Photo courtesy of DC Comics and Warner Bros Animation

REVIEW: ‘DC League of Super-Pets’ recognizes strength through love

"DC League of Super-Pets" is a kinetic love letter to everything Superman. It allows Metropolis to glow with the bright radiance of the hope that DC’s boy scout embodies while expressing moments of heart, connection and growth to manifest and transcend the animation. 

4 mins read

In a way, the film is a reminder to look around and recognize the balance of strength and companionship in the presence of the allure of friends, loved ones, or our animals that can always understand the range of emotions slowly escaping our subconscious. 

From the first frame the admiration and respect for the Man Of Steel are not only told but shown from how Krypton is presented through the classic lens of Richard Donner’s “Superman.” A mixture of fluid CGI animation and the triumphant trumpets of the original John Williams Superman Theme feels like a culmination of two generations coming together. 

Photo courtesy of DC comics

The iconic theme many know and attach to the blue boy scout represents the tender love and budding joy that Superman bears and signifies. The perfect allegoric reflection of parents seated alongside their children both in tandem, watching childhood memories be formed and rekindled, juxtaposed to the tearful departure of Jor-El and Lara saying goodbye to their son while the world of Krypton faces its last moments, is genuinely poetic and feels tethered to the narrative and direction of the themes connected to the film. 

However, the movie doesn’t stop with understanding and letting this version of Superman be a perfect blend of Christopher Reeve, Bruce Timm’s timeless art deco animated series, and just our memorable perceptions weaved into one. The small moments in the background let us feel Clark as a lovable goof, and it’s never forced. I noticed how his apartment is a timeline of his humble origins of growing up in Smallville to being the intrepid reporter at the Daily Planet. We see his high school jersey, family pictures and newspaper clippings. Everything is in service to the story — all building to the fateful encounter of Clark meeting Lois. 

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros Animation

Now imagine if Clark had Krypto, his only friend and, in many ways, a mentor, in the presence of the story unfolding. Krypto harbors and contains the same powers as his owner, and both live in tandem, a guiding beacon that helps him evolve and nurture to the point where he’s ready.

It’s heartwarming that Clark, the last son of Krypton, has a best friend and was never alone in this cold reality and that bond between owner and pet was on full display. But the screenplay does allow the audience to clasp onto a presence of duality, with Krypto representing the confident and assertive sensation of being Superman. Whereas it’s clear to note Lois doesn’t love Superman for his power. She loves him for his humanity as Clark. For the majority of the film, Krypto is burdened with the consequences of guilt, hubris, isolation, acceptance, and growth. Though Krypto’s arc never felt forced or came off as a joke, it bears the maturity to reflect his jealousy and lets his growth manifest appropriately. 

And then the story shifts to a pattern of smooth exposition, pop-culture references, and fourth-wall-breaking dialogue that feels plucked from a comic book, and then the Justice League appears for a time, and the casting is a blast and never felt forced. However, that’s only the tip of the iceberg because the screen is a spectacle of easter eggs galore. The backdrop is the city of Metropolis — Superman’s home, as I mentioned before. Metropolis was radiating in hope while feeling like a playground and sandbox that could have born a new animated series or a nostalgia-infused canvas that presents the glory of potential DC Comics bears.

Photo courtesy of DC Comics

I loved the chaotic insanity of Kevin Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had feeding off each other with the established chemistry that feels special. John Krasinski as Superman was the perfect blend of Clark Kent bearing his lovable goofy boy scout persona on his sleeve, never feeling like a departure of the character or the lore from the panels of our childhood memory.

Keanu Reeves quipping and being a blend of classic campy Batman, while dropping constant references and feeling like he belongs in the realm of the “Harley Quinn” series, to a turtle that drops swears blurted out by FCC censors. Lex Luthor is played by Marc Maron, who is having a blast camping up the character and elevating the screenplay. It sounds chaotic and crazy, but it somehow works in every scenario possible.

Every cast member was perfectly plucked for the character they are embodying, and the pets the respective Leaguer obtains are brilliant. Ace, The Bat-Hound, seems distant, discarded by the reality around him, and unable to love hence why Batman is so perfect to adopt the dog. It’s the simple story of a boy lost in his pain and struggling to cope with both the broken puzzle pieces they require to complete the portrait. To spoil the other Leaguers and the respective animals, they would tarnish the film’s tone and message and convey it to the audience and families watching. 

Photo courtesy of DC Comics

I know the film is geared toward children, but the world that this film resides in is full of pure love and truth for the DC universe and honors the source material to a sense of easy-to-follow. You can feel the expressive talents and messages that the Justice League stands for. It’s a simple story, but the arcs are complete with a ton of heart and clearly defined. It’s a great family film that’s heartwarming and reminds you of the overarching theme of loving yourself and allowing joy to enter your soul and build a place in your heart. 

Superpets isn’t afraid to peel back the pain and show the human love of connection and how even our heroes get conflicted and need to find a partner, a pet, but mostly a friend. It’s a beautiful feeling and thought to know that Superman wasn’t alone when he arrived on our planet. He was joined by Krypto, who has always been a staple of the legacy of what makes Clark Kent feel human and the symbol of hope as Superman that we all know and love. 

Photo courtesy of DC Comics and Warner Bros Animation

Finally, knowing that a new generation can see and feel the love of what these characters mean not only to the world around us but to the writers, directors, and creators who took a chance to elevate and establish something new is beautiful. 

“DC League of Super-Pets” is the perfect family film that reminds us that DC comics are still full of joy and our favorite characters can still feel unique. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Brendan Rooney

Brendan Rooney has always been full of creativity and enthusiasm towards the world of widespread media. He is also a passionate comic book fan along with a die-hard sports pedigree. Brendan has written various articles covering all topics. Brendan dreams of forging a long-lasting legacy by bringing respect to the Rooney name as either a teacher, journalist, or whatever else the future holds. Brendan plans to graduate from Westfield State University in the spring of 2022 with a degree in English, and a minor in Journalism.

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