When I was a young comic book fan, I was a fan of the Legion of Superheroes. I’m not sure what appealed to me as a youngster, but I did love the variety of characters. I never collected the book for any regular amount of time, but I did like them. So I was pretty excited to see that the newest DC Animated movie was going to be based on Legion of Superheroes.
After escaping from the doomed planet of Krypton, Kara (Meg Donnelly) was deflected from her path to reunite with her cousin Kal-El (Darren Criss) on earth. However, under the guise of Supergirl, Kara was struggling to control her powers and was having a difficult time assimilating to the lower technological earth.
Superman had an idea. He used a time cube to take her to the 31st century and have her start training in the Legion Academy. Once there, she came across Brainiac-5 (Harry Shum Jr.) whom she mistook for the villainous Brainiac. Their fight led to both young heroes to be in trouble at the Academy.
There are a ton of voice actors involved, considering the typical cast of the Legion of Superheroes is large. Other voice actors here included Jensen Ackles, Matt Bomer, Darin De Paul, Ben Diskin, Victoria Grace, Jennifer Hale, Ely Henry, Eric Lopez, Zeno Robinson, Daisy Lightfoot, Cynthia Hamidi, Yuri Lowenthal, Robbie Diamond, and Gideon Adlon.
It was fun seeing all of these Legion characters appearing on screen, but I have a major question. Is there really a character named Arms Fall Off Boy? (After a quick google search, there absolutely was a Arms Fall Off Boy. Geez).
The story of the film is pretty simple and will not hold up to much scrutiny. It all revolves around a MacGuffin that was being kept in the Legion’s unbreakable vault (which, as soon as it was mentioned at the movie’s beginning, I thought that it was clearly being broken into later). Supergirl and Brainiac-5 are forced to team up despite there being conflict between the two of them. Of course, it also will lead to a romantic pairing between them. That was pretty cliché.
Unfortunately, most of this film is basic super hero clichés that lack any real depth to them. Because there are so many characters involved, most of these characters are basically their powers, without any deeper understanding of them. You would think that, with decades of great Legion stories, they could find one with more oomph to adapt.
I did find the animation of the film to be a step up from some of the other DC Animation projects. While it may not be at the upper end of animation styles for big movies, this was better than what it had been in the past and it makes me hopeful that the animation will not be the area they will skimp on moving forward.
While it was fun to see some of these heroes appear on the screen (although there was no significant parts for some of my favorite Legionnaires like Wildfire, Karate Kid, and Chameleon Boy- though it was fun to see Bouncing Boy and a flash of Ferro Lad), this movie is really more of a Supergirl film than one of the Legion of Superheroes. The drawbacks to the story and lack of characterization overall really hurt this movie.