Monday, September 26, 2022

The League of Super-Pets

I'm happy to say:

I was completely wrong.

I expected League of Super-Pets to be awful. It was, in fact, a delight, pretty much from start to finish. I didn't realize it was from the same people who did the Lego Batman movie or I might have been more optimistic.

The voice-casting was mostly great. Except for Lex Luthor; I can only assume whoever Marc Maron is has enough of his own brand that he got to play himself more than Luthor, because Lex's diction is much better than that. Heck, his guinea pig's diction was better than that.  Aw-shucks Krasinski is a very believable farm-boy Superman, whoever Olivia Wilde is nailed it as Lois Lane, Dwayne Johnson & Kevin Hart (who should really just get married at this point) were endearing rather than annoying, Bayer was a very pleasant pig, and Keanu Reeves as Batman, well, do I really have to say anything about that? 

World treasure Jameela Jamil didn't have a lot of lines as Wonder Woman but her, "You; porcine creature!" sold me completely and was worth the price of admission. For a while, I thought we had a breakthrough with our First Gay Super-Pet, but then I realized that they made Merton the Turtle female (probably just to get Natasha Lyonne, or perhaps for gender balance, since there aren't a lot of fans like to get bent out of shape about changes to Merton McSnurtle canon).

Besides: multiverse/hypertime <waves hand>

The plot was solid, its internal logic consistent, as were characterization and motivation. The threat(s) were real; the action palpable.  It's not easy to make super-powered guinea pigs threatening, but, hey, anything that takes out the Justice League automatically gets respect.  Are there a lot of surprises? Of course not.  But is that really what you are clicking that button for? I mean, if "super-power guinea pigs defeat the Justice League" isn't enough of a surprise for you, that's on you.

I very much appreciated that despite his superpowers and intelligence, Krypto is still emotionally just a dog, with the pros and cons that come with that. While the rest of the super-pets may seem like a hodgepodge, they line up well with the respective heroes they 'represent'. Chip the squirrel (obviously the Green Lantern analog) is incapacitated by paralyzed by imagining worst-case scenarios (a sort of fear).  Wonder Woman fan PB the pig (a reference to the JLU episode where WW turns into a pig) has faith in everyone except herself and needs some self-confidence.  Ace (the eventual Bat-Hound), is resilient, protective of others, and has lost his family as a puppy. Merton is fast, but has trouble looking before she leaps.  Krypto has yet to learn an important lesson that Superman has already learned but I'll let you watched the movie for that.

For comics readers like me, the movie was chockfull of visual references to in-universe DC entities.  Big Belly Burgers, Ferris Air, (Jonah) Hex Steakhouse, Jitters, Kord Industries, the Metropolis Meteors, O'Shaughnessy's, Gingold soda, Catwoman (the Broadway show), Starfire Express (the Broadway show), Sun Dollar coffee, Bruce Wayne menswear, S.Kyle jewelry, Taco Whiz, Chocos, Janus Cosmetics... I lost track.

On the whole, I appreciated the character designs. The black-background "S" for Superman's logo was a nice Golden Age touch.  Wonder Woman looked like, well, an Amazon, and Green Lantern Jessica Cruz was winningly zaftig.  Flash was clearly a runner, not a brawler.  Cyborg...

This line of his alone justifies making the entire film.

Aquaman was oddly off-model.  It seemed like they were trying for some sort of amalgam of various versions and it failed pretty badly (both visually and in personality).  I mean... a harpoon hand? For Poseidon's sake, what year is this? How is that going to be anything but wildly confusing for someone who wasn't reading Aquaman comics 25 years ago?

But he is on the screen very little; most of the heroes are.  In this film, the pets save the day, as I'm sure they all dream of doing. I hope you enjoy the film as I did.


Dave said...

I couldn't get past my distaste for McKinnon to make the guinea pig a threat. I just kept thinking of how much I don't like her.

And for Rao's sake, if you're going to have a super-cat, at least make it Streaky.

And where the hell was Proty?

Scipio said...

I didn't really recognize McKinnon in Lulu.
They couldn't make the cat Streaky, silly; it was a villain!
Proty, I assume was where he always is: 1000 years in the future. This isn't the Legion of Super-Pets; it's the League of Super-Pets.