Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
When a spaceship splashes down in Gotham Harbor, Batman and Superman encounter a mysterious Kryptonian with powers as great as Supermanís. When Darkseid gets wind of this, he has the Kryptonian abducted and brought under his control on Apokolips. Itís up to Batman and Superman to retrieve the Kryptonian, forcing them to infiltrate Darkseidís hostile world where superpowerful threats lurk around every corner.
For more about Superman/Batman: Apocalypse and the Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Blu-ray release, see Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on September 24, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Summer Glau, Edward Asner, Andre Braugher, Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, Susan Eisenberg
Director: Lauren Montgomery
» See full cast & crew
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Blu-ray Review
"She will prove a treasure for your world." Oooor not...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, September 24, 2010
Developing an animated film featuring the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight may seem like an easy proposition to some -- Superman and Batman are, after all, DC Comics' Big Guns -- but if given the chance, most every backseat fanboy would be in for a harsh wakeup call. Even setting aside the heroes' contrasting skill sets and personalities, countless challenges remain. Pairing an otherwise ordinary man with a superpowered extraterrestrial demigod, staying true to both characters while using their team-up to explore fresh aspects of each one, pitting a breakable human and an unbreakable alien against the same foe, devising moral conundrums worthy of two very different perspectives, finding new ways to tackle the ol' brains-vs-brawn conflict, not to mention... eh, you get the point. Factor in a supporting cast of comic icons, several all-too-necessary sources of exposition and a slew of obscure third-tier characters, and the potential for failure increases exponentially. I don't envy the Superman/Batman: Apocalypse filmmakers in the slightest. Nor do I find it all that surprising that producer Bruce Timm, director Lauren Montgomery and writer Tab Murphy's truncated 78-minute direct-to-video production struggles with almost every hurdle in its path.
Based on "The Supergirl from Krypton," writer Jeph Loeb and artist Michael Turner's six-issue Superman/Batman arc, Apocalypse begins as a mysterious object splits the sky and lands in the waters of Gotham. Investigating the crash site, Batman (voiced by Kevin Conroy) discovers a Kryptonian girl named Kara (Serenity's Summer Glau) who, lo and behold, just so happens to be related to Superman (Tim Daly), anointed protector of all things Earthy. (You have to admit, those Els sure do know how to launch their kids into space just in the knick of time.) Batman is immediately suspicious of Kara and the timing of her arrival -- pointing out the fact that Superman has numerous enemies that would go to any length to manipulate and defeat their nemesis -- but the Big Boy in Blue believes family comes first. At least until Kara loses control of her powers and obliterates a city park, convincing Superman that it might not be a bad idea to keep her out of the public eye. After a brief argument, the Holy Trinity shuttle her off to Themyscira to train with Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg) and the Amazons, a decent idea until interdimensional baddie Darkseid (Andre Braugher) decides Kara would be a perfect addition to the Female Furies and has her kidnapped. With the help of former fury Big Barda (Julianne Grossman), Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman mount a daring rescue, brave the fires of planet Apokolips and battle the Furies, Granny Goodness (Ed Asner, in a clever bit of casting) and Darkseid himself.
Here's a quandary for the World's Greatest Detective: if Kara and Kal-El both narrowly escaped the destruction of Krypton, and Kal-El was a baby when he arrived on Earth, how is it that Kara is so much younger than he is? Moreover, why is she fully grown when she lands? As an avid comic reader, I know the answer. It's a simple junk-science explanation; the sort of quick plot hole fix-all comicbook writers employ on a daily basis. But in the context of the film, it isn't adequately explored. Storytelling gaps like this lie in wait at every turn, and Apocalypse feels as if it's missing fifteen or twenty minutes of crucial subplots and scenes. Months pass in seconds, close friendships develop off screen, game-changers are presented in single lines of dialogue, overwrought exposition is used to fill in numerous details, seemingly important plot points fizzle, and the film's faux-climax is ineffective... yet we're forced to endure three grueling minutes of Clark and Kara shopping for clothes. Ugh. With a PG-13 rating and adult sensibilities in tow, Bruce Timm's animated films are still packaged for children. A seventy-eight minute runtime is a joke, particularly when action sequences -- thrilling as they are -- take up so much precious space. I wouldn't trim a second from the battles, but I would beef up the narrative and, at the very least, shoot for ninety minutes. The dialogue between Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman is sharp and surprisingly witty. Why not give it proper context? The heroes and villains obviously have a history. Why not dig into it? Timm and his filmmakers have so immersed themselves in the DC Universe for so many years that they neglect to make their films accessible to those who haven't familiarized themselves with every fourth string henchmen in comics lore. Can you imagine if every adaptation required intimate knowledge of its source?
All is not lost. Fans of the late Michael Turner's artwork will see touches of his style in every frame and character design, the superpowered fights are gripping and intense, the voice actors deliver fantastic performances (all hail Conroy), the story offers quite a few memorable moments and, as I mentioned before, the interplay between the Big Three will earn a handful of laughs and cheers. But every time I started to sink into Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, another god-awful plotting, pacing or tonal discrepancy ripped me out of the adventure. I want more from my animated comicbook adaptations than hard-hitting battles. I want more than snarky one-liners, obvious bombshells and tired genre conventions. Where's the inventiveness? The shocking twists and turns? A palpable sense of danger? Even if Apocalypse were geared toward kids, I would be disappointed by the punches it pulls. Slapping some blood in a wound and having your main heroine duck from shadow to shadow in the nude is hardly mature material. No, I'm not looking for an influx of gratuitous sex or hyper-violence. I want complex adult emotions, meaningful relationships, truly difficult decisions and some genuine consequences. Again, we're in PG-13 territory already. Why not shed the all-ages storytelling and go for broke? Batman: Under the Red Hood nailed just such a balance, and has been widely hailed by critics and fans (myself included) as one of DC Animation's finest original movies. Yes, even at a mere 75-minutes. (Although in its defense, Hood has to contend with fewer extraneous storylines and characters.)
With Darkseid in the mix, Apocalypse could have been a contender. Instead, it squanders its potential, wallows in thematic mud and deflates long before it has a chance to rise. As far as I'm concerned, it stands shoulder to shoulder with Superman: Doomsday, and that's as veiled a criticism as I can muster. I'm sure some will love it, but I have a feeling the majority of DC regulars and newcomers will be left hoping future DC Animation releases are more like Hood than Apocalypse.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Blu-ray, Video Quality
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse takes an omega blast to the chest, and the at-times mangled 1080p/VC-1 encode that crawls out of the rubble is one of the more problematic DC Animated Original Movie presentation to date. Stair-stepped skies and streets occasionally make Montgomery's Gotham look more like Lego Batman: The Videogame. The Dark Knight's underwater search of Kara's crash zone is plagued with rippling artifacts, unnerving noise, bursts of banding and bizarre Breakout-esque rows of stacked blocks. Meanwhile, the fires of Apokolips and the waters of Themyscira suffer at the hands of other oddities. I wish that were all, but the hits keep on coming. Faces, splashes of color and other seemingly random surfaces are sometimes afflicted with intermittent circular bands (which bend and fluctuate when characters or objects are in motion). Fine lines and facial details are frequently undone by aliasing and pixelation; some of it minor, some of it more significant. Moreover, black levels wobble between inky and murky, contrast is a wee bit inconsistent, softness creeps in from time to time and, frankly, few scenes pass by without succumbing to one issue or another. It's a real shame too. Colors are bold and beautiful, several shots are immaculate and the overall clarity of the Blu-ray presentation outclasses its DVD counterpart. But just because a presentation is bright and colorful doesn't mean it's a successful one. Ultimately, I'm not sure why some DC Animation encodes soar while others plummet, but my aging fanboy heart can't take another technical eyesore like this.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Blu-ray, Audio Quality
At least it all sounds pretty good. Warner's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track proves itself a mighty member of the DC Animation family, despite the fact that the film's sound design is rather two-dimensional (more so than previous DC outings). Dialogue commandeers the center channel to great effect, voices are clean and crisp, and prioritization is spot on. Voices are nestled neatly within the chaos and rarely float above the fray, lending considerable legitimacy to the experience. Granted, the LFE channel favors blunt-force-trauma over nuanced heft, but it gets the job done without making any serious missteps. Explosions are hearty, giant war beasts are appropriately menacing, power blasts split the soundscape, and crumbling buildings leave an impression. Likewise, rear speaker activity is a bit reserved, but packs plenty of heat when action consumes the soundfield. Dynamics deliver, pans are swift and smooth, sound effects are sharp and satisfying, and directionality is relatively precise. If anything, the mix isn't nearly as immersive as it could be, and ambience is quite sparse whenever Superman or Batman aren't priming a punch. But again, blame the film's sound design, not Warner's lossless track. All in all, Apocalypse's video transfer may have left me in a foul mood, but its DTS-HD MA mix kept me sane.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Blu-ray edition of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse touches down with more than three hours of supplemental material, as well as another strong DC Showcase animated short (this one involving Green Arrow). However, of that three hours, only seventy-two minutes involves actual special features. And of that still respectable seventy-two minutes, an earth-shattering five minutes references the production of the film itself. That's right. No commentary, no production documentary, no Michael Turner tribute, no real glimpse behind the scenes. Don't get me wrong, the remaining material is appreciated and worthwhile -- particularly the Darkseid and Supergirl docs, not to mention the All-Star Superman sneak peek -- but how bout some time with Apocalypse's filmmakers and voice actors? Now that would be a treat.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
An extra twenty minutes would have done wonders for Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, and producer Bruce Timm's short runtimes continue to be DC Animation's kryptonite. The story certainly clips along at a fast pace, but character arcs are riddled with holes, plot development lurches too much for my taste and narrative cohesion is sometimes left by the wayside. Ah well. The action is tight and intense, the snippy interactions between DC's Big Three is worth the price of admission alone, and there's enough on tap to justify a rental. Sadly, the same can't be said of Apocalypse's Blu-ray release. Its video encode is hobbled by every manner of digital anomaly in the multiverse (and then some), its supplemental package isn't all its cracked up to be and its DTS-HD Master Audio track, while impressive, can't cloak the disc's shortcomings. Approach with caution.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse: Other Editions
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to Superman/Batman: Apocalypse in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Superman/Batman Apocalypse Blu-ray Announced - July 1, 2010
Warner Home Video has announced Superman/Batman: Apocalypse for release on Blu-ray on September 28. This direct-to-video animated feature (the ninth of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies) is based on Jeff Loeb's popular mini-series from the Superman/Batman ...
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
» Show more forum discussions for Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Blu-ray
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.