on September 20, 2009
Ok before I start, let me clarify something: Unlike the reviewers before me, I have actually SEEN this movie, so my review is not based on the graphic novel of which the movie is based, nor what the movie might be like based on who's behind the making of it. I HAVE SEEN THE MOVIE. Now that thats out the way, onto the good stuff.
I know a lot of Batman, Superman, and Batman/Superman fans were holding their breath on this one. With all classic the DC Comic character movies coming out lately (some of them not as good as others) it was reasonable to assume that "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" the movie could have gone either way. Well good thing for the loyal fan base, this was definitely a hit. I can say I am more then pleased with how this came out, and I have every intention of buying this DVD and watching it again the day it comes home with me.
One thing is abundantly clear when watching this movie: WB Entertainment, and more importantly, DC Comics actually LISTENS to their fans. One of my (and others) biggest fears in this was that we were going to be hearing some sub-par voice acting for the main characters involved, i.e. Superman, Batman, and Lex Luthor. As with past offerings from WB Entertainment ("Superman: Doomsday" for example) we got some weak casting for the voices of Lex and Sups. That alone detracts greatly from the overall enjoyment of the movie. With Public Enemies however, we have the best voices ever cast for the starring 3 roles: Tim Daily as Superman, Kevin Conroy as Batman, and Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor. For those who could give two flips about these guys, they are the same voices from the popular shows Justice League Unlimited, Batman The Animated Series, and Superman the Animated Series.
On top of superb voice acting, the animation is crisp, sharp and just plain beautiful. Again, faithful to fan feedback, the artists from Justice League Unlimited seem to have had their hands in this project, because the art is pretty much the same (which is by no means a bad thing), and it looks great. Almost straight from the comic.
Speaking of which, as far as the story goes, keep in mind while watching this that its an adaptation to the comic. That being said however, the movie stays remarkably faithful to the story told in the comic. Minus a few altered frames, scenes and situations, its like reading the comic all over again, except with no imagination needed to enjoy it. The story in general is a very good one, highlighting Batman and Superman's friendship and giving you a glimpse into how deep it really goes. Granted, you get more of that in the comic then you do in the movie, but the movie compensates for the lack of inner dialogue with good script writing, full of the humorous exchanges between Sups and Bats and emotional moments and outburst we know and love from our favorite caped heroes.
This is a great movie, and you don't have to have read the comic first in order to enjoy it. Even the review value is moderately high, I can and WILL be watching this again as soon as I can, and some more times after that. This is worth price, grab it and enjoy a motion picture work of art.
on October 1, 2009
So I watched Superman/Batman:Public Enemies twice in one day after I got it. And I will keep this review short as most of the main points have been hit by the people who reveiewed this already (at least the ones that waited till it came out). So here's my break down and the end will be final comments.
It was adpated from Jeph Loeb's first arc on the ongoing comic. Love it or hate it, but it was a very faithful adaptation, streamlining something that was basically a set up for the subsequent arcs as well as Infinite Crisis. It was silly, and balls to the wall, and the only gripe I had was not explaining why the Robot was a better choice than Luthor's missles (Answer, robot was made of Metallo, not the guy, the alloy.) But hey all and all I liked what they did.
Characters (voice and portrayal):
WHOA! Okay I read the comics and almost forgot the laundry list of vilains who come out the cracks for the bounty. Batman and Superman were pitch perfect and their banter was great after seeing them so serious with each other all the time in Justice League and JLU. Tim Daly returning for Superman was great to have, though I'm one of the few that feel George Newburn's performance as the character is just as good. Kevin Conroy and Clancy Brown however are the quintessential Batman and Lex Luthor respectively. Props to getting CCH Pounder to return as Amanda Waller even if the charatcer model looked horrendous. Lastly the supporting charatcers were great. However I wonder why so much fuss was made about LeVar "Reading Geordi LeForge's Rainbow" Burton as Black Lightning when he had one line. Killer Frost was a throwaway villain that had more to say. *Sigh* Wasted talent.
ART AND ANIMATION:
Again based on the source material, the art style took a muscular turn and was fully mimicing Ed McGuiness' style where every male looks like a "Masters of the Uninverse" figure. I personally love his style and always though it would translate well to the screen. I was mostly right. They made Superman look too young, and I think it's because of the eyes. McGuiness does the squinty look better than most, and we see this in Captain Marvel's design, and in the comics Superman has the same look sometimes. That plus the cheekbone line makes him look a bit older. Well probably out of fear of backlash (last time they put lines on his face people said he looked too old, and in "Doomsday" he looked even older)they elft those lines out and he looks too young. Everyone else in my opinion looked fine. Okay Powergirl's eyes bugged me too but I was distracted by something else.
I liked it. It was a great action flick, and didn't need too much character development. It's Superman and Batman, if you don;t know who they are why are you even picking up te movie. It's a buddy flick with wall to wall action. My biggest issue is it felt rushed. At 67 minutes it's like 15 minutes shorter than previous releases and could have really benefitted from them. That said if you like the characters and you like action this is worth it.
The preview for the next upcoming animated feature, Jusitce League: Crisis on Two Earths was great. Yes I know after Public Enemies going back to new voices will suck but they got some good ones. Mark Harmon makes a pretty good Superman, I'm on the fence for Billy Baldwin as Batman (needs to be grittier), James Woods does an amazingly devious and twisted Owlman, and Gena Torres was great as SuperWoman. Hope you enjoy!
on November 12, 2010
Superman and Batman are two of my favorites. I watched their animated series, their straight to dvd movies, the comics, and pretty much anything I can get my hands on. So when I watch this movie, I was very entertained, hearing the classic voices from the animated series return, and feeling like a story that could fit into the shows continuity if you let your mind go. The trouble was that I can't help feel that I loved the nostalgia and the memories watching this brought more than the actual movie itself. Sure, it was fun, but a bit uneven, with a little less character development than I had hoped for. While I ordinarly would ding the movie, it didn't really bother me. I'm not sure if it was because the animation and story was entertaining enough to get past the flaws, or because I felt like a kid again watching my cartoon. Either way I liked the movie and will watch it again. I'd only recomend caution when watching this movie, as you may not get the same level of entertainment as I did.
on February 26, 2016
I choose this rating because the movie is good. What I like about the movie is that a desperate solution for a troubled country: Lex Luthor for President with the Justice League in the service of the government. Only Batman and Superman stand against the new regime and their disloyalty proves to be exactly what Luthor intended. Using their outcast status to instigate a scandal against Superman, Luthor finally tastes a victory in his vendetta against the Man of Steel. From Executive Producer Bruce Timm and voiced by the cast from both hit Batman and Superman animated TV series including Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly and Clancy Brown, this DC Universe Original Animated Movie based on Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness's popular graphic novel seethes with political intrigue and action-packed battles between heroes all believing they're on the right side of the law. What I dislike about the movie is that I wanted to see more of it. I would recommend this movie to other people.
on December 29, 2012
Never got long-winded, tons of action and looked great. Oddly enough, some of the scenes suffered from some noticeable jaggies (and my screen's only 32 inches, so it was definitely noticeable). Once the action kicks in, you don't notice it anymore, so it's all good. The animation style for this movie was pretty unique; this didn't have the stylings of the Superman show OR the Batman animated series, which is pretty rare for the DCU movies as far as I can tell. Batman had a very Frank Miller-esque thing going, which I definitely can dig.
This is just a really good value; you've got the feature clocking in at an hour and a half, and there's TONS of extras. Interviews with the creators, previews for other DCU projects AND they slapped a four-part Justice League Unlimited story arc and a couple Superman episodes as well. I paid ten dollars for this. I would gladly pay $20.
I'm more of a Marvel fan when it comes to the actual comic books, so keep that in mind, but as someone who can follow a bit of the DC mythos, I picked up on the story relatively quickly and enjoyed it start to end. I do get a LITTLE confused from time to time when I see things like Lex Luthor being President (not much of a spoiler; you see this about two minutes into the movie) and I'm not sure if this is considered canon, is based loosely on canon, or is considered an alternate universe episode. Not that this keeps me from enjoying it, regardless of what it actually is.
DC puts a lot of love into the majority of their animated features. This is now one of my favorites.
on January 23, 2011
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is the 6th feature in DC's growing line of animated movies, and adapts the comic of the same name, which was originally by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. When a giant kryptonite asteroid is spotted heading for Earth, President Lex Luthor uses the situation as leverage to frame Superman and post a billion-dollar bounty on his head. Now Superman and Batman must outwit Luthor and destroy the asteroid all while being hunted down by heroes and villains alike.
This is one of the smarter direct adaptations in DC's animated movie line. Unlike Superman: Doomsday and Justice League - The New Frontier which both tried to cram too much story into a limited runtime with varying results, Public Enemies has just the right amount to service this kind of project. In fact, once screenplay writer Stan Berkowitz has stripped away the fat (some extraneous side plots and ties to Infinite Crisis) and added a few reasonable workarounds, you're left with a pretty tightly paced adventure that clocks in well below the usual 75-minutes (the case lists the film at 67). I've read the comic multiple times and while I can appreciate Jeph Loeb trying his hand at some Grant Morrison-esque plot twists involving a time-traveling Superman, the film takes out all that convoluted goofiness and is much more accessible to the casual fan.
What you lose in the comic-to-film translation however, are Batman and Superman's narration capsules that often presented dynamic, opposing views on the same situation. To make up for this, the film tries a bit of casting shorthand by using Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly as Batman and Superman, fan favourites from Batman: The Complete Animated Series and Superman: The Complete Animated Series. Clancy Brown and CCH Pounder also reprise their roles as Lex Luthor and Amanda Waller, so where the script puts emphasis on action over character, at least you've got some familiar voices to guide you through.
And yes, this is primarily an action movie whose main function is to serve up battles with characters from all over the DC Universe. One major action set piece throws out all kinds of notable and obscure cameos to the point where you'll probably give up trying to name everyone. The animation and direction are at their best when the characters are pounding on each other, and Ed McGuinness' bulky style translates well to motion. The lack of any deep plot really isn't an issue here - whereas I found Green Lantern: First Flight somewhat lacking as it failed to explore a character that's not as well known to the general public, here Batman and Superman are pretty much who we expect them to be. The fun buddy cop banter from the comics is intact, and Public Enemies rides safely on their interaction. One plot point did leave me a bit confused, however, and that is the resolution to a certain tag-team battle seems to lack a bit of explanation as to how it actually went down (here, the comic was equally vague).
The Special Edition offers up a few extras - the lack of commentary is disappointing, but longtime fans will enjoy the casual dinner conversation with Bruce Timm, Andrea Romano, Gregory Noveck and Kevin Conroy as they discuss the legacy of Batman: The Animated Series. Overall this is a pretty fun and solid entry for hardcore and casual fans alike, and continues the high standard of DC animation.
on January 2, 2014
You might like this if you just like seeing a plot that creates the excuse for a pack of DC heroes/villians to go up against Batman and Superman, but I was ultimately disappointed for two main reasons: the pair wins too easily, and they don't look good doing so. Batman isn't on display as the brilliant tactician he is, and Superman doesn't go over the top with his powers, as he might against this many powerful foes. I will say that the banter between Superman and Batman is great. Frankly it's hard to get that wrong when a Super Boy Scout and an Amazing Criminal Artist are having a conversation. But Batman should know better their enemies than Kal-el does--that should be the point of the team--up. Superman is an idealist; Batman is not. Superman is the muscle, Batman is the brains, and that doesn't really hold well here in this film.
I won't pick on the writing, because it's a DC story that's been done before and I see nothing wrong with re-treading good comic plots as animation, especially in the brilliant way that "The Dark Knight Returns" 1 and 2 did; sticking almost word for word to a Frank Miller script. With this film, the plot is fine; the details just don't suss out. My technical knowledge of animated films is limited here, but, whoever blocks the Batman (director or animator, I'm not sure) was very much at fault for this movie being disappointing. Very little thought went into the Batman's tactical skills and any display of his prowess lacks creativity. Batman knows how to beat villains with more cleverness than using grenades to collapse a roof, or to use his own lines (when grabbed by a foe) to shift his momentum towards an attacker. Batman falls down a lot in this film in which he is a lead. This lack of blocking Batman in clever ways bleeds into the animation because there are too many moments where the Batman just stops in the middle of a fight. He should be constantly on the move, predicting the next attack, never sitting still, almost fluid. To that end, be it writing or blocking or animatics, he's just not used well here. (For a great example of the way Batman's moves should be choreographed in animation, consider Cowboy Beebop's "Asteroid Blues". I don't know if there's rotoscoping in that scene or not, but the fight in the cafe is tight, colored well, fluid, and believable.)
More importantly, every time Batman goes through a wall or has a ton of rocks piled on him is evidence of the writers' inability to think of something more clever that he might do to avoid the injury. He's a strong guy, but he can't take getting thrown through a wall constantly. Batman's ability largely stems from his thinking, he's not invincible. He's smart, and the movie seems to miss this point entirely.
Regardless of that aspect of the film, my real problem with this animation is the animation itself. DC's showcases and other films have attained a certain standard with regard to art and motion, and this film just doesn't live up to that standard. Somebody cut the budget. Shading and colors are not fluid when compared to The Dark Knight Returns Parts 1 and 2 or Gotham Nights or Batman/Superman Apocalypse--most DC animated pieces. There again, the blocking is at fault first; the "castling" maneuver in the film--meant to be a moment when Batman and Superman switch enemies--just doesn't work because the proximity is foggy and the point of the maneuver even more questionable.
This is old advice about writing good stories--show, don't tell. This movie fails on this principle often. There's such a great role for the new Japanese Toy Man here--I must have missed something in the comics in that I don't know where he came from--but I like him, and I like what he can do for the story. What I can't stand is that Luthor's head is exposed in his suit and that Superman doesn't have to pull him apart but just head butt him. Superman, in the course of this movie beats Doomsday, beats Metallo, and beats Mongol, and he's having a hard time with Lex Luthor in a robot suit? Lex Luthor has plots on plots on plots; why let it come down to a fist fight with Superman, of all people?
The problem with this animated film is two-fold: One, the two central characters have to be displayed at the top of their talents and they just aren't. They manage to survive getting hit again and again, rather than figuring out ways to keep from getting hit. The second is that there is no fluidity in the animation that reflects the heroes' talents. Superman can move at speeds you can't imagine or animate, so you need to come up with clever ways to illustrate that. Same with Batman. You have to think carefully about how he beats a foe that appears beyond his means to beat. Batman has to be the most imaginative and forward-thinking guy in the world to beat these foes. But Superman and Batman win--they always win. And as a writer, director, animator, you've got to give constant thought to how that should seem plausible (within comic book rules) and make that effort. It's got to be surprising, maybe impossible, very clever--these are smart heroes. They're not smart in this film.
on January 22, 2011
In desperate times individuals rise to power with promises for new hope and restored sanity. People who are desperate will accept the word of a madman if they believe it will aid them in their plight.
So, it is with this fine film. The madman in this case is Lex Luthor who is elected President of the United States and brings the superheroes into his fold, except for Superman and Batman.
It is their reluctance to unite with President Luthor which results in them being branded Public Enemies with a trumped up murder charge. Adding to the plot is a giant slab of Krypton hurling toward the earth with an extinction countdown for the human race. President Luthor believes he can save the earth with his intellectual brilliance without Superman.
A billion dollar bounty is placed on Superman and Batman. The pantheon of super villains and heroes come gunning for them.
This is well crafted--the story is first rate and the action is like an old fashioned Saturday matinee. PG-13 is the rating.
One tidbit: Power Girl is voiced by Allison Mack, Chloe of Smallville. Power Girl's character is well integrated with an obvious crush on Superman. The conversation between her and President Luthor is priceless as he attempts to convince her that Superman has been adversely affected by the approaching meteor and cannot be trusted. Her inward conflict is well demonstrated, but her belief in Superman is stronger than her conflict.
This 2-Disc set has plenty of extras and previews of upcoming DC films. There are two nifty cartoons from Superman: The Animated Series--
1) The Demon Reborn
2) Knight Time
Both are well written and drawn. Just a special treat all around with this 2 disc set.
on May 13, 2014
The two disc version included two episodes of the Superman the Animated Series from the late 1990s. Both excellent, especially when Superman had to pretend to be Batman in "Knight Time" Public Enemies collection contained two long extra features, one a documentary on the psychology of Batman and Superman, and the other was a dinner conversation with the producers, directors with Kevin Conroy (voice of Batman). This second feature went on too long and eventually got tiresome. I got exhausted from the talking heads of the crew of producers and writers--they actually discuss too much. Should just watch the main feature.
The film itself had what it would be like if Lex Luthor became President of the U.S. For awhile he is perceived as good and the army (literally) of superheroes supports and works for him. But not Superman or Batman. They become outlaws and after a long series of battles they beat Luthor and a meteor that comes to Earth. Though only 66 minutes long it felt longer than that, in fact it felt a lot longer as so much happens, so many battles agasinst an army of costumed superheroes, most of which I did not recognize. Those I did recogize include Katana, Hawkman, Bane, Mr Freeze, Powergirl, and Metallo. But there were many others. There were several who could create ice from air. They battle Metallo (a cyborg), one of the few who could kill Superman, but he ends up being killed himself and Superman is blamed by Luthor for that murder. Although it was another energy being who killed Metallo (forgot the name). One of the plot strings in the film is the murders are a frame up devised by Luthor to destroy the public image of Superman. So the film also spends time with Superman trying to recover his good name. Of course, Luthor is defeated and Batman saves the Earth and Superman saves Batman. All ideas done before elsewhere.
Entertainment for entertainment's sake. Needs to be watched more than once to figure out what's going on, so I only give to four stars instead of five.
The premise of the film is a bit unbelievable but once you can get past that, it holds up pretty well. In this version of the DC Universe, a "reformed" Lex Luthor has been elected President of the United States on the promise of pulling America out of the economic doldrums.
Government scientists find, to their horror, that a massive Kryptonite meteor is heading for earth. Luthor is determined that he does not need help and that he can handle this better than anyone, even Superman. He does, however, reach out to Superman, seeking, so he claims, to bury the hatchet and to ask him to join his team of government-sponsored and paid heroes, consisting of Captain Atom, Starfire, Katana, Black Lightning, Power Girl, and Major Force. Superman declines, of course, but then realizes that the meeting is a trap, as Luthor's chauffeur turns out to be Metallo. In the ensuing battle, Batman saves Superman but both heroes are badly injured and must escape through the sewers to the Batcave.
Luthor, meanwhile, has doctored the video of their encounter, making it seem as though an out-of-control Superman has viciously attacked him. He pretends that the radiation of the approaching meteor must have had an effect on Superman and he promises an award of $1 billion to anyone who can bring him in.
Superman and Batman are out trying to work out just what's going on when they are discovered and attacked by a whole army of villains, each eager to claim the bounty. Superman and Batman take care of most of the bounty hunters (Silver Banshee, Captain Cold, Icicle, Killer Frost, Mr. Freeze, Gorilla Grodd, Bane, Black Manta, Black Spider, Brimstone, Catman, Cheetah, Copperhead, Deadshot, Kestrel, King Shark, Brutale, Despero, Giganta, Girder, Lady Shiva, Mongul, Captain Boomerang II, Nightshade, Parasite, Solomon Grundy, and Shrike), and the remaining foes are dealt with by Luthor's pet super-heroes, who then promptly turn on Superman in an effort to bring him in.
Luthor's solution for the Kryptonite meteor threat fails and an appalled Amanda Waller discovers that Lex has been mainlining a Kryptonite-based drug, which has been making him stronger but also turning him into even more of a megalomaniac than he was before. He decides that there will be no further attempt to stop the meteor and that the resulting cataclysm will allow him to take over as lord and master of a new world order.
Superman and Batman discover what Luthor is up to when they infiltrate his stronghold after further battles with other DCU heroes. They have a plan to stop the meteor but Luthor escapes and does his best to block them.
I liked the action sequences; it was nice seeing all of these heroes and villains in pitched battle. However, it's a bit hard for me to accept that Superman's fellow heroes, in particular, could be so easily manipulated, and the ending had a bit too much of the deus ex machina to suit me but overall I found this to be an entertaining story and a solid adaptation of the original graphic novel. The only other thing I disliked was that the artwork was a bit more exaggerated than most of the other animation, with ridiculous abs, an even more ridiculous Power Girl (you can guess which body part, in particular, I'm referring to), and massively built-up chests, shoulders, and backs. Once you get into the story, though, that becomes less of an issue and it didn't bother me. On balance, I have no problem recommending this.