Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Review

4 10 2010

Story: B

Animation: B

Adaption: A

Rewatchability: B

Spoiler Alert! Kara becomes Supergirl. Did I ruin the DVD for you? Sucks to be you then..

Supergirl is a character who has gone through several changes over the decades. From earth-born angel to future daughter of Clark Kent, DC’s had a tough time pegging down a solid take on this Kryptonian gal. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is a DVD movie based off of DC’s trade paperback, Superman/Batman: Supergirl (Creativity has no place in comic book titles).

The story opens the same as 70% of other sci-fi stories, with a big ass meteor crashing into the earth. Inside is a Kryptonian teenage girl named Kara Zor-el. As it turns out, she’s Superman’s cousin <Snap>. While Superman greets Kara with open arms, Batman’s not sure she can be trusted. Apparently Wonder Woman hates the idea of two men raising a child together so she takes Kara with her to become an Amazonian warrior. Darkseid, the villain of our film, finds out about Kara’s power and kidnaps her (great job protecting her Wonder Woman). Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman don’t like this one bit, so the three of them set out to kick Darkseid in his dark dick.

The film’s a very good adaption of the original material. DC animation has gotten very good at adapting comic book story arcs and transitioning them in a way that both new and old fans can enjoy the same film. In the original story there are several mentions of other Superhero’s and at the end Kara is introduced to all the super teams of the DC universe. Rather than have new viewers spend time on wiki looking up who the hell the Outsiders and Mr. Miracle are, Montgomery and Loeb (our writers) cut out nearly all mention to any character not significant to the story.

The story in itself tends to be less about Kara herself, and more about how the Trinity adapt to a new protégé, each having a different approach and priority. Batman wants to know if she can be trusted, Wonder Woman wants her trained, and Superman wants to make sure she is happy. I’m a little disappointed that a story about how Supergirl came to be, doesn’t focus much on the character growth of Supergirl herself. The first half of the film introduces us her Kara and shows her challenges adapting to a new culture. But for every scene with Kara, there’s a scene with Batman or Superman coping with having the new girl in town. We don’t see much of Kara learning what it means to be a hero or her conflicted on how she could abuse her powers. She basically says “I don’t want to be a hero” or “Where do I belong” every few minutes in the first half. Then the second half of the film is mostly a super-powered punchfest with a sprinkle of snappy dialogue.

4 robins, 3 batgirls, and a batdog...you'd think Batman would be better with kids by now.

Walking away from the film I felt satisfied. I wasn’t wowed. I didn’t find myself on the edge of my seat. But I was always entertained, which is all I really ask for at the end of the day. If you’re a fan of DC’s previous animated films or you just enjoy the big guy in blue, you won’t be disappointed.

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