarding Batman's code of ethics.
Viewers who have watched the previous "Superman/Batman: Public enemies" can treat this as a sequel despite the differing art styles. As the previous movie replicated Ed McGuinness's muscular look, this one manages to translate Michael Turner's bold designs barring a slight drop in art detail. The animation by "MOI Animation" is very fluid with no visible short cuts and a high frame rate.
For DC animation fans, readers who loved the Superman/Batman comics and superhero action junkies, "Superman/Batman: Apocalypse" would no doubt be a hit. More time could have gone into letting the story "breath" a little or making it a smart anecdote about growing up, stepping out from under a overprotective sibling/parent's shadow and finding one's place in the world. But no point lamenting what it could have been. Rather, enjoy it for what it is.
Action / Adventure / Animation / Sci-Fi
Action / Adventure / Animation / Sci-Fi
Batman discovers a mysterious teen-aged girl with super-human powers and a connection to Superman. When the girl comes to the attention of Darkseid, the evil overlord of Apokolips, events take a decidedly dangerous turn.
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March 10, 2013 at 01:41 AM