Thursday, February 9, 2012
Movie Review: Superman/Batman Apocalypse
The plot is basically an origin story for Supergirl. Superman and Batman find her and try to acclimate her to both her powers and earth's culture. Eventually Darkseid decides he wants to recruit her into the Female Furies and kidnaps her and that folks is our plot.
Originally I was going to do a point by point comparison between this movie and the Superman: The Animated Series episodes "Little Girl Lost" and "Legacy", but in re-watching the episodes I realize that both the writing and animation here are better. A lot of what happens makes more narrative sense here than what happened in those episodes making this movie a lot more satisfying.
That said this movie does feel a lot like a tv show, more so than most of the other new DC animated stuff. There are a lot of conflicts that are hinted at but don't really get resolved. Part of my dissatisfaction comes from the fact that the main plot is so simple. Go to Apokolips, find Kara Zor-El, and bring her back. It really does feel like the pilot to a Supergirl TV show. When you compare it to fair like Batman: Under the Red Hood it just doesn't seem as epic.
It doesn't seem as much worth a movie, but more along the lines of an arc in Young Justice.
So I guess I will make some comparisons. First off this is a Supergirl, but not the Timmverse's Supergirl. While I liked her as a character she always felt like Superman's kid cousin. She got much needed character development in Justice League Unlimited, but up until that point she was just a plucky girl. Likable, but still somewhat 2-dimentional.
Here she's got a lot more going on in her head. She's not a character in Superman's story. Superman is a character in her's. Also it makes an interesting sort of elesworlds story. In the Timmverse she shows up before the development of the Justice League so it's almost completely up to Kent how the Supergirl issue will be handled and he handles it as you would expect in both stories, as an overprotective parent. But here Batman and Wonderwoman make it clear that it's not just what's best for Kara that matters. They have to do what's best for the people of earth and letting loose an untrained teenager who can punch a 10 foot crater into the street if she loses her temper might not be it. In short they tell him no you can't keep the puppy, no matter how big her eyes are.
The result is a subtly different Supergirl from that of the Timmverse, one who views herself as more of an equal to Kent. The major arcs of the Timmverse Supergirl revolved around her keeping the big blue boyscout as a role model, but growing into her own superhero. There is a similar arc here but by the second act she is already her own person, which is the first step.
Now once we get to Apokolips is where the animation really starts to shine, with very well choreographed fight scenes. Apokolips isn't just scary because of the fire and brimstone, but, because there is real chance, well real enough, that our heroes aren't coming back from this one.
The last 10 minutes are really satisfying. By the end of the movie it's clear that if she really wanted to she could eventually become the successor to Superman in just about every way, not just trying to live up to him but at least being his number two, his lancer when Batman's not around. And maybe eventually becoming the go to super. You know she'll do the name of super proud, but again it leaves you wanting more. It really was like it was a first episode.
Note: I didn't read the comics.