A complete review after the jump.
World's Finest Comics was a comic book series published by DC Comics from 1941 to 1986. (Admittedly, the series was called World's Best Comics for its first issue). World's Finest featured DC's two leading superheroes, Superman and Batman—first separately and then in team-ups (starting in issue 71). With the exception of issues 198-214 (which only had Superman), the series focused on the partnership between Barman and Superman until it was canceled in 1986 with issue 323. This was because after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC revamped its continuity and Batman and Superman were no longer friends. Instead, they were rivals that despised each others methods. It would take a long time for this rivalry to grow into respect and friendship and even longer for a new team-up book.
The first arc ran through Issues #1-6 and was written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Ed McGuinness. The story was called "The World's Finest" (in honor of the earlier title), and is also referred to as "Public Enemies." The plot was simple, then-U.S. President Lex Luthor declares Superman and Batman enemies of the state, claiming that a Kryptonite asteroid headed for Earth is connected to an evil plot by Superman (we would find out in a later story that it held something much more important to Superman and the DC Universe). Luthor offers a $1 billion bounty, which encourages both supervillains and superheroes to attack. By the end of the story, Luthor returns to his silver age roots and dons a battle suit from the planet Apokolips to fight the heroes.
I should note that when this was released as a trade, some of the dialogue was changed, which made the story flow smoother.
The first thing that is great about this movie is the excellent voice casting by Andrea Romano. Several of the characters are voiced by actors who reprise their roles from Bruce Timm's cartoon universe. Kevin Conroy plays Batman, Tim Daly plays Superman Clancy Brown plays Lex Luthor, and C. C. H. Pounder plays Amanda Waller. The rest of the cast is equally impressive, including Levar Burton, Allison Mack, Michael Dorn, Robert Patrick, Cory Burton, Jennifer Hale and Xander Berkeley. And while some of these actors have very few lines, the professionalism shines through.
The movie is faithful to the book and even has some word for word dialogue. What is especially great is that they kept the witty banter between Superman and Batman. There are some minor tweaks, including the elimination of a subplot involving Metallo's involvement in the death of Batman's parents and some additional scenes to show why the world would elect Lex Luthor President. There was also some streamlining, such as the elimination of future Superman, the Batfamily and the Superfamily. Finally, there was a minor change in the ending. But, the rest is pretty much the same as the book. In fact, the art style even looks like Ed McGuinness drew the characters.
The DVD (or Blu Ray in my case) has some interesting special features including
- Six bonus cartoons from the JLU/Justice League series (which I already own and show how great that show was)
- A first look at Justice League Crisis on Two Earths (which looks interesting)
- A Blackest Night Documentary
- A Superman/Batman Documentary
- And a documentary called "Dinner DCU and Kevin Conroy."
In my opinion, this may be DC best animated movie (Wonder Woman was pretty hard to beat). Unfortunately, as good as this was, it still doesn't hold a candle to the JLU series. What made that show great was that it was the culmination of several other series (Batman TAS, Superman TAS, Static Shock, Batman Beyond, and Justice League) that helped build a cohesive DC Animated Universe. This can be seen by watching the included episodes, which were part of the second season multipart-part season finale. Warner Premiere features DCU animated movies that have nothing to do with each other (and are in drastically different art styles). As a result, we have to get to know the characters all over again. And, once we feel comfortable with the world, the movie is over. And, we will never see them again. What is funny is that these movies are based on stories that came from the same Universe, which should make it easy. Don't get me wrong, you should definitely get this movie if you are fans of DC animation or the Loeb run of Superman and Batman. I'm only suggesting a little consistency for the future.
The official Website can be found here
Here are some images and clips.