Some things are universal, like a dog’s role as man’s — or Kryptonian’s — best friend. That’s the premise of DC League of Superpets, the animated film starring the voice acting talents of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson among others. Released back in July and still going strong in theaters, this is likely not the movie you’re expecting when you think of Superman and his loyal day-saving pet dog, Krypto. Rather than a strictly kid-friendly superhero vehicle, Superpets occupies a delightful middle ground that will delight children and adults alike – friendly enough for the kiddos, with enough sharp humor and mature jokes to entertain parents while sailing pretty smoothly over the heads of much younger audience members.
The movie begins with the story we all know: Kal-El, son of Jor-El, being sent to another planet while Krypton is in its death throes. However, this isn’t Superman’s origin story but rather that of Krypto (Johnson), loyal family pet puppy who refuses to be parted from his boy. Fighting his way into the escape pod, puppy and infant have only each other to lean on as they travel through space and make their way to Earth.
Flash forward to the present, and it’s still the same story: Superman (John Krasinski) and Krypto against the world, much to Clark Kent’s chagrin as he tries to court his beloved Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde). When Krypto’s separation anxiety collides with a plot by Lex Luthor (Marc Maron) gone wrong, giving superpowers to a ragtag group of shelter pets in Metropolis, the Justice League is brought low by an egomaniacal guinea pig named Lulu (Kate McKinnon). Can Krypto forge new and valuable friendships to save Superman before it’s too late? Perhaps – if his newfound League of Superpets can learn to control their powers in time.
Truthfully, the film isn’t all that original, but when it comes to family appeal, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It has a great moral lesson for kids about friendship, cooperation, and holding onto hope. The whole movie is also just unapologetically fun, full of razor sharp wit and off-color humor beautifully veiled for kids to a point that the PG rating feels a little strict, but not unwarranted. The voice acting is really what makes this special: I didn’t look up the cast until after watching and I was shocked by how much I enjoyed the players in this game. Not being a fan of Kevin Hart, I was surprised by how quickly the street tough mutt, Ace, stole my heart. One of my favorites has to be Merton (Natasha Lyonne) as the Flash-powered turtle with poor eyesight and your favorite man-crazy grandma’s eye for the fellas…or at least the nearest attractive construction hard hat. Keanu Reeves also absolutely kills as a comically brooding Batman. I’m also looking forward to more voice acting from stand up and podcast legend Marc Maron after hearing his Lex Luthor – he’s a devilishly charming villain if ever there was one.
There is also, of course, the after credits scenes to look out for. I won’t spoil those for you, but I will say this: if you’re at all interested in The Rock’s upcoming film Black Adam, you’ll get a real kick out of the second cut scene, after the credits are all finished.
Liz Carlie (she/her/he/him) is a regular book, TV, and film reviewer for SCIFI.radio and has previously been a guest on ‘The Event Horizon’. In addition to being an active member of the traditional fandom community, she’s also an active participant in online fan culture, pro wrestling journalism, and spreading the gospel of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She resides in Southern California with her aspiring superhero dog, Junior, enjoying life one hyperfixation at a time.