It seems like that almost every few months or so we've gotten a superhero film in theaters. Whether it be from Marvel or DC, they've really been making a lot of bank with audiences showing up to see some cool heroes take down some baddies. We've also occasionally got some animated ones as well with the most recent being from Warner Bros. Animation entitled "DC League of Super-Pets", which takes a look at Superman's dog Krypto. I really enjoyed Warner Bros. Animation's last few DC comedies like "The Lego Batman Movie" and "Teen Titans Go To The Movies" and went in thinking this could be on the same level. However, this film doesn't come close to those films. This was sadly a really mediocre animated film that didn't pack nearly as much punch or laughs as those other films did.
Superman (John Krasinski) and his dog Krypto (Dwayne Johnson) have been protecting the citizens of Metropolis, stopping crime left and right throughout the city. The two have been together since Krypton's explosion and Krypto has been enjoying his time with his best bud. However, Superman has been planning on proposing to his girlfriend Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde) and Krypto has gotten jealous thinking his best friend is leaving him behind. One day though, an evil guinea pig once belonging to Lex Luthor (Marc Maron) named Lulu (Kate McKinnon) captures Superman and the rest of the Justice League thanks to a special Kryptonite that gives animals superpowers and plans on freeing her old owner from prison. Krypto tries to stop her but discovers he has been weakened by Kryptonite and can't use his superpowers. Fortunately, he comes across a group of stray animals who also got superpowers from that Kryptonite which includes a dog with super strength named Ace (Kevin Hart), a pig with size powers named PB (Vanessa Bayer), a squirrel with electrokinesis named Chip (Diego Luna), and a turtle with super-speed named Merton (Natasha Lyonne). Together, the team has to try to figure out how to stop the evil guinea pig and save the Justice League.
I didn't expect much going into this film, but I was hoping it could at least be fun. Not something great, but just something that could've been good mindless fun with some good action and humor. Unfortunately, I came out of this film disappointed. It's really a shame because I normally think that director Jared Stern has done some good work before which included his excellent TV adaptation of "Greens Eggs and Ham". It's a shame because this could've been a fun film. The story really suffers due to how unoriginal it came off feeling. It goes from a lot of plot points and cliches that you would expect but does really nothing new with them. Most of the film focuses on Krypto trying to grasp him not having superpowers and learn to appreciate being a dog and it just made me think back to how "Bolt" did much better. It helps mainly because in that film, Bolt grew up in a studio thinking he was a superhero and then when he was brought outside it for the first time, he had to come to the cold grips that he really wasn't one and had the help of down to earth characters like Mittens and Rhino appreciate what it's like to be a dog. In this film, we know that Krypto is going to get his powers back eventually since he has Kryptonite stuck in his stomach so we're just waiting for the inevitable when he gets it back and is ready to fight. Even part of the villain's plan was a bit similar to the villain's plan in "The Bad Guys". It really was pretty unoriginal. Not to mention, there should've been more time to see the other pets coping with their powers and getting to learn how to properly use them before they save the Justice League. Most of the film is watching them struggle with their powers, then have one successful fight, and then we're at the big climax. It's pretty rushed. It would help if the humor was actually funny in this film, but it really is not. At all. The humor in this film is incredibly unfunny and has so many bad jokes that just made me scratch my head. It ranges from a lot of toilet humor which includes Krypto complimenting his own poop and talking about how it smells to him listening to Bad Blood when he's mad at Superman, and also a turtle swearing complete with censor sound effects. Yeah, it's that kind of humor. There's an occasional chuckle in the film, but not a lot of it.
As far as the animation goes, it mostly is okay. The film's animation is provided by Animal Logic who have normally done amazing work like the photorealistic look of "Happy Feet" and the stop motion look of "The Lego Movie" and their work here goes for a cartoony vibe that I'm a bit mixed on. I do like the sets of the film as they look very well designed and I think the cartoony animation of the animals themselves is fun since they looked pretty cute though I thought other aspects like some of the effects animation and the animation of the humans looked a bit off to me. The humans look like toys (especially the Justice League) that really appeared rubbery and strange while the effects animation ranged from some great-looking explosions to some water effects animation that looked more like jello. Even the action wasn't as well staged as it could've been since it seemed very all over the place with the camera and staging compared to other animated superhero flicks like "The Incredibles", "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse", and even Warner Bros. Animation's own "The Lego Batman Movie". As far as the characters go, I did find some of them good while others not so much. The best character in the film is easily Lulu who works due to a hilarious performance from Kate McKinnon. She was exceptionally fun in this role as she really had fun playing a crazy super villain that was aware of how evil she was. There was a lot of personality in her performance and it really elevated her character. I also found Ace, PB, Chip, and Merton. Despite not really having a lot of personalities, they had a lot of fun chemistry together and shared some nice moments. Unfortunately, the weakest character of the film is the hero himself, Krypto. He's basically the smug and cocky hero that learns to take himself down a knot and didn't really have charm or personality. He really seemed like a blank character.
In all, DC League of Super-Pets is mostly a mediocre superhero flick. While the film has some fun characters, it suffers due to the story feeling unoriginal and unfunny, the animation having some mixed qualities, and the main character being rather uninteresting. This isn't one of Warner Bros. Animation's better films and I don't exactly recommend it. If you want to see funnier animated films based on DC Comics, I recommend "The Lego Batman Movie" and "Teen Titans Go To The Movies" instead. This film rather has more bark than bite.