A week and a half ago, one of our contacts at Warner Bros. sent over a DVD version of Superman/Batman: Public Enemies for us to review. So what better way to review the film then by posting it the day the film comes out so that you can find out what I think of the film and whether it is worth buying or not. Let's get into it.
When I first heard about this film being made, I was kind of excited. It had been quite some time since I first read the story in Superman/Batman. I debated for a good amount of time of whether I should read it or not before I see the film. Well, one night when I didn't have a lot to do, I caved and picked up the six issues and read them again. That was probably a mistake. You are probably asking yourself, "Why would that be?" Well, when watching the film, I found myself comparing the two. I was nitpicking the entire film. Not something I normally do when watching a Batman film. I think I was already in line to criticize more than normal since this story is more about Superman than Batman.
The comics were written by Jeph Loeb and the art was done by Ed McGuinness. The story was a little over the top for most comics, but it was the first story arc of a brand new series that DC was launching. So over-the-top/epic is acceptable for first story arcs by my standards. The art was really what made this arc great. McGuinness' art is amazing. Some may say that the art is too cartoony, but I have a thing for art like that. It is clean and smooth. The story starts off by going through how Lex Luthor has come to be President of the US. It then cuts to a good amount of side story that involves Metallo. We find out later why Metallo was such a large focus early in the story. Without going into a synopsis of each issue, I can say that there are very significant changes to the story in the film.
Instead of following the story from the comics, Stan Berkowitz modified the story to not only be self-contained, but also make sense in the current economy. The Metallo-part of the story is shortened by making him a Secret Service agent for Luthor. This is what makes the entire first issue of the story arc take place in less than 5 minutes. There were specific parts that were taken straight from the comics. Most of them were the one-liners between Batman and Superman. Nice nod to Loeb, but does not make up what was taken out. The first major fight sequence involving a gaggle of villains is pretty close to what it was in the original story, but seemed to be more of a situation where they were trying to say, "We are following the comics," than anything else. I thought that if they wanted to expand a sequence that fight scene would have been it. That wasn't the case though, as I felt as if I was given just the amount needed, but nothing extra.
The second fight sequence felt way too short. It specifically was cut down and did not have the final outcome that it did in the comics. It worked for the film, but it affected the conclusion of the film. Moving on to the conclusion, the part of the film that dealt with Toyman seemed very rushed. I won't ruin the end of the film, as I know everyone has not read the comics, but I was disappointed. It was pointed out earlier in the film that the meteor gives off a large amount of radiation that even Superman could not block with a lead suit. When you watch the film, see if you catch the plot hole. Also if you have read the comics, compare the ending in the comics to the ending of the film and ask yourself if it felt "too" epic.
Overall, I can't say that I was too thrilled with this film. I had high hopes, but felt let down by the end of the film. The run time was the largest letdown. At only sixty-seven minutes long, it was too short. The film could have been longer. When I compare the comics to the film, I can't understand why it was so short. There were a lot of things that were cut out of the film that were in the comics that could have easily made the film longer. Certain scenes could have been extended to make the film longer. The fight sequence with all of the villains could have been longer and made a little more smooth compared to being cut to a new set of villains like it was done in the comics. Th difference is that eh comics were showing the fight sequence on panels compared to animation. In animation, things should be smoother, not so cut-and-dry. If there was one sequence that could have been different it was that scene.
The pro's of the film were the art and the voice talent. The art was amazing. It was a splitting image of McGuinness' art. Superman looked like Superman and Batman looked like Batman pulled straight from the comics. The reunion of Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, and Clancy Brown was great. Hearing all of their voices reminded me of earlier days of watching the animated series on TV. All of them were spot on with their parts. Even though the art was different and it did not follow the normal DCAU, it still worked.
In conclusion, the film was mediocre. It did not blow me away, and for certain parts I was disappointed. To be completely frank, let me ask you a question. Have you ever seen The Batman Superman Movie: World's Finest? If you answered no, go find it in the five dollar bin at your local store and give it a watch. If you answered yes, did you like Superman/Batman Public Enemies more or less? In my opinion, World's Finest was better. But the kicker is that World's Finest is actually three episodes of the Superman animated series. This film seems like it should have been three episodes of an animated series. It had the voices, the feel, and the run time. So should you buy it? You decide that. For myself, this film will be sitting on my shelf for quite some time collecting dust.
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies:
Posted by Dustin