STUDIO: 20th Century Fox
67 minutes
– Blackest Night: Inside the DC Comics Event
– Wonder Woman: Amazon Princess
– Batman: Gotham Knight – An Anime Revolution
– From Graphic Novel To Original Animated Movie – Justice League: The New Frontier
– Green Lantern: First Flight – The Animated Movie Sneak Peek

The Pitch

The World’s Finest are saving the world, kicking asses and taking names along the way.

The Humans

Clancy Brown, Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, CCH Pounder, Allison Mack, Xander berkeley, Ricardo Chavira, John C. McGinley, Corey Burton.

The Nutshell

In the midst of a severe economic downturn, Lex Luthor has finally gotten himself elected President, much to the chagrin of Superman.  Now, with a gigantic kryptonite asteroid heading for Earth, Luthor cons Superman into meeting with him to discuss its destruction.  But Luthor ends up trying to kill Superman of course, and eventually framing him for the murder of one of Superman’s villains, Metallo, who’s in Luthor’s employ.  Luthor places a $1 billion bounty on the Man of Steel’s head and orders superheroes in his service to bring him in.  Superman must team up with old friend, Batman, to figure out a way to save the world, all the while staying one step ahead of every superhero and supervillain who are determined to either arrest them or destroy them for the bounty.

“Hang on, Clark.  I’ll get you to the Fortress and remove this bullet.”
“Uh, we better use the Batcave.”
“I had Wonder Woman over for some drinks last week, one thing led to another and…well, let’s just say the place needs a few repairs…”

The Lowdown

This is another very satisfying animated adventure from DC and Warner Bros., continuing a string of recent films including Wonder Woman, Batman: Gotham Knight, Green Lantern: First Flight and, to a lesser extent, Superman: Doomsday.  Little doubt that this collaboration has been hitting on all cylinders for a while now.  Still a shame that, except for Nolan’s Batman flicks, that can’t translate onto the big screen.  Public Enemies is an adaptation of the Jeph Loeb / Ed McGuinness story from the Superman/Batman comics, and utilizes McGuinness’ distinctive muscular style in depicting the heroes.  Both Superman and Batman look like they’re fresh from the gym in this, as are most of the other meta characters depicted. 

Luthor’s diabolical plan to play for the Yankees was taking shape…

What works at the core of this story is the camaraderie between the two superheroes as they both investigate the murder and engage other super-powered characters in battle.  This is at a stage where Superman and Batman have been friends for years and know each other’s moves inside and out.  They’re very comfortable with each other, at least as much as they can be, making for a fun “buddy cop” adventure.  This is also post-Doomsday and Superman is also married to Lois, although she’s only seen in a cameo.

One thing that I’m very happy about is that WB and DC brought back the signature voice actors of this generation: Tim Daly as Superman, Kevin Conroy as Batman and Clancy Brown as Luthor.  It brings an instant familiarity that is welcomed on the project, even though the characters look far different from previous incarnations.  The Superman universe is also mined for other voice talent in the way of Allison Mack from Smallville as Power Girl; and CCH Pounder also returns as Amanda Waller from the JLU cartoon series.

“That Toyman is weird.  He said he wanted to bankroll me in a Japanese movie.”
“What kind of movie?”
“Something called Hentai…”

What’s also great here is both the story and the action.  You want knock down, drag out, slobberknocker type of meta fights?  You’ve got them here.  Superman and Batman go toe-to-toe with a veritable army of both heroes and villains including Metallo, Silver Banshee, Captain Cold, Icicle, Killer Frost, Mr. Freeze, Gorilla Grodd, Bane, Black Manta, Black Spider, Brimstone, Catman, Cheetah, Copperhead, Deadshot, Despero, Giganta, King Shark, Lady Shiva, Mongul, Nightshade, and Solomon Grundy, as well as Captain Atom, Major Force, Black Lightning, Starfire, Katana, Hawkman, Captain Marvel, and ultimately, Luthor himself. 

“Borrowing these costumes was a good idea.  Lucky we weren’t attacked by Namor and Wonder Woman, though.”
“I don’t want to talk about it…”

Most of the fights are solid, although I didn’t quite buy that Batman would take Bane out with one kick; and the fight with Hawkman and Captain Marvel is aborted and resolved offscreen.  That last fight in particular is one I would have liked to have seen resolved, especially considering the Clash episode of JLU.  However, that’s a nitpick at best.  My main issue with the film is that it’s only 67 minutes.  It’s not enough of a good thing. 

Public Enemies is a fun and enjoyable film that should appeal to even the casual comics fan, but definitely to the die-hards.

“I’ve gone to work for Luthor at the IRS.  You’re behind on your taxes…”

The Package

The animation here is great and the audio suitably good as well.  As for special features, though, this is the single-disc version and has only retread featurettes from previous DC Animated Universe films: Blackest Night: Inside the DC Comics Event; Wonder Woman: Amazon Princess; Batman: Gotham Knight – An Anime Revolution; From Graphic Novel To Original Animated Movie – Justice League: The New Frontier; and Green Lantern: First Flight – The Animated Movie Sneak Peek.  Despite that, the movie itself is definitely worth picking up.

7.7 out of 10