Though DC League of Super Pets Full Movie tries to impart lessons about friendship and weakness, the characters and story outside Krypto feel half-baked.
Warner Bros. has broadened its big screen DC Comics offerings in recent years, pushing beyond its primary live-action realm, the most recent of which is DC League of Super-Pets.
The focus moves from the Justice League to a new band of superheroes comprised of the Man of Steel’s trusty canine friend and a bunch of shelter animals in the animated superhero action comedy. Krypto the Superdog has been in comic books since 1955 when Otto Binder and Curt Swan invented the character.
Krypto, like Superman, derives his talents from the sun and uses them to aid his Kryptonian comrade in his fight against crime. Despite the fact that the DC League of Super-Pets seeks to teach lessons about friendship and vulnerability, the characters and plot outside of Krypto feel underdeveloped.
Krypto (Dwayne Johnson) lives a fantastic life battling crime alongside Superman after leaving a dying Krypton with baby Kal-El and swearing to protect the newborn Kryptonian (John Krasinski). But their bond is tested when Clark chooses to propose to Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde).
After a dispute with Krypto, Superman is ambushed and abducted by the villainous guinea pig Lulu (Kate McKinnon), who also administers Kryptonite to Krypto, rendering him useless.
When Lulu kidnaps the rest of the Justice League, Krypto gangs up with shelter dogs who have received abilities from Orange Kryptonite: Ace (the invulnerable dog), PB (the size-changing pig), Merton (the super-fast turtle), and Chip (the electrokinetic squirrel) (Diego Luna), though Krypto usually has trouble working with anybody other than Superman, he’ll need to learn to collaborate in order to save his owner.
At its heart, the DC League of Super-Pets is a touching story about a dog discovering what it is to be a good friend. While the narrative, co-written by director Jared Stern and John Whittington, both of whom worked on The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie, conveys that message, the rest of the film seems considerably weaker.
The supporting characters of PB, Chip, and Merton, in particular, are vastly undeveloped in comparison to Krypto and Ace – and even Lulu – restricting them to one specific character characteristic that either advances the story or offers funny relief.
It’s undoubtedly tough to present a well-developed tale about each of the characters in a film with so many, but the film spends more time laughing about the Justice League than fleshing out the characters who are presumably co-leads.
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In fact, establishing PB, Chip, and Merton as personalities is done so poorly that fans may leave the cinema wishing we’d received a film about this version of the Justice League because the indications of their personas are more entertaining than the other Super-Pets.
Instead Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart star in the DC League of Super-Pets, but they’re animated canines that can’t do any of their usual physical comedic shticks. Despite the fact that their good-natured arguing is abundant, which may appeal to fans who appreciate both performers, Johnson and Hart just don’t have the same humorous chemistry in animation, causing Krypto and Ace’s dynamic to fall flat.
Unsurprisingly, Kate McKinnon is the strongest of the voice cast, clearly having fun with all of Lulu’s nasty aspects, which come over on the screen. Similarly, Natasha Lyonne provides a lively performance that amplifies Merton’s wit. The remainder of the cast is adequate in their individual parts, but no one sticks out.
In the end, the DC League of Super-Pets is a lackluster cartoon product. Stern and Whittington’s script is chock-full of DC Comics Easter eggs and even a few cheeky Marvel superhero references, but they feel forced in for the sake of making jokes the audience would understand.
DC League of Super-Pets may leave viewers unhappy due to the absence of defined characters and the usage of allusions in favor of truly hilarious gags.
Furthermore, while the 3D animation in DC League of Super-Pets is mainly good, there’s nothing that truly distinguishes it from other 3D-animated stuff, so it all blurs together. As a result, DC League of Super-Pets fails to stand apart in any meaningful manner, whether in terms of heart, comedy, or originality.
DC League of Super Pets Release Date: U.S. theaters July 29. It is 106 minutes long and rated PG for action, mild violence, language, and rude humor.
DC League of Super Pets Trailer