Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is DC’s 10th DTV movie to be released, and the second in the Superman/Batman saga. It stars the titular characters as they deal with the arrival of Superman’s cousin, Kara aka Supergirl, and the fallout that commences from that. So how does it stack up?
Apocalypse serves as the first direct sequel in DC’s recent line of DTVs (a case COULD be made that Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths fits in between Justice League and Unlimited), so with that in mind the film does a decent job of getting the audience up to speed as to what happened at the end of Public Enemies and what has happened since then. The most important piece of information being that Batman has led a global clean-up of the shards of Kryptonite that has fallen to Earth.Â This is where the film begins to open up as a piece falls into Gotham Harbor, but we soon learn that it isn’t a shard at all, but a space ship carrying another Kryptonian, who we soon find out is a cousin of Superman. The reaction to the characters in the world (and some off-world) is the driving point of the movie.
- The Superman/Batman dynamic. This comes as no surprise as Bruce Timm always seem to take great joys in pairing these two up, and the fact that the source material gives very strong interactions between the two makes it easy. One of my favorite bits deals with the destruction of the Batcomputer, and how Superman and Batman react to it on different occasions.
- Supergirl. One Summer Glau continues her streak of being found naked. The character is both strong and weak at the same time. Unlike Clark, who was raised as an infant on Earth and developed his powers, Kara’s powers are already functioning but at the same time she is getting adjusted to her new culture and life. She plays well off of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. And really shines during the film’s 3rd act.
- Wonder Woman. I’m actually surprised she wasn’t billed in the title in some manners, but to be fair neither was Supergirl and this is really her story. Her presence here is well-thought out. She is tough and fierce, and unlike in Justice League (most of the time anyhow), I feel like she is on equal footing with both Batman and Superman. Her performance on Apocalypse also proves her worth as a fighter.
- The voice work. Its nice to have Kevin and Tim back. It was a treat to have Susan Eisenberg reprise her role as Wonder Woman. Summer Glau did a decent job as Supergirl. The villains are a slightly different subject.
- The fights. Oh DCAU is always known for someÂ spectacularlyÂ fights especially when it involves Superman and Darkseid, and boy does it not disappoint. I mean I literally feel that this entire movie’s 3rd act is held up by the strength andÂ choreographyÂ of the fight scenes. It is impressive that they continue to find new ways to cause utter destruction.
What Didn’t Work:
- Kara’s best friend. Listen, I understand you wanted to give her an emotional anchor, but introducing a character 20 minutes into a movie, proclaiming her someone’s best friend, and then having her die 10 minutes later doesn’t really give the audience time for an emotional connection.
- The pacing. Don’t get me wrong, the film settles into a groove during the back half, but I felt the first half just tried to fit too much in too soon. We go from Gotham to the Batcave to the Fortress of Solitude to Wonder Woman’s attack to Themyscira in the span of about 20-25 minutes. On top of that, the film jumps around, I guess like 3 months or so. Once they hit Apocalypse though, the film remains there for a bit.
- The voice work for villains. As noted above, I enjoyed most of the heroes’ voices, but while I didn’t hate the new Darkseid’s voice, I felt it was lacking something to make him truly menacing.
- Kara’s conversion, we are told that Darkseid can corrupt your mind, turn your weaknesses against you, but we are never really shown how or why. All we know is that Supergirl turns evil and turns good just as easily. It would have been nice to see some brainwashing or torture, who knows!
- Doomsday Army. Most people dislike clones. Most people dislike Doomsday. Everyone is gonna hate a braind dead Doomsday Army. It makes for a hell of a fight, but its a bit cheesy.
Now I’m undecided about the art as they are forced to use the style from the comics, and I feel it works for some characters (I dig Batman’s design), but not for others (some have complained about Superman’s guyliner). I’m not sure which camp it falls into, and like most things comic related, I think it will all come down to personal preferences.
I’m sure there were some elements I missed or forgot to touch on, but I think that’s the gist of it. I would recommend checking this movie out as the 3rd act really is something special, but maybe in a rental instead of buying it.