“DC League of Super-Pets” gives me hope for DC Comics and their cinematic projects. This pack is worth joining for a howling good time. I laughed, I cried and I rejoiced at the voice cast diversity. There’s nothing to whine about here. Director and co-writer Jared Stern (with John Whittington) is sure-handed in his timing and tone. Stern also co-wrote “The Lego Batman Movie” and “The Lego Ninjago Movie” with Whittington and if you like that sort of humor, this film is right for you–whether or not you have pets.
Krypto is a Kryptonian Labrador retriever with a Dudley nose and a jealous personality. If you’ve had a close bond with your bowwow-ser, you’ll understand the scenario. Three of the male dogs I’ve had at different times definitely had issues of jealousy with my human significant other. Voiced by the all-around MVP for diversity (being a twofer as part Black via his father and Samoan by his mother), Bark Kent/Superdog has only one friend: Superman (John Krasinski). Krypto climbed into Superman’s space cradle when Superman’s parents sent him into space. They’ve been together since forever, but the film totally skips their time in Smallville with the Kents. Instead, we fast forward into a clean and Art Deco-inspired Metropolis. Superman has some supersized feelings for one Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde). He’s ready to propose and that means ditching the dog on movie night.
Krypto is deep into ice cream binging depression when elsewhere Superman is overpowered by a plan set into motion by Lex Luthor (Marc Maron), CEO of LexCorp. Superman is rendered powerless with the help of green Kryptonite but much of the plan is implemented by a hairless guinea pig, Lulu (Kate McKinnon) with a delusional loyalty to Lex. Lulu is in a rescue shelter with a motley crew when she becomes super-powered thanks to the effects of orange Kryptonite. Lulu leaves her fellow rescued pets and recruits an army of guinea pigs that become super-powered due to the effects of orange kryptonite.
Besides Superman, the rest of the Justice League–Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Jameela Jamil), Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jemaine Clement), Barry Allen/The Flash (John Early), Victor Stone/Cyborg (Daveed Digs) and Jessica Cruz/Green Lantern (Dascha Polanco)–are quickly caught and encased in crates. Krypto loses his superpowers after ingesting Kryptonite, but he’s able to lead Lulu’s former fellow shelter pets–a dejected Boxer-mix named Ace (Kevin Hart), potbellied pig PB (Vanessa Bayer), a turtle (Natasha Lyonne) and a squirrel named Chip (Diego Luna), who have all gained superpowers from orange Kryptonite, and teach them how to be superheroes while they teach him about friendship. It is up to this newly formed league to rescue the Justice League of Superheroes and the world from Lex Luthor and his evil plans.
Besides the comedic canine buddy story (which includes well-done stylistic changes to indicate side stories), there’s delightful diversity in both concept and casting.
This canine-led crew includes a potbellied pig (PB voiced by Vanessa Bayer) and a red-eared slider named Merton McSnurtle/Terrific Whatzit who sounds elderly (although voiced by 43-year-old Latasha Lyonne) and is extremely myopic. So we have an elderly superhero who needs thick glasses working with a hefty female who is literally a pig! Could one ask for better representation against ageism and body-shaming? Then there’s a red squirrel with electrokinesis (voiced by Diego Luna). Woo-hoo for skinny, nervous guys. Cat lovers…I am sorry for the catastrophe that is “Paws of Fury,” but be assured there is a cat in this cast and it is cute and incredibly funny.
The voice cast is a great example of diversity. The leads are Black/Samoan Johnson and Black short guy Hart. Jewish Americans Bayer and Lyonne voice two characters. Mexico-born Luna and Dominican Republic-born Polanco represent for the Latino population. For the Justice League, Keanu Reeves is Chinese and Native Hawaiian. Indian-Pakistani Brit Jameela Jamil voices Diana Prince and Clement is Ngāti Kahungunu Maori through his mother. Daveed Diggs is African American and Jewish.
Don’t hesitate. Embark on this joyful cinematic journey with your kids or put your inner child on display because it is a paw-sitively puppy lover friendly film with a happy ending. The last few DC live-action flicks have turned me away from DC, but this 3D computer-animated superhero film has brought me back. “DC League of Super-Pets” premiered in Los Angeles on 27 July 2022 and was released in the US on 29 July 2022 by Warner Bros. Pictures.