[Screen It]


(2022) (voices of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart) (PG)

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Computer-Animated Superhero Action-Comedy: Superman's pet dog must recruit a menagerie of unlikely hero animals to thwart a villainous plan and rescue Superman and other captured Justice League members.

Having grown up with Superman (voice of JOHN KRASINSKI) since he was just an infant, Krypto (voice of DWAYNE JOHNSON) has been his loyal pet dog, imbued with the same sort of superpowers as his master.

While he's not crazy about Superman spending ever more time with Lois Lane (voice of OLIVIA WILDE), Krypto is happy to help Superman and other members of the Justice League, including Batman (voice of KEANU REEVES), thwart the nefarious plans of archvillains such as Lex Luthor (voice of MARC MARON).

Unbeknownst to any of them, guinea pig Lulu (voice of KATE McKINNON) is plotting to control the world, but for the time being she's trapped in a rescue animal shelter alongside other animals who view her as a kook. They include boxer Ace (voice of KEVIN HART), potbellied pig PB (voice of VANESSA BAYER), nearsighted turtle Merton (voice of NATASHA LYONNE), and neurotic squirrel Chip (voice of DIEGO LUNA).

When Lulu manages to get her paws on a rare piece of orange kryptonite, it gives her superpowers and allows for her escape, with her goal being to capture all members of the Justice League and free Lex. Unbeknownst to her, it also gives her shelter-mates superpowers as well, with Krypto then being forced to ask for their help -- after he loses his -- to stop Lulu and rescue the Justice League members.

OUR TAKE: 7out of 10

I am, and as long as I can remember have been, a cat person (not like Nastassja Kinski, but you get the idea). Thus, I'm not sure why my childhood stuffed animals were predominantly bunnies, outnumbering my lone cat toy three to one.

There was Uncle Bunny and Joe Bunny, but my favorite was Super Bunny. I have no idea how or why the first two got their names, but the latter was splayed out in a horizontal pose that gave him the appearance of flying. You know, sort of like the Man of Steel.

Accordingly, I was all in on the notion of Superman having a super dog as the basic idea behind "DC League of Super-Pets," Warner Bros. computer-animated offering that should entertain kids and adults alike, especially if they're fans of the collection of superhero characters found in the DC Comics universe.

Oh, and pets too, all of which pretty much covers everyone out there. In a way, it's a cinematic kissing cousin to the "LEGO" movies in that it goes all meta and lovingly pokes fun at the various parameters and details that revolve around those characters. And, yes, pets too.

As directed by Sam J. Levine and Jared Stern from a script by the latter and John Whittington, the film begins by putting a spin on the classic Marlon Brando/Susannah York opening of Richard Donner's "Superman" from 1978 by having young Kal-El's pup, Krypto, joining the infant in his intergalactic baby "crib" just as Krypton is ready to go boom. Now, all these years later, the Labrador retriever is full grown (and voiced by Dwayne Johnson) with all of the regular dog tendencies, as filtered through possessing super canine powers.

Those allow him to assist Superman (John Krasinski) and other members of the Justice League -- including Batman (Keanu Reeves), played for "he's so dour and serious" comedy as in the "LEGO" movies -- as they deal with villains including, natch, Lex Luthor (Marc Maron). But they don't realize that one guinea pig who he previously experimented on -- Lulu (Kate McKinnon) -- has imprinted on Lex and taken on his world domination ways.

For the time being, however, she's just a caged animal in a rescue pet shelter where the other critters there -- boxer Ace (voice of Kevin Hart), potbellied pig PB (voice of Vanessa Bayer), nearsighted turtle Merton (voice of Natasha Lyonne), and neurotic squirrel Chip (voice of Diego Luna) -- view her as a kook "a few guineas short of a pig." But she manages to get her paws on Lex's coveted orange kryptonite and suddenly becomes super-powered, allowing for her escape and goal of freeing her villainous idol and doing away with the Justice League.

With his superpowers stymied by a bit of kryptonite he accidentally ingested, Krypto must eat crow, so to speak, and ask the other shelter pets -- who've also become super-powered -- for help in saving the day. The results are funny, entertaining, and in one flashback scene, actually touching.

All of which results in a fun and enjoyable experience buoyed by great vocal work, solid visuals, and a creative and imaginative screenplay. I'm guessing Super Bunny would agree, and you probably will too. I rate "DC League of Super-Pets" as a 7 out of 10.

Posted July 29, 2022

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