Directors: Jared Stern & Sam Levine
Story By: Jared Stern and John Whittington
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Kate McKinnon, John Krasinski, Olivia Wilde, Vanessa Bayer, Natasha Lyonne, Diego Luna, Marc Maron, Keanu Reeves, Jameela Jamil, Jermaine Clement, John Early, Dascha Polanco, Daveed Diggs, Marc Maron, Maya Erskine, and Winona Bradshaw
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A very cute film, indeed, but I do think it missed opportunities to be something so much more than just “cute.”
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Theme & Story: A-
Overall “Paper” Score: A-
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General Public: Wait for Streaming
Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Don’t Watch
Animation Adventure/Action Fans: Wait for Streaming
Anticipated Child Experience: Interesting Enough
Overall “Viewing Experience” Score: Wait for Streaming
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1. When Superman and his canine companion Krypto are incapacitated while in the midst of a simmering tension to their friendship, Krypto goes on a mission with an unusual team to help save Superman and learn more about himself and his role as “man’s best friend.” This is DC League of Super Pets.
Thematically, the messaging was no secret—this is a film about [hu]man and [hu]man’s best friend. I personally focused on the aspect of “loyalty”, what it means to be a loyal best friend, and expectations of being a loyal best friend. This actually came at a rather resonating time for me.
For me, both the story and thematic followthrough were for the most part solid outside of one small thing. 👍🏾
Act One laid out the origin and building of the relationship between Superman and Krypto while also naturally providing the conflict to that relationship, foreshadowing another, and setting up an important encounter.
Act Two intersects both conflicts putting our main character’s layered quest in motion with a necessary reencountering aiding in not only his learning of Self, but the encounters as well. The idea of “loyalty” is also expressed via our villain.
Lastly, Act Three takes the learning from the quest to emphasize the idea of loyalty for an expected conclusion.
What the story failed to do for me was make sense of Chip and PB. For Chip, the obvious is around how he became a pet. I haven’t heard too many stores of pet squirrels, so that was a little odd. Then for PB, it can make sense where she probably came from, BUT when Ace is having conversations about what life could be like outside of the pet adoption store, one would think PB knows what that life is like… … but she seemed to not know.
So ultimately what I think this story could’ve used to help elevate it was more focus on each character’s experience being a companion to a human that led them to the “pet pound” (if you will).
2. HAMSTER!? 😂😂
3. The overall animation was really solid, especially with the diverse looks of the Guinea Pig Team! 👍🏾👍🏾
4. The last scene between Batman and Ace… 😩😂
5. This film has a runtime of 95 minutes, and I personally found the the story be paced pretty well. What I appreciated the most is how the film used pacing to fill in the gaps regarding certain character appearance, or current situations for characters.👍🏾
However, to piggyback off point #1, I think the story could’ve been slowed down more to add the stories of PB, Chip and Merton—something to not only explain how they got to where they are (especially PB and Chip), but to also add diversity to the sentiments of unpacking “loyalty.” 🤷🏾♂️
6. YEESSS for that subtle representation! 👍🏾
7. AND, to piggyback off point #6, we can start getting away from the representation simply being some side, or in the background thing… 🤦🏾♂️
8. I love what they did with the Green Lantern! 👍🏾👍🏾
9. Chile, it was the cursing for me! 😂😂
10. Though Kevin and Dwayne were meant to be the stars of this film, the characters who truly stole the show for me were Whiskers, Lulu, Merton, Batman, and the interactions between Batman and Ace.
Now, I don’t know if those curse words were written or improved, but Natasha Lyonne as Merton was PURE COMEDY! I just loved her.
Kate McKinnon as Lulu was such a great blend of cute and menacing, and her response every time she was called anything but a guinea pig was just icing on the cake.
I don’t know who Winona Bradshaw is, and her character didn’t have a huge part, but her voice with the action of Whiskers was so funny!
Keanu Reeves as Batman in this context was such a surprisingly good idea. Every moment he had was so entertaining, and then his interactions with Kevin Hart’s character (though minimal) added to the entertainment.
Now in regards to character followthrough on themes, this was possibly the strongest for me. I always love a villain who has an understanding motivation/purpose, and Lulu’s character was a logical extension to the overall theme which helped to bring about some conflicting tension between her and Krypto that made sense. The way she built her team was all through the idea of “loyalty” as well.
The same goes for Krypto. Granted, his character is pretty much a symbol of the theme in life, but he was also used well to help unpack if “loyalty” means being able to make room for others or other things. He character also helped to bring in the perspective of Ace who added to the table the topic of loyalty intersecting with perceived protection and trust. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾
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Overall #DCLeagueOfSuperPets gives Superman – meets Justice League – meets Pets – meets Paw Patrol – meets Look Who’s Talking Now – meets Pokemon
What’s crazy is that this film felt like an attack (LOL). Most recently, I’ve been joking with a few friends about how I feel like once they got beau’d up/re-beau’d up, they just pushed me aside. As the one person in my friend groups who has NEVER been in a relationship, I have years of experience observing and living through the ways my presence is called on by many people. However, this has never changed my loyalty to the time invested in building those friendships. Yeah, they may not call me for weeks or months because of how a love life can parallel park itself in a person’s routines (and I may not do the same since I’ve developed a comfortability with being to myself), but when those shared moments reignite, I always make sure to make it seem like I’m picking us up from where we left off. And I think that’s important.
Now, outside of my personal connection, I found this movie to be cute and entertaining, but not something to spend theater money on. Additionally, I felt there was something interesting about my engagement/experience with the characters… There are adults who genuinely “get” young children, and have a way with engaging with this age group that’s developmentally appropriate (like a balanced version of those over exaggerated pre-school/kindergarten teachers). Then there’s the “uncle/auntie adults” who you can expect to say some over the head things to young children because they know they don’t/won’t “get it,” but it’s funny… That’s how I felt about this overall cast of adults in this PG film. In other words, something about this film says it should’ve been PG-13; and they tiptoed the line which made moments feel like they’d have a tough time connecting with all PG audiences.