DC League of Super-Pets takes a crack at comic cannon hero and Superman/ Superboy companion Krypto, the super dog. This exceptional film, directed by Jared Stone and starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, shows why DC creates some of the best animations.
Krypto made his first comic appearance in Superboy Adventure Comics in March 1955 and was created by writer Otto Binder and artist Curt Swan. He wasn’t supposed to last more than one issue, but his popularity kept the character in canon. He has all the powers of Superman and is often seen fighting alongside the caped hero.
Now, League Of Super-Pets exists in a world that knows about and accepts superheroes. In Metropolis, Superman Clark Kent (John Krasinski) and his dog Krypto (Johnson) continually save the city from danger. With Kent and Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde) growing closer, the dog wonders if he’ll be abandoned. Krypto has no friends, so he has no one to turn to. At the suggestion of Lane, Superman goes to an animal shelter to look for a pet. This is when Krypto meets a Boxer dog Ace (Hart), as he tries to escape the shelter. With Kent walking out empty-handed, the audience is introduced to Ace’s other animal friends, including Merton, a Turtle with poor eyesight (Natasha Lyonne), Chip, an anxious chipmunk (Diego Luna), PB, the Pig with low self-esteem (Vanessa Bayer), and Lulu, (Kate Mckinnon) the Guinea Pig with delusions of grandeur. Lulu was experimented on by Lex Luthor (Marc Maron), which fueled her desire for world domination.
The billionaire businessman is trying to capture orange kryptonite which he claims will give him superpowers. Superman and Krypto thwarted the plan, and the orange kryptonite returned to space except for a small shard that Lulu stole, which gave her telekinetic powers. She was also able to give special abilities like super speed, invulnerability, electricity, and size differential to the other animals shelter. When Lulu uses her power to capture the entire Justice League, Krypto and his new shelter friends have to save them before the rodent destroys Metropolis.
DC animation has always been miles ahead of its live-action content, and the League of Super-Pets has earned the right to sit amongst the best DC offers. It’s sharply written, the voice-over work is exceptional because of the film’s talented cast, and the villain is honestly one of the best in the DC cinematic universe so far. The story has something for everyone. Young children, as well as adults, will enjoy it. DCU fans will recognize some key moments borrowed from other films (like a particular scene ripped right out of Man Of Steel).
There is a nice balance of comedy and dramatic moments that tug at the heartstrings with animals giving anecdotes about life and love. The 3D animation is well done, and a voice cast that gels together seamlessly. There was some worry about Kevin Hart and whether he would employ his typical antics that can be quite annoying. However, he’s surprisingly subdued, which works well with Johnson’s laid back presence. The duo are a good pair.
But the real star of DC League of Super Pets is Kate Mckinnon as the film’s villain. She has a Brainiac, or Pinky and the Brain vibe that’s deliciously clever and evil. The actual Justice League can’t contain the Guinea Pig and ends up getting trapped by it, and beating the hell out of anyone that tries to get in her way right up until the last 15-minutes. Watching Lex Luthor be def taught Lulu a thing or two about villainy.
Overall, DC’s League Of Super Pets is a thrilling ride full of heart that keeps true to the spirit of DC animated comic ventures as a story of substance that doesn’t slack on the action sequences. Sure the collateral damage in Metropolis is dialed up to 11, but that’s kinda par for the course for anything DC.