‘DC League of Super-Pets’ a Tail-Wagging Good Time for Families, Say Critics

The summer movie season isn’t complete without a heroic talking animal tale for all ages, and the latest is ready to save the day in theaters this weekend with the superstrength of generally positive reviews behind it. Marking the feature directorial debut of LEGO movieverse writer/consultant Jared Stern, who also penned the pic with John Wittington, DC League of Super-Pets (Warner Bros. Pictures) opens in North America on Friday, July 29, and introduces family audiences to a new pack of underdog (or underpig, or underturtle) heroes.

In DC League of Super-Pets, Krypto the Super-Dog (Dwayne Johnson) and Superman (John Krasinski) are inseperable best friends, sharing the same superpowers and fighting crime in Metropolis side by side. When Superman and the rest of the Justice League are kidnapped, Krypto must convince a rag-tag shelter pack — Ace the hound {Kevin Hart}, PB the potbelled pig (Vanessa Bayer), Merton the turtle (Natasha Lyonne) and Chip the squirrel (Diego Luna) — to master their own newfound powers and help him rescue the Super Heroes.

The all-star cast also includes Kate McKinnon as the evil hairless hamster Lulu, Marc Maron (Lex Luthor), Olivia Wilde (Lois Lane) Keanu Reeves (Batman),  Jameela Jamil (Wonder Woman ), Jemaine Clement (Aquaman),  John Early (The Flash), Dascha Polanco (Green Lantern) and Daveed Diggs (Cyborg).

With a 72% Fresh Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes (from 53 reviews) and a MetaScore of 60 on MetaCritic (19 reviews), DC League of Super-Pets is being praised as a funny family pic with plenty of action. The movie is expected to take in anywhere from $25 million to $30 million when it opens in 4,300 North American theaters today, which will probably knock Jordan Peele’s “Nope” from the top spot at the box office this weekend.

While an animated superhero movie can’t help but draw comparisons to beloved titles like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and LEGO Batman, Krypto and the crew deliver a CG feature adventure worthy of the big screen experience. Here’s a quick sampling of what critics are saying:

Many reviewers have high praise for Kate McKinnon’s hilarious performance as Lulu in ‘DC League of Super-Pets’


“The cast’s vibrancy carries the film through the requisite action sequences and unremarkable animation that doubles down on the cute (the villain is, again, a squeaky guinea pig with a kitten sidekick who coughs up hairball grenades). Stern and Whittington’s vision of Metropolis isn’t quite as deliriously irreverent as in the LEGO world, but the film has enough bite for older viewers. The slapstick humor and elastic physics — lots of explosions and destruction but no harm — are for children, the swipes at Musk-esque billionaires for adults (a news headline after Luthor’s arrest: ‘Wealthy Person Actually Goes to Jail’).”

— Adrian Horton, The Guardian

“Of the multiple Earths in the [DC Universe’s] narrative space, this is the one where Metropolis is a combination of mid-century skyscrapers and futuristic towers, where Luthor wears a bright green suit of science armor while shooting big purple beams into the sky. It’s an aesthetic that carries through the entire film, and it matches the breezy tone of the jokes and the vocal performances. (Also occupying the space between the epic and the ridiculous is the score by Steve Jablonsky, Red Notice.)”

— Alonso Duralde, The Wrap


“Too often, the film gives off the feeling that it was designed for the inevitable line of toys for the upcoming holiday season, with plenty of cuddly animals of disparate types soon to line the shelves of a store near you. And like so many animated films, the proceedings devolve into a numbing series of action sequences in which the humor is largely sidelined in favor of frenetic spectacle. Still, DC League of Super-Pets manages to combine superheroes with adorable animals, which are two of kids’ favorite things, so its popularity seems assured. And adult chaperones will enjoy the many references to the DC Universe, with baby boomers’ hearts likely to soar upon hearing the callbacks to the classic John Williams score for the 1978 Superman movie that arguably started the cinematic superhero craze in the first place.”

— Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

“The plot is…a plot. Busy and frantic and diagrammed. But there are just enough wild-card moments along the way, like those involving a baby-voiced kitten who coughs up hairball grenades. “DC League of Super-Pets” ends with a giant-monster showdown that’s very standard, though it must be said that the animators give good beast. And Batman gets the sendoff he deserves, which is to get doggy-licked right out of his funk. That’s enough to leave him smiling, and the audience, too.”

— Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“Stern and Levine fill the screen with impressive, colorful, and detailed imagery, sly visual inside jokes and Easter eggs, and convincing explosions — a LOT of them. And, it’s not just a random direct-to-DVD title writ large; DC League Of Super-Pets deserves to be seen in a movie theater on the biggest screen possible.”

— Ian Spelling, The AV Club

“Unfortunately, while DC League of Super-Pets does a decent job entertaining kids, the film is too simplistic and not fun enough to keep the whole family’s attention. The voice cast does a wonderful job, the synergy between Dwayne Johnson’s Krypto and Kevin Hart’s Ace helps to elevate the movie, and writers Jared Stern and John Wittington do their best to fill the 100 minutes runtime with the biggest number of self-referential jokes they can think of. Even so, while all of that allows DC League of Super-Pets to become casual, family-friendly fun, the movie lacks originality and can not shake off the feeling we’ve seen this before somewhere else.”

— Marco Vito Oddo, Collider




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