DC Super Hero Girls: Legends of Atlantis
DC Super Hero Girls: Legends of Atlantis, the newest original animated movie, is terrific, inspiring adventure for kids of all ages! (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me a free review copy.)
It begins with a charming prologue where a young Wonder Woman, before she’s left Themyscira, is playing on the beach with her kanga Jumpa. (The pet is kind of like a super-intelligent horse, with obvious personality, but shaped like a kangaroo. Oddly, the hero refers to herself as “Princess Wonder Woman”.)
She’s attacked by a young Mera (riding a seahorse named Storm, nice cameo) and her sister Siren.
Siren has obtained the Book of Legends, a magical volume that she’s going to use to take over Atlantis to give them a home. Mera (Erica Lindbeck) asks all the right questions — why can’t we just ask them to take us in? — but believes Siren (also Erica Lindbeck) despite her obvious selfishness and hunger for power. Between Wonder Woman’s young warrior skills and a set of accidents, the sisters are stopped.
Cut to present day. In Commissioner Gordon’s class, Hawkgirl (Nika Futterman) has found the Book of Legends. (She contributes archaeological knowledge more than flight powers in this story, a pleasant change.) Wonder Woman (Grey Griffin) freaks out. The girls work together to lock it up, combining Batgirl’s (Mae Whitman) science, Bumblebee’s (Teala Dunn) tech, and Raven (new character!)’s magic. Supergirl (Anais Fairweather) works with them as both tester and welding torch.
Raven (Tara Strong) is concerned about her powers and so wants to be left alone, but Harley Quinn (also Tara Strong) keeps trying to be her friend. I would never have thought to put those two together, but they work surprisingly well. Unfortunately, a glitch causes two girls to have their powers swapped, as a side plot showing them learning what each other can do. (If you want to see which ones, it’s in the trailer.) It’s a very nice touch that they keep their friendship and help each other after the transformation, instead of a more cliched approach of them being jealous or depressed that they can’t do what they used to.
When the book is recaptured by Siren, a team works together to stop her, adding Katana (Stephanie Sheh), Frost (Danica McKallar), Flash (Josh Keaton), and Beast Boy (Greg Cipes) to the group for this water-bound adventure. They end up in Atlantis, helping Aquaman (Max Mittelman) regain his throne. Meanwhile, Starfire (Hynden Walch) is making friends with Raven, echoing the Titans team.
There’s a lot going on in this hour and fifteen minutes, which keeps things interesting and viewers involved. The humor is welcome, making these movies more fun than the usual DC animated films. The pets are cool and the friendship welcoming.
There are a ton of characters in this movie, which is a great use of the DC universe, and it’s wonderful to see them all working together. Lots of them get their own focus moments, pleasing fans of particular characters. Writer Shea Fontana really knows the group and how to tell stories with them that balance adventure, fun, and positive messages.
The big battle, involving a city flooding, is especially timely, and it’s nice to see attention being paid to rescuing people as well as fighting fish monsters. I found myself wondering why Mera and Siren were wandering the sea alone; there is a reference to their father being imprisoned, but no mention of their mother or where she was. Such is sadly typical of superhero fiction and animated movies, though.
Also on this disc (as the only extra) is the 45-minute “Super Hero High” special that aired in 2016. It’s about Supergirl’s first day at the school, after she’s been on earth only a month. The message, to “believe in your super self”, is a tad obvious at times, but it’s fun seeing more with this team.