Review: DC League of Super-Pets

Having pretty much fallen out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe out of sheer exhaustion, not to mention general apathy, I likely would find any future MCU installment totally incomprehensible, since much of its appeal (not to mention economic justification) seems to be in keeping up with all the various narrative threads. The DC Cinematic Universe appears to be more forgiving in that the only through story is that of the Justice League, which nobody is that interested in anyway. So I could enjoy this animated sideshow about Superman’s pet dog, Krypto (Dwayne Johnson) and some newfound super-critters actually saving the asses of the whole Justice League because I had absolutely no investment in the ongoing saga, if, in fact, there is a saga.

And since the Superman back story is even known by people who grew up in caves in the Himalayas, Krypto’s status as Superman’s best friend doesn’t need a lot of exposition, so the jokes about how you take a super-dog for a walk (actually, you fly) and just how keen a super-dog’s sense of smell is (super keen) can pour out freely. And everyone also knows that green Kryptonite takes away Superman’s powers, so we don’t have to go into that when the big guy’s nemesis, Lex Luthor (Marc Maron), wields it to capture Superman and then the rest of the Justice League. It’s thus up to Krypto to save his master, but he can’t do it alone. The cleverest, and some might say wokest, element of the plot is that Krypto essentially deputizes a motley group of animals rescued from a shelter who have already been accidentally infected with super powers from orange Kryptonite, though at first this crew—a pig, a turtle, another dog, and a squirrel—don’t really know how to control their newfound abilities, so Krypto has to train them, and the resulting montage is quite humorous in that it makes fun of any other training montage you’ve ever seen in a Hollywood movie.

Of course, with superhero pets you have to have a supervillian pet as well, so there’s the guinea pig Lulu (Kate McKinnon), who is mainly doing evil in order to win Luthor’s love, just as the super-pets are doing good so as to endear themselves to the various members of the Justice League they are saving. The script makes a bit too much of this quid pro quo loyalty thing, especially the squirrel, a species I never equated with affection for humans, but they make a joke out of that, too. Much has been written in the American press about the expensive array of voice actors on board—John Krasinski, Kevin Hart, Natasha Lyonne, Keanu Reeves, Olivia Wilde—but except for Reeves none made much of an impression on me aurally, so I wonder if the money was worth it. Still, I’d sooner see a sequel to this than any future adventures of the Avengers. 

Now playing in J-subtitled versions in Tokyo at Shinjuku Piccadilly (050-6861-3011), Marunouchi Piccadilly (050-6875-0075), Human Trust Cinema Shibuya (03-5468-5551), Toho Cinemas Roppongi Hills (050-6868-5024). (Also Japanese dubbed versions in other theaters)

DC League of Super-Pets home page in Japanese

photo (c) 2022 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

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