Superman / Batman: Apocalypse [Blu-ray] (2010)

Actors: Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, Andre Braugher, Summer Glau, Susan Eisenberg
Director: Lauren Montgomery
Writers: Jeph Loeb, Tab Murphy
Producers: Lauren Montgomery, Alan Burnett, Benjamin Melniker, Bobbie Page, Bruce W. Timm
Format: Animated, Widescreen
Language: English
Region: 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Number of discs: 1
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: September 28, 2010


When one scratches away all the style, there isn’t a lot of substance left in Superman / Batman: Apocalypse, the latest made-for-DVD full-length animated effort by DC.

In fact, when one thinks about it, the plot might as well have been an old Superfriends episode: arch villain Darkseid kidnaps Superman’s cousin to turn her to the, er, Dark Side and make her work for him. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman infiltrates his lair to rescue her. And that’s about it. (Obviously there will be a showdown between a brainwashed Superman and Supergirl, and so forth.)

The plot serves as little more than an excuse to meld several fighting scenes together, and while that can be said of most superhero comics, the truth is that after the clever multiverse actioner Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths it all comes across as a bit of a letdown. Add to this the fact that the character of Batman has precious little to do, and that the story (based on a popular comic by Jeph Loeb) might as well be a Supergirl origins story instead of a Batman / Superman team-up then there is no doubt lots for die-hard fans – at whom the movie is ultimately aimed - to gripe about.

(We won’t even go into the other creative missteps: Superman appears to wearing eyeliner and what the heck is the deal with Krypto the superdog! Come on! What are we? Six years old or something?)

THE DISC: The Blu-Ray contains the usual package of extras for DC’s animated series, and as usual, it’s a fairly mixed bag.

A documentary about Supergirl fails to lend any insight into the character… and indeed spends an inordinate amount of time justifying her bare midriff. A second documentary covering Jack Kirby’s creation of the New Gods is much more interesting, though the short featurettes on Orion and Mister Miracle remain distressingly routine. A ten-minute short film on Green Arrow is up to the series’ usual high standards, with great kinetic action and a solid vocal performance from Neal McDonough in the title role.

A quartet of episodes from Superman: The Animated Series—two featuring Supergirl, two featuring Darkseid—and a preview of the next entry in DC’s direct-to-video animated movies round out the disc.

WORTH IT? As a sequel of sorts to Superman / Batman: Public Enemies, it ain’t bad. However the rest of the movie is not as good as its kick ass opening sequence. A pity.

RECOMMENDATION: Newbies might be lost. Despite its faults, there is still much to commend Superman / Batman: Apocalypse. The animation is of the high quality one would expect and the voice talent is spot on (Kevin Conroy was born for this!). Superman / Batman: Apocalypse should appeal to long-time comics fans, but perhaps it is time to undertake a more ambitious storyline next time. Brad Meltzer’s Identity Crisis anyone?

- James O'Ehley, with additional reporting by Rob Vaux



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