DC’s League of Super-Pets Review: Another big blunder for DC
DC takes a break from their live-action DCEU to deliver an animated adventure focusing on Superman’s trusty canine sidekick Krypto the Superdog with League of Super-Pets and while the film has some strengths, it’s really a weak outing.
The film follows Krypto the Superdog (voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) as he saves Metropolis from villains like Lex Luthor (voiced by Marc Maron) alongside his beloved pal Superman (voiced by John Krasinski). However, after Krypto’s relationship with Superman is strained after he grows closer to Lois Lane (voiced by Olivia Wilde), Krypto is forced to team up with a group of shelter animals to take down Lulu, a super-powered guinea pig, after she captures the Justice League.
When it comes to how the film’s animated, it looks solid and some of the takes on DC’s most iconic heroes are pretty noteworthy. It is pretty cool to see Jessica Cruz’s Green Lantern be brought to the big screen and Aquaman evoke the vibes of Jason Mamoa’s live action version of the character. Even while Ace’s (voiced by Kevin Hart) look is a drastic detraction from his sleek black look from the comics, the animal designs are also nice and adorable at times.
Admittedly though, League of Super-Pets really doesn’t show any ambition with its animation and is generally too safe. The action sequences feel visually uninspired making them unmemorable and there’s no distinct style to the film that makes it stand apart. Honestly, compared to other recent animated films, League of Super-Pets just feels lesser because of its lack of vision. It’s honestly a shame too because DC’s strength thus far has been its animated flicks and it’s unfortunate that League of Super-Pets doesn’t continue that lineage. The film might also feature a star-studded voice cast, but it often works against the film.
The voice-acting mostly matches the lack of ambition this film has as nearly everyone gives no energy their lines and delivers forced comedy. Johnson and Hart are easily the worst offenders as they are incredibly miscast as Krypto and Ace, respectively. Back in the mid-2000s, there was actually a Krypto animated series that ran on Cartoon Network and featured Ace in a recurring role. There, it felt like the characters were ripped right from the comics with how their voices felt fitting with the characters and influenced their distinctive attitudes. Here, Johnson and Hart put absolutely no effort in trying to hide or change their voice to fit Krypto or Ace and they stick out terribly. It really feels like Johnson and Hart are acting in a kid-friendly version of one of their buddy comedies, and not a good one, more than trying to play these characters and it creates this big disconnect from what the movie is trying to do, especially when Ace eventually becomes tied to Batman.
Johnson and Hart were not the right picks at all for this movie and it doesn’t help that the writing and story are equally subpar. Most of the writing contains all these predictable story points that make the film super formulaic. Pretty much every time the film tries to emphasize some important exposition or idea, you know how its going to get used and exactly where the film is going. The film’s predictability is what makes the story a total bore at times and the characters barely interesting. There are some good moments in the film’s story, like the legitimately emotional reveal of Ace’s tragic backstory and some of the exchanges between him and Krypto in tough moments, but they’re easily lost in the film because of how overstuffed with lackluster material it is. With there being few characters that actually leave a meaningful impression and an overly simplistic story, League of Super-Pets is too thin to keep most people’s attention over the course of its way too long adventure.
Even the comedy sadly falls flat most of the time because of how recycled and painfully obvious some of the jokes feel. Batman’s seriousness has been poked at too many times in the past for it to still be as funny here and a lot of the characterizations of well-known DC characters feel off because of how hard they’re trying to lean into being funny, especially Lex Luthor. Sometimes the film can provide a good laugh with a well-timed joke or some hidden puns in the background, but often it tries too hard to get a laugh. Its cheap references to the comics and forced jokes never work in drawing you in and the constant failed attempts at humor create these shifts in tone that make some characters super confusing. For instance, there’s this older turtle named Merton (voiced by Natasha Lyonne) who has lines that are censored for swearing and it’s totally baffling as to why the film even needs this type of humor. It doesn’t work and is one of many instances in the film that leave you feeling confused rather than laughing.
Aside from a couple standout choices and moments, DC’s League of Super-Pets sadly fits in with all their other recent blunders in the DCEU as it feels lazily put together and carries no sense of ambition to be something truly super.