Director: Sam Liu
Writers: Jeph Loeb (comic book), Ed McGuinness (comic book)
Stars: Clancy Brown, Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Xander Berkeley, John C. McGinley
I have to say that i am enjoying my current DC Animated Universe binge-a-thon at the moment. Revisiting some great animated action and being introduced to some of the films that I missed the first time around, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies being one of them. Almost a decade old I feel pretty ashamed that I somehow missed out on this film on it’s original release. I have no excuses and for someone who claims to be a massive Superman and Batman fan, words fail me. I’m can only apologise for my ignorance.
Anyway, I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of this film and what a film it is. When Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown) gets elected US President, he uses the threat of an oncoming kryptonite meteor striking Earth as a rationale to frame Superman (Tim Daly). Even the thought of Luthor somehow becoming President of the United States of America gives me the chills, but somehow it works and I accepted it pretty quickly as the introduction in a old fashioned newsreel narrative we are introduced to a country torn and on the verge of collapse and implosion. Crime is everywhere, poverty is everywhere and although the narrative doesn’t really go into the nitty gritty on how the US ended up in this sorry state, society in desperation turns to Luthor as the saviour and quite honestly he does a great job in getting the country back on its feet.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but think that perhaps Luthor pulled a Palpatine on everyone and somehow he was the cause of the collapse of a country. Let’s be honest, that’s totally a Lex Luthor thing to do. Nevertheless, with a looming kryptonite meteor heading in Earth’s direction it is up to Luthor to entice Superman to let bygones be bygones and work together to save the earth. In all honestly it’s a stitch up job by Lex into framing Superman and outcasting him (along with Batman (Kevin Conroy) and turning the nation on both Superheroes. Don’t get me wrong the Meteor situation is true and shows the twisted mind of a megalomaniac into thinking what he can get out of the crisis situation. With both Superman and Batman “Public Enemies” it is up to our heroes to clear their name. Do battle with Luthor and other Super Villains who have sided with Lex and stop the Earth from it’s pending doom from the rock in the sky hurtling towards their home.
I loved the fact that before Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) we had DC’s two most iconic characters teaming up in an unusual situation and although both heroes have different ideologies and methods it was interesting to see how Director Sam Liu along with writers Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness would handle this without taking the characters out of themselves. Sometimes their relationship was friendly and other times it was rough, but overall you could sense a respectfulness between both of them. The dialogue was excellent in both characters and overall the cast, but with the main leads and along with the great delivery of iconic voice actors Daly and Conroy you would think you are stepping into the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight world with the tone and feels to this film and that’s thanks to the excellent dialogue and screenplay. The inclusion of (to me) lesser known villains and heroes like Captain Atom, Captain Marvel / Solomon Grundy, Major Force, Power Girl, Metallo, Black Lightning and Toyman is a great way to involve these other DC characters and perhaps encourage the casual fan to investigate these comic books.
Overall Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is an enjoyable film that just wasn’t long enough. Seriously I could have watched another hour of this but perhaps that is its appeal. Making the audience wanting more. Sam Liu delivers an emotional storyline that is satisfying and entertaining. The cast of Clancy Brown, Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Xander Berkeley, John C. McGinley to name a few is stellar and shows why these DC Animated films are respected and enjoyed by the fans (hardcore and casual) alike. If you haven’t seen Superman/Batman: Public Enemies yet then what are you waiting for. Highly Recommended.