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Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

The 2010 DC Universe Animated Original Movie and sequel to "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies".

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The Arrival of the Last Girl From Krypton!

  • Oct 28, 2010
Rating:
+4
I’ve always proclaimed that I was never a big fan of Bruce Timm’s adaptations of the storylines that originated from the comic books and now with “Superman/Batman: APOCALYPSE”, Timm is at again. This movie is a direct to video adaptation of the story arc by Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner in the Superman-Batman comic series that re-introduced Kara Zor-El in into the DC Universe. This film is a sequel to “Superman-Batman Public Enemies” and is closely tied to the events that occurred in the comic series, in a somewhat compressed "rushed style".

A huge meteor had crushed into Gotham Harbor and Batman (Kevin Conroy) goes out to investigate; what the dark knight finds are the remains of a ship with some strange markings. A blond girl with powers that seem to be out of control emerges and what is scary, those powers seem to resemble those of a certain man of steel. Batman and Superman (Tim Daly) take in the confused girl as they find out that she is Kara Zor-El (Summer Glau), Superman’s cousin from the dead planet Krypton. Kara is taken to Themyscira, the home of Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg) to undergo training and to learn the amazon warrior way. But not everyone who is interested in Kara has good intentions, as Darkseid (Andre Braugher) hatches a scheme to make Kara his own thrall as the leader of his elite group called the Furies. Now, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman must enlist the aid of Barda (Julianne Grossman) to help them invade Apokolips and rescue Kara. But does Kara truly want to be rescued?

                 

Let’s get one thing out of the way. “Apocalypse” is too a mature content for a young child, too watered down for adults but may indeed impress the young teen. I am however pleased to report that the battles in the movie are very exciting and quite frankly somewhat brutal on some scenes (especially in the final fight). “Apocalyse” is an adaptation with pure action as its main draw and those action scenes are derived from the battles in the story arc written by Jeph Loeb. I am happy to report that the action scenes are more dramatic than the ones in the comic series and more convincing with the impact on its narrative. Turner (he's terrific in his works on Fathom, but he is good in a different way) wasn’t exactly a huge action illustrator who can match the approach of George Perez and John Romita Jr.; but the animation in the movie certainly had the right stuff to make the struggles in the movie more exciting than I expected.

                 

                

               

The fights in the movie are nicely choreographed with a delicate hand to also instill the pain in the encounters. There is blood in the struggles and drama in its execution. The fights come from some touches of cunning, mad display of skill and teamwork and finally the movie does deliver a punch in making the final climactic fight carry more emotion and drama than the comic. It is always fun to see DC’s “Big Three” team up to take on Darkseid (arguably worst than Marvel's Thanos, but I don't think so) and with Big Barda and Artemis voiced by Grossman and Rachel Quaintance respectively) also in the mix, the movie just fulfills the needs of an action fan. Plus, the final fight is indeed the final encounter that one can hope for as readers of the comic know that the series has an epic battle between Superman and Kara and Darkseid.

So the film does have the action-packed fights so how’s the story? I’ve always had mixed feelings about Loeb’s writing and I have to say the screenplay by Tab Murphy lacks the necessary punches to make a well-rounded story. I am not expecting a detailed adaptation of the series but as much as the movie tries to be faithful to the source material, it misses several significant devices such as Batman and Superman’s own attempts to train Kara and to catalogue the extent of her powers that led to Diana‘s involvement, the effects of the storylines as an internal monologue that fleshes out the differences of Batman’s and Superman’s character, the concerns of Batman and his suspicions of Kara who can be a weapon against Superman was more fleshed out, it also misses the dialogue’s impact behind the Krypto scenario and the most important thing--the question of Kara, who may be a doomsday weapon generated a feeling of dread, while here Darkseid merely wants her to be leader of his Furies (which contradicts itself since why want Kara as leader when Diana is the better choice?), Darkseid had a much more grander scheme in mind in the comics but I guess it might prove to be too mature for young viewers to fully understand. Let’s just say that the story and details of the events were better defined in the source material, but I guess Timm and company wanted to focus more on the action and less on the development of the story--this is after all, only a 75 minute movie and such it does feel rushed in several areas.

                 

                 

                

The animation work was definitely inspired by Turner’s artwork as the eyes of Diana, Kara and Artemis carry that Turner style and approach. I thought his art felt darker in the comic but here, it is all bright and snazzy. I also had issues with the mouth movements and I couldn’t help noticing the over-expressive eyes Superman has from time to time; I also thought he was sporting mascara on some scenes. The set designs were alright but I thought Apokolips should’ve been a lot more scary and dreadful. The animation did a great job expressing the impact and power of the battles--I had fun with that Doomsday army, Diana and Barda engaging the furies and the final fight did deliver. The voice acting is good and Glau’s portrayal of Kara was endearing and cute at the same time. Conroy always makes a great Batman voice as with Daly as Superman, I did think that Braugher was rather weak as Darkseid and wasn’t nearly as menacing enough, Michael Ironside did a better job as Darkseid in the Superman series and Justice League animated series.

                

I am not sure. I really  want to love this movie but I still had mixed feelings about it. The story just wasn’t well-developed as I’d hoped and as usual Timm and company comes out a product that feels a little rushed and under-budget. He relies on "hey look at us...we're adapting a comic book.." to get fans excited. The action may indeed be enough to carry the movie and that final fight may be worth the price of the movie for pure entertainment. I suppose if one had no extensive background in the story’s history then it would be real good, but readers of the source material may find it lacking. “Superman/Batman: Apocalypse” should’ve been called “Last Daughter of Krypton”; since this movie misses the series’ apocalyptic theme--but hey, it does sound cooler.

Recommended! [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

                 
3 ½ Stars: Fantastic Action Scenes Are The Main Draw in This Animated Movie!

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October 31, 2010
Oh hell yea! I need to pick this one up. Despite how it may appear in my reviewing, I've been up to date on my DCAU material right up until this one. I was actually on the fence about rushing into it just because I heard it was so Supergirl centered but your critique is super useful in realizing that this doesn't break the positive tradition I associate with these guys. Interested in the Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam release coming out on the 9th? I have a few DVDs to order it would seem. Further crushing what little spending cash I have left to spare, Toy Story 3 comes out this Tuesday.
October 31, 2010
This was good, Jason, but don't pay $ 20 for a 75 minute movie; I usually just rent it then I buy it when it goes down to $ 10-12. Timm always sells them high and then lowers the price after a month or so. Glad you're happy with the review, I try to see these adaptations through the eyes of a real comic fan. Darn yeah I am interested! Though JLU had a fight that would be very hard to top. TS3 is at the top of my list to buy!
May 10, 2011
Jay, seen this yet? I don't want to be alone....
August 17, 2011
Finally have Will! lol review to follow momentarily.
August 17, 2011
awesome! I will await your review.... :P
 
October 28, 2010
(laughs) Nice review, William. I like that there are some scenes where it looks like superman is wearing mascara. ;)
October 28, 2010
Michael Turner has a habit of over-expressing the eyes of his characters (as with anime) but it just didn't work in this animated series after they based it off his style. Wonder Woman, Barda and Kara looked great though. Superman looking like Captain Jack Sparrow LOL!
October 28, 2010
lol! That is too funny! I guess it's a signature move of his. ;)
October 28, 2010
I actually met Michael Turner in a comic con 3 years ago--helluva nice guy and he signed my Fathom and Soulfire issues. Too bad, he passed on. :(
October 28, 2010
Nice! I always like meeting people I admire. :) What happened? I didn't realize he had passed on. >.>
October 29, 2010
He had cancer when I saw him in that comic con. :( too bad he had some real skills as an artist--
October 29, 2010
Aw, that is so sad. Cancer is such a terrible disease. :(
October 30, 2011
Yeah, made him different and fresh for this time....
 
October 28, 2010
Great review! I missed watching these cartoon movies when I was younger and always LIVED for the action and fight scenes. I'm definitely going to check this out soon!
October 28, 2010
Oh, if you love comic book animated action, you will definitely like this. Even the other non-comic book animated series like Generator Rex and Ben 10 aren't so bad. That final fight is worth the price of the dvd.
 
October 28, 2010
Is this the first time Darkseid has been in an animated film?
October 28, 2010
nope. he had been in the JLA TV and Superman TV series numerous times--he was better being voiced by Michael Ironside.
October 29, 2010
But this is his first time in a film?
October 29, 2010
Hmm...I think so.
October 29, 2010
by the way, check out REALITY INKED--you have two new reviews (other than mine) posted there. Monster manga!
 
October 28, 2010
Great review WP and I agree with you on this one, I got the 2 disc one the day it came out, don't know why I never reviewed it.
October 28, 2010
Join me here, man! Comic book movies are so noticed and wanted in Movie Hype!
 
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More Superman/Batman: Apocalypse reviews
review by . August 17, 2011
Essentially Supergirl's First Feature Film
   Talk about high expectations going in, ever since the release of Superman/ Batman Public Enemies, I have been terribly excited about this piece.  Going through absolute withdrawal of the animated Justice League series, about the closest I can get to fulfilling that void comes in the form of these DCAU feature films starring some of the League’s most influential members. And in theory this one should have delivered there! After all, it features Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman …
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About this movie

Wiki

When a spaceship splashes down in Gotham Harbor, Batman and Superman encounter a mysterious Kryptonian with powers as great as Superman's. When Darkseid gets wind of this, he has the Kryptonian abducted and brought under his control on Apokolips. It's up to Batman and Superman to retrieve the Kryptonian, forcing them to infiltrate Darkseid's hostile world where superpowerful threats lurk around every corner. This story is based on Jeff Loeb's popular mini-series from the Superman/Batman comic books.
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Details

Director: Lauren Montgomery
Genre: Action, Animation, Sci-Fi
Release Date: September 28, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Tab Murphy
DVD Release Date: September 28, 2010
Runtime: 78 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Studios, Warner Premiere
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