“Let’s make a movie in which we combine one of the most popular film genres, superhero movies, and extremely adorable animals!”. That’s probably what writers Jared Stern and John Whittington must have said when they pitched “DC League of Super-Pets”. While the movie from directors Jared Stern (who’s also co-writer) and Sam Levine has all the superheroes you know, a superhero story never looks this adorable.
This time the main heroes are Krypto, Superman’s faithful canine sidekick and superhero, and a bunch of rescue animals. While Krypto the Superdog has been around since 1955, he’s finally coming to life on the big screen. Let’s hope it’s not the last time because “DC League of Super-Pets” is a funny, adorable, vibrant film that adults and kids will adore.
We all know that the bond between animals and humans is powerful, and that’s certainly the case for Krypto (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) and Superman/Clark Kent (John Krasinski). They both escaped a burning Krypton when they were younger, and now they live together in a beautiful apartment.
They have vowed to protect each other from all evil (human and extra-terrestrial) and be best friends forever. It seems like that last promise is about to be broken when Clark proposes to Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde). To make sure that his canine superhero and lifelong buddy won’t feel betrayed and alone forever, Superman decides to adopt a pet from a rescue shelter.
However, that act of love might cost his life. He’s being captured by an evil guinea pig Lulu (Kate McKinnon), the animal protégé (or better said, test subject) of Lex Luthor. Besides kidnapping Clark, she doses Krypto with Kryptonite and captures the rest of the Justice League. Krypto, who has become powerless, returns to the shelter to form his league of Superheroes.
What used to be unloved, locked-up shelter animals now are invincible superheroes thanks to the Orange Kryptonite. The untouchable dog Ace (Kevin Hart), the super-fast turtle Merton (Natasha Lyonne), the size-changing pig PB (Vanessa Bayer) and the electrokinetic squirrel Chip (Diego Luna). While Krypto struggles to work together with others (apart from Superman), he has to overcome that to save the human superheroes and the entire planet. Will he be able to?
What makes this movie so enjoyable and adorable is the cleverly written script from Stern (“The Lego Batman Movie”, “The Lego Ninjago Movie”) and Whittington (“Sonic the Hedgehog 2”, “The Lego Batman Movie”). While the storyline follows the usual and maybe predictable ‘superhero movie’ structure, you forget that predictability in a heartbeat thanks to the funniness of the script, the vibrant animations and the well-casted actors and their voices.
While the script is certainly not the aspect that will drive the audience to the cinema, it’s the best springboard for the life lessons of this movie. The element of friendship, loyalty and everyone deserving love and being cared for (no matter who we’re or what we look like) are interwoven beautifully in this film without becoming too pushy or too present.
The script also allows every actor to give their character the personality and uniqueness the animal deserves. Even as stunningly animated animals Hart and Johnson have the same impeccable chemistry and dynamic they had in “Jumanji: The Next Level”.
Johnson brings Krypto to life perfectly. The ‘I’m better than everyone because I’m an out-of-this-world superdog’ aspect of Krypto is stunning thanks to the fast-paced and more stuck-up dialogue. When Krypto understands that deep down he’s not better than the other dogs, Johnson (“Fighting With My Family”, “Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw”) gives a more emotional and down-to-earth performance.
While the acting from Hart (“The Secret Life of Pets 2”, “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie”) is less layered (just because of who Ace is), it’s still an excellent performance. He ensures Ace oozes the must-needed down-to-earth rock ‘n roll and bad-ass vibe.
While those acting performances are impeccable, women rule “DC League of Super-Pets”. McKinnon (“Yesterday”, “The Bubble”) steals the show as she lends her voice to a grotesque guinea pig, Lulu. We all know that McKinnon has impeccable timing and a unique sense of humour, and she certainly knows how to use it to give Lulu the evilness, darkness and bizarreness she needs.
A tortoise might not be the fastest animal in the bunch (until she gains her superpowers), but Lyonne (“Irresistible”, “Ad Astra”) absolutely delivers the most memorable performance as the pansexual, blind tortoise Merton. She’s not afraid of cursing (don’t worry, parents, it’s being bleeped out), and the slowness and awkwardness of Merton are being used perfectly. Falling in love with the construction hats and fire hydrants was never this hilarious.
While “DC League of Super-Pets” is quite predictable and not too complicated (it’s a kids’ film, after all), adults and kids will enjoy it a lot. There’s laughter, emotions, amusing moments, important life lessons, and extremely charming animals. What more could you ask for?!
29th July 2022
THE QUICK SELL
Krypto the Super-Dog and Superman are inseparable best friends, sharing the same superpowers and fighting crime side by side in Metropolis. However, Krypto must master his own powers for a rescue mission when Superman is kidnapped.