FilmsSuperheroes

Legion Of Super-Heroes (2022) (film blu-ray review).

In recent years, the Legion Of Super-Heroes has had a chequered release in the comic books, not to mention numerous remakes and team changes, and then all made allowable under DC Comics’ ‘New 52’. If anything, I was surprised by a film release done in animation. Considering the number of team members, for outsiders there is a need to establish names and powers to the viewers, not to mention being set in the 31st century. Although the latter means you can ignore ‘current day’ events…mostly. Mind you, there was a TV series version back in 2006-08. I think the animation of that version was better than this film. I know some of the tricks used to keep the time element up and the action is there for when it’s needed.

This film goes back to Krypton and Kara Zor-el (voiced by Meg Donnelly) and her mother witnesses the end of their planet, and Argo City cannot be propelled into space unless it fails so she sends her daughter alone. Caught in the blast, she’s rendered unconscious and on arrival on Earth, super-powered, her cousin now much older than her and disguised when she has to fight Solomon Grundy and doesn’t do well. Superman and Batman come to her rescue. Supergirl is not used to Earth. Batman sees her damaging buildings as a potential threat. The fill-in that she arrived on Earth when Superman was an adult stays within DC Universe history. Superman suggests she spends some time in the future with the Legion Of Superheroes and learns something about responsibility in an era similar to Krypton. One can only presume that damaged buildings can be quickly repaired. He also has a device that allows traveling to that future point in time and back viable.

Based on the look of the characters and that Lightning Lad has now changed skin color and Dawnstar has energy wings, this is their latest Legion version costume-wise although we don’t see many of them. Superman thinks she should be trained at the Legion Academy. You’re going to play happy numbers identifying the characters and their home planets and puzzling why these aren’t already full-fledged members and there’s only one vacancy in the main team. Oh, the Dark Circle is involved and the Legion thinks Brainiac 5 (voiced by Harry Shum Jr,) is a rogue. Anything else is a spoiler.

For those paying attention to the end credits, Dawnstar gets separate creator credits for Paul Levitz and Mike Grell. Odd that, as other Legionnaires deserve separate honors as well. Still, scriptwriter Josie Campbell knows her Legion lore. Don’t forget to watch after the credits and there’s enough hint for a sequel.

It’s worth a watch. It’s interesting how some characters like Bouncing Boy, Wildfire, and Ferro Lad (the last two only holograms) have kept their original costumes over the years and yet nary a real look at the designs Dave Cockrum did for them. Ah, I freeze-framed a group appearance at the end and Star Boy and Element Lad are closest to his work.

Now for the extras. ‘The Legion Behind The Legion’ running at about 5 minutes has producer Jim Krieg and writer Josie Campbell discussing the film’s creation.

‘Down To Earth: The Story Of Supergirl’ running at 8 minutes gives just that and how it was incorporated into the film. Saying that I do think they rushed over the fact that she got to Earth after Kar-el grew up.

‘Meet The Legionnaires’ at 9½ minutes goes over the LSH. Arms-Fall-Off Boy has to be the weirdest and comes from Lallor. An odd choice considering he isn’t one of the original Heroes Of Lallor. He’s more likely for the Substitute Legion, which does get a brief mention, although Polar Boy is in the Legion here.

‘Brainiac Attack: The Intellect Behind The Super-Villain’, another 8-minute featurette, looking at a well-known villain.

Then we have a two-parter 21 minutes each story ‘Little Girl Lost’ from the 1998 Superman animated TV series where Kara is found and Superman brings her to Earth. Finding her feet or cloak so to speak, she ultimately ends up facing off against Granny Goodness and her master. Oh and Superman pops in. I’ve never seen this version, but hasn’t Superman got a lantern jaw and shoulders? So does that reporter fella, Clark whatshisname. You would think he would exhale a bit to hide his shape.

Finally, two previews, each running just under 9 minutes with creators talking about them and showing scenes. The first is for the ‘Justice League Vs. The Fatal 5’ came out in 2019 and will be pulling because one of the scenes shows the LSH in their Cockrum costumes. The second, ‘Superman: Man Of Tomorrow’ from 2020 remakes the Man of Steel’s origin yet again.
Don’t think I’m down on this animated film. It’s more a case don’t have too many expectations that it will that similar to the comic-book versions. There are some surprises including a traitor that you won’t expect. It is watchable and that’s the important thing.

GF Willmetts

March 2023

(pub: Warner Bros Animation, 2022. 1 blu-ray disk 83 minute film with extras. Price:  (UK). ASIN: 5000303948)

voice cast: Meg Donnelly, Harry Shum Jr. and many other voices

check out website: www.warnerbros.co.uk

UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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