Western Animation: Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
Next Sunday A.D.
, a recession leads to Lex Luthor
becoming President of the United States. Seemingly solving the financial crisis with a wave of his hand, he declares the curbing of vigilantes the main focus of his Presidency, even forming a government Super Team
. Understandably, Superman
Soon, it's discovered that a Kryptonite meteor the size of a small country is headed towards Earth and will impact in seven days. While President Luthor tries fighting it off with rockets, Batman slyly hints he's "working on something with one of his contacts". Luthor proposes to meet with Superman to discuss the threat; it turns out to be an ambush where Secret Service Agent John Corben (Metallo) lays the smackdown on the Man of Steel until Batman bails him out. In the aftermath of the ambush, however, Metallo is found murdered. Luthor frames Superman, citing mental imbalance due to the meteor, and announces a bounty on his head.
Cue an entire movie's worth of Superman and Batman, going up against pretty much the entire DCU. Along the way they pick up a grand total of two allies: Power Girl
and Japanese 13-year-old genius the Toyman. Things change quite a bit as the film progresses, however. A sub-plot deals with Luthor having a Villainous Breakdown
as panic spreads, his anti-meteor tactics fail and his Presidency goes south.
A direct-to-video adaptation of the first arc of Superman/Batman
, and one of DC's Bruce Timm
-produced animated films. Kevin Conroy
, Tim Daly
, Clancy Brown
and CCH Pounder
reprise their respective roles from The DCAU
as Batman, Superman, Lex Luthor, and Amanda Waller, while Allison Mack of Smallville
fame takes on Power Girl's first animated appearance.
A sequel, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
, was released in 2010.
- Adaptation Distillation: The adaptation refines the storyline in many ways with increased coherency (such as giving Luthor a more plausible case in incriminating Superman and putting some more reason into Batman and Superman's story). A few of the comic's more awesome moments had to be omitted, however (such as the tussle with the future Superman, the appearance of the Bat- and Super- families, and Batman's fight with Luthor).
- Adaptational Heroism: Amanda Waller. In the comics she was sided with President Luthor's actions and politics against superheroes. In this movie she confronts and complains President Luthor's actions since the start and eventually orders his arrest for treason.
- Adapted Out: The John Stewart Green Lantern, Pete Ross, the future Superman, and the Super- and Bat-families (Superboy, Krypto, the Cir-El Supergirl, the Natasha Irons Steel, Nightwing, the Tim Drake Robin, the Cassandra Cain Batgirl, and Huntress) all appear in the comic, but not in the movie. John Stewart and Pete Ross notable because in the comic version, John was part of Luthor's Super Team and Pete was Luthor's VP. The Michael Holt Mister Terrific and the original Flash and Green Lantern were also in the comic, but their only scene was in the lead-in to Superman and Batman's confrontation with Hawkman and Captain Marvel.
- Analogy Backfire: the exchange between Captain Marvel and Superman.
: It doesn't take the wisdom of Solomon
to know that you should stay down.
Superman: Tell me something, Captain Marvel, would Solomon have gone to work for Lex Luthor?
- Anime Hair: Toyman.
- Ascended Extra: Amanda Waller didn't figure as much into the comic version of the event as she does here.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Amanda Waller
- Axe Crazy: Lex Luthor during his Villainous Breakdown.
Lex: *with a manic, ear to ear grin on his face* I CAN'T THINK OF A MORNING...WHEN I HAVEN'T WOKEN UP...WITH THE THOUGHT OF STRANGLING YOU! That sanctimonious image of yours fooled eeeeveryone—except me! Because I...KNOW...EVIL!!!
- Badass Normal: Batman, obviously. And this movie does more than a good job of showing just how badass.
- Bat Deduction: Batman deduces that Grodd is the one mind-controlling villains based on the speech pattern of one sentence said by Nightshade.
- Actually, Batman just said the speech pattern was familiar. Superman was the one who figured it out, by both knowing it had to be a telepath and hearing a gorilla's heartbeat.
- Berserk Button: Superman may be nice, but messing with his friends is a no-no.
Superman: That man was my best friend. And you just killed him, *punches Lex through the nearest wall*
- Captain Ersatz: The political comedy show at the beginning of the movie is called The Weekly Show.
- Casual Danger Dialog: Both Superman and Batman seem fond of doing this, even though at one point, Batman asks him to stop.
- Conflicting Loyalty: Power Girl, between Superman and Lex Luthor. She truly believes Lex had changed and made America (and possibly the world) a better place. And she wants Superman a part of it, because they (and she) need him. But Superman doesn't believe Lex had truly changed and knows he's planning something. Power Girl was disappointed Superman refused the offer. Later, she doesn't really believe Superman killed Metallo. Lex convinced her that people change. Yet, she admits to Superman and Batman that she was very disturbed by Lex in person, as Power Girl states he "makes [her] skin crawl", which led her to believe Superman was right about him all along.
- Continuity Nod: A number of references are made to past events from the comics.
- "That planet's been an endless source of grief for me." Though he may be obviously referring to Superman, he could also be referring to the Kryptonite cancer he suffered.
- Batman and Superman's banter before a battle references Superman: Doomsday:
Batman: Your funeral.
Superman: Already had one.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: Superman and Batman are mobbed by hordes of supervillains all looking to collect the billion dollar bounty of Superman, and each of the villains is defeated by a single punch or combo, despite many of them frequently challenging (And defeating, in some cases) these heroes single-handedly.
- Conspicuous CGI: Essentially every vehicle and especially the composite Batman/Superman rocket, which makes for some jarring animation.
- Cool Starship: Toyman's Composite Superman/Batman rocket.
- Death by Adaptation: Metallo
- Demoted to Extra: While they didn't have big roles, Starfire, Lois Lane, and Katana did speak in the comics version.
- Dressing as the Enemy: Superman and Batman infiltrate Luthor's compound dressed as Captain Marvel and Hawkman.
- Engineered Public Confession: Batman goads Major Force into admitting that he killed Metallo. This results in the rest of the team turning against Luthor and Power Girl flipping out and lethally attacking Major Force.
- Eyes Always Shut: Captain Marvel.
- Fan Disservice: Lex Luthor provides about forty tons of it. That's as many as four tens. And That's Terrible.
- Fascinating Eyebrow: Lex Luthor pulls one when Power Girl walks into his office with "something important to talk about".
- Five-Man Band: Luthor's Super Team.
- Forceful Kiss: Lex Luthor plants one of these on Amanda Waller. It's not romantic, however; it's just a further sign of how he's completely losing it.
Batman: "I'm working on something with one of my contacts."
- Lex Luthor claiming that Kryptonite radiation is affecting Supes' mind, and that the approaching meteor drove him crazy. It's actually what's happening to Luthor.
- Forgot About His Powers: Superman literally forgets that he is "faster than a speeding bullet" during his fight with Metallo.
- Frameup/Manipulative Editing: Luthor strings together out-of-context clips to make Superman appear to be acting irrationally and guilty of murdering Metallo.
- Gag Boobs: Power Girl;
Superman: Are you sure this thing can do the job?
Batman: Just input the codes!
- Harmless Freezing
- Heel-Face Turn: Amanda Waller.
- Heroic Sacrifice: When Luthor blows up the guidance system for the rocket, Batman decides to fly it into the rocket himself at the cost of his own life.
- Humongous Mecha: All through Toyman's base.
- An Ice Person - One of the villain sub-groups consists of four of these: Captain Cold, Mr Freeze, Killer Frost and Icicle.
- An Ice Suit: The ice/cold themed villains Mr. Freeze, Killer Frost, Captain Cold and Icicle.
- It's All About Me: Lex's defining character trait. His presidential campaign is noted as one big ego booster, and he would rather die and doom the entire world with him than live in a world where he wasn't the one to save it. After he fails to do so, he becomes noticeably unhinged and decides that since he couldn't stop the meteor it must be destined to come, in order to usher in a world where he is ruler and savior.
Luthor: God bless America! God bless me!
- Joker Immunity: Lampshaded.
Superman: Why is it the good villains never die?
Batman: Clark, what the hell are "good villains"?
- Just Following Orders/My Country, Right or Wrong: Captain Atom initially believes that it's his duty to carry out President Luthor's orders. He turns against Luthor after hearing Major Force admit that he (not Superman) killed Metallo.
- Large Ham: Captain Marvel to an extent, he seems to enjoy it too.
"You know, you've never been any good against magic. And magic's what I'm all about!"
- Legacy Character: The Captain Boomerang who briefly appears with the army of supervillains is Owen Mercer, the son of the original Captain Boomerang in the comics.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Half the cast of The DCU seems to make an appearance, nearly all of them going for the heroes' throats.
- Magic Skirt: Amanda Waller.
- Man of Kryptonite: Besides the obvious example of Metallo, Luthor's been injecting himself with liquid kryptonite, which is why Superman felt weak during their meeting.
- Most Common Superpower: Power Girl, natch.
- Lampshaded twice by Toyman, including an apology for an incident with his experimental x-ray goggles.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Power Girl felt guilty for nearly getting Captain Atom killed because of her anger at Major Force and Lex.
- Mythology Gag: After Batman drove the rocket in the meteor, Captain Atom shows up and sadly quips that he arrived "a little too late." This is a reference to the comic the movie is based on, where it's Captain Atom and not Batman who makes the sacrifice.
- Noodle Incident: Power Girl and Toyman's offscreen meeting.
Toyman: If you see her again, tell her I'm sorry about the X-ray goggles.
- Oh, Crap: Amanda's reaction to Luthor's kryptonite-induced insanity.
- Out-of-Character Alert: How Batman figures out that the Rogues Gallery is really under Gorilla Grodd's mind control.
- Power Fist: Hawkman whips one out and punches Superman through a mountain.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: After Solomon Grundy is freed from Grodd's mind control:
Batman: Grundy gonna feel a lot worse!
- Precision F-Strike: Luthor calls Amanda Waller a bitch just before jumping into his Powered Armor.
- President Evil: Lex Luthor, obviously.
- Psycho Party Member: Major Force turns out to be this for Captain Atom's crew.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Toyman gives a short one to Luthor when Luthor, seemignly about to kill him, calls Toyman the only other person on Earth smart enough to stop the meteor.
Toyman: The only person. You couldn't do it, remember?
- Revenge Before Reason: Lex Luthor would rather let the world die than accept help from Superman in destroying the meteor - he would rather let the world die than let anyone else save the world, but with Superman it's particularly pronounced. He spends valuable time and manpower attempting to hunt down and frame Superman instead, and when it's clear that Supes is going to save everyone where he can't he nearly dooms the world trying to stop its only hope for survival.
- Role Reprisal: Tim Daly,Kevin Conroy, Clancy Brown, CCH Pounder, and Jennifer Hale reprise their respective DCAU roles of Supermannote , Batman, Lex Luthor, Amanda Waller, and Killer Frost.
- Shout-Out: Occasional callbacks to DC continuity - such as Superman mentioning he "already had" a funeral (which technically doubles as a callback to fellow DC Universe movie Superman: Doomsday).
- Spared by the Adaptation: Captain Atom.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: It's Batman.
- Tornado Move: Superman does this to simultaneously overpower Captain Atom, Starfire, Black Lightning, Major Force and Power Girl.
- Unstoppable Rage:
- Superman does this to Luthor after Batman takes off in the rocket ship. For starters, he punches him so hard that he coughs blood. A few minutes later, Superman takes a kryptonite beam to the face while chasing Luthor and keeps flying at full speed.
Superman: That was my best friend. And you just killed him!
- Power Girl, after finding out Major Force killed Metallo on Lex's order.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Luthor, drugged-up on Venom, decides that the meteor crashing into the Earth might not be such a bad thing since it means he has a chance to start the world anew with a few carefully chosen survivors who can build a glorious new Ubermenschen society under his leadership.
- The Voiceless: Starfire and Katana.
- Villainous Breakdown: Luthor goes through one of these. From trying to stop the only human on the planet capable of destroying the meteor to donning an armored power suit to wildly rambling at the cheering crowds at the end:
Luthor: The voice of the people must be heard! I am the President! God bless America! God bless me!
- Would Hit a Girl: Batman versus Shiva. Superman versus Giganta, as well.
- Would Hurt a Child: Luthor tries to squish the Toyman, but Superman stops him.
- Your Size May Vary: Luthor's armor is huge when we first see it, towering over everyone. It suddenly shrinks down to human size again when Superman begins tearing off armor pieces.