DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS REVIEW
Unbeknownst to me, this film was a little nostalgia trip to my childhood. I completely forgot that the Krypto the Superdog animated show was an overly watched show when I was young. For a 10-year-old me, it had enough to lay some groundwork for my future love for superheroes and, for my parents, it shut me up for half an hour. All this of course was realised after I saw DC League of Super-Pets, by which it wasn’t nostalgia that I was excited for, but seeing the paring of Hollywood’s most charismatic partnership Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart once again. The paring in this film is faultless once again, but even though this film is aimed at children, I think Warner Brothers have gotten carried away with how child-friendly they made it.
Right off the bat, Krypto is absolutely adorable in this film and his personality just makes him all that more likeable as the main protagonist. There are two reasons for this, the first being the most obvious is Dwayne Johnson. Possibly the most charming, likeable face in Hollywood (only bested by Ryan Reynolds in my opinion) brings out Krypto’s innocent naivety. He sees his owner Superman (John Krasinski) as the centre of his world and he feels threatened when Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde) becomes a bigger part of Superman’s life than he does. The second reason is that his design is really cute, and this is somewhat down to the fact that this film’s animation design really benefits the way Krypto looks. The other characters, which I’ll get onto later, look OK but Krypto is the only one who stands out on the screen, he sort of pops out at you as being the better looking.
As you can expect from most animated films aimed at children, the jokes in this film obviously revolve around dogs and pets in general, the only exception is the film’s antagonist Lulu (Kate McKinnon) who is going for the more relatable humour. I wasn’t expecting all of these jokes to land with audiences, but the ones that do can put a smile on your face. It’s the simplest jokes that land in DC League of Super-Pets and not the ones where it’s clear they’re trying too hard. For instance, I love the running joke of Krypto having a squeaky toy of Batman, I was curious if it was going to lead anywhere or be just an “in the moment” type of joke, but it does go somewhere, and the payoff is really good. It adds to the whole “not taking itself too seriously” vibe it’s going for and it all adds towards a more fun watch.
Usually, I’m not too big of a fan of films that are entirely aimed at children, I do believe that if you are making a fun animated film, you also have to appeal to the parents so that they can smile, laugh and have the same amount of fun the child is having watching said film. Mostly where these types of films get it wrong is where they make the film too child-centred and there’s not enough for adults to enjoy, DC League of Super-Pets I felt had that same problem. The reason I believe this is that there is plenty of evidence that the filmmakers obviously wanted the film to go further with some of the humour, but for some reason, whether it was the decision of the writers or the studio, they chose not to and stuck to that child orientated film direction.
Let’s be honest, this film could have easily been called “Krypto the Superdog and Pals” and no one would bat an eyelid, I say this because Krypto isn’t alone, he has the help of Ace (Kevin Hart) another dog with invulnerability, PB (Vanessa Bayer) a pig who can alter her size, Merton (Natasha Lyonne) a turtle with superspeed and Chip (Diego Luna) a squirrel who has electrokinesis. They each have their own personality and flaw that they have to overcome, but aside from Ace, none of them is really drawn out in terms of having a “superhero backstory”. Speaking of which, pretty much every superhero cliché in the book is used in this film.
An odd element in the film was the censoring swear words. All foul language comes entirely from Merton, but instead of getting creative with its censorings such as a loud car driving past at the appropriate time or a character butting it before it can be said, the film straight up bleeps it. Something like a profanity buzzer doesn’t work in the film unless it’s contextual, but I was sitting there thinking surely the filmmakers aren’t that creatively bankrupt. Also, the film doesn’t even succeed in censoring all swear words, one finds its way through the gap.
In short, DC League of Superpets is at the end of the day an example of a film wanting to be better than what it became. I don’t really know why the people behind it didn’t want to take that extra step, but we’d be talking in a very different attitude if it had. The likability of Krypto and the people’s champion voicing him may be enough for some to enjoy, but I think a bit more effort on moments that both child and parent can relate to would go a long way. Mind you, a ticket to watch Krypto the Superdog is a much better purchase than Krypto the currency.
Final Result: 4/10 – Below Average
Have you seen DC League of Super-Pets? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: Bullet Train
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