Photo: ‘DC League of Super-Pets’
On paper, the idea of making a feature film centered around Superman and Batman’s canine companions may leave a studio executive conflicted. Greenlighting and making a film with a premise similar to this one may either turn out well or go very poorly. Obviously, this kind of story usually ends up in animated form, often for the better. The talents of the voice cast usually make or break the film as they bring these animated characters to life and are responsible for grabbing hold of the viewer’s emotions and making them care about these characters. The animation itself must also flow smoothly and must fit the type of story being told. Does Warner Bros.’ new animated film ‘DC League of Super-Pets’ hit each of these marks?
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The answer is a definitive ‘yes.’ While DC’s live-action films have been either strong hits or massive misses, their track record of theatrically-released animated films, such as ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ and ‘Teen Titans GO! To The Movies,’ have always been of high quality and seen considerable returns at the box office. ‘DC League of Super-Pets’ is another superlative addition to that portfolio. The film features the type of standard, kid-friendly, animation style that is used in many mainstream animated films, but it does so to make the most out of its characters. The voice acting from the main cast is always witty and never misses a beat. The story itself knew when to let us laugh and make us shed a tear. Overall, the film is a win for Warner Bros., DC, and the animated genre as a whole.
‘DC League of Super-Pets’ – On Point Voice Work
The film features the voice talents of Dwayne Johnson as Krypto, Superman’s super-powered dog, John Krasinski as Superman himself, Kevin Hart as a shelter hound named Ace, Keanu Reeves as Batman, and Kate McKinnon as an evil guinea pig named Lulu. Also lending their voice talents are Vanessa Bayer as a super-powered pig named PB, Diego Luna as a paranoid super squirrel named Chip, and Natasha Lyonne as flirtatious old turtle with super-speed named Merton, who are all also confined to an animal shelter along with Ace. Each actor seems like they thoroughly enjoy playing their respective roles. Usually, when this is the case, it results in a relatively solid performance as is the case with this film. Johnson infused enough life and energy into Krypto to make this super-powered canine a fun character to follow throughout the story. Admittedly, during the beginning of the film, it is hard to see Krypto as a character on his own and not as a piece of animation voiced by The Rock, given how distinct his voice is.
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The same is the case when we first meet Ace, Hart’s character. However, this block is quickly overcome as we spend more time with Krypto and Ace. Luna and Lyonne were also hilarious as Chip and Merton respectively (though why a squirrel would be held in a shelter and be available for adoption is unknown, this is barely a logic hole, if at all).
The voice cast for many of the human heroes in the film also bring their A-game. In the case that he really isn’t going to play Mister Fantastic in the MCU’s upcoming ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot, Krasinski can officially add his name to the shortlist of actors who can say they have portrayed the Man of Steel on the big screen. After this film, there is still yet to be a lackluster interpretation from an actor of Superman, as Krasinski maintained much of the hero’s aura while also adding the loose, self-aware aspect of this particular rendition of the character. Keanu Reeves, despite not having many lines as the Caped Crusader, is comedically brilliant as Batman.
The Best ‘Justice League’ Movie Yet
While the film is mainly focused on the pets, as it should be, the actual Justice League team does have a sizable role in the film and, as of the release of this movie, is the best portrayal of the DC’s premier superhero team yet. 2017’s ‘Justice League’ film was a poor interpretation of the team that did not do its characters justice (pun intended) and was just a flat-out bad movie. The director’s cut of the film, the infamous ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ released on HBO Max in 2021, was a significantly better film that satisfied the fans campaigning online for its realization, however it was distributed via streaming as Warner Bros. would surely not have released a 4-hour-long R-rated version of a movie centered around its own version of Marvel’s ‘The Avengers.’
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This film features the best on-screen interpretation of the Justice League to date. The team’s lineup includes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman, and Green Lantern (with Jessica Cruz being the ringbearer). Without going into spoilers, the team is given its own role in the story and can be seen in action a few times during the film. This is what ultimately can be appreciated about this film; it succeeded in making us care about the actual protagonists of the film, the League of Super-Pets, without degrading and still highlighting the more familiar characters, the Justice League.
A Great Animated Film
Animated films have been making their case in theaters this year with one hit after the other, even those that deserved a theatrical release, but were instead dumped on streaming (‘Turning Red’). ‘DC League of Super-Pets’ continues this year’s run of stellar animated features with a film that is fun, hilarious, heartwarming, and, in some ways, even relevant and delivers a time at the movies for both kids and adults.
Directed by: Jared Stern, Sam Levine
Written by: Jared Stern, John Whittington
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, John Krasinski, Keanu Reeves, Kate Mckinnon, Vanessa Bayer, Diego Luna, Natasha Lyonne
By Nader Chamas
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Nader Chamas is an aspiring television writer who seeks to fuse thought provoking progressive ideals into the films, shows, and stories that he loves. Having graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Screenwriting, Nader seeks to use his writing to advance causes that do not get enough attention or input across mainstream media. Like most, Nader has his own share of his favorite franchises and stories across pop culture. However, he seeks to contribute timely and relevant topics into these stories as well as in his own original material. This is why Nader’s analysis of popular films and tv shows matches The Hollywood Insider’s practice of discussing entertainment from a socially cognizant and critical perspective.