By:Tim Janson
Review Date: Sunday, September 27, 2009
Source: Mania

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is the latest DC Comics original animated film.  The story is based on the graphic novel of the same name which in turn collects the first 6 issues of the Superman/Batman Comic series, originally written by Jeph Loeb.  The plot of the story foreshadows events which would take place in Marvel Comics’ “Civil War” series a few years later on a much broader scale.

 See exclusive Superman/Batman: Public Enemies clip HERE

The Movie

Lex Luthor is the new President of the United States and immediately begins to rein in superheroes, notably his archenemy, Superman.  He creates a super-powered task force that includes Captain Atom, Major Force, Black Lightning, Power Girl, and Starfire.  Knowing Superman will never go along with his plans, Lex uses the crisis of a Kryptonian comet on a collision course with Earth, to proclaim Superman an outlaw and place a one billion dollar bounty on his head.

Superman finds himself in unfamiliar territory, labeled a criminal and allies with Batman to take Lex down.  That is not going to be easy, however.  Every super villain wants to claim that bounty and soon Superman and Batman find themselves battling hordes of villains including Solomon Grundy, Silver Banshee, Giganta, Mongul, and Gorilla Grodd.  They even have to go toe-to-toe with fellow heroes Hawkman and Captain Marvel.  The Crisis deepens as Superman and Batman race to find a way to stop Lex and destroy the meteor before it strikes the Earth.

For the Producers of the film, the greatest coup was being able to reunite Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy as the voices of Superman and Batman.  It brought a familiarity to the film from their work on the previous animated TV series.  The rest of the cast is equally stellar:  The menacing Clancy Brown returns as Lex Luthor with C.C.H. Pounder back as Amanda Waller.  Other cast members include Smallville’s Allison Mack as Power Girl; John C. McGinley as Metallo; and LaVar Burton as Black Lightning.

No two heroes are more different in the personalities and their outlook on the world than Superman and Batman and yet the strong bond and mutual respect they have for each other is one of the central points of the story.  These two cornerstones of the DC Universe suddenly find themselves on the outside and have only each other to rely on. Some of the best scenes are just with the two of them talking together.  But don’t get me wrong, Supmerman/Batman: Public Enemies is loaded with action including some huge brawls as Superman faces off against a few of the characters who can stand toe-to-toe with him.

The animation was very fluid, especially the fight scenes and was even superior to the Superman/Batman animated TV series.  One weakness, however, is that at just 67 minutes, the Loeb story is rushed. This film is a good ten minutes shorter than all of the other recent DC Comics films. Let’s produce a film that does the source material a little more justice! (No pun intended)



DVD Extras

The two-disc DVD set comes with an impressive list of extras:

There are ten minute featurettes on DC’s Recent animated films including Justice League: The New Frontier; Batman: Gotham Knight; Green Lantern: First Flight; and Wonder Woman. 

There is an inside look at the next DC animated film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (11:00) which deals with the Crime Syndicate, an evil version of the JLA.  This film looks hot!

A Test of Minds: Superman and Batman (19:00) This featurettes explores the history of the Superman Batman team that began back in the 1940s in the pages of World’s Finest Comics.

The Blackest Night: Inside the DC Comics Event (8:52) This explores DC’s major cross-over event of 2009-2010 as the dead of the DC Universe rise as a chilling new Corp of Green Lanterns.

Dinner with DC: With Special Guest Kevin Conroy” (26:00)Reprising his role from Batman: The Animated Series, Kevin Conroy joins the crew for dinner to discuss their creative approach and what the Superman/Batman team-up means.  The evening will be hosted by Voice Director Andrea Romano, Producer Bruce Timm and DC’s Gregory Noveck.

Also included are two hand-picked episodes by Bruce Timm from the Superman: The Animated Series TV show, both teaming him with Batman.

Mania Grade: B+
Maniac Grade: D
Title: Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
Rated: Unrated
Cast: Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, Clancy Brown, C.C.H. Pounder
Writer: Jeph Loeb, Stan Berkowitz
Director: Sam Liu
Distributor: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Original Year of Release: 2009
Extras: See Below
Series: Superman/Batman: Public Enemies