I’ve always enjoyed the Legion of Super-Heroes. Superheroes from the future—what’s not to love? They don’t get talked about often enough, in my opinion, so I tend to get excited whenever they show up somewhere. And I was very excited to review this new movie. Although it didn’t quite measure up to my expectations, it’s still plenty entertaining.
Kara Zor-El (Meg Donnelly) has landed on Earth after her escape pod from Krypton got delayed, and now she’s following in her cousin’s footsteps, eager to be a superhero. Unfortunately, she’s still untrained, both in the ways of superheroing and in the ways of humanity in general. She’s a loose cannon—more than that, a superpowered loose cannon—and Batman (Jensen Ackles) fears she may be more of a liability than an asset.
Fortunately, Superman (Darren Criss) has a solution: a 31st century superhero training program, courtesy of the Legion of Super-Heroes. After a quick jump to the future affords one the opportunity to study alongside such other powered individuals as Bouncing Boy, Triplicate Girl, Arms Fall Off Boy, and more. Most intriguing to Supergirl, though, are Daxamite heartthrob Mon-El (Yuri Lowenthal) and academic rival and possible supervillain Brainiac 5 (Harry Shrum Jr.).
From there, the plot gets fairly standard. There’s trouble brewing in the Legion of Super-Heroes. Legion members are missing. A cache of terrible weapons may be at risk of falling into the wrong hands. The Legion itself may have even been infiltrated, so it’s impossible to know whom to trust. There’s also more than a little bit of the plot of Sky High in the mix.
In terms of story, this film is fairly middle-of-the-road: a bit predictable at times, a bit convoluted at other times. The characters, though, make it entertaining. The lesser-powered trainees are a lot of fun. It’s also really interesting how they handle Brainiac 5 with regards to his personality, origins, etc. In case you’re not familiar with the Legion and its roster, I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say, I’ve never seen his character handled quite this way before—and Harry Shrum Jr. plays him well.
Legion of Super-Heroes is part of the Tomorrowverse: a small, connected series of movies within the larger DC Universe Animated Movie umbrella. I was heretofore unaware of this connection, even though I’ve actually reviewed all of the Tomorrowverse films so far, including Man of Tomorrow, Justice Society, Green Lantern: Beware My Power, and more. I knew some of them shared some of the same actors, but I didn’t know they were all part of the same timeline. With this knowledge, I’d be interested to rewatch Man of Tomorrow alongside this film: its portrayal of shy, awkward Clark Kent, unaware of where he came from and just starting out as a superhero, juxtaposed with this film’s brash and headstrong Kara, who’s lost the place where she came from and wants to prove to her cousin that she’s ready to be a superhero. Their whole dynamic takes on an extra dimension in light of the journey Kal-El took to get to this point.
Special features on the Blu-ray include a couple of featurettes about the film, some previews of other DC Universe Animated movies (though all of them already released), and, of course, a couple of episodes of a classic animated DC television show. In this case, we get “Little Girl Lost” parts 1 and 2 from Superman: The Animated Series which introduces us to Kara Zor-El. I suppose this makes sense, and they’re good episodes, but truth be told, I was hoping for a couple of episodes from the Legion of Super-Heroes series of 2006-2008.
All in all, this is a decent and entertaining film. It’s not the strongest of the Tomorrowverse films, and it can be a little predictable at times, but… again, it’s superheroes in the future. What’s not to love?
Creative Team: Jeff Wamester (director), Josie Campbell (writer), James Krieg (producer), Kimberly S. Moreau (producer), Sam Register (executive producer)
Production Companies: Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment
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