Blu-ray Review: Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010)

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As the ninth consistently high quality Warner Brothers original DC Universe straight-to-disc PG-13 premiere feature in a mostly successful series of graphic novel adaptations, expectations for Apocalypse admittedly run high.

And this is especially true when considering not just the talent involved behind the animation with Wonder Woman director Lauren Montgomery and familiar voice actors such as Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy but also the fact that so many fan favorite superheroes will make appearances.

Yet even though animators and experts interviewed promise us a more modern take on the rather dated submissive presentation of the Supergirl character which which DC Comics readers first encountered in the 1950s in the Blu-ray's historical featurette, the final result we witness in Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, which is Based on Jeph Loeb's Superman/Batman: Supergirl comic book, is a major letdown.

As the movie opens, while Superman prepares his case for President Luthor's impeachment hearings, Batman is back in seclusion. Yet the latter's peaceful reverie is interrupted after Superman's bewildered blonde teen cousin Kara El (voiced by Summer Glau) crash lands into Gotham Harbor and emerges from the water naked as a baby.

Relying much more on sex appeal than building up a personality for our new heroine, before she eventually learns to control her Supergirl powers alongside Wonder Woman at Paradise Island, Kara bonds with cousin Clark Kent aka Kal El during a trip to the Metropolis mall in a Pretty Woman style montage that wouldn't have been that out of place back in the '50s.

Yet happily posing in skimpy attire or munching on hot dogs once her manicured nails are dry does not a superhero make so eventually after she gets in trouble with Darkseid (Andre Braugher) and Granny Goodness (Ed Asner), our caped crusaders along with Wonder Woman spring into action.

Needless to say, the emphasis of the foolishly named and rather anticlimactic Apocalypse falls on Supergirl's introduction rather than her eventual adventures with the others but as far as origin stories go, this one is weak at best, morphing Montgomery's film into another few and far between DC Comics snoozefest.

Even more disappointing when you compare it to Montgomery's brilliant Wonder Woman while it's worth a look for fans of the characters curious to see the next installment of ongoing escapades, you're better off exploring the plethora of extras including an exclusive Green Arrow short that comprise this technically superior Blu-ray's two and a half hours of bonus material as opposed to the titular attraction.

For as great as it always is to welcome a new heroine to the DC series ranks, if the animators and Gorillas in the Mist screenwriter Tab Murphy consider the transformation of Supergirl into a veritable Barbie doll who calls Batman “Grumpy Ass” to be an example of women's lib progress, then poor Lauren Montgomery really has her work cut out for her as WB's virtual lone wolf female comic director. In other words, give her some more Wonder Women to work alongside and let's reboot this franchise one more time.

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FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.