Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010, 78 minutes)

Plot: When Superman’s cousin Kara arrives on Earth, she draws the attention of Darkseid who seeks to mold her into a weapon.

Source material: This is based on the second arc of the title, which I really loved, and once more it’s pretty much panel for panel the comic except with the DCAU voices. What it doesn’t adapt is the art style, which was a lot of the fun of the book. The late Michael Turner filled his pages with life and energy that did not translate.

Animation: When I first watched this, it was the canary in the coal mine for the animation issues these films would have. Turner was a bright, colorful artist while this is an ugly, murky film. The character design is very bland and felt oddly unappealing, though it’s really no different than Public Enemies. It’s just a stiff film.

Script: This might be the saving grace. Tab Murphy made his DC Animated debut on this film and did a decent job. This is both a sequel and an adaptation but it’s dense enough and it moves well. It’s not just action upon action upon action. I especially loved the Paradise Island scenes. Admittedly this is basically just the GN but the basic story worked well as a film.

Voice acting: As usual, we’re dealing with the DCAU voices. The exceptions come from Summer Glau as Supergirl and Andre Braugher as Darkseid. They’re both perfectly ok in the roles though neither feels like anything beyond a name to put on the DVD.

Final verdict: The Superman/Batman series wasn’t a good choice for this format. The two stories are so continuity heavy that they don’t work as sit back and relax entertainment if you’re a nonfan. Sure, I knew the various obscure things Apocalypse referenced (including a character from Crisis on Infinite Earths) but I’m a diehard fan. As for Apocalypse itself, had the animation been a bit better, it might have gone to a 3 but no, this is a hard 2. Stream it or library it if you can. If you can’t, pass.

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