Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons
Studio: Warner Bros. Animation
Runtime: 79 minutes
Release Date: 4K UltraHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, Digital – October 18, 2022
Synopsis: The adventure begins when 11-year-old Jonathan Kent discovers he has superpowers, thrusting the half-Kryptonian into the complicated world of Super Heroes and Super-Villains – who are now under attack by a malevolent alien force known as Starro! It’s a race against time as Jonathan must join forces with assassin-turned-Boy-Wonder Damian Wayne to rescue their fathers (Superman & Batman) and save the planet by becoming the Super Sons they were destined to be!
Jack Dylan Glazer and Jack Griffo lead the voice cast as Jonathan Kent and Damian Wayne, respectively. The supporting cast features Troy Baker as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Travis Willingham as Superman/Clark Kent, Laura Bailey as Lois Lane, Darin De Paul as Lex Luthor & Starro, Tom Kenny as Green Arrow & Penguin, Zeno Robinson as Jimmy Olsen & Melvin Masters, Nolan North as Jor-El, and Myrna Velasco as Wonder Girl & Lara.
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By James Harvey
A fun, endearing adventure starring the next generation of DC Comics’ finest, Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons skillfully captures the hilarious dynamic between Jon Kent and Damian Wayne and plops them right in the middle of a burgeoning alien invasion. With its amusing concept and charming cast, Warner Bros. Animation has released one of the strongest DC Animated Movie titles yet, excelling thanks to the film’s extremely enjoyable younger heroes, along with its delightful story, excellent voice work, and inspired score.
Batman and Superman: Battle of the Supersons finds 11-year-old Jonathan Kent discovering on his birthday that his dad is Superman and that he has latent superpowers of own. The half-Kryptonian is quickly thrown into the complicated world of superheroes and supervillains – who are now under attack by a malevolent alien force known as Starro! It’s a race against time as Jonathan must join forces with assassin-turned-Boy-Wonder Damian Wayne to rescue their fathers – Superman and Batman, respectively – and save the planet by becoming the Super Sons they were destined to be!
Spoilers will be kept light, as usual, but some specific plot points and scenes will be mentioned in this review.
Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons soars on the backs of its respective leads, Jon and Damian, who shine when the movie finally matches them up after an extended set-up for the Man of Steel’s first born. As with the comics, Jon here is cheery, likeable and seeks adventure, making him the perfect foil for the more brooding and unpredictable Damian. Batman’s little bird lacks social skills and is a bit of a curmudgeon, but clearly longs for friendship and affection, something he might not exactly realize but sees with Jon. It’s a crucial relationship but one here handled with care.
And it’s that sense of caring that carries throughout the rest of Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons. Director Matt Peter and writer Jeremy Adams skillfully weave every moment and twist with clear confidence in their abilities. The duo even adds a crucial little wrinkle to one of pop culture’s most retold tales – the destruction of Krypton – that might seem a little weird at first but its importance quickly becomes apparent. Given the movie’s 80-ish minute running time, not a moment can be wasted, and Adams truly makes every second, and every word, count.
There’s a fair amount of set-up here in Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons, with the entire first act dedicated to Jon’s discovery of his super-heritage and his own special abilities. As a result, we’re not introduced to Damian until Jon is nor do we get the dive into his origin like Jon. The focus on young Kent makes sense, offering arguably the strongest frame for the story, but fans of Damian might be a little let down with his Smallville counterpart getting the lion’s share of the spotlight. Damian’s backstory is mostly filled-in throughout the film’s second and third act, and it’s more than enough to make it work (and it occasionally gets some pretty good laughs).
Peters and Adams have put together a consistently delightful adventure fans would be remiss to pass up, even if the story is about with our heroes fending off yet another alien invasion. It’s pretty simple and straightforward but holds up well and even acts nicely as a quasi-adaptation of some of DC Comics’ recent Rebirth titles. More than a few moments in Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons pull from Peter J. Tomasi’s recent runs on both the Super Sons and Superman DC Comics titles, even visually reproducing some key scenes (and Jorge Jimenez, Doug Mahnke, Patrick Gleason’s brilliant artwork) from said comics.
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The animation quality for Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons is unfortunately not as dependably pleasing as its story. It does look really good, and has some neat hand-drawn touches here and there, but it also suffers from some of the same issues found in the DC Animated Movie line’s 2D-animated projects. Movements can occasionally look awkward or clumsy, which can be noticeably distracting during some of the film’s quieter moments. Movements just aren’t consistently smooth. Action scenes, however, are thrilling and even stunning at times. The fast fisticuffs and massive set pieces look great and provide some of the movie’s strongest and most satisfying moments. While the movie could’ve benefited from some refinement, the DC Animated Movie line’s first foray in CG animation – outside of Warner Bros.’s previous Lego features and the Japan-produced Batman Ninja – is a commendable albeit imperfect effort.
It’s worth noting that, for such an upbeat movie, it really knows how to rattle the nerves a little. Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons approaches its protagonist, Starro, as the horror show that it is. There are a couple “transformation” sequences (for lack of a better term) that are a little more intense than expected. Nothing younger viewers can’t handle, but Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons definitely gives Jon and Damian a run for their money.
Selling every moment of this rollicking animated adventure is its stellar voice cast, lead by Jack Dylan Glazer and Jack Griffo as Jon Kent and Damian Wayne, respectively. Glazer shines as the quippy, awkward, good-natured Kent, and has great chemistry with Griffo’s arrogant, moody Damian. They’re an amusing duo, and they should definitely reprise these roles again down the road.
Other major players joining our young leads include Troy Baker and Travis Willingham, respectively playing Batman and Superman, along with Laura Bailey as Lois Lane and Darin De Paul pulling double-duty as Lex Luthor and Starro. All four put in fantastic work, but Bailey really shines as Lois Lane. Whether she’s consoling Jon or playing a key role in fending off an invasion, Bailey’s performance is rock solid as DC Comics’ most prolific reporter, and her scene where she explains the virtues of journalism to Jon is perfection. Tom Kenny, Zeno Robinson, Nolan North and Myrna Velasco also deserve nods for their consistently satisfying work, here being no exception.
Also unquestionably (and immensely) satisfying is the film’s score by the always reliable Dynamic Music Partners, who here turn in rousing work which runs the gamut. Whether its tender moments, suspenseful sequences, or massive set pieces, every note clicks. Superman and Jon’s first flight together around the world in this movie is that much more of an emotional moment becuase of how the score just hits those right buttons. Dynamic Music Partners really nailed the assignment and, without a doubt, fans will love their modified take on the Superman: The Animated Series theme heard here and the occasional appearance of a very Justice League Unlimited-sounding guitar.
Packed with heart and slick action, Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons is, simply, a lot of fun and its appeal should stretch fairly wide. The story here is maybe a little basic at times, but it’s still a heckuva really good time. Whether a new or younger viewer, a fan of the Super Sons, a long-time DC Comics reader or animated output viewer, whatever, there’s a lot to latch onto here.
Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons is another clear success for the DC Animated Movie line. Even though it hits a small bump or two along the way, it should still hit the spots for fans and, likely, leave them wanting for another Super Sons feature. With its clear love of the source material, an enjoyable story, a tremendous score and slick action beats – led by two very likeable leads – fans should find plenty to enjoy in this playful adventure. Highly Recommended!
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Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, and released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons is available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray and Digital HD. Also available for purchase is the official Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons soundtrack by Dynamic Music Partners, released for digital purchase and streaming by Dynamic Soundtrack Records.
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