My Take On… #233: Why There Are Better Batman Superman Crossovers Out There Than Dawn Of Justice

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been one year since that horrendous disaster that was Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice a.k.a. this generation’s Phantom Menace, and I’m sorry, I don’t care what anybody says, all these DC Cinematic Universe defenders out there, the movie is not that good. And this is coming from somebody who loves these two characters and I wish they had a better live-action movie to work off of. Hell, the Batman vs. Superman movie I made in high school with action figurines was more enjoyable than Dawn Of Justice was…and even to me, it’s not that good but at least I put effort into it. One day I hope I’ll have a chance to show it to you guys here.

But today, I’m here to talk about how there are way better Batman Superman crossovers out there than what we got with Dawn Of Justice last year. I’m talking about mostly in movies and TV and not just the comics and a lot of the best ones came from, of all places, the Bruce Timm created animated universe.

So, why not begin at the start with The Batman/Superman Movie, also known as World’s Finest:

I already did a review of this one during DC-Ember but just to recap on this one:

The Joker steals a large piece of Kryptonite and then comes to Metropolis, offering to kill Superman for Lex Luthor in exchange for one billion American dollars. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne pays a visit to Metropolis to negotiate a business deal with Lex. Bruce also uses this opportunity to suit up as Batman and hunt the clown. Superman uses his X-ray vision to discover Batman’s identity while Batman uses a tracking device on Superman’s cape to discover his.

The Joker kidnaps Lois Lane and uses her as bait in an attempt to kill Superman. He has her bound and gagged in his lair and sends a video message to Superman telling his location. First Superman wears a lead suit, but Joker uses acid from his flower to melt through the suit. Batman manage to stop him and save the two, causing Lex Luthor to become irritated and give him one last chance to defeat the two heroes.

After the Joker failed to defeat Superman and Batman, Lex Luthor tries to withdraw from the deal by killing the clown. This fails and leads instead to the insane criminals trying to take revenge on him by destroying Metropolis in a giant wing, while he uses the other half of the Kryptonite to try to stop Superman. It is ultimately up to the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight to stop this madness.

I mean, how much more awesomeness can you get with this? You have a crossover featuring two of the best TV adaptations of Batman & Superman coming together with the same team that helped to bring both of them back into the mainframe…what do you think the result is?

Well, it’s an all-around solid animated movie that captures both shows’ universes so well and connects them so well into this movie that there’s no way this could’ve possibly failed.

And thankfully, it does not at all. This is a really fun, really solid movie with all the great elements that we’ve come to expect from both Batman: TAS & Superman: TAS and bring them together very well, also setting the tone for the other great crossover episodes that would follow later on in the runs.

Kevin Conroy & Tim Daly work well together as Batman & Superman and the chemistry they bring off each other in the scenes where they have to work together are nicely done, Mark Hamill and Clancy Brown as the Joker & Lex Luthor also works well, Arleen Sorkin’s Harley Quinn is nicely done, and Dana Delany’s Lois Lane is always great to watch.

The story works really well, the animation is great, the action sequences are top-notch, I mean, do I even need to say more about this one?

The Batman/Superman Movie isn’t quite as strong as Mask Of The Phantasm or Subzero but as a crossover movie, it’s one of the best ones combining the great elements of both shows and the characters’ chemistry and bringing it all together for a great time to watch. Definitely check this one out, it gets overlooked but it’s definitely one that’s worth checking out.

After The Batman/Superman Movie, the characters would eventually cross over into each other’s shows.

There is only one crossover part of the Batman: The Animated Series canon but seeing as, at the time of this post, I’m in the middle of reviewing every Batman: The Animated Series episode, I’ll try to be brief on the crossover as part of the Batman: The Animated Series run for now before I go into more detail once we get to that episode.

That episode being Girls Night Out, where not really Superman nor Batman for that matter show up in this, okay Batman does show up in the beginning but mostly, this one centers around Batgirl and Supergirl teaming up to fight Superman villain Livewire as well as Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.

Livewire escapes during a prison transfer and wreaks havoc in Gotham. She also joins forces with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. With Batman and Superman away, Batgirl and Supergirl must team up to face the terrible trio and bring them to justice.

With this episode, you definitely get the sense that Gotham is more of a community for these superheroes and villains to come into play and it leads to a lot of interesting chemistry between these characters in these different scenarios.

There were also two Superman: The Animated Series episodes that tied in to Batman: The Animated Series as well. The first one being Knight Time.

Superman comes to Gotham to fill in for Batman, who has mysteriously disappeared.

There’s definitely an interesting story centering around the disappearance of Batman and you never really put two and two together until the very end when it’s revealed who the bad guy is, and I won’t go into too much spoiler detail but once you see who it is, it’s pretty obvious.

One of the funner aspects of the episode is watching Superman literally trying to be Batman, right down to him having Kevin Conroy’s Batman voice and having the exact same physique that Bruce does.

Of the episodic crossovers, it’s the best of the bunch because it is fun to watch Superman pretending to be Batman and lead to a lot of really good moments between many of the Rogue’s Gallery villains.

The other is The Demon Reborn.

Ra’s al Ghul needs Superman’s strength to fully heal, so Batman steps in to stop him.

Maybe not as strong as the other two crossovers and the weakest one of the three but nevertheless, it is still really fun to watch both Batman & Superman work off each other to fend off a major villain in Ra’s al Ghul and the League Of Shadows. Give it that at least.

There was even a crossover with the spinoff Batman Beyond, which was the launching pad for Justice League. That episode is a two-parter called The Call:

In the first part, older Superman drafts the younger Batman into the Justice League when he suspects there is a traitor among them. Despite Bruce’s warning not to join, Terry goes against it and soon discovers a conspiracy against the League.

In part 2, to get to the bottom of the problem facing the Justice League, Batman must face off against his own teammates—including Superman himself. He must seek the help from Bruce who knew of an old enemy of theirs, Starro. Though he defeats it and a grateful Superman offers him to join the Justice League, Batman refuses understanding why the original didn’t join the League full-time in the first place.

It’s an interesting approach to see the younger Batman going up against these older superheroes and the action is pretty solid and you can understand why Bruce is so against this idea that Terry should join the Justice League.

Of course, Justice League was not only the ultimate crossover for Batman & Superman but many of the DC characters and it’s still an awesome animated show and more than worth the watch.

The next time that we’d have a movie simply with Batman & Superman in it would be the DC Universe Animated Movie, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.

A desperate solution for a troubled country: Lex Luthor for President with the Justice League in the service of the government. Only Batman and Superman stand against the new regime and their disloyalty proves to be exactly what Luthor intended. Using their outcast status to instigate a scandal against Superman, Luthor finally tastes a victory in his vendetta against the Man of Steel. From Executive Producer Bruce Timm and voiced by the cast from both hit Batman and Superman animated TV series including Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly and Clancy Brown, this DC Universe Original Animated Movie of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness’s popular graphic novel seethes with political intrigue and action-packed battles between heroes all believing they’re on the right side of the law.

I mean, how can you go wrong when your cast is lead by Kevin Conroy as Batman, Tim Daly as Superman, AND Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor? You can’t, you really can’t.

This is such a fun movie to watch and it’s because both Conroy and Daly as Batman & Superman work together so well, it’s magic when they are both on screen together. Not to mention, you’ve got Clancy Brown once again brilliantly handling Lex Luthor well enough.

Now if that wasn’t enough, we get a bunch of other superheroes too. You’ve got Captain Atom, Katana, Black Lightning, Power Girl, Starfire, Major Force, Silver Banshee, Captain Cold, Icicle, Killer Frost, Mr. Freeze, Gorilla Grodd, Bane, Black Manta, Black Spider, Brimstone, Catman, Cheetah, Copperhead, Deadshot, Kestrel, King Shark, Brutale, Despero, Giganta, Girder, Lady Shiva, Mongul, Captain Boomerang II, Nightshade, Parasite, Solomon Grundy, and Shrike.

Atom, Katana, Lightning, Power Girl, Starfire, and Force are the other heroes centered around the film. But every hero starting with Silver Banshee in there pretty much just shows up in one scene as they are trying to collect the bounty on both Batman & Superman that Luthor has put on them by fighting both of them and it’s a great fight scene.

And that’s just only a bit of the fight scene but you can see just how spectacular the animation is in this sequence.

Aside from Conroy, Daly, and Luthor, the rest of the voice cast is pretty good too. You’ve got C.C.H. Pounder as Amanda Waller, Xander Berkeley as Captain Atom, Allison Mack as Power Girl, John C. McGinley as Metallo, and Levar Burton as Black Lightning just to name a few.

The script is probably the weakest element of the film but at the same time, it’s still pretty solid. The big problem with the script is that you know where it’s all going to end up and you know that neither Batman nor Superman are going to break their rule of killing people just to get revenge on Lex Luthor, a little too predictable but at the same time, it’s never a complete failure.

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is one of the stronger DC Universe animated films and that’s because it knows what it is, it works because of its’ great voice cast, its’ great animation, its’ great action sequences. Had the story been a little more out of predictability, it would’ve been the best film they’ve done but as it stands, it’s a solid fun ride with two of the greatest superheroes ever with the two best people who have ever played them.

And then you have the last crossover with these two with Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, released just a year after:

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is a 2010 direct-to-video animated superhero film based on the Superman/Batman comic storyline “The Supergirl from Krypton” and is a sequel to Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. The art style is partly based on that of Michael Turner, who penciled the Superman/Batman comic book arc. The film is the ninth in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line released by Warner Premiere and Warner Bros. Animation and the first sequel in the line. It was released on September 28, 2010. The film stars Andre Braugher, Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly and Summer Glau. Despite the title, the film focuses primarily on the introduction of Supergirl and her relationship with Superman. Batman plays a supporting role.

AND that last sentence is just one of the many reasons wrong with this film but before we review this, let’s run down the plot:

Batman discovers a mysterious teen-aged girl with super-human powers and a connection to Superman. When the girl comes to the attention of Darkseid, the evil overlord of Apokolips, events take a decidedly dangerous turn.

Now after a strong film like Public Enemies, you’d think they’d put the same care into making the sequel.

You’d be wrong.

Sad to say that this is the first DC Universe animated movie that I really hated and it was a massive disappointment. I mean, my god, what happened?

For one thing, the film shouldn’t even be called Superman/Batman because Batman’s barely in the damn thing, he has a supporting role and it makes no sense because his name is in the title and he’s hardly in this film, you see more of Supergirl in this movie more than you see Batman.

Second, the designs are so bad, Supergirl looks like some emo goth chick, Superman looks like what Robert Pattinson being cast as Superman would be like, and Batman looks constipated in many of his scenes that he’s in.

Third, the voice cast is great but they feel wasted here, you have Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy back as the title characters and they really feel like they don’t want to be here, Andre Braugher should be excellent as Darkseid and he doesn’t even feel like he wants to be here, Summer Glau isn’t helping to give Supergirl any reason to like her, and Ed Asner returning as Granny Goodness is just again feeling like he’s only doing this for a paycheck.

Fourth, the story is kind of weak and really, at this point in the run of these films, you’d think DC would be better at adapting these stories better.

I mean, my god, this was just a mess. I was very disappointed by this and by this point in their run, I’d think that DC would have a better handling of how to adapt this but this proves that they can’t all be perfect. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is one you can definitely skip big time.

As you can see there, not every crossover that Batman & Superman have been in has been great but honestly, would you rather watch these movies and episodes that have more heart and love for the source material than the live-action movie that was suppose to have that same heart and love but just came off as a quick cashgrab.

To me, these are way better crossovers between Batman & Superman because they were written better, they have lasting memorability to them even some of the bad ones, the voice work is nicely done, and the action is usually really good, everything that Dawn Of Justice did not have. To me, I will take any of these crossovers I mentioned over Dawn Of Justice any day of the week.

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