Genre: CG Animation
Director: Jared Stern
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Kate McKinnon, John Krasinski, Natasha Lyonne, Diego Luna, Keanu Reeves
Runtime: 1 hr 46 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Mature References)
Released By: Warner Bros
Opening Day: 1 September 2022
Synopsis: In "DC League of Super-Pets", Krypto the Super-Dog and Superman are inseparable best friends, sharing the same superpowers and fighting crime in Metropolis side by side. When Superman and the rest of the Justice League are kidnapped, Krypto must convince a rag-tag shelter pack - Ace the hound, PB the potbellied pig, Merton the turtle and Chip the squirrel - to master their own newfound powers and help him rescue the Super Heroes. Dwayne Johnson stars as the voice of Krypto the Super-Dog with Kevin Hart as Ace. Also stars the voices of Kate McKinnon, John Krasinski, Natasha Lyonne, Diego Luna and Keanu Reeves.
If you’ve seen ‘Jumanji’ or ‘Central Intelligence’, you’ll understand why we’re looking forward to the reunion of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. Like their earlier collaborations, their latest sees the duo engage with perfect aplomb in anything from potty-related humour to deep conversations about what it means to truly love someone. It is no wonder that Hollywood’s ‘dynamic duo’ were called upon to voice Krypto and Ace – the former a loyal Labrador Retriever from Krypton with laser vision, the ability to fly and an alter ego who goes by the name of Bark Kent, and the latter a cynical, street-smart hound who is accidentally gifted with the power of invincibility – who are forced to team up with each other to stop a diabolical plan by a hairless guinea pig named Lulu (Kate McKinnon).
Whilst Warner Bros undertakes a fundamental review of its DC film strategy, ‘DC League of Super-Pets’ offers a delightfully nutty variation on what the DC super-hero universe could look like. Though the pets are undoubtedly the heroes of the film, this is also a Justice League movie, with not just Superman (John Krasinski) but also Wonder Woman (Jammela Jamil), Aquaman (Jemaine Clement), The Flash (John Early), female Green Lantern (Dascha Polanco), Cybrog (Daveed Diggs) and Batman (Keanu Reeves) showcasing not only their respective superhero idiosyncrasies but also their prospective affiliations to the animal species, whether is it to a cheery potbellied pig PB (Vanessa Bayer), a neurotic squirrel Chip (Diego Luna) or a lascivious turtle Merton (Natasha Lyonne).
We hardly blame Krypto for casting a doubtful eye at the ragtag group led by Ace who, though newly endowed with superpowers, is supposed to be the Justice League’s best hope at defeating their former animal shelter companion Lulu. Yet, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the combination of an invincible hound, a pig who can grow and shrink at will, a squirrel with the ability to control electricity and a lightning-fast turtle will eventually find it within themselves to overcome their fears and come together as a league to rescue the members of the Justice League, whom Lulu has kidnapped in a bid to please her former owner – and Superman’s nemesis – Lex Luthor (Marc Manon); and oh, we should mention too the army of super-guinea pigs whom Lulu commands, including a pair (Ben Schwartz and Thomas Middleditch) with the gift of fire and ice respectively who turn out to be inseparable.
Director and co-writer Jared Stern has injected some of the sardonism and self-awareness from ‘The Lego Batman Movie’, which he co-wrote, into his sophomore directorial effort. With help with co-writer John Whittington, Stern keeps the tone witty and irreverent, loaded with plenty of sight gags for the kids and tongue-in-cheek jokes for the adults (like Superman’s not-so-secret identity, or the impracticality of Wonder Woman’s invisible jet, or even Batman’s brooding). To their credit, the action is never frenetic, and never treats plot, character or dialogue as gap-filler; in fact, we dare say there is a fair amount of pathos around the relationship between pet and human, anchored on Ace’s tragic backstory of being given up by his owners because of a misunderstanding.
So even though ‘DC League of Super-Pets’ is probably a lightweight distraction against their larger universe-building mythology, it is nonetheless an amusing, clever and even affecting entry that makes the best of what it can within the DC canon. It is also blessed with a very talented roster of voice actors – besides reprising the winning match-up between Johnson and Hart, it also boasts the nuanced voice-work of Bayer and Lyonne, as well as a riotous McKinnon clearly having a ball with her verbose soliloquies of her character’s desire to be loved by Lex. Thanks to them, the puns, jokes, catty remarks and doggy banter ring loud, clear and exuberant – and like the title suggests, the result is super-charged fun.
(Amusing, clever and even affecting, this alternate take on the DC super-heroes and their pets is super-charged fun, thanks to a witty script and an excellent voice cast)
Review by Gabriel Chong