Entertainment 'DC's League of Super-Pets' goes for dogs in more...

‘DC’s League of Super-Pets’ goes for dogs in more ways than one

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(CNN)Who is a good movie? Not “DC League of Super-Pets,” a big colorful idea that proves promising in theory — made for a two-minute trailer — but a tedious slog as a full-length animated film. Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Harts “jumanji” Reunion as central voices and an interesting opening to serve some bones in fun, but not nearly as much as it should.

Director/co-writer Jared Stern and script partner John Whittington both star The Lego MovieAnd that history shows up in a flurry of rat-a-rats that fly, some clearly designed for adults steeped in comic-book lore and others just loud, silly, and childish.
Yet after a visually impressive introduction that rewrote the 1978 “Superman” movie — in which the puppy-sized Krypto (Johnson) takes baby Kal-El aboard a ship to Earth — the film, with its clever gags, delivers few returns. More than those that fall flat.
    Poor Krypto has grown up with an enviable canine existence, enjoying regular walks (okay, shiny flights over Metropolis) with his owner and even helping him fight crime.
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    He is thus distressed and jealous when he realizes that Superman (John Krasinski) is spending more time with Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde).
      The pity party doesn’t last long, as a guinea pig who was once Lex Luthor, Lulu (Kate McKinnon, completely free), obtains orange kryptonite, giving her extraordinary powers. The program also offers less skill to her neglected shelter pets, including Ace (Hart), a dog with a “Toy Story 2”-appropriate back story; PB (Vanessa Bayer, adding the “SNL” connection), an emotionally needy pot-belly pig; a daffy squirrel named Chip (Diego Luna); And Merton (Natasha Leone), a close-looking turtle suddenly turns up on — what else? — Super speed.
      For the first time, Crypto’s more grounded pet’s-eye view of the world seems full of potential, and has a long track record of major franchises built around anthropomorphic animals. Additionally, the filmmakers frame the film with knowing context and nifty little touches, such as Keanu Reeves providing the voice of a particularly tortured Batman, who emphasizes that his only experience with pets is occupied by wild bats.
      Despite the flamboyant action sequences, the film suffers a dry stretch in the middle when many of the jokes fall flat and the climactic sequence is generally misunderstood. However, the main problem may be the way the film veers between insider-ish jokes and the most overarching dog-related gags, until you can’t help but wonder who exactly it’s for.
        Of course, the silliness has found a receptive animated home with the latest iteration “Minions” franchiseBut combining that sensibility with the DC brand — which regularly churns out more Adult-oriented animated films Directly to Blu-ray — a balance required that “League of Super-Pets” doesn’t consistently achieve.
        Then again, the main “super-pets” here were introduced in the mid-1950s, generally considered a kind of low point for this quarter of the comics industry, so expectations should probably change accordingly.
          Whatever the reason, “DC’s League of Super-Pets” super-team plays like an underachiever, if not many clamoring to ditch the director’s cut.
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          “DC League of Super-Pets” premieres in US theaters on July 29 and is rated PG. It is being released by Warner Bros., as is CNN, a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.

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