How does a kid’s movie better capture the tone of DC comics than their live action blockbusters? The fan in me was impressed, but what of the critic? Read on for my review of DC League of Super-Pets.
Krypto the Super Dog feels neglected by Superman, as the Man of Steel spends more time with Lois Lane and the Justice League. Krypto’s jealousy stems from the fact that Superman is his best and only friend. But Krypto must learn to play nice with others when a new villain captures the Justice League of America! The Dog of Steel is their only hope. Pup pup and away!
I was shocked to discover that DC League of Super-Pets is essentially a Justice League/ Superman movie with a heavy focus on their pets. I’m even more surprised, for some reason, at how adeptly the Justice League was depicted in this screenplay! They’re a tad more jokey than usual, sure– but the FEELING of them is perfect. THIS is the team I grew up with, and how I wish they’d be represented more often.
I hate how people think DC is dark, because stories like DC League of Super-Pets are how I’ve always pictured that universe. Most adaptations of DC comics are more optimistic than the movies (and more optimistic than Marvel, if you can believe it). I’m glad a new generation gets to see mainstream versions of these characters in this mold.
Batman and Superman in particular are incredible! Keanu Reeves steals every scene and gets the best one-liners in the film. Meanwhile, John Krasinski brings a warmth to Kal-El not seen in many years. He’s sorta awkward and sometimes corny, but full of love and compassion. That’s Superman.
Krypto and his friends all learn good lessons about the value of friendship. Their arcs resolved nicely and left me satisfied. And I think the story is enjoyable without beating you over the head with its message.
Dwayne Johnson is a strong lead! He has a tendency to play some version of himself in a lot of his roles, but I rarely remembered it was him. Johnson, to me, was just Krypto. And I consider that a high compliment.
Kevin Hart was reliably hilarious as Ace. His chemistry with Johnson was excellent, and effectively carried the film.
But it was Kate McKinnon’s villain which stole the show for me. I didn’t expect her character’s story to be as enticing as it was. And McKinnon’s delivery made me laugh harder than anyone else’s.
DC League of Super-Pets features a beautiful animation style– fluid and dynamic. I especially love the Metropolis design. Its sunny, golden sheen is inviting and warm as Metropolis SHOULD feel. Character art was more aesthetically pleasing for the animals than the people, but that’s more of a subjective thought.
This next point isn’t a criticism, but still something to keep in mind: DC League of Super-Pets assumes you roughly know DC’s world and its characters already. Which, to be fair, most of us know the big guys by now, don’t we? It’s far from inaccessible, because the lore is besides the point, but don’t expect any context.
DC fans of all ages will delight in deep cut references to the source material. Some of the easter eggs made my inner nerd squeal with glee! The care put into these otherwise throw-away moments convinced me that LoSP was in good hands. Its creators clearly care about DC’s history and weren’t just here for a paycheck.
LoSP made fantastic use of old DC themes. The song which stood out most for me is the ’78 Superman March. That hit me in the nostalgia. Music forms and triggers feelings which connect us both to current and past moments. In this case: LoSP’s music choices helped immerse me in this world by calling upon a childhood favourite film. Though it’s weird to me that current kids may come to associate that song with THIS movie…
This might seem a weird complaint, but LoSP has too many jokes! This, to be clear, is not so much an indictment of the jokes themselves– most of which landed. I’m more bothered that humour came at the expense of narrative flow. Certain bits (many of them not THAT funny) dragged out otherwise adequate scenes. There’s many a gag which could have been cut.
LoSP also, unfortunately lags in the middle. The beginning and end are strong (dare I say “awesome”) but the second act feels somewhat drawn out. I was never bored, to be clear; I just felt the script was relatively hollow.
My biggest problem with LoSP is that I took little away from my experience. My world-view wasn’t changed, I found nothing about the film-work exceptional (though it was above-average in competence), and its story didn’t blow me away.
However, I was entertained and I’d gladly watch a sequel if one should materialize. LoSP may not have been incredible but it was good. And its tale about the bonds of friendship (largely between owners and pets) had me on the verge of tears at certain points. Animal lovers better get their tissues ready, and cynics can stay at the door.
DC League of Super Pets makes me want more Krypto in more media! He used to be around more– even in my childhood. But nowadays he’s barely in anything, even the Superman comic books. Krypto clearly has more potential than DC explores.
LoSP also makes me yearn for more Superman adaptations! Please Warner Bros: let more of these sincere and unabashedly silly Silver Age-styled adventures come to pass! The superhero genre sorely needs more of them if it’s to stay relevant…
DC League of Super-Pets might make you feel something, so it’s Worth a Watch.
Did you know Krypto the Super Dog already? If so from where? What did you think of DC League of Super-Pets? Please share your thoughts in the comments (no spoilers please). If you have any ideas for future articles, or any questions, let me know.
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Till next time,