The Earth is in danger as usual due to a comet the size of a small country quickly approaching. However, this isn't an ordinary piece of floating rock. The comet is made of solid green Kryptonite, that was left over from Superman's home planet Krypton which exploded ages ago. The new President of the United States, Lex Luthor, not only wants to stop the comet, but he wants to do it completely on his own in order to satisfy his ego.
Being pressured to seek help from the world's superheroes, Luthor stages a meeting with Superman and frames him for a murder. To make things worst for the Man of Steel, Luthor places a one billion dollar bounty on his head. This action draws out many villains to claim the money. And allies have sided with Lex Luthor only because he's the President. Together with Batman, Superman intends on stopping the comet, but they must also fight off a legion of villains and superheroes. -summary
Superman Batman: Public Enemies is a 2009 straight to DVD animated feature directed by Sam Liu. It's the 6th animated film in the DC Universe line up. The movie is based off Jeph Loeb's graphic novel of the same name, and despite alterations in the storyline. It's still a faithful adaptation of the original source material, and as a fan of the comic book, I'm pleased with what I got here, even though the movie is nothing more than one slugfest after another.
The movie is heavily driven by its action scenes, and as far as the die hard action fan may be concerned, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. The action scenes are full of the stuff superhero movies are made of, which are the performance of highly exaggerated physical feet, and incredibly hard blows that can shake your living room if you have surround sound. There is way more than enough action to keep action junkies satisfied. Visually, the movie is pretty strong, with the character designs being heavily influenced by Ed McGuinness art style. The heroes and villains both are amazingly huge, and female characters like Power Girl are huge in the right places. She can no doubt give Psylocke a run for her money.
I enjoyed the music score by Christopher Drake, as it gives off that epic feel which helps the movie feel like it's more than an extended Justice League episode. The sound effects are very good with some earth-shattering blows to the face, along with the energy blast mix-ups. I also have to commend the production staff for creating that retro feel, by bringing together the all star cast made up of Tim Daly (Superman), Kevin Conroy (Batman), and Clancy Brown (Lex Luthor). These three have some amazing chemistry together that can be felt through the performances, but I think Brown stood out the best here, when going from the calm and collected to the psychotic Luthor.
The movie definitely has the style portion down to a science, and there is some good development on the friendship between Superman and Batman. But the action clearly tries to overshadow the under-developed story. There are certain elements that really aren't properly fleshed out, and just aren't easy to buy in to. It never felt as if the comet was a huge threat, and at times, I even forgot about it altogether, and this is something that really shouldn't happen. To me, a central plot device to a story should never feel like a side plot. Also, it was never really made clear how the public felt about Superman being a murderer. This story element felt way too forced, and borderlined into complete absurdity.
I give props to the writing team for injecting a who's who gallery of heroes and villains (especially). Comic geeks will have no problem keeping track of the faces pulled from many rogues galleries of heroes such as; Fire Storm, Flash, Aquaman, and even Wonder Woman. However, casual fans may not care at all, and will see nothing but a bunch of faces.
Overall, Superman Batman: Public Enemies is a very solid action romp, and one doesn't need to read the graphic novel to be clued in to anything else. Those who are hoping to see a complete page by page re-telling of the book should set their expectations low. Parents who are concerned about what their children watch, should know the violence level is somewhat high, with there being a small amount of blood, and a little bit of profanity. In any case, I enjoyed it quite a bit despite the small differences from the book. The movie has a 67 minute run time.
-Lots of action
-Very solid voice acting and music score
-Animation and artwork
-Half cooked story
-Not too friendly on casual fans
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