Blu-ray Review: SUPERMAN BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES

Warner Premiere
Release date: September 29, 2009
MSRP: $29.99
Starring the voices of Clancy Brown, Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly.
Written by Stan Berkowitz
Directed by Sam Liu
Runtime: 67 minutes

Based on a DC Comics run by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness, Warner’s latest direct-to-DVD animated offering finds Lex Luthor elected President of the United States in a time of economic chaos and rising crime. When a huge kryptonite meteor is detected on a collision course with Earth, Luthor turns to Superman to back up his nuclear missile defense plan. Refusing to work for Luthor, Superman is ambushed by the kryptonite-powered cyborg Metallo and later framed by Luthor for Metallo’s murder.

With only Batman on his side and a $1 billion bounty on his head, Superman tries to clear his name and destroy the meteor in space. Early on, the movie seemed heavy on super-powered brawls, but by the end I was satisfied enough story had been told. The movie doesn’t let us hear Superman and Batman’s inner thoughts like the comics, but the creative team may have tried to make up for that by bringing back Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, and Clancy Brown—the most popular voices of Superman, Batman, and Luthor from recent cartoons. The artwork is broad and bright, resembling McGuinness’s style, exaggerating features like Amanda Waller’s girth and Power Girl’s bosom.

With previous releases trying for a decidedly dark tone, Superman Batman: Public Enemies stands out for its fun factor. The actors’ familiarity to the audience and with each other enhances Berkowitz’s quippy script. The Blu-ray disc includes a featurette on Superman and Batman’s relationship; an informative yet informal dinner with Kevin Conroy, DC Comics’ Gregory Noveck, veteran Warner Bros. animator and producer Bruce Timm, and voice director Andrea Romano; a preview of DCU’s next animated feature, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths; a look behind the DC Comics event Blackest Night; six episodes picked by Bruce Timm from previous Batman and Superman cartoons; and, previews of four other DCU animated movies.

The main feature is presented in 1080p High Definition 16×9 1.78:1 and Dolby Digital English 5.1 audio. The special features are presented in 480i or 480p Standard Definition and Stereo. A digital copy of the movie is accessible to Windows PC and Mac users by entering an included authorization code online.

–Gerald So