Directed by Sam Liu
Written by Stan Berkowitz
Produced by Alan Burnett, Bruce Timm and Others
By the time Superman/Batman: Public Enemies was released, DC had already found success in two movies adapted from comic books (Superman: Doomsday, and Justice League: The New Frontier), two well-received origin story films (Green Lantern: First Flight and Wonder Woman), as well as Batman: Gotham Knight, which became wildly popular in the wake of Christopher Nolan’s epic second chapter in his Batman reboot, The Dark Knight. It was time to put two of DC’s most iconic characters together.
Public Enemies isn’t very plot-centric. Though, this team-up tale is important for a few reasons. First off, it’s animated in the exact same style as it’s comic book forefather, illustrated by Ed McGuinness, which is an astounding feat considering McGuinness’ art style is seminally unique. Second is reunion of Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly as Batman and Superman respectively. While both had voiced the characters since the end of their animated series’ in the late 90s, neither had worked together as Bats and Supes. Third, Public Enemies marks the animated debut of some awesome DC characters like Power Girl, Major Force, Night Shade, and others.
This loose narrative centers on Lex Luthor winning the election for Presidency of the United States, and a giant meteor made of Kryptonite heading for Earth. With the country’s most powerful position as his weapon, Luthor doctors film clippings to accuse Superman of killing someone. Luthor declares Superman (and Batman because they hang out, duh) a wanted felon with a reward for his capture. This prompts many DC villains and aforementioned heroes to come after the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight hoping to either get the reward or curry favor with Luthor. Eventually, the plot pulls back around the remind us that the Kryptonite meteor is still heading toward Earth. And this is where things start to fall apart.
The boys in blue and black go to see the (new, very young and Asian) Toyman in Tokyo where he reveals to them that he built a robot in their honor some years ago. The robot is half Batman and half Superman. The robot can destroy the Kryptonite meteor where hundreds of nuclear bombs could not. The robot can be manually operated by a person with no training, without a space suit of any kind. It’s all hugely silly and really took away from the mood of the film. And after all that, Batman takes the robot into space and smashes it into the meteor, effectively going kamikaze. But he survives! From a nuclear explosion with a radioactive green meteor! What!?
If you skip the last ten minutes, you seriously wont be disappointed because I watched it and I was. The heroes and villains going after Superman and Batman was fun and played well to the artistic style of the comic book. The Kryptonite meteor was superfluos from the beginning (even in the comics!) and just got more and more tired as it kept popping up to remind the audience how annoying it was.