Saturday, August 18, 2012

ANI-MOVIES, *Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

Being so far being the only direct sequal to one of the DC Universe movies, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse acts as a follow-up to Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. It was based on the second story arc from the Superman/Batman comic book series which regularly teams up the World’s Finest, although this one acts more as an origin story for Supergirl in the new DC Universe. Lauren Montgomery takes over from Sam Liu as the director, who also did the Wonder Woman and Green Lantern animated movies. Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy return as the voices of the title characters, along with Susan Eisenberg coming back from Justice League as Wonder Woman, and Ed Asner reprising his role as nasty-ass Granny Goodness. The addition of the sultry Summer Glau as Supergirl is a real bonus for the fans too. Despite the title though, there isn’t anything really “apocalyptic” about it, at least not in the Earth-destroying kind of way.

Set sometime after Luthor was impeached, a chunk of the Kryptonite crashes into Gotham Harbor, which had a small lifepod in it. Batman goes to investigate, and discovers that there was an occupant in the pod with powers and abilities far beyond those of normal hot blonde chicks. While walking around dazed in Gotham, she realizes she has super-strength, heat vision, and can fly. Batman tries to bring her in, but the mystery girl accidently knocks down one of Gotham’s numerous automated police blimps(might wanna rethink about having those be piloted, Gotham PD!). Superman stops the blimp from causing any real damage, and after Batman scans the alien girl at the Batcave, he realizes that she’s really his cousin, Kara Zor-El. Superman brings her to the Fortress of Solitude where he brings her up to date on Earth and its culture. He tries passing her off as Clark Kent’s cousin, although Wonder Woman steps in to take Kara to Themyscara for special training so she can control her powers better. Cut to a few months later, Kara has had special warrior training under Wonder Woman and Artemis(the “ex-Wonder Woman”), and befriends Harbinger, who here she just goes by the name Lyla. Meanwhile, Darkseid plans to kidnap Kara to add her to his honor guard, so he teleports an army of downgraded Doomsday clones to keep the heroes occupied while he kills Lyla and makes off with Kara. The Big Three enlist Big Barda for a Boom Tube to Apokolips(that’s how its spelled!), and all go off on seperate missions. WW and Barda take on Granny Goodness’ Female Furies, Batman tracks down a storehouse of explosions, while Superman battles a brainwashed Kara who is intent on destroying her cousin. Batman threatens to use Darkseid’s explosives to destroy Apokolips if he doesn’t release Kara from his control, and he reluctantly lets her go. Once back on Earth, Clark takes Kara to live on the Kent farm for a while, but Darkseid bursts out of the house(probably was waiting their couch!)and wailes on Superman by Falcon Punching him into the atomosphere. Kara gets pissed, and starts tearing Darkseid a new a-hole, however Darkseid gets the advantage. Superman gets a brief solar recharge which gives him the strength to beat the rocks out of Darkseid, and ship him through a Boom Tube into deep space. Kara then decides she wants to use her powers to protect people, so she adopts the identity of Supergirl to follow in her cousin’s bootprints.

Unlike a few of the other DC Universe movies, this one followed the comic book pretty much to the letter. There were quite a few but still minor changes in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, but this really stuck to the original source material. The character designs were closely modeled after those of the artist’s, the later Michael Turner, with the characters being very lean and muscular. The film also has probably some of the best fight sequences in a DC Universe production since Wonder Woman. The Special Edition DVD and Blu-Ray also features an original DC Showcase of Green Arrow, plus a cool retrospective on the history of Supergirl. You don’t have to watch the original Super/Bats movie in order to enjoy this on its own, that and its a great introduction to Power Girl Jr.!

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