Public Enemies

Superman Batman Public Enemies

Superman-Batman Public Enemies (animated)
Made in: USA
Language: English
Director: Sam Liu
Starring: Clancy Brown, Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, Allison Mack, Xander Berkeley, Ricardo Chavira, LeVar Burton, John C. McGinley, Jennifer Hale
Year: 2009

Synopsis: When the US is thrown into economic turmoil, Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown) becomes elected president after a successful campaign as a third-party candidate. Somehow convincing the nation that he's now a good guy, he has employed a team of both superheroes and former supervillains to work for him.

This team includes Captain Atom (Xander Berkeley), Powergirl (Allison Mack), Major Force (Ricardo Chavira), Black Lightning (LeVar Burton), Starfire (Jennifer Hale), and Katana.

Of course, Luthor's arch nemesis, Superman (Tim Daly) remains convinced that the bald baddie is still up to no-good. And while all this is happening, the US Government discovers that a huge Kryptonite meteor is headed straight towards Earth, and will collide in seven days.

Rather than order a bunch of superheroes to help resolve the crisis, Lex Luthor insists on dealing with the problem using nuclear missiles (so he can take full credit).

Superman receives an invitation by Luthor to have a secret meeting somewhere in Gotham City, under the guise of ending their age-old super-rivalry. The meeting, as one would suspect, is actually a trap. Shortly after the Man of Steel shows up, one of Luthor's Secret Service Agents reveals himself to be the evil Metallo (John C. McGinley).

Armed with Kryptonite, Metallo does battle with a weakened Superman, who only manages to escape with the help of Batman (Kevin Conroy), who intervenes in the nick of time.

When Metallo mysteriously turns up dead a day later, Lex Luthor implicates Superman using secretly taped footage of their secret meeting (which was edited). With public opinion against them, Superman and Batman find themselves fugitives from the law. The government-appointed Captain Atom and his team try to arrest them, but like most public employees, they do a lousy job and only end up making a bigger mess.

On top of everything else, President Luthor offers 1 billion dollars (of your tax money) as a bounty for the capture of our beloved heroes. Can the world's greatest superhero and world's greatest detective clear their names and save the less than a week?

Remarks: Adapted from the graphic novel series, Superman-Batman Public Enemies is really well animated and the dialogue is pretty good. There's plenty of action, excitement, and the voice talent is great. Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, and Clancy Brown as Superman, Batman, and Lex Luthor, respectively, have arguably been the best actors to voice those roles.

The soundtrack is exciting, the story moves along quickly, and there's no lag time between action sequences.

Overall, Superman-Batman Public Enemies has a pretty thin plot, is utterly ridiculous, and completely does away with any sense of logic or realism. After all, it is a cartoon with an over-the-top premise.

That being said, it would have been nice to have seen at least some effort at more complex story development, given the intriguing idea of Lex Luthor as president. We don't even get to see Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne!

Fortunately, there's enough snappy humor throughout and the movie doesn't take itself seriously.

Strictly from a film viewer's perspective, it would have been better to see a tighter plot focus and a little more back-and-forth between Superman and Batman.

Who would like this movie: Superman-Batman Public Enemies is for you if you have in-depth knowledge of the DC comics Universe and many of its characters. This is a movie that's meant first and foremost for the fans, and the cameo appearances of many other DC comics characters will no doubt draw interest (and maybe some intentional laughs) to avid comic book collectors.

I admit I had no idea who most the superheroes or villains were, since I never read comic books as a kid (I tried, but somehow always ended up reading the panels out of order), so many of the jokes and references went right over my head.

Again, this was a short, entertaining, and totally ridiculous piece of escapism. If you're looking for serious political intrigue, satire, or any sort of mature thrills, look elsewhere. Superman-Batman Public Enemies is for the kid in all of us.

(2 and 1/2 stars out of 4)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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