Review: 'DC League of Super-Pets'
Between the time I went to see DC League of Super-Pets and writing this, things got weird at Warner Bros. Two movies that were reportedly near completion were suddenly shelved. Most mainstream movie press outlets covered this as "What does this mean for this group of comic book superhero movies?". Even Flayrah's Newsbyte on the subject only mentioned Batgirl, despite the fact that Scoob! Holiday Haunt, an actual movie featuring anthropomorphic animals, rather than just one superhero in a pseudo-fursuit, was also cancelled.
And that has some bearing on my thoughts on this movie. Warner Animation Group is looking like it could be in trouble. Even though it appears that the studio will survive in some capacity, people are going to lose jobs in this area. So, it doesn't feel like a good time to take a look at their latest output, shrug, and say, "It was okay, I guess?"
DC League of Super-Pets was directed by Jared Stern and Sam Levine, and stars Dwayne Johnson as Krypto, Superman's superpowered pet dog. When the evil guinea pig Lulu (voiced by Kate McKinnon) manages to depower Krypto, he must lead a team of newly-empowered shelter pets in order to rescue his kidnapped master.
It was okay, I guess?
Krypto and the League of Super-Pets aren't exactly obscure characters, but are more in the category of well-known trivia. Like, most people are probably vaguely aware that there have been comics and cartoons featuring Superman's dog, and maybe some other superpowered animals, but not many people have actually read or watched any of them. They're good for a Cracked article, but nobody was really ride or die for the Super-Pets. Which is good, because outside of Krypto, most of the characters featured in this movie are brand-new.
You have PB the pot-bellied pig (voiced by Vanessa Bayer), who can grow and shrink. Then there's Merton (voiced by Natasha Lyonne), a tortoise who, of course, gains speedster powers. It's a little bit of a spoiler, but there's also the hound Ace (voiced by Kevin Hart), who has a comic book counterpart, as does Chip the lightning-wielding squirrel (voiced by Diego Luna). Kinda. Also, seeing as how they are all shelter pets, I'm not sure what Chip was doing there. Feels like there was a joke that got left on the cutting room floor somewhere.
Much more interesting are the villains. Lulu the guinea pig is a former laboratory animal of Superman villain Lex Luthor, and she sees herself as his pet rather than lab rat. Kate McKinnon's vocal performance as Lulu is the most consistently great part of the movie. McKinnon just seems to be having a blast, like she's always wanted to play a big supervillain part, and realizes that it just makes it funnier that she's voicing a hairless rodent. She's completely bald, much like her beloved Lex, and therefore her character is just ugly, but I'll allow it, because it's supposed to be. It's been a good year for evil guinea pigs.
There's also Whiskers the adorable kitten (voiced by actual child actress Winona Bradshaw), who is the best joke in the movie. Whiskers is adorable, but also evil, and she likes to destroy everything in her path, while still remaining cute and cuddly. So, a cat, basically. I get the feeling that one of the writers or directors just doesn't like cats much, actually.
The humor never really got me to laugh out loud that much, though I will report that a lot of the jokes worked for the kids in the audience at my screening, as well as for the adults. Not usually the same joke, though. There is a bit of toilet humor, but never anything too explicitly gross. There was one joke that I'd never really seen, or more accurately, heard before in a movie like this. Merton the tortoise cusses frequently, and it's just bleeped out. No explanation is given inside the story, and the movie isn't otherwise very meta like that. That was one of the jokes the adults were enjoying more.
I feel like this movie is aiming more for kids and their parents than anything, which shouldn't be that surprising a takeaway from a mainstream animated movie. I would say for most furry fans, it's a good movie to wait to rent or stream at home, unless they are just a ride or die fan of the comic book Super-Pets. In that case, they'll probably hate it, since Warners changed them so much.