Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009, 75 minutes)

Plot: Superman and Batman are forced to work together to stop Lex Luthor, who frames Superman for murder, and destroy a Kryptonite meteor.

Source Material: This is based on Loeb and Ed McGuinness’ stellar 2003 arc and it follows it more or less to a beat. There’s only one notable change, an omission of an allusion to the forthcoming Infinite Crisis. However, that presents kind of a problem. Since this is so faithfully based on the comics, all kinds of plot points are awkwardly crammed in from the source like President Lex Luthor. These worked with years of reading the stories but they don’t fit a stand alone film. Also making it awkward: the animated series voices are used but it’s not a DCAU film.

Animation: Perfectly serviceable. It’s nothing too striking and far from theatrical but it’s ok. The animation strains as it tries to not be the DCAU but there’s no way not to echo it really. Action is great though. It’s solidly fluid. Characters are passable, but not all that notable. It is at least colorful, like the source.

Script: Really this is so linked to the original comic it’s hard to say. It feels like I’ve watched something but I’m not 100% sure what. Despite a short runtime it’s jam packed and it felt like I’d watched a movie. But was it an adaptation or a DCAU film? It’s an alien in every continuity.

Voice acting: It’s excellent but how could it not be? The film mostly stays with DCAU voices. Kevin Conroy is the all time greatest Batman. That stays true here with a typically commanding turn. Tim Daly once more makes a fine Superman. Clancy Brown is as always a great Lex Luthor, though . Nothing new here.

Final Verdict: This one is a strange bird. I did like it but as I look at it objectively I have to give a split rating. If you’re a fan of the book, it’s a 3. If you’ve never read it, it’s a 2. It’s really close to a motion comic in the end. Ultimately this is why straight adaptations sometimes shouldn’t happen.

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