While the Legion Of Super-Pets comics were a prominent piece of many childhoods, it’s nevertheless remained relatively obscure compared to the golden children of the comic book world. As such, the release of this summer’s DC League Of Super-Pets came as a surprise to many!
Directed by Jared Stern, this animated feature stars none other than Superman himself alongside his vastly underrated super pooch, Krypto. It follows the story of a group of downtrodden rescue animals waiting for their chance to escape or be adopted – either way, they’re looking for a second chance at life. Among them is Lulu, an ex-test guinea pig of Lex Luther’s who has become embittered after being ripped away from her scientific colleague by Krypto and Superman. Determined to get back to Lex, Lulu seeks revenge on the entire Justice League, hatching a diabolical plan involving various forms of kryptonite.
The movie features voice acting talent such as Dwayne Johnson as Krypto and Kevin Hart as Ace, both of whom showcased some fantastic vocal chemistry. Jumping between surly backchat and well-meaning banter, the pair did a fantastic job of selling the love/hate friendship between their two characters. However, the stand-out performance goes to Kate McKinnon’s role as the diabolical guinea pig, Lulu. A typical posh-voiced, moustache-twirling (figuratively – you’ll find out why) villain, these dastardly vibes took things back to basics with a classic comic book feeling. And I’m talking real classic; typical good guys Vs. bad guys sort of stuff.
This wacky comic feel also extends to the writing, which is why I would say that younger kids are definitely the primary target here. It’s brimming with bright colours, fun action scenes and spectacular boss fights. Meanwhile, the moral discourse remains relatively black and white. Besides the cliche, quickly resolved ‘believe in yourself’ moments that films of this ilk tend to present, you don’t really think about much when watching DC League Of Super-Pets, other than ‘that was fun’, or ‘oh, that looks cool’.
That said, the screenplay was still pretty impressive for a film of this genre, compliments of a co-writing partnership between John Whittington and Director, Jared Stern. Something I enjoyed about the writing was its unapologetic self-awareness. DC certainly wasn’t afraid to poke fun at its own creations – especially Batman, bless his poor, angsty heart!
For a movie primarily aimed at children, it was heavily stacked with subtle adult jokes. Not only does this make it a snicker-worthy experience for children and their parents alike, but it also gives the movie an inherently longer lifespan. It’s something the current child audience will be able to rewatch in later life through an entirely different lens. This is undoubtedly one of the most clever ways to write a family film, making it instantly more memorable by increasing its chances of being handed down through the generations.
While the plot did jump around a bit, DC League Of Super-Pets was a good call on DC’s part. With the current focus predominantly placed on its older audiences, it’s nice to see that DC’s movie verse hasn’t forgotten about its younger fans. Funny, bright and beautifully stupid, this film makes a great entry point for kids looking to take their first few steps into the vast and exciting world of comics.
What did you think of the Super-Pets silver screen debut? Was one good enough, or is it worthy of a sequel? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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