Well, at least Keanu Reeves ticks another major role off of the bucket list. His vocal work as Bruce Wayne is the glue that holds DC League of Super-Pets together, a charmless release which is at least soaked in some degree of canon and likeability. Even then, coasting off of pop culture charm, and spreading such hope throughout the cast, feels somewhat unfair for those not in a position to dispel any sentimentality to DC Comics and dogs. Such a pairing is impossible to criticise because it makes a reviewer no better than a mongrel dog or savage brute who cares not for films that look similar to Playmobil: The Movie. Alfred Molina voice cameos, Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart marketability for the TikTok appeal and some loose designs make up DC League of Super-Pets.
Jared Stern will never leave much of a mark when his projects are these. Somehow projecting Star Wars: The Clone Wars ambiguity from its artistic style, and convincingly so, the worldbuilding that begins on Krypton and stutters on through to a Secret Life of Pets-style, record scratches and all. Queen playing over the top of introductions to a poorly detailed Metropolis, You’re My Best Friend as generic an accompaniment to the John Krasinski and Johnson-starring feature. It all slots into place as safely as can be, without the risk potentially obtained through rewarding demonstrations of superheroes and supervillains. Instead, Olivia Wilde and Krasinski play up the Lois Lane and Superman contradictions as well as can be expected for a feature that has Johnson voicing a talking dog who cannot be understood by humans.
Instead, the bumbling dog and superpowered Krypto (Johnson), is a difficult blend that never works. Not for the children who hope for lighthearted entertainment, the breakneck pace and shortness of attention span a disgusting blur. DC League of Super-Pets finds itself uncontrollably spiralling out of style. Hoping to produce fears for a pup pushed out of the family duo with marriage, the selfish nature of Krypto is hard to get around. Harder still when this cast of pups replaces an objectively terrible, although aptly cast and big-budget Justice League. Record scratches, awful puns and a consistent play against the narrative driven by comic one-liners on the page are still misconstrued as weak and warbling pop culture references. Such a plague has infected Marvel and beyond anyway, although Dasha Pulanco and Jermaine Clement falling to that sword was a matter of when not if.
They, as many others do, fall here. DC League of Super-Pets is half-hearted, seemingly unfinished in spotty, broad animated worries that see horribly generic adaptations of fan favourites. All of it screams “easy to replicate on the merchandise conveyer belt,” and it is no surprise DC League of Super-Pets feels so rabid. So quick to introduce characters, so eager to please whatever corporate-mandated showcase of those who manage to find themselves in the cultural bubble. Marc Maron, Reeves and Kate McKinnon all fall to the popularity sword and find themselves stuck in a messy mesh of superhero antics, man’s best friend and all sorts of lacking, desperate-for-detail surroundings. Empty and shallow, a feature-length advertisement to punt products to kids, and more blatant than most.