I have always found it surprising that the creative heads of DC and Marvel have not adapted some of the works for Jeph Loeb into these direct-to-DVD animation movies as one thing that Jeph Loeb has demonstrated is that he writes a comic like it was meant to be adapted into movies (I meant that in both a positive and a negative way). Thankfully, DC has bucked the trend and adapted the Jeph Loeb written “Public Enemies “as a full feature animation movie.
Plot-wise there are no major changes with the comic. A chunk from the planet Krypton is heading towards earth and would destroy earth if there is an impact. President Lex Luthor (yes him) believes he can do it on his own while getting rid of Superman in the same process and issues a bounty on Superman’s head. How Superman along with Batman team up to defeat Lex and stop the asteroid forms the rest of the story.
It is non-stop riveting action with tons of guest appearances thrown in from the DC Universe. There have been some changes made from the comic and this actually is good for the movie and helps to reduce a lot of unwanted distractions that would have better suited a comic but not the movie. It is in fact heartening that the creators have adapted an existing storyline and that gives hopes for comic book fans that other brilliant works would also get a life in the movie format.
Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman is his usual self which is spectacular. It seems like he was born to voice Batman. Tim Daly as Superman reprises his previous Superman voice overs. But the true star of the show is Clancy Brown voicing Lex Luthor. Considering that he gets a lion’s share of the dialogues, he does a phenomenal job of being the arrogant, snobbish, confident Lex.
While there are a lot of things going for the movie, there are a few drawbacks too. The whole point of this comic was exploring the dichotomy of Superman and Batman and how despite the dichotomy, they remain the truest of friends and trust in each other more than anyone. None of this was captured. It seemed like Batman was merely helping Superman. Another grouse is the ending. It had too much of a Dues Ex Machina feel to it. It seemed that the directors wanted a happy feeling ending and so contrived to get it. The animation quality and the CGI were so-so. I have seen better. The movie borrows directly from Ed McGuinness’s art work and reflect that in their musculature. Superman is heavily muscled with a 12 pack abs (if possible) and so is Batman.
Despite all this, I feel this is a strong effort in the right direction. One hopes to see more such works in the near future from not just DC but from Marvel as well.
Rating – 7/10