Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

Year 8, Day 103 - 4/12/16 - Movie #2,303

BEFORE: Two weeks ago, I happened to get a free copy of a promotional comic that tied in with last week's release of "Batman v Superman", so I just put it in with my regular comic books for that week, but I finally picked it up last night, only to find out it was a reprint of a comic I already owned, from the series "Superman/Batman" released prior to the DC reboot from about 4 years ago.  But, the story was the first issue of "World's Finest", the 2003 storyline which was turned into this animated film - what a great coincidence, and it conveniently reminded me of the plotline.  

Linking from "The Death of Superman Lives", from Kevin Smith I can backtrack through "Yoga Hosers" to Kevin Conroy, who provides the voice for Batman tonight.

THE PLOT:  When Lex Luthor gets elected US President, he uses the threat of an oncoming kryptonite meteor striking Earth as a rationale to frame Superman.

AFTER:  See, this is what I was talking about a week ago, after watching "Batman v Superman" - this is the Lex Luthor I'm more familiar with, he should be more Donald Trump than Mark Zuckerberg.  This followed the storyline (released in the election year of 2000) where Luthor was elected President, no doubt by promising to build a wall around the Earth and make the Kryptonians pay for it.  After turning the economy around, Luthor goes on to put a number of superheroes on the government payroll, including Power Girl, Captain Atom, Black Lightning, and Starfire.  

But Luthor's big scheme involves using the giant meteor heading to the Earth as a framework for setting up a situation where it looks like Superman has killed the villain Metallo (suggesting that the Kryptonite radiation must have messed with Superman's mind) and he places a billion-dollar bounty on Superman's head.  This causes an army of villains to attack Superman and Batman to collect it, while they're breaking into S.T.A.R. Labs to investigate Metallo's murder. 

Meanwhile, Luthor borrows the plot of "Armageddon" and sends missiles to destroy the meteor - and when that fails, chooses instead to let the meteor hit, so most of society can be destroyed, and he can rule over whatever's left.  (That's some crazy logic, huh?)  But after battling both Luthor's heroes, and then Hawkman and Captain Marvel, Superman fights Luthor while Batman rides a giant robot (built by Toyman) that just happens to be designed to look like half-Batman-half-Superman to destroy the meteor.  

Eventually, Luthor is revealed to have been injecting himself with liquid Kryptonite and Bane's steroid Venom, which has warped his mind, conveniently making him not responsible for his actions, but gets him both arrested and impeached.  So that happened - and I think Superman's childhood friend Pete Ross was V.P., so I guess he became President?  (Whoops, I guess that was only in the comics, not the animated movie universe.) 

All things told, it's a better-than-average storyline to turn into a movie, and they keep upping the ante by putting Batman and Superman against stronger and stronger heroes - first a few second-stringers, then a band of villains, then a couple of VERY strong heroes, and finally the meteor itself.  

NITPICK POINT: This is sort of a common mistake, I see it whenever there's a dangerous thing speeding toward the Earth, but movies tend to simplify this situation and fail to acknowledge that the Earth, you know, MOVES.  They treat the Earth as if it occupies a stationary point in space, which it does not - it orbits around the sun, and it won't be in the same place tomorrow that it is today.  So how can anyone tell when something's going to hit the Earth, without calculating where the Earth is going to be at that time in the future?  It's not like Earth is a magnet pulling in meteors from across the galaxy, or someone is aiming the meteor right at Earth, making adjustments as it goes?  Was Luthor pulling the meteor towards Earth somehow, or, more likely, is this just a simplification of the way planets move for the sake of the story?  

NITPICK POINT #2: Why did the missiles (and the Batman/Superman rocket) need to go through a wormhole in order to reach the meteor?  How far away was the meteor - if the missiles needed to use a wormhole, that means it was still pretty far away, right?  And if it was that far away, that means there was time to come up with an alternate plan, right?  Why not just remove the wormhole, move the meteor closer, and therefore decrease the deadline and increase the sense of urgency?   Or, if we have wormhole technology, why not set up a wormhole for the meteor to go through, so it won't hit the Earth?  Just saying.  

Also starring the voices of Clancy Brown (last heard in "Lego Batman: DC Super Heroes Unite"), Tim Daly (last seen in "Against the Ropes"), Xander Berkeley (last seen in "Amistad"), Corey Burton, Allison Mack (last heard in "The Ant Bully"), John C. McGinley (last seen in "Fat Man and Little Boy"), CCH Pounder (last seen in "Robocop 3"), Levar Burton, Brian George, Jennifer Hale, Ricardo Chavira, Rachael MacFarlane, Calvin Tran, Alan Oppenheimer, Bruce Timm (last heard in "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2"), Michael Gough, and Mark Jonathan Davis (better known as the modern-day lounge singer, Richard Cheese)

RATING: 6 out of 10 news bulletins

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