Title: Superman/Batman Apocalypse
Director: Lauren Montgomery
Producer: Bruce Timm & Alan Burnett
Distributor: Warner Brothers Animation
Series: Sequel to Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
Release Date: September 28, 2010
Runtime: 78 Minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Starring: Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, Andre Braugher, Summer Glau, Susan Eisenberg, and Edward Asner.
Batman discovers a mysterious teen-aged girl with super-human powers and a connection to Superman. When the girl comes to the attention of Darkseid, the evil overlord of Apokolips, events take a decidedly dangerous turn.
Superman/Batman Apocalypse is one of Warner Home Entertainment’s direct-to-DVD releases bringing its various super heroes and super heroines from the comic book page to film. If you’re a fan of Smallville on the CW and you enjoy the rebooted Batman live action franchise, then you should give these direct-to-DVD animated films a chance. Warner Bros. can put out one of these high end animated features every few months and tell a story that would break the bank if they were live action productions. They are a great deal darker than the Superfriends cartoons of the early 1980s and there is almost zero campiness in the portrayals of Batman and Superman. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman’s respective rogues galleries are filled with genuinely evil villains, who take lives more often than they rob banks.
Superman/Batman Apocalypse is a bit of a misnomer because it is actually the modern retelling of Supergirl’s origin. Born Kara Zor El, Superman’s cousin, she was also sent from the doomed planet Krypton, but due to the intricacies of intergalactic travel landed on earth years after Superman. Kara’s adjustment is a little bit rougher than that of Clark Kent. She doesn’t land in picturesque Smallville, Kansas. Rather, she lands in the cesspool of Gotham City. In her first few minutes on earth she is attacked by some sketchy dock workers, the Gotham City Police Department and the Dark Knight himself. It doesn’t help that she only speaks Kryptonian and has no control over her superpowers. Superman shows up to calm things down and is elated to find out he isn’t the last survivor of Krypton anymore. Batman is somewhat more suspicious of Kara and doesn’t trust her at all.
Lurking in the background is Superman’s greatest enemy, which believe it or not, is NOT Lex Luthor. In the modern comic book continuity Superman’s greatest enemy is arguably Darkseid. Darkseid is a god-like being who rules over the dystopian planet, Apocalypse. He’s physically at least as powerful as Superman and for reasons he never makes clear has a special interest in ruling Earth—a goal which Superman and Earth’s profusion of superheroes thwart time and again. Learning of Supergirl, he sees a perfect opportunity to corrupt her and score a psychological blow against the man of steel. Superman, Batman, and a very, very special guest star take the battle to Darkseid’s doorstep. Superman/Batman Apocalypse is a great action adventure, showcasing some lesser known DC characters alongside mainstays like Batman and Superman.
On the bluray version you’ll get a backup Green Arrow story, which is arguably even better than the main story. Green Arrow has been a big part of the last couple of seasons of Smallville and it’s an interesting contrast between the live action Green Arrow and his animated self. Other bonus materials include 4 episodes from Superman the Animated Series, showcasing both Supergirl and the origin of Superman and Darkseid’s conflict. As this is Smallville’s last season, Superman/Batman direct to DVD animated films are a great way to get your superhero fix and probably the only place you can see someone get an upper cut that sends them into orbit.
FTC Advisory: I purchased my own copy of Superman/Batman Apocalypse.
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