What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this sequel to Superman Batman: Public Enemies is part of a series of violent direct-to-DVD animated superhero movies aimed at teens, though this one is a little less packed with action and blood than usual. The story centers on a teen girl, Kara Zor-El, who must learn how to grow up, make her own decisions, and decide her own fate; she eventually decides to become Supergirl. Expect lots of fighting, with some guns, stabbing, and death and a little blood. Language is on the light side (just a couple of uses of "ass" and "hell"), and there are vague hints at female nudity, though nothing is shown.
What's the story?
As the events depicted in Superman Batman: Public Enemies finish wrapping up, a meteor crashes into the bay. Inside is a mysterious visitor who's revealed to be Superman's cousin, Kara Zor-El, who has all of Superman's powers. Superman (voiced by Tim Daly) is thrilled, but Batman (Kevin Conroy) doesn't trust her. Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg) believes Kara needs training and wants to take her to Paradise Island. Meanwhile, the evil Darkseid (Andre Braugher) wants to use her as the new captain of his fiendish army. Can Kara (Summer Glau) decide how to live her own life on her new home planet?
Is it any good?
As directed by Lauren Montgomery, SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE looks terrific, with detailed, fluid animation and striking characters. Unfortunately, there are just too many characters here, and with only 78 minutes to play around with, none of them end up having much depth. The experienced superheroes come across as bickering and single-minded, and the Darkseid subplot seems extraneous; it's just an excuse to add some fighting to what should be a coming-of-age story.
Meanwhile, Kara/Supergirl is pulled every which way and never comes to life on her own; she's a passive character. It's too bad, since she could be an interesting role model for teen girls. Perhaps worst of all is that the movie wastes time on a "shopping" montage, in which Clark Kent buys Kara some clothes and she becomes euphoric with consumerism. It's a disappointment.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. How did it affect you? How did it compare to other animated superhero movies you've seen?
How is Kara different from ordinary teens? How is she similar? What kind of decisions does she make that everyday teens might also face?
In trying to help Kara, are the adults providing guidance, or are they getting in her way? How do adults know when to trust teens to make their own decisions?