REVIEW: Legion of Super-Heroes
Long live the Legion!
Since early in their existence, I have been a diehard fan of the Legion of Super-Heroes, so I am immediately drawn to anything featuring them. The current Warner Animation release, Legion of Super-Heroes, certainly makes me smile—that is, when I’m not grimacing.
The film picks up on the current animated continuity so we have a Supergirl (Meg Donnelly), relatively new to Earth. She’s a headstrong teen still coming into her powers, and for some reason, Superman (Darren Criss), who already had the benefit of Pa Kent’s tutelage, can’t manage her. When Batman (Jansen Ackles) points out she’s a threat in her current condition, the Man of Steel decides she needs more help than he can give.
Using a time sphere, he brings her to the 31st Century, where she is immediately accepted into the Legion Academy. Then, in both time periods, a threat from the mysterious Circle presents a clear and present danger.
While in the future, Supergirl befriends a few Legionnaires, and we see some scant effort at training any of the rookies. The actual members—Timber Wolf (Robbie Daymond), Shadow Lass (Victoria Grace), and Dawnstar (Cynthia Hamidi)—seem more worried that the rest of the team is in the distant reaches of the universe and can’t be reached.
At first, it seems that Supergirl is drawn to the flirty Mon-El (Yuri Lowenthal), but then as she bickers and works alongside Brainiac 5 (Harry Shum Jr.), she recognizes a connection. Meantime, Brainy, despite being a 12th-level intellect, is either an ass or an idiot for most of the story, oftentimes both. What she sees in him is elusive.
There are several unsatisfactory reveals in this story from screenwriter Josie Campbell, including the Circle’s leader and a traitor within the Legion. Neither work.
And while it was nice seeing so many of the team in brief glimpses, it just wasn’t enough, nor did it make any sense which members were suddenly designated trainees versus full members. The shape-shifting Proty was fun but little used.
It was fun if you’re a Legion fan, but its storytelling weaknesses drag down a promising story. The tag with its cliffhanger was certainly unnecessary.
The animation style is clean but overly simplified so Superman looks cartoony compared with Batman or the Legionnaires. The best part was Supergirl’s hair and facial expressions.
The film, out now in all the usual formats, looks particularly nice in 4K, with a sharp 2160p transfer that captures the colors nicely. The accompanying Blu-ray looks equally sharp. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is perfectly fine, a solid match.
There are an assortment of extras here, including the Digital HD code. As for features, there’s The Legion Behind the Legion (4:40) with producer James Krieg, Campbell, Donnelly, and Lowenthal; Down to Earth: The Story of Supergirl (8:21); Meet the Legionnaires (9:24), sort of hosted by the not funny Krieg; and Brainiac Attack: The Intellect Behind the Super-Villain (8:14).
On disc only, there are also From the DC Vault – Superman: The Animated Series episodes “Little Girl Lost, Part 1” (21:17) and “Little Girl Lost, Part 2” (21:29).