In 2005 when Warner Brothers brought Superman’s canine friend Krypto to the small screen in his own series, it marked the first time ever that any of the DC Entertainment Universe’s animal superheroes had ever gotten its own attention. Prior to the series’ premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers had only focused on DC’s human and superhuman stars, so it was a key step in the companies’ attempt to expand DC’s comics to screen universe. The series less than two years from March 2005 to December 2006, spanning just two seasons and even incorporated Krypto’s original Legion of Superheroes cohort Streaky the cat. After the series ended, Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment largely abandoned any plans for any future Super Pets properties on TV and in theaters. However, late last month, the companies brought some of DC’s super pets back to the screen again, this time in theaters in the form of League of Super Pets. The movie, which made its theatrical debut July 29, is a mostly entertaining presentation, though is not perfect. The main positive in this movie is its story, which will be discussed shortly. While the story is enjoyable for the whole family (albeit not entirely accurate to the comics), the story does have one troubling aspect, that being the use of some adult language. This will be discussed a little later. It is not enough to doom the movie, so to that end, there is at least one more positive to note in the form of the cast’s work. This will also be addressed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this movie. All things considered they make League of Super Pets a mostly successful new take on DC’s Legion of Super Pets comic book and new family flick.
League of Super Pets, DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers’ latest addition to the ever-expanding DC Entertainment Universe, is a mostly successful overall presentation. The movie’s story is really the key to its success. The story in question finds Krypto, Superman’s canine friend having to assemble a group of super powered animals to help save the big blue boy scout after a guinea pig named Lulu (voiced by Kate McKinnon – Ghostbusters, Saturday Night Live, Bombshell) bent on world domination kidnaps him and the rest of the Justice League members. The other animals (which are not original members of the League of Super Pets from the 1962 comic book), gained their powers thanks to some orange kryptonite that broke off of an orange kryptonite meteorite and was captured by said megalomaniacal guinea pig. The unexpected group of heroes ends up saving the day after Lex Luthor turns on Lulu, and Krypto learns a valuable lesson about friendship along the way. Meanwhile, the other Super Pets – Ace, Chip, Merton, and PB – all end up being rescued and adopted by the other Justice League members. There is some accuracy and inaccuracy here. Ace has always been known to be Batman’s dog, while Chip has had a tie to the Green Lantern Corps. PB meanwhile was never Wonder Woman’s pet. She was Circes’ pet in the comics, but that can be forgiven. The very message about the importance of rescuing shelter pets that is clearly tied into the story makes that forgivable. Shelter pets need forever homes, so having that accented here in a less than preachy fashion is so welcome. The friendships between Krypto and the group will resonate with audiences of all ages as the group takes on Lulu and Lex.
While the story featured in League of Super Pets is engaging and entertaining, there is at least one problem within the story. That problem is the use of some adult language throughout the movie. The language in question comes from Merton (voiced by Natasha Lyonne – Orange is the New Black, American Pie, Slums of Beverly Hills). Lyonne is not to blame here, but rather the movie’s writers. There are points where Merton clearly is meant to be using a certain foul word since it is bleeped out. At other points, she uses clearly other foul language that is also bleeped out. Merton is not the only one who uses some questionable language. There is a young kitten (yes, a kitten – IE child) who says to the super pets, “See you in heck” as it tries to kill them. Considering that this movie is rated PG and is meant to be a family friendly flick, having that language in there, even censored, is still disappointing. That the movie’s writers and creative heads felt the need to go blue in a family movie really does detract from the movie’s appeal, and parents need to be aware of this aspect.
While the questionable language that is peppered throughout the movie is problematic, it is not enough to make the movie a failure. The work of the movie’s cast works with the story to make for more appeal. Dwayne Johnson leads the way as Krypto. At first, the announcement that he was going to take on the role was questioned by many, and justifiably so. That is because of his current body of work. His current body of work is composed of action flicks and very specific tough guy type roles. It leads one to imagine Johnson giving Krypto such style persona. Thankfully that was not the case. He actually made Krypto endearing, showing his ability to adapt to the role.
On a related note, Kevin Hart, who has also developed himself into a very specific type of actor, pulls back here, too. His typically annoying, over the top approach to his roles is nonexistent here, which is appealing. The vulnerability that he brings to Ace as Ace talks abut how he ended up at the shelter balances well with Ace’s more confident side to make Ace a well-rounded character in his own right. McKinnon really does well in her own right to bring out Lulu’s megalomaniacal nature, too. She does so well to make Lulu’s diabolical nature so funny and believable at the same time. Between the performances put on by Johnson, Hart, and McKinnon, and those of the rest of the cast, the whole makes the cast’s overall work just as engaging as the movie’s story. Those two items together make the movie in general worth watching at least once, even with the concerns of the occasional unnecessary foul language in mind.
League of Super Pets, the latest addition to Warner Brothers and DC’s ever-expanding universe, is an interesting presentation. It succeeds in part because of its story. The story finds Krypto having to form a new group of furry super powered friends to save the Justice League. Along the way, he also has to learn about friendship and teamwork, which will resonate with plenty of audiences. While the story featured in this movie is accessible for audiences of all ages, the occasional use of some questionable language is disappointing. That is the case even with it being censored. There was no need for the movie’s writers to go blue and ruin what is otherwise a family friendly atmosphere throughout the story. It is not enough to doom the movie but is certainly a concern. The cast’s work pairs with the story to make for more engagement and entertainment. That is because the cast’s performances are so believable. Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of this movie. All things considered League of Super Pets proves maybe not super but still worth watching at least once.
League of Super Pets is playing now. The movie’s home release date is under consideration. More information on this and other titles from Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment is available at https://dc.com.
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