Spoilers ahead : If you haven’t seen it, don’t read it.
One might think that an animated movie about the origin of Supergirl would be titled “The Origin of Supergirl” or “Heeere’s Supergirl” or even the above bit about the kid cousin. But no, for some strange reason the people at DC called it Apocalypse. Why this was done is beyond explanation as no apocalypse takes place – at one point Batman threatens to destroy Apokolips, but that’s as close as they get to justifying the title.
First one of these DC animated movies I have watched and I am not impressed. This tepid adaptation of the fairly good story arc “The Supergirl From Krypton” is as limp a fish as they come. The animation is average, and the direction is just plain bad, eg emotional highpoints are totally mishandled – when Supes reveals to Bats that the new arrival is his cousin Kara Zor-El one might expect this to be done with some sort of dramatic flair, but instead it feels about as significant a development as the finding of a long-misplaced pair of socks!
I couldn’t help but notice the scene in which a naked Kara turns up in front of a bunch of working class blokes and, of course, one of them makes a move on the starkers teen. Because, you know, that’s inevitable given that they are male and not wearing expensive suits. Casual sexism and casual classism rolled into one. And, oh, look, Word’s spellchecker thinks the term classism is a misspelling. What a surprise. No prizes for guessing what it will do with the word misandry…Anyway, we all know that what 99% of such men would do is offer her a coat or something but pissing on the menz is to be expected in the modern media. The black guy is the one to finally get round to offering her a coat, presumably because while sexism and classism are fine racism is just soooo un-pc.
Even the voice work sucks, especially Darkseid – you’d think a character like that would have an over the top, Darth Vader-ish voice but no, he just sounds like someone’s slightly miffed dad. Then there’s Bats and Supes. My god, they sound wimpy! Both sound more like Clark Kent than superheroes – office workers, accountants and the like, that’s how these two tough guys come across. The exceptions are Kara and Granny Goodness. The former sounds appropriately young, insecure and vulnerable and the former sounds, well, she pretty much sounds the way Darkseid should have sounded.
Then there’s the almost unreasoning way Bats assumes young Kara is up to no good. It makes little sense that he should be so convinced she’s a menace, but I guess the writer had to come up with some way to establish a conflict between The Dark Knight and The Boy Scout and this was the best he could do. Also ludicrous is the way Wonder Woman and the sisterhood attack Superman in order to kidnap Kara when we all know it’s far more in character for Wonder Woman to ask politely and maybe then get unpleasant. Still, if no rational reason is needed to justify conflict between Bruce and Clark, why should one be necessary to have an action scene plus conflict with the third leg of the trinity? Lazy writing, though as I recall this is the case in the comic books so at least we can’t blame the movie folks for this pair of clunkers. I do, however, like the fact that the movie leaves out the fake death of Kara that we got in the comics, these fake deaths are such a cheap way to get a rise out of the audience.
There are only two positive things I can say about this movie. The first is that the lines spoken in Kryptonian are far more effective in the movie than in the comics. This is because gibberish delivered vocally carries more weight than gibberish written on a page, what with tone of voice etc. I also thought the final battle between Darkseid and Superman and Supergirl is pretty cool, but that’s all that I liked about this lukewarm bowl of unsweetened oatmeal. My recommendation is that anyone curious about this particular version of Clark’s baby sitter should just get themselves the trade of the original comic series. The story is the same as in the movie and you get the impressive artwork of the late Michael Turner to drool over, like the cover below…