Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Watching Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

Over the past decade or so Marvel and DC have been producing an increasing number of animated movies that go straight to DVD. As a comic book fan, I look forward to these movies because they are usually adaptations of story lines that would otherwise never make it into a feature film. I’m not entirely sure how appealing these movies are to viewers who do not follow comics, however, and it was pretty obvious in the early dvd’s that the creator’s weren’t either. Honestly, the quality of these movies is pretty hit or miss, and in the beginning there were a lot more misses than hits. I feel like they do keep getting better, and there seems to be a lot more production value put into them. DC in particular has put out a couple of pretty good ones recently, a couple of which I want to talk about later.
Right now, however, I have Superman/Batman Apocalypse in my blu ray player all ready to go. This just came out today so I don’t really know much about it. I know that it is adapted from a story line written by Jeph Loeb with are by the late, great Michael Turner. (I thought he was great anyways... he was often criticized for mainly drawing half naked, half starved ladies...)

It’s not not true...

Ok let’s begin. [Probably spoilers ahead!] First of all, I guess this is a sequel to Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. I thought that one was pretty disappointing, so let’s hope this is an improvement.

This opening sequence is fun. Kevin Conroy! Yes! There may be a debate about who played the best Batman on screen (I vote for Christian Bale, I never really bought Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne), but there is not contest for the voice of Batman. Kevin Conroy is Batman as far as I’m concerned. Tim Daly is back as Superman, which is good. As is Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman. A nice Justice League reunion thing going on. Summer Glau? She can do crazy, can she do Supergirl?

Actually, she can do whatever she wants

Not a big fan of the character designs here. You can tell they’re trying to emulate Michael Turner’s style, so they get bonus points for effort, I guess.

Why would GCPD ever think blimps are a good idea? They are floating bombs just waiting for some psychotic clown to drive it into a building.

Yay Krypto!

Ed Asner is back as Granny Goodness, a fantastic role for him. I like the design of her and the Female Furies. I am enjoying this fight scene right now. I’m not sure who the woman in white is, but I recognize the others from Supeman: the Animated Series. I’ve always had a thing for Lashina for some reason. Maybe it turns out I’m into bondage or what not...

Note to self: investigate that further...

Shopping montage? Really?

The fight against the Doomsdays was pretty boring. In fact, this whole thing is boring me a little. Maybe it’s because I know the story already. Now our heroes are on Apocalypse, and the action is picking up. OK, the Parademons look like Koopa Troopas to me so it’s hard to take them seriously. I guess no one ever takes them seriously, them being Darkseid’s cannon fodder and all.

Barda and Wonder Woman versus the Female Furies is turning out to be the best action sequence so far. Meanwhile it’s Batman + jetpack versus giant dogs. Whoops! He’s eaten! Batman’s dead! Spoiler!

Blood, swears and scantily clad women? Earlier, I was going to talk more about the primary audience of these movies, but it’s getting pretty obvious that it’s not children. It’s not that this is an x rated gore fest by any means (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but it does have a pretty dark and adult feeling to it. So if it’s not meant to get children into comics, then it’s obvious that it’s directed towards older fans who already into comics and know the stories and characters. I mean, how many people really know who Big Barda is? Also, judging from the amount of animated female flesh being shown, it seems like it might more directed at males than females. So, I ask again, just how widespread an audience is DC hoping for here. Male comic book fans may be extremely vocal on the internet, but it’s becoming pretty clear you can’t rely on them alone.

Well, the ending was fun. I enjoyed Batman's confrontation with Darkseid, as well as the final battle on the Kent farm. I was particularly amused when Darkseid grinned and grabbed Superman's cape. I have to say that there was some very impressive action. If that's the main reason you watch these movies, then go ahead and give this a watch. Overall the story was just O.K., but you may enjoy it more if you are unfamiliar with the original comics.

Final Grade: B

P.S. The Green Arrow Showcase is pretty good. I've never liked Green Arrow as a character, not even in Justice League Unlimited. He always comes off as one-note and preachy. I liked him in this. "Sorry I'm late. You ever try changing clothes in a Hybrid?" I thought that was funny. Of course he drives a Hybrid...