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Mania Grade: B+

Maniac Grade: D

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  • 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


The Latest DC Comics Original Animated Film

By Tim Janson     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.


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irishjosh 9/27/2009 12:30:17 PM

yeah i watched this already it was really well done. Even though a little short it was good.

jfdavis 9/27/2009 3:35:44 PM

I definitely want to see this!  Only 67 minutes? At 71 minutes, I thought Doomsday was way too short...

My one question about this review is: How does a DC Comics movie foreshadow a Marvel Comics event?

tjanson 9/27/2009 4:12:08 PM that I'm referring to the government's crackdown on superheroes wtih some heroes working for the government and others going outlaw.

jfdavis 9/27/2009 5:46:22 PM

Oh, well, then yes it does!

Chopsaki 9/27/2009 5:56:13 PM

Tim Janson: "Some of the best scenes are just with the two of them talking together."

You nailed it. The relationship between Superman & Batman is one of the most interesting in all of comics. The good cop / bad cop vibe you get makes for great chemistry between the two. This dynamic I think was hurt the most by the short running time. Had the movie been longer I would of loved to have seen both dressed in civilian clothes as Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent just hanging out at a bar discussing the strengths and flaws of one another.


Aside from the short running time my other problem was with the minimal amount of foreshadowing of the Hiro Okamura/Toyman storyline. The way it was executed was almost an after thought as a nice plot device to wrap up the ending and save the world before the credits rolled. Also the look of the robot was ridiculous but thankfully Bruce Timm didn't choose to dwell on it too much instead moving the camera to long distance or first/third person shots.These 2 points stopped me from giving an A to what otherwise was a fantastic animated feature. The action was brilliant and the score complimented it nicely. Definetly worth checking out.

HudsonTaco 9/27/2009 9:49:15 PM

Far better than Superman/Doomsday I hated that movie, I liked it a bit more than Green Lantern: First Flight. But nowhere near as good at Batman: Gotham Knight. I also agree the robot was a bit silly.

When is The Flash gonna get some love?

TheSleeper 9/29/2009 12:38:09 AM

Haven't watched this yet, but plan to.  Glad to see this film comes with some special features that focus on Public Enemies itself.  

I recently got the Green Lantern: First Flight Blu-Ray disk, and while I enjoyed it very much, there were no featurettes that focused on First Flight -- it was all stuff for Gotham Knight and the other cartoons.  Where was my Tricia Hilfer interview?

Alphanumeric 9/30/2009 12:10:57 AM

They definatly need to throw a bigger budget at these. I'm just hoping that they're hoarding all of their ill gotten gold to produce a Crisis on Infinite Earths mega spectacular!!!


What? a guy can dream can't he?

melinacorbett 9/30/2009 6:19:06 AM

This is amazing movie . I like to watch these movies only on

Muenster 9/30/2009 10:48:14 AM

Wached it last night. Sure was short. I think that's alright because if I had to endure any more of that "poured into their clothes" and outrageously ill proportioned anatomical style of drawing, the former art teacher in me would have had a nervous breakdown. That said, I kind of enjoyed this particular tale of the famous pair. It had some very clever and witty dialogue, but a throughly wonderful preposterious story line. (Giant Kryptonite Meteor, Giant BM/SM Robot, Lex Luthor as President... Sheesh!) I kept thinking this could have easily been a 1970's superfriends episode, minus a lot of the borderline PG-13 imagery.

I liked the exchange between PowerGirl, Superman, Toyman, and Batman. Made sitting though the previous 55 minutes almost worth it.

SuperMan: (to ToyMan) You're absolutely sure this is going to work?

Toyman: Does PowerGirl have big...

BatMan: (cutting off ToyMan): Just feed "it" the numbers kid.

Still, the very poor artwork really tweaked me. So I closed the lid on the laptop and just listened to a couple of scenes. Not bad at all. This could have been a pretty good radio drama or book on CD.


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