Indeed, there’s a lot packed into this 76-minute animated film, and the Harry Potter references are only a small part of it. Super Hero High, under the leadership of Principal Amanda Waller, is preparing to compete in the annual Intergalactic Games against Korugar Academy which is under the leadership of Principal Sinestro (both of whom are absolutely stand-ins for Durmstrang Institute and Headmaster Karkaroff, respectively). Meanwhile, the Female Furies gang/hero school has managed to wheedle its way into the games, as well, and are plotting various forms of mayhem, with the help of a mysterious Super Hero High computer whiz.
Also, Wonder Woman is Super Hero High’s student body president, looking to prove her worthiness to attend an intergalactic summit in a few weeks. Starfire is overjoyed to be united with her sister, Blackfire, from Korugar Academy, but Blackfire is less enthused. Supergirl has to deal with tiny rodents made of Kryptonite called krypto-mites who wreak havoc around campus… And still, that’s just the tip of the iceberg for this movie.
As the title implies, this film focuses almost exclusively on the female superheroes (and supervillains) of the DC universe. Super Hero High is technically co-ed, but the boys are mostly background. Flash and Cyborg show up occasionally but don’t do much. From the very beginning, this is the girls’ show. Given how often it seems to be the other way around, I think this setup is pretty awesome.
Even though most of the characters are ostensibly high school age, the film itself seems to be geared towards kids junior high age or younger. The story is told rather simplistically—perhaps overly so—and the dialogue, especially the jokes, follow suit. Still, there are a few places where, despite the film’s simplistic nature, it manages to eschew expectations and go down a route we wouldn’t have thought.
One of the most interesting aspects of this movie is how the various characters act and interact in this new context. In particular, since it’s still early in their lives/careers, a number of characters whom we know will later become supervillains are seen living, studying, and even fighting right alongside. As I mentioned before, Sinestro is the head of Korugar Academy, and while his attitude is certainly elitist and exclusionary, it isn’t at all evil. Grodd is likewise a professor at Super Hero High, and while he doesn’t do or say much, he seems respected. Harley and Ivy are both Super Hero High students and are as accepted into the group as Supergirl or Batgirl. If you look closely, you can see the kernels of what some of these characters will become, and the kernels of what they might have been, had they chosen a different path.
Children ages 10 to 12 or so will likely find a lot to like about this movie. Anyone older than that may find it a bit immature, but it’s still entertaining when it wants to be. If you have pre-teen children, especially girls who could use more prominent superhero role models in the media they consume, then DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games is at least worth a look.