Before Warner Bros. decided to show you how Batman began, it almost greenlit "Batman vs. Superman" for the big screen. Unless that ever comes to pass, "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" is as close as you're going to get to having these two together in a feature-length film. And it'll do.
Based on DC Comics' popular "Superman/Batman" title, the direct-to-DVD animated film unites the world's finest heroes against Lex Luthor, who's managed to weasel his way from Wall Street to the White House. One of his acts as presidents is to have all superheroes work for the good of the government, but Superman refuses.
Luthor responds by calling for his head, to the tune of a billion bucks. Naturally, that brings out a slew of villains "? and I do mean a slew; you might get a "Super Friends" vibe at the sheer lineup. Luckily, the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader don't go it alone; they also have Captain Marvel, Hawkman and Power Girl at their side.
The animation is fluid, and the action satisfying, as they are in all entries of this DC Universe line of PG-13 features. That means the movies aren't necessarily made for kids, although they'll certainly enjoy them, gritty or not. "Public Enemies"' big draw is the return of fan favorites Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly to the roles they voiced in "Batman: The Animated Series" and "Superman: The Animated Series," respectively. (Two episodes of the Supes show are included in the package for good measure.)
All in all, the movie is more "eh" than "wow." I'd place it somewhere in the middle, well above this year's "Wonder Woman," but definitely below last year's "Batman: Gotham Knight" or "Justice League: The New Frontier." Speaking of, the double-disc set includes a sneak peek at the next DCU movie, "Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths," slated for 2010.