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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.