Not sure if "sequel" is the correct term, but 'Superman/Batman: Apocalypse' is the next installment in the DC Universe's adaptation of the "Superman/Batman" comic book line following the animated original movie 'Superman/Batman: Public Enemies'. Skipping the single-issue story of issue #7, 'S/B: Apocalypse' uses the story arc known as "The Supergirl From Krypton." Written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by the late Michael Turner, it appeared in issues #8-13 and is collected as a trade paperback.
One evening, a meteor lands in Gotham Bay. Batman (Kevin Conroy) investigates and find that it appears to be Krypton-related from the glowing green stones and the unknown markings. A blonde, super strong woman is discovered inside who turns out to be Superman's cousin, Kara Zor-El (Summer Glau). Her father had the same idea as his did and shipped her off in a rocket before Krypton exploded. However, there's no explanation as to why they traveled at different speeds to Earth nor how to account for the gap in their ages which has to be at least ten years.
Batman is distrustful, but Superman (Tim Daly) is so glad to finally have a blood relative he accepts her completely. He wants Kara to become a normal Earth girl, which is easier than you would think since she is able to learn English in a week. They go shopping and some of the sexy outfits she is adorned in are so over the top the creative team really should be embarrassed for including them.
The villain Darkseid (Andre Braugher) learns of Kara and wants her brought to his world of Apokolips to lead his Female Furies. This leads to constant battles throughout the rest of the movie, turning 'S/B: Apocalypse' into a series of fights and offering little story. This type of movie certainly can be enjoyable, but that's basically what 'S/B: Public Enemies' was, so it would have been nice for something different here with the characters put to good use as opposed to more of the same.
The movie's biggest flaw is the treatment and depiction of women. Other than a pathetic appeal to immature comic guys who the producers must assume are the movie's biggest demo, there's no reason for the preponderance of big boobs and skimpy outfits, and I write that as someone who enjoys big boobs and skimpy outfits. Ask anyone who knows me. But there's a time and place for everything, and those things don't belong here in a PG-13 cartoon about superheroes. Wonder Woman's chest is drawn oddly. Big Barda also has a huge rack, and during one fight, her clothing comes off. Supergirl's outfit resembles a slutty Halloween costume that looks like the belly-shirt top is painted on.
Is it really too much to ask for a woman other than Granny Goodness (Ed Asner) to appear as something other than a sex object? I don't get the message the producers are sending here. Why not create content that appeals to females, like their mothers, wives, and daughters, as well as men, and maximize their audience? Superheroes can be role models, and in a medium that offers so little for women in that area, why are the producers not offering something women can look up to rather than creating something guys look at (possibly with their pants down)? There's not much more work required of a writer to create strong, intelligent women as opposed to sexy bimbos. A character like that is interesting to me no matter their gender. What makes all this even more distressing is 'S/B: Apocalypse' was directed by a woman, Lauren Montgomery, who either didn't care or got paid enough not to.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Warner Brothers brings 'Superman/Batman: Apocalypse' to high-definition on a BD-50 Blu-ray disc and pairs it with a DVD that contains the digital copy. They are housed inside a standard blue keepcase. It is reported be Region Free. The Blu-ray opens with trailer for 'Batman: Under the Red Hood' and 'Lost Boys: The Thirst.'
Like previous entries in the DCU line, the video has been given a 1080p/VC-1 (1.78:1 aspect ratio) encode. The color palette is wide-ranging, exhibiting very bright colors that pop and also intentionally dull, murky ones. A very good example of this contrast is the sequence with Batman's underwater investigation. The greens of the Kryptonite shine bright in the waters of Gotham Bay, which are darkened by night and all the silt and possible pollution.
Blacks on the other hand are inconsistent, alternating between inky in some shots and muted in others. The line drawings are sharp and fine, though there are occasions of the lines stair-stepping, such as the outline of Batman as he talks to Superman in the Fortress of Solitude.
Banding is a serious problem throughout the entire movie. It's on display in the opening shots of the Gotham sky, it appears in the credits, and can even be seen popping up on walls, such as the scene where Kara is being chased at the Fortress.
Not an artifact, but since I am listing complaints, I really hate when artificial lens flare is added as they do here. When it happens naturally, it ruins the moment and reminds a viewer he's watching something. Animators must think it creates some realism but they are wrong. It augments the artifice.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is a more pleasing experience. The dialogue coming out of the front center channel is solid and doesn't get lost when the action intensifies. The dynamic range delivers well on the quiet, softer end. Effects like a pigeon flying away, a sword slicing through the air, and a cape flapping in the breeze can be clearly heard.
While there needed to be more oomph from the louder end of the spectrum when it comes to the underwhelming explosions that take place, fight scenes deliver a fitting amount of bass crunch. Surrounds offered decent ambiance but could have been boosted.
Disappointed by the story, the inconsistent video and the DC Showcase, I don't see how anyone but completist DC Comics fans can find something worthwhile here beyond the extras, which help bump up the score. Too bad they aren't available separately to view. I would suggest fans only rent 'Superman/Batman: Apocalypse', but I understand what it's like for a collector wanting to complete a set, so that suggestion seems moot. Though I hope you consider it.