Review: ‘Pup, pup and away!’ with 'DC League of Super-Pets'
“DC League of Super-Pets” is a computer-animated movie about the superpowered pets of superheroes such as Batman and Superman. The new release features the voices of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, John Krasinski, Kate McKinnon and Keanu Reeves, to name just a few.
BAXTER — “Look up in the sky! It’s a bird .. it’s a plane“ — it’s a dog?
Krypto is Superman’s superpowered canine that also hails from their doomed homeworld Krypton from which a baby Superman escaped from, moments before that planet exploded.
They grow up on Earth while trying to assimilate among the local population of homo sapiens. But their shared past as refugees from another planet makes them each other’s best friends.
In fact, an early montage of scenes from the new movie “DC League of Super-Pets” shows them fighting crime and saving the day side by side in the fictional city of Metropolis.
“Wake up, buddy. It’s ‘walk o’clock,’” Krypto enthusiastically tells a sleeping, snoring Clark Kent, Superman’s bespectacled alter ego, before grabbing the superhero with his teeth, flying up in the air and letting go of the Daily Planet reporter.
The computer-animated comedy playing at the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter and the Sunset Cinema in Jenkins is a howl — pun intended — of goofy canine proportions between Krypto, voiced by Dwayne Johnson, and Ace, another dog with Batman-like sensibilities.
“My dog is the best. … But he’s not the greatest with other animals,” Kent tells the manager of a pet adoption center he visits in an attempt to find Krypto an animal companion, especially because the journalist’s relationship with longtime love interest Lois Lane is becoming serious.
Kent/Superman is voiced by “The Office” actor John Krasinski, director of the movie “A Quiet Place” and its sequel. He also played Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four in “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular superhero.
The successful Doctor Strange sequel released earlier this year is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe while the comic book characters Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman belong to Marvel’s rival, DC Comics, which has put out big screen adaptations to mixed results.
Krypto loses his Superman-like powers in “DC League of Super-Pets” and must hilariously team up with a ragtag bunch of animals from the pet adoption center that nobody seems to want to adopt, including Ace the dog, PB the potbellied pig, Merton the turtle and Chip the squirrel.
It is not the first time Johnson, a former wrestler, and Hart, a diminutive stand-up comic, have worked together in films with great chemistry and success. They co-starred in the blockbuster comedies “Central Intelligence” in 2016 and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” in 2017.
As Spider-Man was once told, “With great power comes great responsibility,” and Krypto attempts to tell his new befuddled recruits who have zero experience the same.
When Superman, aka the Man of Steel, and the rest of the Justice League — which includes Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash and Green Lantern — are kidnapped, it’s up to the animals to come to the rescue, that is if they can master their newfound powers.
The computer animation of “DC League of Super-Pets” is inviting to behold, with child-friendly, eye-popping colors that younger moviegoers are sure to love. The motion picture features PG-rated action and adventure, and a runtime of one hour and 45 minutes.
To my surprise and appreciation, there are moments in the superhero movie about pets that will probably choke older viewers up with the unconditional love that pets have to offer, including a hairless guinea pig’s love for Superman’s nemesis Lex Luther, a ruthless business tycoon.
The guinea pig is voiced by Kate McKinnon, who recently announced she would be leaving the long-running, late-night TV series “Saturday Night Live.” Vanessa Bayer plays PB the potbellied pig and is another SNL alum, while Diego Luna and Natasha Lyonne play Chip and Merton.
Jared Stern, in his theatrical directorial debut, co-wrote “DC League of Super-Pets” with John Whittington, who is best known for his collaborations with Stern on “The Lego Batman Movie” (2017) and “The Lego Ninjago Movie” (2017).
Fans of films based on comic books can soon see Johnson in the feature film adaptation of “Black Adam,” another DC Comics character, while Marvel fanboys are hoping Krasinski will continue in a big-screen reboot of the Fantastic Four in a future MCU picture.
“DC League of Super-Pets” currently holds a 71% approval rating among critics and an 88% approval rating among audiences at Rotten Tomatoes, a review-aggregation website for film and television.
The consensus from the critics at RottenTomatoes.com: “Although it never quite soars, ‘DC League of Super-Pets’ is a more than satisfactory diversion for families in search of four-legged fun.”