- Movie Rating -

DC League of Super-Pets (2022)

| December 6, 2022

DC League of Super-Pets gets by on a lot of cuteness.  It is adorable, and funny in a laid-back sort of way that puts a smile on your face.  And, y’know, given the morbid tone of its concurrent DC output, they could use it.  I just reviewed Black Adam a few days ago and found to be a noisy and convoluted mess that strangles itself with how epic it is trying to be.  Super-Pets was a nice breath of fresh air.

More than that, DC League of Super-Pets overcomes the shortcomings in The Secret Life of Pets.  The two movies have almost everything in common – beloved pet feels that his owner is setting him aside and goes out in the world where he meets a new group of goofy friends – but this one seems more confident, more alive, more original even while trodding the same ground as nearly every other superhero movie.  Again, cuteness goes a long way.

Our hero is Krypto (v. Dwayne Johnson) who escapes the dying Krypton with Kal-El as a puppy, boarding the infant’s tiny capsule just in the nick of time.  The greatness of this scene is not just in its emotional weight but also in the fact that composer Steve Jablonsky sneaks in a few bars of John Williams’ original score.  I admit, I choked up a bit.

Krypto becomes Superman’s lifelong companion and, currently, they work together keeping the planet safe and keeping each other company.  Krypto loves Supe (v. John Kasinski) more than anything else in the world, but a problem comes along when the super pet-owner decides to take his relationship with Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde) to the next level.  There is some animation here illustrating Krypto’s fear of abandonment that is not only good, but kind of inspired.

Understanding Krypto’s predicament, Superman takes him to an animal shelter to find him a friends so he won’t feel so lonely.  The pets there are a fun bunch, including a darkside pooch named Ace (v. Kevin Hart), a sweet-hearted pig named PB (Vanessa Bayer), a nearly-blind turtle named Merton (v. Natasha Lyonne), a daffy squirrel named Chip (v. Diego Luna), and a hairless guinea pig named Lulu (v. Kate McKinnon) who was previously owned by Lex Luthor.

It is Lulu who (obviously) becomes the film’s main villain, given her previously parentage, using a chunk of green Kryptonite that saps Superman and Krypto of their powers and allowing her to kidnap the rest of the Justice League.  Meanwhile, the pets at the shelter gain their own superpowers comparable to those of the J.L.

And, yes, the story goes in all the directions that you might expect with the growing supervillain, Krypto’s feeling that he let Superman down, and a threat to global obliteration that are commonplace in these movies.  What is surprising is how fun and cheeky the humor turns out to be.  This is a kids movie but it refreshingly one of those films that gives enough nods to the adults that they’ll enjoy it too.  The best running gag here comes from Batman (Keanu Reeves) whose limited screentime is mostly given to his dreary abandonment issues.  It is the funniest part of the movie.  What is it about Bruce’s abandonment issues that makes for great comedy?

I know I had seen all of this stuff before, but somehow never this fresh or funny.  DC League of Super-Pets is funny and very charming.  It’s not the most original movie in the world, but it was a breath of fresh air after the repellent nature of The Batman and the cacophony of Black Adam.  Thanks.  I needed that.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2022) View IMDB Filed in: Animated