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 and Supergirl (heck even Superman’s dog Krypto makes a cameo) and pits them against the hordes of darkness on Apokolips. However, in execution, I found the finished product to be a bit too ambitious for its own good but more on that in a moment, first let’s take a look at the facts.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is a 2010 direct-to-video animated film based on the Superman/Batman comic storyline "The Supergirl from Krypton" and serves as an unofficial sequel to Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.
The story basically opens by making reference of the timeframe through blurbs on Gotham City radio suggesting it is within the weeks after the events that led to Lex Luthor's arrest, the impeachment of his presidency, and Batman's success in saving the world from the impact of an approaching meteor.
A spacecraft crash-lands in Gotham City Harbor apparently containing a naked young girl without knowledge of English or Earth or really much of anything. Without giving much away, the girl in question is of course the future Supergirl (Kara Zor-El) and while Superman welcomes his fellow Kryptonian refugee with open arms and works to teach her English and Earthen culture, Batman remains suspicious.
By the time the film is over, the viewer will have visited Gotham City, Metropolis, Themyscira, Apokolips, and Smallville. Considering its 78-minute runtime, there’s a lot of ground to cover here!
I mentioned earlier that my biggest criticism of the film is that it may be a bit too ambitious for its own good and that statement certainly deserves elaboration. While the look of the film is spot on (with a unique, angled look to the character models), the vocal cast impeccable (opting to use the talent of the Justice League actors; in fact this was the noted as the first project Kevin Conroy and Susan Eisenberg (Batman and Wonder Woman) have worked on together since the end of the Justice League series) but the plot is a bit scattered and the pacing inconsistent.
I guess this is to be expected given the incredible number of characters and locations involved to be crammed within a film that runs only a bit over an hour in length. Call it wishful thinking if you must, but this whole thread would have been far better served had it been introduced as a multi-episode thread in the Justice League animated series. Maybe I’m still not over my adoration of that show, but I can’t help but feel like a lot of these DCAU feature films coming from Warner Brothers of late would have made for awesome season-long threads for JL not unlike the Project Cadmus angle.
Back to reality though, the fight segments contained here are pretty impressive, and do a nice job capturing the inhuman power of the combatants involved. The inconsistent pacing and rushed ending can probably be overlooked by action-junkies on account of these awesome battles. The rest of us who have come to expect absolute perfection from Bruce Timm and company will likely come away from this film feeling as though the potential outweighs the finished product.
What did you think of this review?