Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (Review)
by Brian Tudor
DC Comics released their latest direct to DVD movie on September 29, 2010; Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. Like Superman/Batman: Public Enemies Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy are back as the voices of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight; they are joined on this outing by geek favorite Summer Glau as the voice of Supergirl and Andre Braugher as Darkseid. Daly and Conroy turned in a typically good vocal performance, while Glau was very convincing as Supergirl. Braugher on the other hand was on the one voice where you watch and say… “Hey, that is the guy from Homicide” whenever Darkseid was on screen. He lacked the necessary venom and cunning in his voice to be convincing as the lord and master of Apocalypse.
Enough about the voices… let’s talk about the animation. The artwork for this movie is based on the work of the late Michael Turner. Almost every character had a face too small for their head, and those small faces were all pretty flat. Honestly, it was kind of distracting while watching. The animation felt like it was rushed, unlike Public Enemies, which had some depth to the drawings. The other big issue I had with the art, all the characters just look angry and mean.
If you can’t tell yet I am not a fan of this movie, so let’s talk story. The pacing of the movie was awful; it was very awkward and jumpy. If it weren’t for dialogue (mostly throw away lines) you the good and gentle viewer would probably think this story took place over a matter of days rather than months. When Wonder Woman makes her screen debut it seemed like it was her first meeting with Superman, only to be calling him Clark in the next scene. It just didn’t make sense, even a simple “Two Months Later” title would have helped when the jumped to the very vaginal looking Themicsera.
Enough bashing, let’s talk about what I liked (we will get back to that in a bit). I liked the final fight between Supergirl and Darkseid; it was about the only part of the movie that made much sense at all. It was cool when Doomsday jumped out of a boom tube, and quickly became epic when he was followed by and entire army of Doomsdays. Of all the scenes on Apocalypse the best was when Batman forced Darkseid to let them all go by rigging the planet to be one giant bomb threatening to kill them all. The thing I liked most on this DVD… the Green Arrow DC Showcase short film, if you haven’t see it find it, watch it and love it.
Aside from the Green Lantern Universe, the Bat-family is my favorite in all of comicdom. So when you read my next sentence understand Superman doesn’t crack my top 10 in favorite heroes. In Superman/Batman Apocalypse, Superman is a complete and utter wussball, he get his butt kicked all over Apocalypse and then is used by Darkseid to destroy the majority of the Kent Farm after which he takes a nice little nap in space leaving Supergirl to do all the heavy lifting. Ok, where am I going? In Public Enemies I didn’t really care for how the characterized Batman and his “affection” towards Superman, so in Apocalypse it was hard to see them turn Superman into a Kryptonian punching bag. Here you are supposed to have the 1A super hero in the DC Universe and he was written to be naïve, weak and a little shortsighted.
Should you rush out and buy this DVD? No. Should you rent this DVD? If you have Netflix sure, if you don’t just wait for it to air on Cartoon Network sometime next year and you won’t be missing anything, especially not the $20 buck these things cost. If DC and Warner Bros. decide to do anymore of the Superman/Batman stories I hope they take a little more time with the script, production and casting; because for the first time since Superman: Doomsday I found myself very disappointed in a release.
– Brian (follow @briantudor on Twitter)