Keep your Omega Beams to yourself.

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

DC has had an impeccable track record when it comes to animation. Starting in 2007, they’ve released a bevy of direct-to-video movies featuring some of their most popular characters in adaptations of famous comic storylines. To date, there have been 8 films to come out over the last 3 years and all of them have been (for the most part) excellent, both in terms of storytelling and animation. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is the ninth feature to be released and I’m sad to say it doesn’t live up to its predecessors.

Apocalypse tells the story of Supergirl’s arrival on Earth and Darkseid’s plan to capture her and make her head of his Furies, an elite team of female warriors. This might actually explain right away why I didn’t enjoy this movie very much, I don’t like Supergirl. Admittedly, I don’t know very much about her history, or her portrayal in the comics, but in Apocalypse she’s just an annoying teenage girl with all the powers of Superman. Lame. She goes through a bit of character development once Darkseid shows up, but it’s not enough. The bad first impression I was given stuck with me the entire movie.

“I’ve been chased, shot at, kidnapped, beaten up, had my mind controlled and I broke a nail. I’m ready for a little quiet.” – Kara Zor-El

Speaking of Darkseid, he is easily the highlight of the movie for me. A very hands-off kind of villain, he spends more time directing his minions into the fray then he does actually in the thick of it. That’s not to say he doesn’t get his hands dirty, however. The climactic final battle between him, Superman and Supergirl is one of the best animated fights I’ve seen. The actor who voiced Darkseid (Andre Braugher) should also be commended for a job well done. His calm, collected delivery definitely set the mood for the character.

Another high point of the film is the animation quality. The character models are well designed; move very well and the choreography of the fight scenes are great. There is a battle between Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and an army of Doomsday clones that, while not as good as the final battle, looks fantastic. It’s hard hitting and really shows off the skills and powers of the heroes.

Of course, this is a Superman/Batman movie. There is only one problem, Batman is essentially missing entirely. It’s a little disconcerting, since he is pivotal for both the set-up and ultimate conclusion of the movie, but he does so by basically showing up out of nowhere, saving the day and then disappearing. His only real time to shine is during the Doomsday fight, and he’s got to share screen time with 2 with an alien and an amazon. There’s a scene that has Batman flying some jet thing (not bat themed *thumbs down*) running away from big mechanical dogs. Batman. Running away. It’s pretty groan worthy.

Batman/Superman: Apocalypse is not a bad movie. There are scenes and moments throughout that are genuinely enjoyable and sometimes downright amazing. But I can’t help but compare it to past DC animated movies like Justice League: The New Frontier or Green Lantern: First Flight, which were both spectacular examples of what an animated movie can be, both in animation quality and story-telling. There’s nothing here that I outright hate, but it’s also pretty forgettable as well. If you’re a comics fan, then check it out. If not, then you’re not missing out on a whole lot.



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