Review: DC League of Super-Pets Film

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The film’s protagonist is Superman’s super-dog Krypto. It is fun for children and not too painful for adults.

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As multiversal maybes go, this one’s sweet and simple: What if Superman had a dog?

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Before you get started with the angry letters, let me tell you. Wikipedia tells me the Krypto canine is actually older than I am. It first appeared in Adventure ComicsIn March 1955 and then appearing in various media, including the animated feature film Teen Titans Go! To The Movies.

But he’s never been as front and centre as in DC League of Super-Pets, a tongue-in-cheek animated adventure in which (super) man’s best friend has to rescue the man of steel from the clutches of – an evil hairless guinea pig? Don’t worry: It’ll all make sense eventually.

The film opens by showing Superman (John Krasinski), about to propose to Lois Lane, (Olivia Wilde). Krypto (Dwayne Johnson) is horrified, his panic only multiplied when Supes visits an animal shelter to find a new friend for “Bark Kent.”

This scene also introduces us the pet-shop girls and boys, including Ace, a boxer played by Kevin Hart, Natasha Lyonne’s turtle, Natasha Bayer’s potbellied pig, and Diego Luna’s red squirrel. Their only desire is to be adopted or, failing this, to escape. Ace has it in his head that “a farm in upstate New York” is a real place and a lovely one at that.

The shelter is also home to Lulu (Kate McKinnon), a hairless guinea pig (awww, they’re call skinny pigs!) World domination is what they are bent on. Talk about Pinky and Brain. She’s both. She’s both. And when she gets her hands on some orange Kryptonite, a meteor lassoed from Lex Luthor by Marc Maron, she gains the power to make her dream a reality. All the animal-shelter residents have been granted similar superpowers to Krypto.

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The resultant shenanigans are family-friendly animation that is both entertaining for children and not too painful for parents. In fact, if you’re a quick reader there are numerous little jokes that pop up in signage and on TV screens, like a news channel crawl that states: “Animal rights activists honestly confused.” Or a billboard promoting Lois’s journalism: “Pick a Lane, buddy!”

There’s also a wealth of voice talent involved in even the smallest roles, including Daveed Diggs, Jemaine Clement, Jameela Jamil and Keanu Reeves as, respectively, Cyborg, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Batman. Yes, these characters are secondary in DC Entertainment’s newest, highly PG offering. And rather than batarangs or, I don’t know, entering the speed force, Super-PetsIt is based on animal intelligence and a move known as the Solar Paw Punch, although I feel the filmmakers missed an opportunity to name it a Sun Dog.

That’s a minor quibble, mind you. DC League of Super-Pets is good cuddly fun, and a fine answer to the perennial good-versus-evil query: Who’s a good boy?

DC League of Super-Pets opens July 29, in theatres

3.5 stars from 5

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