Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Bullet Review: Legion Of Super-Heroes

In February, the DCAU released Legion of Super-Heroes, a new movie written by Josie Campbell starring Supergirl and a handful of Legionnaires.

Supergirl and the Legion are my two favorite IP's in the DCU so this was a no brainer to buy. And sure enough, it arrived at my place within a week of release.

I watched it and loved it! Like LOVED it. It was just the sort of Supergirl I want to see, For fans of the Brainiac 5/Kara romance, it was fantastic. For Legion fans looking for deep cuts of their favorite Legionnaires, it was a smorgasbord.

I realized only last week that I had never sat down and actually reviewed it.

The movie gives us a Supergirl who feels like a stranger in a strange land on Earth. Superman sends her off to the future to train in the Legion as well as be in an environment more like the technically advanced Krypton. She takes a liking to Mon-El who doesn't hide his more fascist thoughts. She takes an instant dislike to Brainiac 5, descendent of the villain Brainiac. But over time she sees that Brainy is just as much a fish out of water as she is. Together the come together to help stop the Dark Circle (and their mysterious leader ... no spoiler alert) and save the universe. And some hugs and kisses occur.

It's really a fun ride and hopefully a sequel is in the works. 

But if you like classic Supergirl and all versions of the Legion, this movie is for you. 

On to some details.

The movie starts on Krypton.

It is clear Alura and Kara have a loving relationship. Alura is the head of the Military Guild on Argo. Kara has made the grade and has been picked to join the Military Guild as well. But then the planet goes into its death throes. 

Alura, now a scientist, has been prepping escape pods based on Jor's ideas to try and save all of Argo. But only one works. Kara is rocketed off but, as in the comics, her ship is delayed.

I don't know why we don't get Zor-El. I don't know why Kara is now Military and not one of the other guilds. But it definitely gives us a solid mother/daughter bond, one we see again at the end. I suppose by only giving us this relationship and making them so close, it makes the later scene more powerful.

On Earth, we see just how primitive Supergirl finds Earth. And when she tries to do super-heroics, her fight with Solomon Grundy, she does as much destruction as the villain does.

In a riff on the earliest Jeph Loeb issues of the Supergirl book, Batman says Kara is a threat.

You can tell how crushed Kara is. She is trying. And, of course, that is about as extreme a response as you can get from Batman. 

I do love how supportive Superman is throughout these early scenes, giving her notes telling her he believes in her and figuring out that the Legion might be the best place for her.

The Black Circle is lurking in the background and trying to get their hands on the Miracle Machine to bring order to the universe. In a way to ratchet up tension, the majority of the Legion are off on a mission and unreachable leaving only a couple of actual Legionnaires (Timber Wolf, Shadow Lass) and a bunch of applicants (Mon-El, Bouncing Boy, Dawnstar, Triplicate Girl, Arm Fall Off Boy (!!!), Mon-El, and Brainiac 5.

Kara is charmed by Mon-El, a fan of Krypton's conformity and order. She also finds the fidgety and quiet Brainiac 5 suspicious leading to a fight.

But as the show goes on, you see Brainy and Kara warming to each other. First they are competitive over their lessons. Slowly though, you begin to see how they understand each other.

When Brainiac 5 is set up to look like the villain, he is tossed in prison. 

 Kara has seen enough to know he has been set up. 

They need to defend the Miracle Machine, kept in the Legion's vault.

The two have such wonderfully fun moments like his saying how humiliated he is when she carries him in her arms.

And after being betrayed by Mon-El, the two nearly share a kiss ... until the other applicants show up to help save the day.

Honestly, if you love the Kara/Querl relationship, you must see this movie!

Finally, the Legion academy kids save the day, taking down Mon-El, the Dark Circle acolytes, and a classic Superman villain who is behind the whole Miracle Machine plot.

When interacting with the machine, and before shutting it down from re-writing the universe, Kara is visited by the spirit of Alura (I mean ... it is called the Miracle Machine). Alura says how proud she is of Kara.

With the threat over, the Legion returns ... and I mean THE LEGION. Keep your eyes open to see just about every Legionnaire you can imagine,

In a mid-credit scene, we see Kara staying in the future. But she introduces her boyfriend to Kal. But it ends on a cliffhanger, one hopefully told in a sequel.

Look, I never thought I'd see a Brainy/Kara romance in a movie This was perfect. If you like the Legion, you get a lot of them. Josie Campbell weaves a fun story here and tells it well.

The voice acting is great. Meg Donnelly is spot on as Kara, mixing in the sass, the sadness, the fierce attitude, and youthful energy. 

Add some extras on the Blu-Ray and you get a solid movie which every Supergirl fan should see.

And sorry for the late coverage!


Martin Gray said...

I’m so pleased you got to this; I think you were a little happier with it than I was, my thoughts come across as a tad grumpier. I think I was put in a bad mood by weirdly over-competitive Mom Alura at the start! There was lots to enjoy, I especially liked the big bad, and who doesn’t love a TWtL?

William Ashley Vaughan said...

I mostly enjoyed this movie. I wasn't fond of fascist Mon El. If I were writing the sequel, this Mon El would be a descendant of the original. The original would come out of the Phantom Zone after Brainy cures his lead poisoning and wouldn't be too happy with his descendant using his name, costume and reputation to carry out acts that he finds repugnant. Fortunately, the rest of the movie, especially the Kara/Brainy romance, was more than good enough to be worth watching.

Anonymous said...

Gonna hold off on the review until I see this one, not released in DVD and VOD options are a little pricey...
but I will see it never fear.


Anonymous said...

Totally agree about not being released on DVD; for me,
WB lost a customer. I wonder how many others were screwed
over by WB as well. In my count, this is the 3rd movie
they've done this to. Weird that the U.K. apparently DOES
have a DVD, but I think their format is incompatable w/the
U.S. format?

John (somewhere in England) said...

I was slightly surprised that Kara was excited about being accepted by the Military Guild, because if Krypton was, as Mon-el implies, an authoritarian society, would Kara have felt comfortable being in the military?

Usually Kara (like her cousin) escapes from Krypton in the only escape pod available. In this film, she escapes in the only escape pod that worked! So much for Kryptonian super-science! :)

I was pleased with the portrayal of Dawnstar who was instantly likeable and eager to make friends with Kara. This is a very different character from the sullen brat who appeared in the Legion comics of the 1970s.

The powers of Phantom Girl and Shadow Lass were interesting: PG could turn others into phantoms and Shadow Lass could use her shadows to muffle sound and keep secret the discussion between herself, Timber Wolf and Chemical King. If or when the Legion returns to comics, I would like to see PG and Shadow Lass keep those powers.

And it was great to see three different legionnaires assume a leadership role rather than the usual trio of Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad.

Overall, I loved the portrayal of Kara, thoroughly enjoyed the film and would be delighted with a sequel.

John (somewhere in England) said...

With regard to the comments from anonymous above, the film *is* available on DVD in the UK and I think you're right about the format - I can't play DVDs from North America (Region 1) on my DVD player.

SG Fan said...

Glad you enjoyed this one Anj!

I LOVED IT myself :) First, having Jennifer Hale one of my fav VAs as Kara's Mom was just perfect for me. It surprised me they had Kara wanting to go the military route, but I think I get what they were going for with her wanting to protect people, plus be in her Mom's footsteps. I also liked how Allura wanted to save more people, but just the technology failed.

I think Kara's characterization was spot on. Her wanting to do good, but having trouble adjusting to Earth. I really liked her and Clark's relationship as well. When Batman does his whole 'she's dangerous' thing, and Kara OF COURSE hears cause she's got super-hearing bat-dick, the scowl he gives Bruce is perfect. Then the talk he and Kara have in Smallville is well done. Normally I'm against the whole, 'just have Kara go to the future' but in this, I like how they still imply Kara and Clark will stay in contact. Even if Kara prefers living in the future with the Legion, she doesn't want to loose that relationship with her cousin.

Mon-El's turn was telegraphed a bit too easily. Like, I mean, the fascist talk is a bit of a giveaway dude. They could have maybe played up him trying to convince or charm Kara to his side, especially since if your a SG TV fan you know how Kara and Mon-El got quite close.

Brainy and Kara's developing relationship was good, and I liked how they connected via 'nobody wants us around' feelings. They made a good working pair and I enjoyed their bit of screwball romantic comedy bits.

The Legion was cool, and if the film had one downside I wish we maybe got Kara interacting with them more. Hopefully we'll see them all again, and if not that, Kara coming back in future films.

Overall I loved this and DC finally gave me a Supergirl focused animated film, plus a good one at that! Now if they'd just give Supergirl in the comics to the writer here (who also worked on New Champions of Shazam) and let her write Kara more.

Anonymous said...

Really loved Kara in this film! You just want to root for her.

Yes! I agree with SG Fan. Would like to see Josie Campbell take on Kara in comics.

I believe Campbell is also involved in the upcoming My Adventures with Superman animated series coming out later this year which I'm really hyped for.