DC League Of Super-Pets

****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

DC League Of Super-Pets
"The themes of friendship and teamwork are targeted at young audiences but it zips along at pace - a reminder that you don't need super-complex plotting, so long as you deliver on laughs." | Photo: Warner Bros

After the over-complicated origins of the recent Lightyear, the latest from Warner Brothers arrives like a breath of fresh air, with its straightforward set-up that even young kids will be immediately able to tune-in to. We meet Krypto - a super-dog, we will soon learn, if we don't know already - heading off into space with baby Superman as his home planet is destroyed. Fast-forward and the pair of them are fighting crime in Metropolis... but Krypto is starting to worry that his best bro relationship with Supes (John Krasinski) is on the slide thanks to his owner's growing relationship with Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde).

Superman, meanwhile, is worried that Krypto's, well, supercilious attitude is stopping him making animal buddies. Things are set to change after a visit to a pet rescue where guinea pig Lulu - left bald by experiments in bad guy mastermind Lex Luthor's lab - is hatching an evil plot of her own. But like many a Warner Bros villain before her - and her machinations are particularly reminiscent of mice Pinky and the Brain's search for world dominaiton - she is not so smart as she thinks. Her plot unwittingly gives her fellow rescue pets a dose of superpower at the same time as she gets one herself. The "pets" are enjoyably ridiculous, including a pig, a squirrel, a dog and a tortoise. They may not be exactly 'canon' in terms of the original comics, but they are very much in keeping with the general level of daftness being aimed for here. The same goes for their powers, which all of them struggle to handle. Meanwhile, poor old Krypto, like his owner, has been stripped of his special skills.

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This twist on the familiar superhero origin story is helped enormously by the fact that writers Jared Stern (who also co-directs with Sam Levine) and John Wittington employ the same sort of knowing humour they used in The Lego Batman Movie. They smartly couple this with a nod to older Warner Bros' animation style. Beyond Lulu's familiar world domination plans, there's also a solid mix of slapstick and wordplay. The whole thing doesn't take itself too seriously, poking fun at training montages and a range of other superheroes, including Wonder Woman, whose TV theme tune is enjoyably nodded to by the score.

The voice cast are well chosen, from Dwayne Johnson as Krypto, about to learn a thing or two about working as part of a team thanks to rescue dog Ace (Johnson’s regular film sparring partner Kevin Hart), to Vanessa Bayer’s PB, Natasha Lyonne's enjoyably foul-mouthed short-sighted tortoise Merton, Diego Luna's Peter Lorre-esque squirrel Chip and Keanu Reeves' deliberately dour Batman. The visuals are stronger than the script, with one of the most amusing sequences involving a cute if murderous kitten - a sort of evil cousin of Lightyear's Sox - who coughs up hairball grenades. The themes of friendship and teamwork are targeted at young audiences but it zips along at pace - a reminder that you don't need super-complex plotting, so long as you deliver on laughs.

Reviewed on: 29 Jul 2022
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When Krypto the dog loses his super-powers and his owner Superman is captured, he must team up with a team of shelter pets who have accidentally acquired special abilities.

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