I recently had the fortunate opportunity to see the new offering from DC in their series of animated movies; Superman & Batman: Apocalypse.  I’ve been looking forward to this movie for a while now since the release of Batman: Under The Red Hood.  Producer Bruce Timm and director Lauren Montgomery have outdone themselves this go around and have brought one of the best animated movies in the DC Universe to date.  Andrea Romano does another brilliant job as voice director for the film; backed up by a great cast makes this a can’t miss for fans.  After watching, I was excited to write this review and will warn you now that it contains a few spoilers.

The story begins shortly after the events in Superman & Batman: Public Enemies, with the impeachment of President Luthor and the destruction of the giant Kryptonite asteroid.  Unknown to anyone, the destruction of the asteroid has uncovered another unexpected secret as a piece of the asteroid crashes into Gotham Bay.  Upon investigating the situation, Batman discovers an alien spacecraft and a young girl fleeing the crash site.  After a brief chase and fight with police, the strange girl is captured and taken to the Batcave for examination.  Superman realizes that she is a Kryptonian like himself and she reveals that she is his cousin Kara Zor-El.  He takes Kara to the Fortress of Solitude where she is to be kept in isolation until she can learn to use her powers.  Not everyone is happy about Kara’s arrival; Batman senses that something is wrong and doesn’t trust her motives.

With gaps in her memory, Batman is cautious and warns Superman that she might be dangerous and could possibly be even more powerful than the Man of Steel.  Superman, ever the trusting soul gives young Kara a brief taste of what life is like on Earth.  Sensing that Kara is a potential threat Wonder Woman demands that Superman send her to Paradise Island where she will be taught to control her powers.  Among Diana and the amazons, Kara is able to fit in and taught to protect herself.  But unknown to everyone, an evil plot is taking shape on Apokolips.  Darkseid wants Kara and her powers for his own use and sends an army to Earth to bring her back to Apokolips.  An epic battle begins between the trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman against the unprecedented evil and manipulative mind of Darkseid.

 
Voice casting in the movie brings together a great assortment of talent to breathe life into these larger than life characters.  With Ed Asner as Granny Goodness, Andre Braugher as Darkseid and the beautiful Summer Glau as Kara/Supergirl, the cast also includes Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman who also voiced the character in the Justice League animated series.  But most importantly the voices of Superman and Batman are once again performed by the only two actors that could be considered and brought the characters to life in their respective animated series.  Tim Daly plays the Man of Steel once again as he did so superbly in Superman: The Animated Series and Kevin Conroy the fan favorite as the only voice there could be for Batman.

 

The animation done in the style of the Superman/Batman series of comics and graphic novel drawn by Michael Turner and written by Jeph Loeb is probably the best to date of the nine movies in the series.  A talented and well chosen cast along with excellent writing makes this a delight to the hardcore DC fan.  I was a little disappointed that Darkseid wasn’t voiced by Michael Ironside who portrayed him in the Justice League animated series, but Andre Braugher’s performance is refreshing and surprised me by taking the Lord of Apokolips to an all new and twistedly evil level.  The story full of surprise cameos and plot twists holds your attention right up to a shocking ending.  It left me sad the ride was over and wanting for more.  I can only hope that Bruce Timm and his team are planning a sequel or at least a continuation in the near future.

There is a mix of drama and humor that grounds the characters helping make them seem more real than their outwardly animated appearances.  Kara referring to Batman as “grumpy ass” and Clark’s defense of him was one of the best examples of the character interaction in the film.  It shows the mutual respect that Bruce and Clark have for each other in spite of having numerous differences of opinions and methods of getting things done.  I’m so looking forward to seeing what DC has in store for us with their next project.

If you enjoyed Batman: Under the Red Hood or the previous Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths you will love this latest installment and it’s a virtual must-see/must-have for fans and collectors alike.  Superman & Batman: Apocalypse is rated PG-13 and might be a little rough for younger kids due to some pretty violent fight scenes and some language.  You can pick up a copy on Blu-Ray, DVD or download on September 28.

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