Blandish animation gets overpowered by star-studded voices, a few censors, and some good laughs.
Dwayne Johnson has been appearing in some pretty crappy movies-some more financially successful than others-like “Baywatch,” “Rampage,” “Hobbs & Shaw,” “Jungle Cruise,” and “Red Notice,” and so I was worried he’d be dealing some lazy writers, who knew nothing about his talents and how he can prove he’s more than that. He doesn’t need commercialism to tell him who he is; he needs to know he can have fun or be taken seriously.
Then, comes his latest voice work in “DC League of Super Pets,” his first animated film since “Moana,” which featured his best voice work. “DC League of Super Pets” isn’t in the same league as that film, in terms of its animation, which seems blandish compared to another DC spoof from Warners Animation Group called “The Lego Batman Movie.” However, it does have a number of star-studded voice work, some silly laughs, and an honest charisma that makes it fun for kids and adults.
The kids would probably eat into the silly antics of how the dog Krypto (voiced by Johnson) would wake his owner Superman (voiced by John Krasinski) to take him for a walk by dropping him on his head, while the adults themselves would smile at how the elderly turtle Merton (voiced by Natasha Lyonne) would have the attitudes of Betty White and Joan Crawford and the mouth of Alan Arkin in “Little Miss Sunshine.”
“I can’t see ****,” and “Where the **** am I?,” she says.
Krypto is so connected to Superman, that he can’t stand to see him in love with reporter Lois Lane (voiced by Olivia Wilde). He doesn’t think he needs anyone else besides him. Then, comes Lulu (voiced by Kate McKinnon), a former test guinea pig for Lex Luther (voiced by Marc Maron), who develops superpowers from an orange crystal, which only works on animals, not humans. She kidnaps Superman and the whole Justice League, and renders Krypto powerless.
Lulu was in the same animal shelter as the boxer Ace (voiced by Kevin Hart), Merton, the potbellied pig PB (voiced by Vanessa Bayer), and the squirrel Chip (voiced by Diego Luna), when she came into possession of the crystal. And since that crystal only works on animals, Ace is indestructible, Merton can move fast, PB grows and shrinks, and Chip can shoot electricity. That’s when Krypto enlists them to save the Justice League. Not only does he teach them to believe in themselves, but he needs a personality check as well.
“DC League of Super Pets,” also produced by Johnson, is proof that the wrestler and actor can still have fun making movies without seeming so cocky or bring pushed around. And in his 5th movie together with Hart, these two actors have chemistry that makes them likable, as demonstrated in “Central Intelligence” and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” Besides, I’d take Ace peeing on a fountain over Hart humiliating himself in “Night School,” “Think Like a Man Too,” or “The Man from Toronto.”
The supporting voice actors also include Keanu Reeves as Batman, Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz as guinea pig henchmen, Jameela Jamil as Wonder Woman, Jemaine Clement as Aquaman, Daveed Diggs as Cyborg, John Early as the Flash, Dascha Polanco as Green Lantern, Keith David as Crypto’s father, and Alfred Molina as Superman’s father Jor-El.
Besides Johnson and Hart, I also personally enjoyed the voice work from McKinnon, Krasinski, Bayer, Luna, Lyonne, Wilde, Maron, and Reeves in the ways they all have attitude and timing, and how they’re all able to have fun with their characters. Sometimes, the antics and behaviors can be annoying, and sometimes it can be obvious, but mostly, there’s a good side to itself that makes the movie fun.
“DC League of Super Pets” knows when to be funny and patient, and it knows how to appease to both kids and adults on different levels. I still feel bad that I couldn’t give “Minions: the Rise of Gru” a passing grade, but I needed something lively-something that doesn’t make cartoon characters only gimmicks to appease to a specific generation of movie-goers. These cartoon characters know when to have fun.
Sit super boy.