Following other DC’s A-list storyarcs getting celluloid treatment, Superman/Batman—Public Enemies the Movie finally hit the DVD with all the WHOMP!s and UUMPH!s that will send the fans banging on WB/DC Studios doors demanding the powers-that-be to animate more of their favorite stories, and that they’d better be quick about it, or else…
The film is based on Superman/Batman—Public Enemies storyarc that DC ran from October ‘03 until March ‘04, with the creative power house of Loeb, McGuiness and Vines delivering what I felt when I read the story to be a very refreshingly jubilant joyride of slugfest, though there is still much darkness scattered inside the colorful panels (The event in the story did lead to one of the biggest projects ever conceived by DC).
Yet, as the film needed to be a standalone, avoiding much mucks that drag many serialized comics (and hurt this comic fan’s wallet), we see pretty big changes that fortunately won’t cause the viewers who might be unfamilliar with the source story or even with (horror…) the characters and the universe scratch their heads and, halfway through, decide to switch to America’s Got Talent instead.
America was in the dumps (bet nobody saw that coming), the God-fearing weapon-loving Americans voted Lex Luthor POTUS. And, whaddayaknow—he seemed to be doing a pretty darn good job at it. But, as a big chunk of space rock the size of Brazil believed to be a part of Planet Krypton after its End Day (the planet exploded, not getting major shower, that’s what leads to the End of Days, sheesh…) was ready to hit Earth and wipe out all existence, President Luthor saw this as the ultimate opportunity to show the Americans how his xenophobia had all those times been nothing short than prophetic, i.e. Superman-being from-Krypton-somehow-attracting-that-big-BIG-meteorite-to-Earth. And as Luthor was a certified ex-evil genius, who were we to argue?

And so Superman became a fugitive and the hunt for the Last True Boyscout (accompanied by the ever-cunning Batman) began; hence, the title.

The actions in the film (and in the comics) were superb and the people working on the film did some terrific job translating the comic panels to animation: Superman-Batman vs. Metallo; Superman-Batman vs. the whole damn army of supervillains; Superman-Batman vs. President Luthor federal sanctioned superheroes; Superman-Batman vs. Captain Marvel-Hawkman—the fights went fast but with enough details that can make you appreciate seeing just about everybody get the chance to try to rearrange the Big Blue’s mug (sometimes I wonder if the people responsible for the story are also xenophobic. Those ba——ds!).

The biggest change made for the movie that I notice is taking away Captain Atom’s big role and having Batman (again) replace him, to do what needs to be done—in the comics we get to learn quite a lot about Captain Atom from this part of the story.

The film’s animation by Korean animators, and I like the way the characters move. Sometimes in the fights, fists flew pretty slow with the result that we can see that rearranging Superman’s mug-thingie pretty clearly, so I guess those were intentional.
Many dialogs, utterance, one-liners abd jokes from the comics make their way to film, and that is nice.
The character designs tried a bit too hard to translate the clear artworks of McGuiness and Vines, resulting in the bulbous upper arms, chests, thighs and much of everything else, including chins…or are they jaws??
And Power Girl did a great job providing an, uh, ogleful.

January 15, 2011