“DC League of Super-Pets 2022).” In recent years, Warner Bros. has expanded its DC Comics offerings on the big screen and expanded beyond its central live-action world, with the latest being the DC League of Super-Pets. The animated superhero action comedy shifts the focus from the Justice League to a new superhero team consisting of the Man of Steel’s loyal canine companion and a group of animals from the shelter.
Krypto the Superdog has a long history in comics since the character was created by Otto Binder and Curt Swan in 1955. Like Superman, Krypto gets his power from Earth’s sun and is able to help his friend Krypton fight crime. Although the DC League of Super-Pets tries to teach lessons about friendship and vulnerability, the characters and story outside of Krypto feel unfinished.
DC League of Super-Pets: Movie Review
After escaping a dying Krypton with baby Kal-El and vowing to protect the young Kryptonian, Krypto (Dwayne Johnson) lives a grand life-fighting crime alongside Superman (John Krasinski). But their friendship hits its first hurdle when Clark decides to propose to Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde). After Krypto and Superman fight, Superman is attacked and captured by the evil guinea pig Lulu (Kate McKinnon), who also does Krypto with kryptonite, rendering him helpless.
When Lulu captures the rest of the Justice League, Krypto teams up with shelter pets who have gained superpowers from Orange Kryptonite: the invulnerable dog Ace (Kevin Hart), the size-changing pig PB (Vanessa Bayer), the super-fast turtle Merton. (Natasha Lyonne) and the electrokinetic chipmunk Chip (Diego Luna). Although Krypto usually struggles to work with anyone but Superman, he will have to learn to work with a team to save his owner.
At its core, the DC League of Super-Pets is meant to be a heartwarming story about a dog learning what it means to be a good friend. While the script, co-directed by Jared Stern and John Whittington, who both worked on The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie, gets that lesson, everything around it feels a lot less powerful. The supporting characters of PB, Chip, and Merton in particular are wildly underdeveloped compared to Krypt and Ace – and even Lulu – reducing them to one particular character trait that either helps the plot move along or provides comedic relief.
In a movie with so many characters, it’s certainly difficult to tell a well-rounded story about each of them, but the movie spends more time joking about the Justice League than it does portray the characters who are seemingly co-leads. In fact, the establishment of PB, Chip, and Merton as characters is so poorly done that viewers might leave the theater wishing we got a movie about this version of the Justice League because the hints of their characters are more fun than the other Super-Pets.
Instead, DC League of Super-Pets is very much a Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart movie, but this time they’re animated dogs and they can’t do any of their normal physical comedy. Still, there seems to be enough of their good-natured bickering, which may work for viewers who like both actors, but Johnson and Hart just don’t have the same comedic chemistry in animation, so Krypt and Ace’s dynamic falls flat.
Kate McKinnon is unsurprisingly the strongest of the voice cast, clearly having fun with all the evil sides of Lulu that appear on the screen. Similarly, Natasha Lyonne gives an entertaining performance that elevates Merton’s humor. The rest of the cast are fine in their roles, though no one else particularly stands out.
DC League of Super-Pets is ultimately a rather average animated offering. Stern and Whittington’s script is full of all sorts of DC Comics Easter eggs and even a handful of cheeky references to Marvel superheroes, but they feel inauthentically tacked on because they can make references that the audience can understand. Between the lack of character development and references used instead of genuinely funny jokes, DC League of Super-Pets can leave viewers feeling unsatisfied.
Additionally, while the 3D animation of DC League of Super-Pets looks good for the most part, there’s nothing that really sets it apart from the other 3D animated rides, so it just blends together. As a result, the DC League of Super-Pets doesn’t really stand out, either with heart, humor, or animation.
In the end, the DC League of Super-Pets might be a pretty decent way to pass the time for families who want to escape the summer heat but don’t need to keep the kids occupied for the entire hour and 46 minutes. Apart from families with small children, there is not much to attract other viewers.
Johnson and Hart have proven to be a formidable film duo in the past, but without their usual on-screen charm, it’s hard to get invested in Krypt and Ace’s stories. DC League of Super-Pets doesn’t have much going for it, even though it has star power and a lot of talented artists to make up the supporting cast. There’s a bit of fun to be had with the DC League of Super-Pets, but it’s not absolutely required viewing – not even for fans of the DC movies.
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