Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Nanoreview [film]: DC League of Super-Pets

Finally, someone at Warner Bros. Pictures remembered that Superman stories can have fun

Amid all the difficulties that have beset the increasingly fragmented and directionless DCEU, it's a relief to watch a Justice League movie where no one's career is ruined and you walk out of the theater feeling hopeful.

DC League of Super-Pets comes at a delicate moment for Justice League IPs. While the TV side of Warner Bros. has found the formula to make Superman exciting for two years now, the filmmaking division is in a state of limbo, and the fans are understandably tired. There's no word on when Superman will appear again; who will play Batman next is anyone's guess; the upcoming Flash film is overshadowed by a dumpster fire of scandals; we no longer have a Cyborg; and the latest Wonder Woman film was a mess of bad choices. You know you're in trouble when the only member that still enjoys a solid standing in your superhero team is Aquaman.

So here comes Krypto to save the day. In this hilarious and heartwarming story, the superdog learns to adopt a more mature view on friendship, as he relinquishes ownership over Superman's life in recognition of Lois Lane's new central position. Krypto's journey leads him to make friends with other superpowered animals and explore different views on what friendship can be. Interestingly, this arc is told in parallel with that of the villain Lulu, a guinea pig who believes Lex Luthor is her best friend, but in typical Luthor style, he saw her only as a tool. These two case studies are just transparent enough to reach the intended viewers, but still complex enough to leave them mulling over their own assumptions of what a healthy friendship should look like.

After the lively and flashy action scenes, the perennial Warner talent for slapstick comedy, and the poop jokes, there's an additional possible reading of DC League of Super-Pets, one for Superman's adult fans. Krypto's big lesson is that he needs to stop acting so possessive over Superman, stop trying to control what his life can and cannot include, and be willing to let him be truly happy. If fans took Krypto's example and let go of their possessive behavior, maybe the DCEU could grow toward a less toxic direction.

Nerd Coefficient: 7/10.

POSTED BY: Arturo Serrano, multiclass Trekkie/Whovian/Moonie/Miraculer, accumulating experience points for still more obsessions.