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.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by Superman/Batman: Public Enemies — it was a good adaptation of a fairly well-known comic book arc; the artwork was good, the voice acting was top quality, and it kept attention throughout the movie.
The basic premise is that, during the real-world 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, Lex Luthor managed to split the vote and win the presidential election. Despite his well-known animosity towards Superman, he appears to actually be doing a good job. Until a massive kryptonite meteor is found to be hurtling towards Earth, threatening to destroy all life on our planet. Luthor sets up a meeting with his old foe, Superman …. For the good of the country, of course. And he uses the opportunity to frame him for the murder of Metallo, another Superman villain.
From that point on, the race is on. For Superman and Batman to avoid being captured by a plethora of super-villains (seeking Luthor’s billion-dollar bounty) or superheroes (who mistakenly think that they’re doing the “right thing” by “following orders”), while trying to save the Earth. At the same time, something’s not right with Luthor … which will impact events.
Editorial review of Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, courtesy of Amazon.com
Based on the six-issue comic-book arc by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness, Superman/Batman Public Enemies finds DC’s stalwart heroes on the wrong side of the law. It’s not too surprising, considering Lex Luthor has been elected President of the United States, and he sets up an elaborate scheme to frame his archenemy for murdering his henchman, Metallo.
That puts a bounty on their heads that a horde of supervillains is determined to collect, and a good part of the movie is dedicated to all-out action against Gorilla Grodd, Captain Cold, and many, many others. And when it’s not supervillains, Superman and Batman have to face off against heroes that Luthor has recruited to his administration, including Captain Atom, Power Girl, Katana, and Starfire. The movie is very faithful to its source material, reusing many of the dialogue lines, though without the internal monologs, and some of the situations toward the end of the book are missing.
At 69 minutes, Public Enemies is fairly short for a DC Universe animated movie and perhaps because the original story is part of an ongoing series, it feels more like a string of episodes from one of executive producer Bruce Timm’s TV series rather than an event like Wonder Woman or The New Frontier. But it’s entertaining to watch, and highlighted by the return of familiar voices Tim Daly (Superman), Kevin Conroy (Batman), and Clancy Brown (Luthor). Inside joke: Smallville’s Allison Mack voices Power Girl. —David Horiuchi
Movie quotes from Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
Batman (Kevin Conroy): You’re going to go and meet with him, aren’t you?
Superman (Tim Daly): You know me too well. I can’t just stand back and do nothing.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): Well, when it all goes south, don’t count on me to save you.
Superman (Tim Daly): I won’t. I know you pretty well too.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): The kryptonite is near your heart. I don’t know if I’ll get it before the wound closes.
Superman (Tim Daly): Where’s The Flash when you need him?
Batman (Kevin Conroy): Do me a favor and lose the sense of humor.
Superman (Tim Daly): Do us both a favor and buy one.
Superman (Tim Daly): Why is it that good villains never die?
Batman (Kevin Conroy): Clark, what the hell are good villains?
Superman (Tim Daly): Mongul wasn’t his usual talkative self.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): And Grundy sounded like William F. Buckley.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): I suppose it’s useless to tell you to leave.
Superman (Tim Daly): I wouldn’t miss this for anything.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): Your funeral.
Superman (Tim Daly): Already had one.
Captain Marvel (Corey Burton): It doesn’t take the wisdom of Solomon to know you should stay down.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): Tell me something, Captain Marvel. Would Solomon have gone to work for Lex Luthor?
Captain Marvel (Corey Burton): [to Superman] You know, you’ve never been any good against magic. And magic’s what I’m all about.
Toyman (Calvin Tran): [referring to rocket] Oh, one other thing. Back when I designed it, I was way into hero worship.
Superman (Tim Daly): You are absolutely sure this is going to work?
Toyman (Calvin Tran): Does Power Girl have big…?
Batman (Kevin Conroy): Just feed it the numbers, kid.
Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown): [to Superman] I can’t think of a morning I haven’t woken up with the thought of strangling you. That sanctimonious image of yours fooled everyone except me. Because I know evil.
Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown): You can’t touch me. We’re on American soil now. And I am the president.
Superman (Tim Daly): Consider yourself impeached.
Solomon Grundy (Corey Burton): Grundy not feel good.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): Grundy gonna feel a lot worse.
[Batman attacks Grundy]
Superman (Tim Daly): [to Luthor after Batman launches the robot] That was my best friend. And you just killed him.
Captain Atom (Xander Berkeley): So this is what you’ve been up to these last few months.
Major Force (Ricardo Chavira): Chasing cars.
Superman (Tim Daly): I help wherever I’m needed.
Metallo: Superman. From me to you.
[shoots Superman with kryptonite]
Batman (Kevin Conroy): Are you all right? Say something.
Billy Batson: Shazam.
[turns into Captain Marvel]
Batman (Kevin Conroy): You sold out to Luthor.
Captain Atom (Xander Berkeley): I’m doing my duty. Look, this isn’t my decision to make. It’s the court’s.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): “Court’s”? This is Luthor’s vendetta.
Superman (Tim Daly): Power Girl, what do you think about all this?
Captain Atom (Xander Berkeley): It doesn’t matter what any of us thinks. Luthor is the president and what he says goes. Now, are you coming or not?
Superman (Tim Daly): Not.
Captain Atom (Xander Berkeley): It’s not gonna be any easier without Power Girl.
Major Force (Ricardo Chavira): We should have killed them when we had the chance.
Captain Atom (Xander Berkeley): We do not kill people. Understand?
Major Force (Ricardo Chavira): Is that right?
Batman (Kevin Conroy): Tell me something, Power Girl. Now that you’ve been up close and personal with Luthor, how do you feel about him?
Power Girl (Allison Mack): He’s the president.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): But how do you feel when you’re around him?
Power Girl (Allison Mack): He… He makes my skin crawl.
Superman (Tim Daly): Sometimes you have to trust your instincts.
Power Girl (Allison Mack): But how do you know when?
Batman (Kevin Conroy): Now.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): What did Luthor promise you? Money?
Major Force (Ricardo Chavira): What do I need with money? I’m living energy.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): You’re not going to tell me you killed him for your country, are you?
Major Force (Ricardo Chavira): Some of us still believe in putting our country first.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): Sorry, I don’t any see patriotism here. All I see is a psycho who’s latched onto an excuse to kill people and who’s so stupid he doesn’t realize he’s being used by Luthor.
Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown): [to Batman and Superman] Aw. You two aren’t going to be to save the world now. Well, I’ll tell you something. Everyone who lives to see the new world will have learned never to trust your kind again.
Amanda Waller: Shut up!
[hands a copy of the data to Batman]
Amanda Waller: Here. It’s all the information you need on it. Now go save us.
Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown): Bitch.
Amanda Waller: General, arrest him.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): Why aren’t you with the boy?
Power Girl (Allison Mack): I’m close enough right here. And he’s not really that much of a boy, you know? He’s 13.
Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown): [to Superman] You come to this planet, declare yourself the savior of mankind. Well, I think it’s time you died for your sins.
Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown): It had to be you! The one other person in the world smart enough to stop that meteor.
Toyman (Calvin Tran): The only person smart enough. You couldn’t do it, remember?
Newscaster: Lex Luthor’s attempt to win the presidency the old-fashioned way… by buying it, seems to be picking up steam. New poles show that 22% of Americans now support his third party bid. In a completely unrelated story, 22% of Americans now indicate a preference for getting
Newscaster: in the
Newscaster: with a red hot poker!
Batman (Kevin Conroy): Superman!
Superman (Tim Daly): A little busy at the moment
[flying Banshee into space]
Batman (Kevin Conroy): When you can, bring the heat!
[Superman then uses heat vision from space to free Batman from being frozen in ice]
Power Girl (Allison Mack): Luthor did the one thing nobody was expecting. He made things boring again. And boring is good, isn’t it? The economy is back to normal. Crime is down. There are no wars or anything.
Superman (Tim Daly): He’s up to something. Can’t anybody see that?
Captain Atom (Xander Berkeley): That’s what I thought at first. Eventually, I realized all he’s trying to do is put that formidable intellect to work doing such a good job, no one will have a choice but to respect him. It’s all about ego now.
Superman (Tim Daly): I’ll never respect him. He’s a sick man.
Major Force (Ricardo Chavira): He’s not the first to sit in the Oval Office.
Captain Atom (Xander Berkeley): He’s right. There have been womanizers, drunks, crooks, but Nixon helped turn our worst enemy into our best trading partner. And Johnson gave us the Voting Rights Act.
Superman (Tim Daly): Thanks for the history lesson, but I’m not buying it.
Power Girl (Allison Mack): Come on, work with us. Please? We need you.
Superman (Tim Daly): Sorry.
[Superman flies off]
Captain Atom (Xander Berkeley): I guess Luthor’s not the only one with an ego.
Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown): Does that mean you’re willing to work for me?
Superman (Tim Daly): For you?
Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown): Yes. You’ll be working for me. But only insofar I represent the country that adopted you. And that you love. What’s wrong? Was I getting too sentimental?
Superman (Tim Daly): Luthor.
Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown): You think I’d be crazy enough to meet you with some kind of protection?
[Secret Service Agent steps in, reveals himself as Metallo]
Superman (Tim Daly): Metallo.
Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown): Who else could stand up to you?
[Superman knocks Lex down]
Metallo: Shouldn’t have done that. He’s the President.
Alfred Pennyworth: I took the liberty of washing and repairing your shirt and cape. The souvenirs of Gotham City sewers are best left under the streets.
Superman (Tim Daly): I’m sure Lois will appreciate that.
Power Girl (Allison Mack): He didn’t do it. I’m sure of it.
Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown): Oh, really?
Power Girl (Allison Mack): It’s just not in him.
Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown): Do me a favor. Think back to three years ago. Could you have even dreamed back then that I would be president today? Did you think it was in me? Then if I could change that much, couldn’t he?
Superman (Tim Daly): [looks at Metallo’s burnt carcass] They must think I did this with my heat vision.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): You couldn’t have. Not unless your heat vision is radioactive. It’s not, is it?
[guards appear, Batman brings out a batarang]
Superman (Tim Daly): No. This way.
[grabs Batman and they fly through the ceiling]
Superman (Tim Daly): Now I really look like a criminal.
Batman (Kevin Conroy): It’s done wonders for me.
Trivia for Batman/Superman: Public Enemies
- In the fight at the beginning between Metallo, Superman and Batman in the cemetery one of the headstones reads “here lies stu deo adaelaide 1996 – 2008”
- Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, and Clancy Brown are no strangers to their roles in this movie. Conroy has done the voice of Batman in every major animated Batman series (except for The Batman and Batman: the Brave and the Bold and The Batman where he did cameo as John Grayson, father of Dick Grayson) as well as voicing the character in both Justice League and Static Shock. Daly and Brown did the voices of Superman and Lex Luther in Superman: The Animated Series, and Brown also portrayed Luther in Justice League.
- Allison Mack, who voices Powergirl, is no stranger to working in a Superman production as she has played the part of Chloe Sullivan in the WB’s “Smallville” (2001) throughout the entire series.
- This is one of the few Superman-oriented animated projects connected to producer Bruce W. Timm and Andrea Romano where Lois Lane made a cameo appearance, but with no lines. This is another break away from the original story, where Lois aided Superman and Batman in distracting Lex Luthor with a televised interview while they made their way towards the White House to confront him. However, it is indicated in the film twice that Lois, at this stage, is aware of his secret identity and are in a relationship.
- Before Superman and Batman face off against the hoard of villains, Batman tells Superman “Your funeral” which Superman responds with “Already had one.” Superman is referring to the “Death of Superman” storyline which was adapted into the first DC Universe movie Superman/Doomsday (2007).
- In the behind-the-scenes feature, which appears on the Green Lantern: First Flight (2009) DVD, voice casting director Andrea Romano said that she fought hard to get her original cast together again for this movie. She was referring to Kevin Conroy as Batman, Tim Daly as Superman, and Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor.
- Much of the voice-over work was done with the actors in the same room in order to let them play off of one another.
- Although they are mentioned by name, Superman and Batman’s alter egos, Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne respectively, do not make an appearance.
- In the original comic storyline by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness, it was Captain Atom, not Batman, who piloted the Superman-Batman Composite rocket to destroy the kryptonite asteroid. And unlike Batman, Captain Atom did not survive the devastation. The meteor story was continued in the second arc, as the broken fragments not only fell to earth in multiple versions of kryptonite, but also the ship carrying Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El (Supergirl). The storyline, also written by Loeb, served to be one of the last projects penciled by the late artist, Michael Turner.