Superman/Batman: Apocalypse [2010]

Not sure what to think about Superman/Batman: Apocalypse?  Enjoy the characters but getting confused by all the varied releases, alternate timelines and ever changing voices?  Well you are not alone!  Let the Fortress help you out.

Batman outfit number 3000: The bat wetsuit.

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is what most casual fans would call “normal”.  It is not set in 1957 -or 1987 for that matter.  There are no strange costume variants; Superman is not a whiny kid in a hoodie.  In addition, the classic voices are back.  Kevin Conroy as Batman, Tim Daly as Superman, and Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman.  Just listening to them is like sipping hot chocolate next to a fireplace on a cold winter day.  (Never mind that it is always winter at the Fortress.)

We liked the art direction on Wonder Woman, but what is she doing there on the left? Starting a 1950's drag race?

New voice additions fit well including Summer Glau as Supergirl  and …Ed Asner as Granny Goodness?  Uhh, you just have to know the franchise for that one.  Andre Braugher weighs in as the deep gravelly voiced Darkseid.  It is pretty good, although we think it could have used a little audio manipulation to make it extra deep.  More like Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget.

Granny Goodness and her mysterious friend. She even looks a little like Ed Asner

The depiction of Darkseid was one of the better we have seen since the 1985 Saturday morning series “The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians”.  Darkseid has these awesome eyebeams, okay “Omega Beams”.  They do not travel in a straight line.  That old series handled them well and S/B:A followed suit there and with his voice.  Check out the original at 3:35 in this clip!

The plot in a sentence:  Superman’s cousin Kara Zor El crashes to Earth as a well constructed 19 year old with lots of super powers, little clothing and teen-aged attitude which gets beat out of her by concerned Amazons and caring (sort of) Darkseid culminating in an exploding, thunderous super-slugfest at the Kent farm …while along the way Batman does his usual cunning thing somehow hanging with the big boys.

Two questions: Are there any unfit Kryptonians? Why does this animator avoid drawing feet?

The animation quality is good and the battles are choreographed well.  It takes a lot to challenge Superman, Supergirl and Wonder Woman in hand to hand combat.  So some of the battles are a little contrived to do just that.  So what if Darkseid sends a couple hundred “Doomsdays” to keep Supes and company busy.  Its all in a days work.

He's a real "bad-axe".

Someone with an "S" on their costume should have thought of this earlier.

Perhaps that is the problem with the “super-heavyweight” class in which characters like Superman and Darkseid reside.  After you pass a certain invulnerability level, getting punched so hard that you actually achieve orbit is still not enough.  There is a massive slugfest at the end between Supes, Supergirl and Darkseid that pretty much tears up Smallville and creates ginormous craters.

However it loses satisfaction when you realize that these incredible hits and resulting explosive landings are really not accomplishing anything.  These combatants just seem to shake off the most impressive impacts in a few seconds and come back for more.

Blue eyes for everyone!

The one most satisfying part of this fight occurs when Supes goes a little buckwheat.  He creates this awesome tornado-like whirlwind around Darkseid pummeling him with blows faster than the eye can see.  Then he adds in heat vision!  Darkseid looks to be finally receiving real damage.  Then he shakes it off and grabs Supes face.  Huh?  The fact Bats was able to hang with these guys at all is a tribute to his brains.

This feature was good looking and fun.  It’s worth watching despite the occasional drawbacks, some stock plot elements and an ending that was a little saccharin. If you like these classic heroes check out this direct-release feature which treats them all with respect.

"And if you order today we'll also include eye-beams! Don't be the only person in this feature without them!"

Our Take on Superman/Batman: Public Enemies  [2009]

Check Out Our Takes on Other

DC Comics Superhero Related Media

Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman [2003]

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths [2010]

Justice League: The New Frontier [2008]

Batman: Under the Red Hood [2010]

Batman: The Brave and the Bold

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Wonder Woman [2009]

This is a stylish production of Wonder Woman’s origin focusing largely on the ancient culture from which she sprang.  You spend a lot of time amongst the reclusive sisterhood of amazon warriors of Themyscira.  In fact, the whole opening act comprises events long before Wonder Woman’s “birth”.  She does not don “the outfit” until about a third of the way through.

The one sentence synopsis:  A fierce but formidable warrior culture ran afoul of god of war Ares  and coincidentally lost all their men in the final battle so the women naturally decided to become recluses on a magically hidden island where their queen raises her miracle baby into the person who would become Wonder Woman before an unlikeable and crude Steve Trevor crashes on their island and is escorted back to the real world by her and along the way she learns more about the nature of men, her culture’s pride, and the power of a smokin’ body.

The birth of Wonder Woman: Call us crazy, but we think the old fashioned way with the birds and the bees is more fun.

Wonder Woman depicted here is more likable than the one seen in Justice League: A New Frontier.  (Of course that is not saying much.)  She is drawn well in a slightly stylized but generally universally appealing way.  Her looks are part of the bread and butter of the character, and they took strides to do them right and consistently if slightly simply.

"You know, just a little something I put on for physical training - and cheerleader competitions."

This is the non-flying version of Wonder Woman, and that is fine with us.  We do not think she needs that power – besides, it makes the invisible jet lonely.  Her fight scenes were well choreographed slug-fests that some of the other DC and Marvel productions should strive to match (cough –Hulk versus Thor).  The violence was not scaled back too much, especially in the opening act.

It is called fight choreography Marvel animation producers, why not try it? (For the rest of us it's a well constructed girl kicking butt.)

We did have a problem with their depiction of Steve Trevor.  Instead of being a very virtuous man he was depicted as a brave but coarse and somewhat depraved warrior.  It really was an unfortunate choice.  While the movie in general was not overly sexist, there were no good men anywhere to be seen.  Trevor is supposed to show the best in the gender, convincing Wonder Woman to measure all people individually.  We hope she does not judge all men by him.

Wholesome, All-American; this is what Steve Trevor is supposed to be all about.  Lyle Waggoner personified that well.  Just look at his teeth.  You know he is a good guy.

Wholesome and All-American. This is what Stever Trevor is supposed to be about. Just look at his smile as depicted here by Lyle Waggoner. How could you not trust him?

We like to call this, "Steve Trevor: Lecher". This is pretty much the impression he gives off the entire movie. Nice hair guy.

After the uncharacteristically bad voice casting in A New Frontier it was refreshing to see voice producer Romano back on her game with solid and appropriate voicing all around.  She and Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, etc.) even indulged themselves with cameos.  Good work if you can get it.

Were the producers trying to make a not-so-subtle and not-entirely-clear political statement with Ares atop the White House torn asunder? "The president is like Ares"? "Ares rules like the president"? "Ares wants power over us like the president wields"? "Politics is war"?

Wonder Woman was more adult and more interesting that Green Lantern First Flight, and more entertaining and understandable (and less preachy) than A New Frontier.  The writing was quality despite their questionable characterization choices, some plot jumps to various conclusions, and some overly plot convenient occurrences.  The dialogue and quips are where it is displayed.

If this was supposed to be a political statement, all it did was add unbelievablity to the feature. "Mr. President, an island has appeared out of nowhere in the middle of the ocean." "Hmm. Let's nuke it!" Wha?

The pacing could have been tighter, and the climatic jet chase and hand-to-hand fight scene dragged the tension out a little too long.  While it is far from perfect, it is one of the better recent direct to DVD animated features from DC and Marvel.

The dogfights were well done barring the overly long final chase. (We do not think that TV commercial windshield chip fixing goo will work here.)

PS - From what this feature depicts, the mythical Greek gods afterlife sucks.