Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Together, they fight crime

And tonight we'll be reviewing Superman/Batman: Public Enemies Animated DVD. And we'll find out the answers to the following questions:
  • Can they do the whole "dual commentary" schtick that was the signature stylistic tick of the original stories?
  • Will the creative excellence of Bruce Timm, Stan Burkowitz and co cancel out the Jeph Loeb stupid?
  • Will there be as much Bruce/Clark homoerotic subtext as in the original comic?
  • Are Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly and Clancy Brown rad? (Answer: HELL YES)
  • Can they pull all of this off in 67 minutes?

My commentary as I watched the movie is listed in roughly chronological order below. I put in some time tags where I thought it was appropriate and it wouldn't be too spoilery.

-Alright, the opening sequence looks like a showcase of all the paranoid fears of the last decade (both left and right) in pretty short and effective package.
-Luthor's speech on superhumans has a lot of Civil War echoes in it.
-The titles sequence resembles a montage of Tom Clancy book covers mushed together - not that that is a bad thing at all; actually, it's a nice stylistic choice.
-Well, that's probably the most advanced political discussion I've ever seen in an superhero cartoon, and probably one of the most nuanced I've seen in the superhero medium, no matter what you think of the arguements on Johnson and Nixon.

-Repeat after me: CCH Pounder as Amanda Waller is always a good thing
-There's a lot of little touches - Holographic Lex Statues outside the Capitol building, that reinforce the idea of Lex's brilliance and his vanity. Nifty, well done, and way more nuanced than anything we saw during "President Lex" in the comics.
-(10:08) Ah, the old couple bickering is alive and well with Bruce and Clark.
- The Superman/Metallo fight? Pretty OK, although they use a rather "unique" interpretation of Metallo, and they are playing Kryptonite a little differently than I remember.

-(15:45) Ah, there's some classic Bruce/Clark banter.
-(17:15) Oh god, subtext? What subtext? It's literally breaking through the screen and punching you in the face. The dialogue is word for word from the boook, and that should tell you how unsubtle it is.
-(18:47) Nitpick time: I do not care for the voice acting on Alfred here. Also, while Alfred with a shotgun is always awesome, I would like to hope that billionaire Bruce Wayne has installed some fallback security measures for his home that don't necessarily involve resorting directly to him.
-The Power Girl/Lex sequences have a nice seductive undertone that Clancy Brown just nails.
- Bruce dissing Lois? Yeah, there's no way to hear that without detecting a note of jealousy.
- That's a pretty nice superbrawl there - well animated, it covers a lot of action in a short amount of time without feeling too choppy.
-And that's the most impressive Captain Atom has been in any medium ever.
-Note to Captain Atom; When one of the your subordinates makes an offhand crack like that, you should really consider having a little one-on-one chat with the guy.
-The Batman and Superman/Hawkman and Captain Marvel fight is a little too short for my tastes, with no really impressive sequences for any of the participants.
-That said? Corey Burton should be put on contract for any future Captain Marvel voicework.
-You know, for a guy who doesn't believe in killing his enemies, Batman has a LOT of high explosives on him.

-Crazy Lex is fun.
-Toyman is a lot better here than he was in the original comic version.
-Kevin Conroy, as Batman, saying "wow" - and now I've seen it all.
-"Best friend" - Awwwww (Keep telling yourself that Clark)
-Now that is a good Superman/Lex Luthor fight - people making the next Superman movie, please please please take note.
-The ending here is pretty cheeseball, but effective. It also acknowledges a big missing piece that might have made for more of the movie, but I'm guessing was cut due to time and/or budget.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Virtually none - if you've rented Green Lantern: First Flight, you've seen them all already, sadly.
Overall evaluation: Yeah, it's a pretty fun light action romp - and far less explicit violence than any other DC direct-to-DVD animated feature to date. Pity it's so light on special features though. Check it out and give me your thoughts.

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