I don’t know if we necessarily needed this movie, but I’m kinda glad we got it anyway!
A side franchise that tells a story from the animal perspective of the DC Universe instead of the various superheroes living in it, DC League of Super-Pets follows a group of shelter animals in their quest to rescue the captured Justice League from the clutches of the nefarious guinea pig named Lulu (Kate McKinnon), and the staple Superman villain, Lex Luthor (Marc Maron). Given superpowers after a freak accident involving orange kryptonite, invincible shelter dog, Ace (Kevin Hart), cheerful size-altering pig, PB (Vanessa Bayer), speedy turtle, Merton McSnurtle (Natasha Lyonne), paranoid electric-imbued squirrel, Chip (Diego Luna), and their self-appointed leader, Superman’s super-dog, Krypto (Dwayne Johnson), become the only hope for a super-team that rarely needs saving, with their mission turning into one that even the most powerful of heroes would have a hard time figuring out.
A film that focuses on the rarely seen family-friendly section of the DC Universe, DC League of Super-Pets is a movie that doesn’t try to do too much with a plot and hook that, in all honesty, could have easily been turned into a direct-to-streaming experience with barely any effort required. Somehow, however, this one slipped through the cracks to fall into theaters properly, and for the light piece of popcorn entertainment it turned out to be, I was all for it!
From the fun animal characters with equally as fun powers to the story angle that fits right at home on a Saturday morning cartoon to the well-handled action and comedic beats sprinkled throughout, I especially appreciated DC League of Super-Pets’ inclusion of other DC Comics characters to fill out this new pet-driven franchise, effectively surprising me in more ways than one mostly because I had expected most of this movie to suck. A film that could have been a cash grab train wreck used as a stop-gap until the DCEU figures out whatever the hell it’s doing with its movies nowadays, DC League of Super-Pets is a perfectly fine film that rarely fails in its simplicity and family fun factor, making this one stand on its own in an unexpected and welcome way that we need to see more of.
Yet still, with all the fun I admittedly did have while watching, I couldn’t shake off the idea that what I was seeing was too simple and inconsequential on a storytelling and filmmaking level to praise entirely. Sure, the added star power of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart gives a nice albeit unnecessary Hollywood sheen to an otherwise average and enjoyable film, but for a movie that felt far too safe and familiar in the grand scheme of what it could have been, this one comes off as Disney Animation or Dreamworks Animation-lite, something that isn’t a good nor a bad thing; it’s just a thing.
So while DC League of Super-Pets probably could have been released on a streaming platform instead of theaters, it was much better than I expected it to be, especially when leaning into the DC Comic properties its straightforward story is structured around. That said, there’s literally no reason why Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart needed to be in this as their wooden presence ever so slightly lessens a movie that would have been completely fine without them, making me want a sequel for sure, just one that leans on them a little less.