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The World's Finest Presents

World's Finest

Episode #39 - World's Finest: Part 1
Original Airdate - October 4th, 1997.

Joker steals a statue made of solid Kryptonite and comes to Metropolis where he makes a deal-with Luthor to kill Superman. But Batman follows him to Metropolis.

Episode #40 - World's Finest: Part 2
Original Airdate - October 4th, 1997.

Joker kidnaps Lois in order to lure Superman to his death but Batman's intervention saves the day and soon after. Joker then sics a killer robot on Batman and Superman must rescue a sinking ocean liner.

Episode #41 - World's Finest: Part 3
Original Airdate - October 4th, 1997.

Lois's romance with Bruce Wayne hits rough waters when she discovers that he is Batman. Meanwhile, Joker turns the tables, on his partnership with Luthor, kidnapping him and using the powerful new Lexwing aircraft to attack Metropolis. Superman and Batman must put aside their differences to save the city together.

Screens by Bleu Unicorn
Sound Clips and Pans by Bird Boy
Review by Bleu Unicorn
Story by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini
Written by Stan Berkowitz, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Rich Fogel, Steve Gerber
Directed by Toshihiko Masuda
Music by Michael McCuistion, Lolita Ritmanis
Animation Services by TMS-Kyokuichi Corporation

Tim Daly as Superman / Clark Kent
Dana Delany as Lois Lane
Kevin Conroy as Batman / Bruce Wayne
Mark Hamill as The Joker
Clancey Brown as Lex Luthor
Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn
Lisa Edelstein as Mercy Graves
Lauren Tom as Angela Chen
Bob Hastings as Commissioner James Gordon
Robert Costanzo as Detective Harvey Bullock
Joseph Bologna as Dan Turpin
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Alfred Pennyworth
Brad Garrett as Bibbo
John Capodice as Ceasar Carlini
Corey Burton as Binko
Shannon Kenny as Female Terrorist
Peter Renaday as Captain

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If there was one thing practically everyone was waiting for from the start of STAS, this would be it the teaming up of Batman and Superman. While originally this was broadcast as a three-part miniseries of episodes, "World's Finest" would later be released onto video and DVD as The Batman/Superman Movie: World's Finest, which to date is the only way I've ever viewed it. In fact, this was my very first foray into the world of STAS, which I did with much trepidation having only a marginal amount of prior exposure to Superman via Superfriends and the live-action films.

But before I continue, just to reiterate, to call these episodes a movie it ultimately incorrect. The first home media release for these episodes are just three episodes stitched together to form a movie, and so this epic tema-up can be marketed as such, but it is not an actual movie. That would be Mask of the Phantasm (MOTP), etc.

The plot - Joker acquires some Kryptonite and makes a deal with Luthor to kill Superman - seems almost Superfriends inspired in its simplistic nature but works well for what is basically a launch pad for a team up between Batman and Superman. However, unlike their 70s/80s counterparts, these two are not the best of friends, instead they all but loathe each other and constantly butt heads throughout the entire arc. It might sound trivial and juvenile, and that's because it is, but it makes for some stellar dialogue and character exploration, especially when Lois is thrown into the mix as well, adding a very interesting love triangle (love hexagon?). Not to mention in the meantime Luthor, Joker, Mercy and Harley are also being thrust upon one another.

The dialogue and voice acting were an incredible treat. Conroy and Daly play well off one another and practically every utterance was pure gold. Delaney also has some of my most favorite Lois lines and MOTP fans will no doubt delight in having a small reunion of sorts, I'm sure. I personally found their interaction together in this movie vastly more interesting and humorous - especially after Lois discovers who's beneath the cowl! Brown and Hamill also have some wonderful exchanges and Joker has some of his most memorable quotes. Edelstein and Sorken also had some terrific dialogue, even if at times Harley did sound a tiny bit off, it was never enough to disappoint or distract.

The animation, however, was a bit weird at times. Many characters went from wonderful to terribly off-model. Though, all in all, the Batman characters made a very nice transition into the more colorful world of Superman. Fight sequences were very well done and looked pretty smooth, if at times a bit rubbery. Still, it's always nice to have a story revolve around robots because they inevitably get very battered, broken and beaten. I couldn't help but laugh at how easily and often Mercy was taken out, though. If I were Luthor, I'd think about hiring a new bodyguard. I also noticed a fair helping of reused animation - especially the very obvious marble grenades. But even at its worst, the animation didn't distract from the movie enough to bother me that much. And there were a lot of very small, subtle moments I really loved, like quick glances of characters' reactions, such as Clark fighting the green-eyed monster of jealousy.

Without a doubt the greatest strength of the entire movie comes in the form of the moments between Clark and Bruce, whether in costume or not. The two have a great deal in common, but it's their many differences that make for the very entertaining friction between the two. Adding to the conflict, of course, is Lois who immediately falls for Bruce and even discovers he's Batman. Not surprisingly, this creates an incredibly jealous Clark. Speaking of discovering secret identities, I personally was very amused with the ease the two heroes discovered one another's. I also really enjoyed the more subtle moments of animosity between the two, but one can't deny that it was a treat to see Batman and Superman working as a true team against Joker, Luthor and an army of robots. And while perhaps not as interesting to the raving fans, the other pairings were also incredibly interesting to watch. Though, the scene-stealer award has to go to the Mercy and Harley catfight or possibly the Batman cookie, it's hard for me to decide.

Because of the smaller more character-driven and fan-loved moments, rather than an ambitious or epic story, this episode is certainly worthy of its title and a welcome start to several more team ups.

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