Action Adventure

Review: ‘DC League of Super-Pets’ is an Animated Adventure Chock-Full of Superhero Vibes and Four-Legged, Family-Friendly Feels

July 26, 2022Ben MK

In the big screen battle between Marvel and DC, the consensus about which side possesses the more compelling superheroes has long been a hearty point of contention. Yet, with its consistently humorous and more colorful tone, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has generally always won out when it comes to family friendliness. Now, with its latest comic book blockbuster, DC is poised to claim that wholesome mantle for itself. However, to do so, they're going to need a little help from Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, who are once again teaming up for an action-packed buddy comedy — this time, in animated form.

In DC League of Super-Pets, Johnson voices Krypto, a seemingly ordinary Labrador Retriever who — like his owner — is hiding a major secret under his collar. You see, Krypto isn't a Labrador Retriever at all, but rather an alien canine who once called the planet Krypton home — that is, until the fateful day that both he and his best friend, Kal-El, were sent to Earth in a small spacecraft as their world's last surviving sons. Fast forward a few decades, and Kal-El has skyrocketed to fame as Metropolis' most famous resident, Superman (John Krasinski), while Krypto has remained faithfully by his side through thick and thin. Together, the super-powered duo have saved countless citizens from certain doom and have thwarted the dastardly plans of such despicable villains as Lex Luthor (Marc Maron) and Brainiac. But while their friendship has weathered all manner of challenges, will it survive Superman's burgeoning romance with reporter Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde)?

Meanwhile, in an animal shelter across the city, a Black Great Dane named Ace (Hart) and his fellow shelter animals — a self-conscious pig named PB (Vanessa Bayer), an overly anxious squirrel named Chip (Diego Luna), a 168-year-old turtle named Merton (Natasha Lyonne), and a megalomaniacal, hairless guinea pig named Lulu (Kate McKinnon) — are facing a crisis of their own. After being passed over for adoption more times than they can count, it would seem that the only way they'll ever see freedom is by orchestrating their own escape. But when Lulu goes too far by getting her paws on some orange Kryptonite, imbuing herself with super powers and kidnapping Superman and the rest of the Justice League, Krypto must find a way to stop her. Thankfully, Ace and his pals also happened to gain super powers from that same piece of Kryptonite. And so, this group of four-legged heroes must do something they've never done before — learn how to work together as a team.

Directed by Jared Stern and Sam Levine and written by Stern and John Whittington, what follows doesn't feel all that different from such animal-themed animated movies as Sing and The Secret Life of Pets, as these two alpha dogs, Krypto and Ace, must find a way to set aside their differences and trust in one another, while PB, Chip and Merton must learn to believe in themselves and overcome their insecurities. What sets DC League of Super-Pets apart, though, is the supporting cast of highly recognizable comic book characters and the superhero-sized stakes at the center of its story. And when you put all those elements into the context of a fun-filled adventure suitable for the entire family, it certainly makes for some entertaining and hilarious antics, especially when the punchline involves such famously stoic heroes as the Man of Steel, the Dark Knight and the King of Atlantis.

Of course, The Lego Batman Movie took a similarly comedic approach to DC's premiere group of superheroes, and in many ways, proved far more successful. But while DC League of Super-Pets doesn't quite stack up to the Caped Crusader's brick debut, it's not for lack of trying. Either way, kids who have outgrown their obsession with Paw Patrol will find plenty to love about these quadrupedal crimefighters, not to mention the message of friendship and acceptance they espouse. Parents, on the other hand, might find themselves wishing for a few more tidbits of content geared specifically towards them. Instead, they'll have to settle for some bleeped-out swear words and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo promoting DC's next big superhero adventure.

DC League of Super-Pets releases July 29th, 2022 from Warner Bros. Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG for action, mild violence, language and rude humor. Its runtime is 1 hr. 46 min.

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