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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Superman/Batman: Apocalypse" Review: Wonder Woman Steals the Show

DC has been cranking out the DC Universe original animated movies since 2007. And over the past three years, they’ve given us a number of different stars playing the key roles of Superman and Batman.

Yet eventually they always bring it back to the voices we really want to hear—Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy.

Daly and Conroy reunite for another Superman-Batman team-up, “Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.” But the title is a bit deceptive because Wonder Woman is just as important to the plot. And in fact, it’s her involvement that helps set this one apart from the rest…

Based on the comic story by Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner, “Apocalypse” follows the action after a mysterious visitor shows up on earth—Kara, Superman’s cousin. Batman is completely distrusting of her, Wonder Woman wants to hide her from the world and Superman just wants her to be a part of it. But super villain Darkseid wants Kara under his control to help finally rid him of Superman.

The action will force the heroes to take the fight to Darkseid’s home of Apocalypse where they will have to face all of his evil minions.

The story is the most simple and straightforward one they’ve done for a DC Universe movie. There are no complicated side plots or characters that you don’t quite understand. It’s just Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman taking it to the bad guys. And honestly, isn’t that what we really want to see?

Conroy and Daly get solid support from the voice cast including Summer Glau as Kara, Andre Braugher, who is perfectly cast as Darkseid, and Ed Asner reprising his role as Darkseid’s henchman, Granny Goodness. Plus, Susan Eisenberg reprises her role from “Justice League”/“Justice League Unlimited” as Wonder Woman.

My only real problem with the movie is that the final fight scene lasts just a tad too long. We got the point after the first five minutes. And the ending is a little too schmaltzy for me, but it’s perfectly fitting with the characters, so I’m willing to deal with it.

And you’ll forget all about that ending when you check out the newest DC Showcase short, “Green Arrow.” Every one of these shorts has been solid and quite honestly are even better than some of the full length features.

In this one, Green Arrow goes to the airport to pick up the love of his life (Black Canary, for those of you who don’t know his story), but ends up being caught in the middle of an assassination attempt.

The story is solid, the action is solid and Neal McDonough is completely awesome as the title character. I hope they’ll use him in a future full-length movie…

I didn’t get to see the special features (I have got to get me a Blu-Ray player!) but as usual, the special editions are packed with documentaries and bonus animation episodes. Plus, you get a first look at the next DC Universe film, “All-Star Superman,” starring James Denton (“Desperate Housewives”) as the Man of Steel.

“Superman/Batman: Apocalypse” is available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and combo pack now…

SUPERMAN, BATMAN and all related characters and elements aretrademarks of and © DC Comics. (s10)