DC League of Super-Pets is a 2022 American 3D computer-animated superhero comedy film based on the DC Comics superhero team Legion of Super-Pets. It is directed by Jared Stern, who co-wrote the script with John Whittington, and starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Kate McKinnon, John Krasinski, Vanessa Bayer, Natasha Lyonne, Diego Luna, Thomas Middleditch, Ben Schwartz, and Keanu Reeves. It was CGI-animated by Animal Logic. It tells the story of Superman's pet dog Krypto and shelter dog Ace who work with other animals to save the captured superheroes from Lex Luthor and Lulu.
|DC League of Super-Pets|
|Directed by||Jared Stern|
|Music by||Steve Jablonsky|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$178.7 million|
DC League of Super-Pets premiered in Los Angeles on July 27, 2022, and was theatrically released in the United States on July 29, 2022, by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and has grossed over $178 million worldwide on a $90 million budget.
During the destruction of the planet Krypton, a Kryptonian Labrador Retriever comforts fellow infant survivor Kal-El as they head in an escape pod toward Earth. Years later, now known as the famous superheroes Krypto and Superman, they live in the city of Metropolis under their dual identities Bark and Clark Kent. Clark is a reporter and journalist at the Daily Planet, a newspaper company, and dating Lois Lane, a fellow journalist whom Krypto is jealous of. Thinking that Krypto needs a friend to distract him, Clark heads to an animal shelter to find one for him. A Boxer named Ace is trying to escape the shelter, when Krypto stops him. Later, Superman and Krypto spot their archenemy, LexCorp CEO Lex Luthor, reeling in a meteor strapped with orange kryptonite with a tractor beam, intending to gain superpowers. He is easily defeated as the two are aided by the Justice League.
Meanwhile, Lulu, a guinea pig test subject from LexCorp sent to the shelter, manages to reel in a piece of orange kryptonite with her own tractor beam, which gives her flight and telekinesis. Unbeknownst to her, everyone else in the shelter also gains superpowers. Ace is now super-strong and indestructible; PB, a potbellied pig, can change size; Merton, a nearsighted turtle, becomes super fast; and Chip, a squirrel, gains electrokinesis. While at home, Superman and Krypto have an argument when the former plans to propose marriage to Lois. However, Clark is captured by Lulu. Krypto tries to save him, but due to a piece of Jarlsberg cheese inside a Batman toy he ate laced with green kryptonite, he loses his powers. Later, Krypto comes across the shelter pets who agree to help him, with Ace only agreeing after Krypto blackmails him.
Meanwhile, Lulu recruits a group of guinea pigs, captures the Justice League, and heads to Stryker's Island to free Luthor. The shelter pets try to stop her, but fail miserably. They regroup in the Hall of Justice where Ace tells a distraught Krypto he used to be the puppy of a family with a toddler. One day, the toddler nearly fell down the stairs when Ace bit her arm and pulled her to safety. Upon seeing the bite-marks, the parents assumed Ace attacked her and sent him to the shelter. However, Ace stands by his actions and ideals. Encouraged, Krypto leads the pets to LexCorp. While there, a kitten cat named Whiskers, whose power allows her to create weapons and explosives at will, tries to stop them. The pack works together and defeat her before heading to Stryker's Island to try and stop Lulu. Once there, the shelter pets confront Lulu, but put themselves in prison cells when she threatens to harm Krypto. Lulu frees Luthor, who betrays her and locks her in his cell. She breaks out easily and decides to destroy the Justice League and Luthor herself.
The kryptonite finally passes through Krypto's system, restoring his powers. Fearing for their safety, he asks his friends to stay out of harm's way and heads to LexCorp. He defeats the guinea pigs while Lulu captures Luthor and launches a rocket from the building. This forces Krypto to choose between the Justice League or Lois, who is in a nearby helicopter. He decides to save Lois while his friends help the League. Enraged, Lulu puts the orange kryptonite in her brain, becoming a giant monster. The Justice League and the pets team up to stop her. Realizing she has become too powerful, Krypto decides to use the "Solar Paw Punch", a move that can defeat any supervillain but will likely kill the user. The attack removes the kryptonite from Lulu's brain and traps her in a hot dog stand. Krypto accepts his fate, but Ace uses his invulnerability to save him.
In the aftermath, Krypto allows Clark to marry Lois, and the shelter pets, minus Lulu (who is kept by Luthor's assistant Mercy Graves), get adopted by the rest of the Justice League. Sometime later, the pets have formed their own superhero team called the "League of Super-Pets". In a post-credit scene, Krypto and Superman encounter Black Adam and his dog Anubis, and Krypto tricks them into flying to Pluto.
- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as:
- Krypto / Superdog / Bark Kent, a Kryptonian Labrador Retriever and Superman's dog.
- Anubis, Black Adam's pet Basenji who hates when people refer to his owner as anything but an anti-hero.
- Teth-Adam / Black Adam, an anti-hero that appears in the post-ending credits to promote the upcoming movie of the same name.
- Kevin Hart as Ace / Bat-Hound, a Boxer with super strength and invulnerability ever since coming in contact with Orange Kryptonite. He later becomes Batman's dog.
- Kate McKinnon as Lulu, an evil hairless guinea pig and the film's main antagonist who gains flight and telekinesis through Orange Kryptonite. She later becomes Mercy Graves' pet.
- John Krasinski as Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman, a superhero from Krypton who protects Metropolis and Krypto's owner.
- Vanessa Bayer as PB, a potbellied pig who can change size in scale ever since coming in contact with Orange Kryptonite and admires Wonder Woman, whose pet she becomes later.
- Natasha Lyonne as Merton McSnurtle / Terrific Whatzit, a Red-eared slider with poor eyesight and super speed ever since coming in contact with Orange Kryptonite. She later becomes Flash's pet.
- Diego Luna as Chip, a paranoid red squirrel with electrokinesis ever since coming in contact with Orange Kryptonite. He later becomes the Green Lantern (Jessica Cruz)'s pet.
- Thomas Middleditch as Keith, a white guinea pig who was recruited by Lulu who was empowered by Orange Kryptonite where he possesses cryokinesis (later aquakinesis). He later becomes Aquaman's pet and joins the team.
- Ben Schwartz as Mark, a brown guinea pig who also was recruited by Lulu who was empowered by Orange Kryptonite where he possesses pyrokinesis. He later becomes Cyborg's pet and joins the team.
- Keanu Reeves as Bruce Wayne / Batman, a vigilante superhero who protects Gotham City. He later becomes Ace's owner.
- Marc Maron as Lex Luthor, the CEO of LexCorp and Superman's arch-nemesis.
- Olivia Wilde as Lois Lane, a reporter of the Daily Planet and Clark's girlfriend.
- Jameela Jamil as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman, an Amazon princess and superheroine from Themyscira. She later becomes PB's owner.
- Jemaine Clement as Arthur Curry / Aquaman, an Atlantean demigod, superhero, and the king of Atlantis. He later becomes Keith's owner.
- John Early as Barry Allen / The Flash, a police forensic scientist who protects Central City with his immense superhuman speed abilities. He later becomes Merton's owner.
- Daveed Diggs as Victor Stone / Cyborg, a former football player who gained cybernetics after an accident. He later becomes Mark's owner.
- Dascha Polanco as Jessica Cruz / Green Lantern, a superheroine and member of the Green Lantern Corps. She later becomes Chip's owner.
- Keith David as Dog-El, Krypto's father.
- Sam J. Levine as:
- Maya Erskine as Mercy Graves, Lex Luthor's henchwoman and bodyguard. She later becomes Lulu's owner.
- Yvette Nicole Brown as Patty, the owner of an animal shelter.
- Alfred Molina as Jor-El, Superman's biological father.
- Lena Headey as Lara, Superman's biological mother.
- Busy Philipps as Foofy Dog
- Dan Fogler as:
- Carl, Patty's assistant who constantly tries to hit on her.
- Winona Bradshaw as Whiskers, a kitten with explosive abilities who tries to stops the Super-Pets from reaching Lulu as a thank you for rescuing her. She later appears in one of the post-credit scenes where Lex Luthor is still trapped in the cage following the film's events.
- David Pressman as a corgi waiting outside the shelter with Krypto.
- Munya Chawawa portrays the corgi in the UK version.
- Jared Stern as:
- Bathtub Guy
- JLA Hotline
- Michelle Morgan as Mech Suit
- Amanda Ames as Guinea-Pigasus
- Gavin McCrillis as Black Kitten
In July 2018, Jared Stern was hired to write and direct an animated film about DC's Legion of Super-Pets. In January 2019, it was announced that Sam Levine would serve as co-director with Stern, and that Patricia Hicks had signed on as producer. The film was pitched by Stern in 2012, during the early days of the Warner Animation Group.
In May 2021, it was announced that Dwayne Johnson would star as the voice of Krypto the Superdog. In addition to starring in the film, he, alongside Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, and Stern would be joining Hicks as producers; while John Requa, Glenn Ficarra, and Nicholas Stoller were set to executive produce.
In June 2021, additional cast members were announced, with Kevin Hart starring as the voice of Ace the Bat-Hound in the film. Additionally, Kate McKinnon, John Krasinski, Vanessa Bayer, Natasha Lyonne, Diego Luna, and Keanu Reeves were cast in undisclosed roles. The following week, Jameela Jamil joined the film. By September 2021, Marc Maron had joined the cast as the voice of Lex Luthor. By November of the same year, additional roles were revealed to be: Chip, Green Lantern's squirrel (Luna); Merton, The Flash's turtle (Lyonne); PB, Wonder Woman's pig (Bayer), Superman (Krasinski) and newer additions, Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz. In March 2022, Reeves was revealed to be voicing Batman. The following month, it was revealed that Dascha Polanco would be voicing Jessica Cruz / Green Lantern. Three weeks before the film's release, the remainder of the cast for the Justice League and Lois Lane were announced in July 2022 through posters.
Stern developed a pitch for the film after working in an animal shelter, where he noticed how older animals were less likely to be adopted and wondered "what if those pets got superpowers?". Stern was originally unsure what DC characters he was allowed to incorporate in the film, througth he added Luthor after the character was suggested by DC. This led to the concept of the villain, Lulu, being a guinea pig, as Stern felt "guinea pigs are someone who would have a chip on their shoulder" due to them being used as test subjects, and Lulu being Lex's test subject served as a parallel with Krypto and Superman's relationship.
According to Stern, DC executives suggested adding satirical jokes regarding their properties, which Stern felt allowed the film to make fun of the characters while portraying them respectfully. Stern said the humor regarding DC characters was meant to be rooted in the film's focus on pets, such as portraying Superman as a dog owner or Batman as "a guy who really could use a pet". Early drafts for the movie had Ace in a more prominent role, but his role was changed to co-lead once the filmmakers concluded the focus for the film should be on Krypto's relationship with Superman.
The animation was provided by Animal Logic in Sydney and Vancouver, which also provided animation for the Warner Animation Group's The Lego Movie series. Approximately 70 animators worked on the film. Animators worked on the film for 2 years, as well as an extra 3–4 months after the film's release date was delayed by a year.
The film's art style was inspired by Art Deco architecture and illustrator J.C. Leyendecker. Stern wanted the characters and environments to have both visible brushstrokes and "chunky heroic shapes". Character designers Mayumi Nose and Matt Williamês drew inspiration from the Superfriends animated series and Superman comics from the Silver Age of Comic Books for the designs of the characters, while still having a comedic edge to them.
The film's original score was composed by Steve Jablonsky. The film's score album was released on July 29, 2022, by WaterTower Music. The Taylor Swift songs "Message in a Bottle" and, a re-recording of the song "Bad Blood", "Bad Blood (Taylor's Version)", are also featured in the film.
On May 24, 2022, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Comics announced the release of merchandise inspired by the film in collaboration with Fisher-Price. The products include apparel, pet accessories, toys, collectibles, costumes, and furniture. McDonald's also announced that their Happy Meals will have toys based on the film.
In January 2019, the film was scheduled to be released on May 21, 2021. The release date was later pushed back to May 20, 2022, in favour of The Matrix Resurrections, another WB film starring Reeves. It was then pushed back to July 29, 2022 (taking the release of Black Adam, which also stars Johnson), among other films from Warner Bros. getting pushed due to production delays. The film's premiere was held on July 27. It is eligible to become available on HBO Max and/or premium video on demand on September 26, 2022 under a plan announced by WarnerMedia in 2021, though subsequent announcements by new parent company Warner Bros. Discovery suggest that streaming timing will be considered on a "case-by-case" basis going forward; it eventually became available on digital on August 23, 2022, and will be available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD beginning on October 4, 2022, along with the official announcement that the movie will be available on HBO Max on September 26, 2022.
As of September 23, 2022[update], DC League of Super-Pets has grossed $88.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $90.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $178.7 million.
In the United States and Canada, DC League of Super-Pets was released alongside Vengeance, and was projected to gross $25–30 million from 4,315 theaters on its opening weekend. The film made $9.3 million on its first day, including $2.2 million from Thursday previews. It went on to debut to $23 million, topping the box office, though coming in at the low-end of expectations. The film made $11.2 million in its sophomore weekend, finishing second behind newcomer Bullet Train. In its third weekend it made $7.1 million, staying in second place.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 73% of 138 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.3/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Although it never quite soars, DC League of Super-Pets is a more than satisfactory diversion for families in search of four-legged fun." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 56 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Nell Minow writing for RogerEbert.com praised the "lively" voice talent, and called the script "smart, exciting, and very funny". Reviewer Dwight Brown wrote, "It doesn't break the mold. However, it is sly, wicked and so much fun. Kids will laugh at the antics. Adults will chuckle when they hear the puns, jokes, catty remarks and doggy banter." Peter Travers of ABC News wrote that while the movie "is not a revolution in animation. It gets the fun done for family audiences." Clarisse Loughrey of The Independent criticized its "limited imagination", adding: "The film is desperately craving an angle—one that certainly can’t be fulfilled by the fact all the pet ownership jokes have already been used up by the Secret Life of Pets series."
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