With the exception of Justice League: The New Frontier, we’ve seen four different solo adventures with the D.C.U.A.O.M. This time around, the World’s Finest gets to join forces in a tale called…
Originally released on September 29, 2009, this film is based on the opening story arc of the comic series “Superman/Batman”, originally written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Ed McGuinness. As such, let’s dive into the film and not only see what changes were made for the adaptation, but also if this film is worth our time.
We open upon a proud nation in severe freefall: crime rates on the rise, employed citizens in decline, the economy is stuck in a horrid crisis and even a state of emergency declared with riots breaking out and military officials being called in to handle the growing fracas.
As an answer to this monumental panic, long-time DC foe Lex Luthor (voiced by Clancy Brown) has declared his running for the position of U.S. President.
He ultimately gets elected as President and announces during his public speech that he’s assembled a small superhuman group to act under his watchful eye against superheroes that “act on their own as judge, jury, and often executioner”.
Taking part in Luthor’s mini-armada (from left to right) is Captain Atom (voiced by Xander Berkeley), Black Lightning (voiced by Star Trek TNG’s Geordi La Forge himself, LeVar Burton), Power Girl (voiced by Chloe Sullivan herself, Allison Mack), Katana and Major Force (voiced by Carlos Solis himself, Ricardo Chavira).
Following the opening title sequence, we cut to a car chase in progress. The felon is blazing at high speeds in a sports car as he easily maintains a strong distance from the chasing cops. However, he begins to approach a busy toll booth and slams on his brakes to try and stop in time. Just then, he starts to hover into the air and we see him getting saved courtesy of Superman (voiced by Tim Daly). As he carries the car to the other side of the toll booth, he sees Power Girl, Captain Atom and Major Force waiting for him. As the felon threatens to take his own life, Superman uses his X-Ray Vision to aim for the gun and then use his Heat Vision to destroy the firearm, allowing the cops to come in and make the arrest.
Afterwards, Captain Atom and company try to convince Superman that ever since Luthor took his place in the oval office, America has shown a vast amount of improvement. However, Supes isn’t convinced that his long-time nemesis has permanently changed his ways and that he’ll never trust him.
Deep within governmental confines, Pres. Luthor gets informed that a giant meteor made of Kyptonite is on its way to Earth and that it will fatally crash into the planet in one week.
When asked by fellow high-ranking governmental figure Amanda Waller (voiced by C.C.H. Pounder) how he’ll take care of the incoming crisis, Luthor states that he’ll use missiles, even telling her that he did the calculations himself. Waller then asks why he doesn’t just use his superhero team to take care of the situation, to which Luthor says that he only wants them to follow his commands and won’t allow Earth’s fate to be saved by “freaks and monsters” to which Waller replies that he wants to take all the credit & glory. Duh.
As such, Luthor addresses the media about the meteor and that he wishes to talk to Superman in order to deal with it. We see that Supes is watching the broadcast from within the Bat Cave and that his fellow comrade Batman (voiced by Kevin Conroy) has been following the meteor on his instruments.
Superman suggests that he could go into space and take care of it while wearing a lead-lined suit, to which Batman states that it won’t work since it’s giving off far too much radiation for even the most heavily-enforced outfit to withstand and that it also wouldn’t be able to handle the constant smashing. As such, Superman states that he’ll go ahead and meet up with Luthor.
We then cut to the docks where Supes arrives to see Pres. Luthor and the Secret Service waiting for him. Luthor tells Superman of his plan to send twelve missiles against the oncoming meteor, but that his fellow officials aren’t completely confident in his plan and that he needs a back-up. Lex then states that he wants Superman to work for him, to which the offer surprises the Last Son of Krypton.
When one of Lex’s Secret Servicemen approaches them, Superman starts feeling dizzy and weakened. It then dawns upon him that this was actually a trap. What’s worse, that same Secret Service member also happens to be John Corbin a.k.a. Metallo (voiced by Dr. Perry Cox himself, John C. McGinley). As the rest of the Secret Service escort Luthor away with their second limo, the two of them begin to tussle. With his kyptonite heart constantly bothering Superman, Metallo is easily able to go on the offensive in the early going.
Fortunately, Superman is able to counter with a swift left hook, slams the presidential limo onto Metallo, and then uses his Heat Vision to ignite the gas tank and blow the vehicle up. However, all this did was destroy Corbin’s human skin to reveal his actual cybernetic body.
As the two continue to swap punches, it starts becoming clear that Metallo is able to withstand Superman’s hits as he quickly repairs himself from the constant damage. Not only that, he’s able to transform his arms into various weapons, like a hammer and a chain saw.
Ultimately, Metallo smashes Superman into the ground and then transforms his hammer into a constrictive grip around his face and preps to cut him up. However, the Man of Steel escapes with the help of his Heat Vision.
The fight ultimately makes its way towards a nearby graveyard. As the rain starts to fall down, Superman is forced to go into hiding while Metallo continues to hunt down the Man of Steel. Superman then tries to fight back by throwing cemetery monuments at him, but Metallo is able to shake the hits off and reach him. He even grabs Supes’ neck in a way where he won’t get hit by the Heat Vision. Just then, a Batarang comes in and strikes Metallo’s arm, causing him to let go of Superman. Also, more Batarangs come in to strike his chest to deliver a huge jolt of electricity.
Batman comes in and tries to help Superman escape, but Metallo is able to quickly recover. As such, he extends his left arm to grab the Caped Crusader by the neck and whip him around the graveyard. Batman tries another batarang, but it only strikes the kyptonite heart as Metallo easily pulls it out. Superman then uses his Heat Vision to melt off the metallic arm and free Batman. Just then, Metallo notices a kyptonite shard lying right in front of him. As such, he uses his free hand to form a gun around it and fire. The shard hits Superman in the chest, causing him to fall into an open grave. Batman then proceeds to slap a pair of plastique explosives on Metallo’s back and leap into the grave before the explosion engulfs Corbin.
Batman then goes to work in trying to remove the Kyptonite shard from Superman before the wound closes up and dooms the Man of Steel, but Metallo is able to recover and turns his arm into a crane to bury the two of them alive.
Fortunately, Superman is able to uses his remaining strength to hold back the crushing dirt mound. Knowing that Metallo is still up there and that they’re too weary to take him on, Batman figures that since the graveyard is right above the sewer system, they’ll use another plastique explosive and use Superman’s body as a shield so that the two of them can escape.
As he walks away from the grave, Metallo then feels and hears the explosion. After he runs back over and see the blackened hole, a shadowy figure then confronts him.
Following the explosion, Superman and Batman are able to recover enough to get back onto their feet and start making their way towards the Bat Cave.
They ultimately make their way towards one of the entrances, which is blocked off by an electrical gate. Even in his weakened condition, Superman manages to have enough strength to withstand the surging energy and rip it open.
They’re ultimately confronted by the Wayne Family butler Alfred Pennyworth (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer) who manages to use his medical expertise to remove the kryptonite shard from Superman’s chest and contain it in a small lead casing. He even manages to patch up and wash his uniform in the process.
As Superman approaches the heart of the Bat Cave, he and Batman view another presidential broadcast from Luthor. In the telecast, they see that Metallo has been murdered and that Lex blames Superman for it.
As the broadcast continues, Superman was right about his early suspicions as Luthor used a set of hidden cameras to make it look like the Man of Steel was the one who sent John Corbin to his early demise.
He even backs up his claim by saying that the approaching Kyptonite Meteor is somehow affecting Superman on a psychological level. As such, he then offers up a bounty of $1 billion to anyone who’s able to turn Supes over to the authorities.
Following his speech and after everybody has left, President Luthor begins to go into his drawer and reach for something very peculiar…
…but gets interrupted when Power Girl drops by to tell him that she’s doubtful about Superman ever stooping to murder. However, Luthor is able to easily sway her in the fact that ever since he took over as President (we find out in this conversation that he’s been America’s head honcho for three years), he’s been able to show signs of change and that it’s possible that Superman could have also gone through this dramatic development within that same time span.
With Superman outraged by the fact that he’s been branded as a criminal by his own adopted home, he and Batman try to prove their innocence by getting to the bottom of this and stopping the Kyptonite Meteor. As such, they break into S.T.A.R. Labs and make their way towards the morgue.
A certain scent leads our twosome towards Metallo’s lifeless robotic shell as Batman scans him. It turns out that he was actually killed by a radioactive blast. Just as they make this discovery, two security guards burst in. This causes Superman to carry Batman as they make their escape.
Just as they try to figure out where else they would get the necessary data that would straighten this mess up, a loud shriek hits them with enough force to make Superman lose his grip on Batman. It turns out that it came from the villainess named Silver Banshee.
As Superman goes to take care of her, Batman is able to use grappling hook to land safely on the ground. However, he finds out that she’s not the only criminal out to claim the billion dollar bounty as he gets confronted by a group of icy cold villains. On one side, there’s Icicle and Captain Cold…
…and on the other side, we have Killer Frost and Mr. Freeze.
Just as Superman defeats Silver Banshee by taking her high enough into the atmosphere to make her black out, Batman’s efforts of defending himself takes a sharp turn as he finally gets encased in ice. Fortunately, Superman is able to make his Heat Vision rain from the skies to hit the icy foes with enough force to knock them out as he also thaws the Dark Knight from his frozen prison.
As additional measure, Batman then places a hypersonic device onto Silver Banshee’s throat to effectively take her out of the fight.
Just as our heroes are able to catch their breath, they see two gigantic and muscular figures make their way towards them and proceed to begin a new brawl.
Batman finds himself being overwhelmed by the muscular zombie foe named Solomon Grundy (voiced by Corey Burton) and even finds himself drowning as he gets his face shoved into the nearby fountain. After it appears that the Dark Knight has been defeated, Grundy picks up his victim and decides to take his mask off to reveal his identity. However, it emits a stunning gas that slows him up just as Batman regains consciousness and effectively takes him down.
Immediately afterwards, he finds himself up against the fierce martial artist known as Lady Shiva. She gives the Dark Knight a decent fight, but Batman quickly takes care of her and knocks her out for the count.
Meanwhile, Superman finds himself getting punched, stomped on and chest-blasted by Mongul (voiced by Bruce Timm in a cameo). Fortunately, all it takes is one catch of his punches to allow the Man of Steel to retaliate and take care of the tyrant who usually tries to strive for things greater than the likes of money.
Superman and Batman quickly realize that the villains they’ve been facing either haven’t been their usual talkative selves or have been abnormally speechifying. Their point is further validated as Supes gets attacked by Nightshade (voiced by Rachel MacFarlane), as they quickly notice that her speech pattern is not in her usual way.
Fortunately, Superman is able to spot where the mind-controlling has been coming from, Gorilla Grodd (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson). He’s been on top of a monument and letting his mental powers make others do all the dirty work. Fortunately, Batman is able to wrap his grappling hook around the titanic telepathic and have Superman use his strength to tug it down and deliver a knockout punch to the face. This causes him to lose his mental grip on Nightshade, allowing Batman to take her down with a knockout gas-injected Batarang.
Just then, Superman hears even more supervillains coming towards them. Sure enough, a large group of fatal foes arrive to each claim that oh-so elusive billion-dollar bounty.
From well-known faces to some of the more obscure ones, loads of super-powered criminals arrive to each get their shot at the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight. All of them tried, but none of them could succeed.
Just as more villains try to throw their hat into the ring, Captain Atom comes in to break up the fight by causing a massive explosion. It causes all of the villains to get knocked back and chased away. As the dust cleared, it turns out that he also brought the rest of his team, which now includes an orange-skinned, long-haired, green-eyed woman named Starfire. Superman is initially glad to see them, but then gets told that they have a Federal Warrant for his arrest.
Meanwhile, President Luthor and Amanda Waller are on their way towards a military base to take care of the Kyptonite Meteor. Luthor seems to be having a headache, but shakes it off in saying that he’s fine. Ultimately, they arrive at the base to begin prepping the missiles for launch.
After Superman refuses to turn himself in, both sides begin their tussle. Slowly but surely, Luthor’s mini-armada gets taken down as Katana’s swordsmanship proves to be no match for Batman.
Meanwhile, Superman has Starfire flying after him while shooting out her starbolt projectiles. Ultimately, Superman is able to counter with his Heat Vision as he uses the explosion as a distraction in order to fly really hard into her. Meanwhile, upon defeating Katana, Batman finds electric bolts being shot down to him courtesy of Black Lightning. Superman’s able to take him down by ramming him with Starfire and smashing them into the ground. Captain Atom tries to sneak in a blast, but Power Girl yells for Superman to ‘Look Out’ which allows him to dodge. Afterwards, the good captain goes in and successfully sends Superman hurtling towards the fountain.
Just then, Major Force comes in and starts delivering blow after blow onto the Man of Steel. The dear major continues to pummel away until he gets restrained by Captain Atom, allowing Superman the opportunity to escape.
In doing so, Supes starts to rapidly spin around Luthor’s squad and causes them to get violently sucked into the whirling vortex.
Just as Power Girl is about to join her comrades in the circular whirlwind, Superman is able to carry her away from her team as he and Batman make their escape.
Back at the base, preparations for the full-scale missile launch are nearly complete as the general states that their scientists have run through the scenario and are doubtful about the final results. However, President Luthor will hear none of it.
Just then, he gets contacted by Captain Atom who receives the report of his team failing to capture Superman and that they lost Power Girl in the scuffle, to which an enraged Luthor then yells at the good captain to “Finish Your Job!”. After hanging up, Captain Atom tells the remaining team that capturing the Man of Steel won’t be easy since they no longer have Power Girl, to which Major Force responds by saying that they should have killed them when they had the chance.
After Captain Atom scolds him by saying that they don’t kill people, the scene ends with Major Force smugly saying “Is that right?”.
In Metropolis, Superman and Batman have their conversation with Power Girl over on the Daily Planet’s rooftop. During said talk, she mentions how even though Luthor’s the President, just being around him makes her feel uneasy and that she doesn’t agree with his statement about Superman being the one who killed Metallo.
Just then, Captain Atom arrives alongside Major Force, Black Lightning and Starfire. They’re surprised to see Power Girl now fighting alongside Superman and Batman. Soon enough, both sides resume their brawl.
Power Girl initially lands a punch on Captain Atom, but gets quickly overwhelmed by Black Lightning and Starfire’s projectile attacks. This prompts Superman to come to her rescue by easily subduing the two all over again.
Afterwards, the Man of Steel finally has his throw-down with Captain Atom.
Over on the rooftops, Batman is on the defense as he continually gets blasted at by Major Force. Batarang after batarang continually gets shot down and he even scores a hit on the Dark Knight, but not before some miniature explosives were tossed his way and blows up a piece of the roof for him to fall through. During this, Superman manages to hit Captain Atom with enough force to send him crashing back down onto the roof.
Immediately afterwards, he overhears Batman’s conversation about how it was Major Force himself who was secretly ordered by Luthor to kill Metallo and how he blindly followed said orders so that Lex’s plans could get set in motion. As such, Major Force becomes enraged and starts rapidly blasting away at Batman.
Seeing an opportunity to end the fight, Power Girl flies up, dodges an energy blast and hits Major Force with a devastating blow to his stomach. This hits him hard enough to greatly puncture his containment suit.
As such, Black Lightning responds by using his lightning to create a force field. However, Batman states that it’s not going to hold up for much longer.
As such, Captain Atom comes in and tells Superman that he heard the conversation before absorbing the vast amounts of nuclear energy. The unstable energy continues to build up as he tries to channel all of Major Force’s exceeding power within himself.
The energies build themselves up until an explosion sends the two figures smacking into the rooftops. As the smoke clear, we see that Major Force has been wiped out of existence…
…while Captain Atom ends up lying injured and unconscious.
Over at the base, Lex Luthor and his officials begin their missile strike on the approaching Kyprtonite Meteor. After launching them into space, they end up getting sent through a Worm Hole Generator so that they can arrive at their target sooner. They reach the meteor and engulf it in a huge explosion, but Luthor and company would quickly find out that it didn’t do anything due to the intense level of radiation. This caused the missiles to explode before they even got a chance to strike as the meteor continues on its destructive path towards Earth.
Later on, a frustrated Luthor is unable to find any new calculations or anything else that would help out. He then remembers that he has his peculiar object with him and proceeds to use it.
Meanwhile, Power Girl leads Batman and Superman to the outskirts of the military base. She then tells them that Luthor even has an office in there, to which Batman believes that the necessary data on the Kyptonite Meteor will be there as well. Power Girl then gets sent off to do her duty while Superman and Batman head towards the base on foot.
Just then, our heroes get ambushed yet again by more superheroes. Superman ends up tussling with Captain Marvel (also voiced by Corey Burton) while Batman finds himself netted and fighting for survival against Hawkman (voiced by Michael J. Gough).
Both heroes put up a valiant effort, but both find themselves getting outmatched in every way. That is, until Batman tells Superman to swap fighting partners with each other via castling.
As such, Superman finds himself fairing better against Hawkman while Batman manages to take down Captain Marvel with a hidden surprise from his glove.
This hits him with enough force to plummet down onto the Earth. Batman goes to investigate and sees that he’s reverted back to his original form as the child named Billy Batson. When the Caped Crusader asks if he’s alright, Billy launches a sneak attack by saying “Shazam”. This sends down a bolt of lightning to send Batman flying and even has him transform back into Captain Marvel.
Meanwhile, Superman plans on taking down Hawkman the same way he defeated Silver Banshee, but the winged avenger counters with his left arm band forming “The Claw of Horus” (basically an energized fist) and decks the Man of Steel back into the rocky landscapes as the scene ends with him and Captain Marvel regaining the advantage.
With seemingly nothing to prevent the Kyptonite Meteor from crashing into Earth, the public breaks out into full panic mode. As such, Amanda Waller goes to confronts Luthor about the growing crisis. However, she gets a full-blown surprise when she sees him injecting himself with said peculiar object. It turns out to be steroids mixed with kyptonite, giving him abnormal strength but also eating away at his sanity. It also turns out that he’s been using this deadly mixture since the final week of his presidential campaign.
Luthor then states that he’s going to let the Kyptonite Meteor strike the Earth, causing the deaths of billions of people. Waller tries to slap some sanity into him by suggesting that they’ll call upon the services of “that boy in Japan”, but Luthor refuses said help. He states that after the meteor annihilates a good majority of the planet’s population, he’ll be around to build a new civilization. He even sees Waller alongside him in this new world order as he creepily plants a kiss on her.
Just then, Luthor gets an intercom message saying that Captain Marvel and Hawkman have returned. He confronts them and asks if they took care of Superman and Batman, to which “Captain Marvel” states that they’re right in front of him. To the shock of Luthor, it turns out that Superman is disguised as Captain Marvel and Batman as Hawkman. When asked by Luthor on how his two superpowered bodyguards were taken down, Superman states that “we had some help” and demands for the meteor data.
However, the looming piece of radioactive rock causes Superman to get weary again. Batman takes over, drags Luthor over to a nearby computer console and demands for the data. Luthor starts to comply, but then tells his computer to delete it. Batman uses the War Mace to try and stop the command, but it’s too late as every last ounce of Kyptonite Meteor data has been permanently deleted. However, Waller arrives with the general and gives our heroes a USB Drive that contains said data. After getting back into their original outfits, Superman and Batman then proceed to head for Japan.
Afterwards, Waller then tells the general to arrest Luthor. In a panic, he evades them and dashes back to his office. After locking himself in, he injects himself with the rest of his kyptonite-laced steroids and suits up in his battle armor. Meanwhile, Waller and the general summon a group of armed MP officials to join them in the arrest of their psychotic president. However, Luthor emerges and easily defeats them as he then proceeds to go after our heroes.
Superman and Batman arrive in Japan and meet up with Power Girl at the main headquarters of Hiro Okamura a.k.a. Toyman (voiced by Calvin Tran). Superman thanks Power Girl for her off-screen help in defeating Captain Marvel and Hawkman, who then proceeds to stand watch at the door while he and Batman head into the compound. The youthful prodigy arrives via jet pack and tells them that his new rocket is ready to go take on the Kyptonite Meteor, to which Batman gives him the data.
It turns out that the rocket is a giant half-Superman, half-Batman robot that Toyman had been working on since he was seven and that even though they won’t be needing to, it even has manual controls. As such, the young genius starts to upload the Kyptonite Meteor data into the programs and begins prepping his creation for launch.
Unfortunately, Luthor is able to catch up. He uses his suit’s Kyptonite Beams to not only break through the heavily-enforced door, but hits Power Girl and easily take her down. Superman’s super-hearing catches onto this and proceeds to intervene. However, Luthor then blasts him back into the rocket chamber to continue their fight.
Upon seeing this, Batman joins in on the fight to give Toyman more time to prep. However, Luthor is easily able to shake off the Dark Knight and then proceeds to wail away on Superman via punches and another blast of the Kyptonite Beam. Afterwards, he flies up to Toyman, flings him out of the way and manages to smash up the console, damaging the automated controls.
With no other options left, Batman decides that he’ll be the one who takes the rocket into space. Superman tries to stop him, but gets caught within Luthor’s blind rage. As such, Batman hops into the cockpit and begins to take off. Luthor tries to stop him, but Superman is able to catch up and throw him down, allowing Batman to successfully launch towards the Kyptonite Meteor.
With Superman looking towards the skies, Luthor tries to punch him. However, the Man of Steel is able to grab onto his wrist and have his grip begin to cause damage to the armor. Enraged by everything that’s happened to him, Superman decks Luthor hard enough to make him bleed. Seeing his plans beginning to collapse, Luthor makes a run for it as Superman gives chase.
Meanwhile, Batman reaches the upper echelon of Earth’s atmosphere and activates the Worm Hole Generator to get himself in better position to stop the Kyptonite Meteor.
Back on Earth, Luthor desperately tries to get Superman off of his tail. Despite numerous Kyptonite Blasts, the Man of Steel is able to withstand the shots and keep going. As soon as they make their way back to America, Luthor tries to rip off a crane and attack him with it. However, it doesn’t do anything as Superman takes one of the newly-formed shards and throws it. It strikes one of Luthor’s jet boots and disables it. As they continue to fly over America and make their way towards Metropolis, Superman catches up and starts ripping Luthor’s armor apart.
Back in space, Batman arrives in front of the Kryptonite Meteor. The intense radiation starts to slowly but surely strip the gigantic robot apart, but the Dark Knight exhorts the rocket with everything its got as he smashes right through the meteor and causes it to blow up.
At the same time, Superman had knocked Luthor down to the ground. Just as he’s about to deliver a devastating blow, he hears and sees the giant green explosion in the sky, causing citizens to rejoice as they find themselves spared from death and destruction. Luthor demands to be let go since they’re back on American soil and that he’s the president. With one final punch, Superman proudly states, “Consider yourself impeached”.
Just then, Superman is visited by a fully-recovered Power Girl and Captain Atom as they arrive alongside Black Lightning and Starfire. When Power Girl tells Superman about Toyman’s message in that “There’s still a chance…”, Superman gets a glimmer of hope in that Batman somehow survived. As such, he flies up into space to check it out. Meanwhile, Power Girl and the rest of the superheroes discover Luthor lying in defeat. As such, Captain Atom lifts him up in arrest despite Lex’s pleas to be let go.
It turns out that Toyman’s message was true as Superman discovers Batman to be alive and well via the cockpit within the rocket’s chest plate doubling as an escape pod.
Superman carries the escape pod back down to Earth and after he sets the capsule on top of a building, he and Batman find themselves being greeted in applause and adornment. While this is going on, Power Girl and Captain Atom watch as Luthor gets taken into custody.
And so, our story ends with Batman taking off for Gotham City just as Lois Lane arrives via helicopter to meet up with Superman in an embrace.
For the various differences, I can start with a minor one. In the opening pages of Superman/Batman #3, Lois actually has a televised interview with President Luthor who keeps dodging her question about his $1 billion bounty on Superman and keeps linking the Kyptonite Meteor to the Man of Steel.
Also, Luthor’s super hero armada actually had a Green Lantern among the ranks. That’s right, the Marine-turned Emerald Knight John Stewart was one of Lex’s lackeys and was the one who formed the force field when Major Force’s suit was punctured and on the verge of explosion. Either way, he was omitted from the film.
For the climatic part where the half-Superman, half-Batman robot goes up against the Kyptonite Meteor, it was originally Captain Atom who took to the controls. In the comics, the resulting explosion caused him to get sent into another universe (the Wildstorm Universe) where his venture back to the DC Universe was chronicled in a stellar mini-series called “Captain Atom: Armageddon”.
With Katana, her role in the comics actually extended past where it ends in the film. When Superman creates a whirlwind and takes Power Girl with him, Batman takes Katana along for the ride as well. She and Power Girl help Superman and Batman in locating Toyman and she’s even the one who causes Major Force to explode by slicing off his hands with her sword. Here, she disappears from the film after the initial encounter.
Also in the comics, while Luthor’s plan pretty much goes as the pages showed, his defeat comes exactly at the former Lexcorp building where he confronts Batman but escapes with a Boom Tube portal that causes the structure to collapse. At the end, he survived and is still crazed with kyptonite running through him as he preps for revenge.
Finally, the comics’ main driving form of story-telling had Superman and Batman as they served as a kind of narrator serving as their thoughts about their situations at hand and displaying loads of commentary on each other’s methods. Other than some of their closest super hero friends (Nightwing, Huntress, Superboy, Supergirl, Kyrpto the Superdog, the Tim Drake Robin, the Cassandra Cain Batgirl, and the Natasha Irons Steel) and even the Kingdom Come Superman making an appearance within the pages, these were the main changes.
As far as the story goes, it moves at a brisk pace. Considering that the film is only 1 hour and 7 minutes long, it makes sure to get to the point. As soon as Superman and Batman get attacked by wave after wave of villains and heroes alike, you can feel the frenetic chaos that’s driving them to get this situation under control. From the drive that makes the Man of Steel want to see his hated foe get his comeuppance to the Dark Knight piecing together everything that makes Luthor’s plan come to fruition, it shows the strength that these two well-known heroes display.
A lot of the voice actors here are actually returning from past roles in Bruce Timm’s DC Animated Universe and it feels like they never left to begin with. Tim Daly returns to his main role from “Superman: The Animated Series” and he brings a caring, yet vigilant and determined presence. Kevin Conroy continues his never-ending hot streak as Batman, where his demeanor and strategy-based fighting style continues to mix with his detective skills.
Also, there’s Clancy Brown returning as Lex Luthor. As if his normal status as invisible ruler of Metropolis wasn’t enough of a power buzz for him, he’s able to bring his manipulative ways to Washington, D.C. Brown brings out the cruel tactician that his character brings and his deluded plans of psychotic magnitude.
If there’s anything for me to critique, one of the things is Starfire. Even though she is part of Luthor’s armada in the comics, notice how when he intially introduces them that she’s not with the group. You could possibly explain this away as her joining up with them in the three years since he took office, but there’s never a explanation about this. Not even a throw-away line, as she just shows up with the group and is with them. At least at the end of the first issue of Superman/Batman when Luthor’s group meets up with him, it DOES show her in the shadows with the majority of the group.
There’s also a minor observation error when Toyman first appears. When we first see him, his X-Ray goggles are in perfect condition. Then when he starts talking about them, the left lens is cracked all of a sudden and the nose strand has snapped.
Finally, there’s a scene that continues to baffle me on how it works. It’s when Superman delivers a punch to Metallo that drives him into the ground. Somehow, that same ground explodes and sends the Man of Steel into the graveyard. How did that explosion happen? Was that particular spot made of nitroglycerin? Was Metallo carrying a grenade that got crushed and exploded during the punch? I’m so confused.
If I were to majorly critique the film, that one point would be the run time. Up to this point, the prior five films each ran for at least an hour and 15 minutes. Maybe an extra 10 minutes could have been added to bring a little more character development to an underutilized player, fix up some of the minor snafus, or something of an added character moment for someone like Power Girl who goes on to help Superman and Batman out with their situation that’s exclusive to this film.
Despite my complaints, this film holds up really well. It’s very faithful to its source material, the voice acting has a very trusting quality to it, the action scenes are frenetic yet thrilling, and the animation does a nice touch to resemble Ed McGuinness’ art work along with a little computer effects mixed into the bunch. Overall, nice stuff from director Sam Liu and company.
Next Time: We’re already familiar with the Justice League as the supreme force for good in the universe, but what if they came across their mirror duplicates from another dimension? What if from that parallel universe this group of super heroes weren’t like the ones we know and love? Worlds will be colliding next time with “Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths”.
Superman (created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster), Batman (created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger), and all related characters are by DC Comics.