Film Review of “DC League of Super-Pets” (2022)

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Movie poster for “DC League of Super-Pets.” (CNS photo/Alon Amir, Warner Bros.)

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Who knew the first movie I’d see in the theater since Rise of Skywalker (2019) would be DC League of Super-Pets (2022). Let me explain.

My son and his wife went on a camping trip, so they dropped my seven-year-old granddaughter off at my wife’s and my house at 9:30 Saturday morning. My wife suggested we go see a movie together. After searching for what was available for kids, I wanted to see Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022). She’d already seen it but hadn’t seen the Super-Pets movie yet. Of the two, I knew “Minions” had better reviews, but what the heck?

As far as my overall impression of “Super-Pets,” let’s just say it was fun for seven-year-olds.

Actually, in many ways, it was pretty standard fare for a “buddy” movie. You have two buddies, in this case Superman (voiced by John Krasinski) and Krypto (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) and then a woman, Lois Lane (voiced by Olivia Wilde) gets in the way. Krypto gets jealous and that’s what causes all of the problems.

Lex Luthor (voiced by Marc Maron) has figured out that pulling a meteor made of orange Kryptonite to Metropolis will give him super powers and then he can beat Superman. He’s spectacularly wrong.

Meanwhile, realizing that Krypto is having “issues” with Lois, decides to visit an animal shelter and find a new friend for Krypto. There’s not much of a selection, including the annoying Corgi Krypto has to wait beside outside of the shelter.

Krypto actually wears glasses to “disguise” himself when he’s with Clark.

Inside are the “loser” animals who will never be adopted lead by the dog Ace (Kevin Hart), Merton (Natasha Lyonne) a blind turtle, the pig PB (Vanessa Bayer), and the squirrel (or some kind of rodent) Chip (Diego Luna). Not part of the group but also unadoptable is Lulu (Kate McKinnon) who was a test guinea pig of Lex Luthor’s who has an equally massive intellect and ego.

While Luthor and his evil henchwoman Mercy (Maya Erskine) are captured and put in prison, Lulu will succeed where they failed. You see Lulu figured out the orange Kryptonite won’t give humans power but will give animals special abilities. After Superman and Krypto launch the big meteor back into space, Lulu and some strange device she was somehow allowed to build in her cage, pulls in a piece giving her psychokinetic abilities. For good or for ill, the other animals get powers as well.

Lulu uses green kryptonite to capture Superman on the eve of Clark’s attempt to propose to Lois. He and Krypto had an “argument” over this, so he’s not listening when Superman is carted off by a small, bald megalomaniacal guinea pig. By the time he figures things out, he’s eaten a piece of cheese (apparently dog’s love cheese) in which Lulu has hidden some kryptonite. It doesn’t make the dog sick or kill him, but it does take away his powers, at least until he “passes” it.

Recruiting a band of really dumb guinea pigs, Lulu gives them powers and then uses them to all too easily capture the entire Justice League including Batman (Keanu Reeves), Aquaman (Jemaine Clement), Wonder Woman (Jameela Jamil), the Flash (John Early) and a version of Green Lantern (Dascha Polanco) I’ve never seen or heard of before, locking them up in a trap at Luthor’s headquarters.

Addition: I’d completely forgotten about the Jessica Cruz Green Lantern, but that’s who the movie’s GL is.

Lulu’s plan is to free Lex and to rule the world at his side. Good luck with that.

Krypto, without powers, manages to find the now escaped super-powered pets and enlists them to rescue Superman.

Krypto has never had any other friends besides Clark, so this is his journey to “humanize” himself. It’s also an opportunity to reveal Ace’s tragic backstory and for Ace to teach Krypto what it is to be a really “good dog.”

Everything is more or less predictable and naturally, the good animals win in the end after much self-sacrifice, especially on Krypto’s part.

My granddaughter enjoyed it thoroughly and made us stay through the entire end credits. There was a mid-credits and end credits scene.

SPOILER ALERT: The end credits scene features Black Adam and his “anti-hero” dog. It’s funny because Johnson stars in the Black Adam (2022) live action film.

Even for a kid’s movie, I thought it was over the top for each of the pets to end up being partnered with a Justice League member, although I guess there’s a history between Wonder Woman and the pig.

Depending on which version of the Superman legend you look at, Krypto was a lab animal Jor-El, Clark/Kal-El’s Dad launched into space to test his rocket design. The dog ended up in suspended animation for “reasons” and when Krypton exploded, eventually ended up on Earth becoming Superboy’s pet. He was even a member of the Legion of Super-Pets which included Comet the Super-Horse, Streaky the Supercat, Beppo the Supermonkey, and Proty, a shape-shifting alien animal from the planet Durla (no, I’m not kidding).

In the movie, as Kal is about to be launched, before anyone can stop him, puppy Krypto leaps into the spaceship and is sent to Earth with the boy. I guess Kryptonese dogs have really long lifespans.

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© James Pyles

The movie had an unexpected side effect. Since my granddaughter was sleeping over, after dinner, she picked out something to watch on TV. I have the first season of the 1950s TV show The Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves in the title role. I wasn’t sure how she’d react to it being a child of the 21st century but she’s young enough that she loved it. She was even impressed by the flying effects, which is something given the very low budget the show had.

It did kind of bug her that these shows were in black-and-white.

She watched six episodes before going to bed last night and another before I took her home this afternoon. I’ve previously introduced her to Jonny Quest (1964-65) and Space Ghost (1966-68) so I continue being able to share my childhood with her.

Back to “Super-Pets,” except for Clark, the human superheroes were paper thin characters but we really weren’t supposed to care about them. As I said above, I have no idea where the filmmakers got the idea for this version of Green Lantern except they most likely wanted to have a (human) women of color in the movie and anyone can wear a ring (not true, but that’s a long story).

Side note: Except for Green Lantern, there weren’t really issues of representation or social justice, at least not glaring ones. After all, these are animals, so a dog is a dog and a pig is a pig. Yes, Chip spoke Spanish, but what the hey. Who voiced them as far as race, ethnicity, gender, etc…goes is pretty much beside the point.

Yes, the human heroes were played as dorks and given the fact that a bunch of superpowered gerbils captured them in no time flat, were absolutely lame.

The real heroes were Krypto and Ace, but each animal had to overcome some limitation in order to be truly heroic. Not a terrible way to spend an hour and forty-five minutes if you have a child about seven with you.

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