Despite each hero already having their own DC Universe release (Superman Doomsday and Batman: Gotham Knight), not to mention both appearing in Justice League: The New Frontier, Superman and Batman return to the direct-to-DVD scene with a film of their own. After the disappointment that was Green Lantern: First Flight, have Warner Bros. and DC Comics stepped up there game? Or has this DC Universe animated movies series lost its fuel?
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is actually an adaptation of the first story arc of DC Comics' monthly Superman/Batman series, "The Worlds Finest," which released in 2003. Myself, I never actually read the series, but I do remember when it came out, as I wasn't particularly fond of all the characters' obnoxiously muscular, bulky designs. And coming into this film, I still retained the same distaste, as the animated adaptation designed itself after the comics, giving Public Enemies a much different appearance than any previously release DC animated projects.
Story is simple, Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown) becomes President of the United States, declares Superman (Tim Daly) as a threat with a $1 Billion on his head... oh, and a kryptonite meteor is heading towards Earth. Along the way Superman enlists Batman's (Kevin Conroy) help, as they fend of DC villains and heroes alike and try to save Earth and stop Luthor. The film is just a predictable as any other Superman vs. Lex Luthor story, but it's still a fun watch. Design wise, I was surprised by some of the fluidity in the bulky characters, but then there's parts where it all just seems stiff. I still can't get over how ugly some of the character and CGI designs are though, that bothered me the most.
In terms of extras, the first disc, like the last few DC Universe releases before it, just rehashes the mini-previews for previous direct-to-disc releases, and nothing more, sadly. And once again, there's no movie commentary and the Digital Copy is Windows only (seriously, iTunes/Mac support is that hard?).
The second disc however, again like previous releases is where the real extras come in. There's two main features here, the 19-minute, "A Test of Minds: The Psychology of Superman and Batman," which is a pretty interesting comparison of DC's two big heroes. Next is the 26-minute "Dinner with DCU and Kevin Conroy," which has DC Universe's main people in charge, along with Batman himself, Kevin Conroy discussing the film at the DC animated history. Also on the disc is the first previous of the next DC Universe animated film, Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths, which looks pretty interesting and is wholly original story. Lastly, there's two episodes of Superman: The Animated Series, which happen to feature Batman. It doesn't sound like much, but considering what was lacking from their last release, this is a nice return to form.
Overall, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies isn't a bad film. It's certainly better than Green Lantern: First Flight, but not really near the caliber of Wonder Woman. Also, for my tastes, I felt the film was a little too much of a Superman story rather than a real combined Superman/Batman tale; so, Warner Bros., next time you try this, at least let us see Gotham City, OK?
Overall Score: 8/10