In an age where Marvel Studios is ruling the world of comic-book entertainment and proves the success of inner-connectivity of its universe at every turn, DC League of Super-Pets makes a solid argument for the importance of else-world, stand-alone stories and proves that DC has a huge stake in the game of animated entertainment. The film follows Krypto the Super Dog (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) who is perfectly content with his life with Superman (John Krasinski) – but after Superman and the rest of the Justice League are kidnapped, Krypto has to assemble a team of newly-powered shelter pets to work with him and save the Justice League.
If there’s anything that DC knows how to do, it’s make fun of itself – much to the success of Teen Titans Go to the Movies or even why the Harley Quinn show on HBO Max is as successful as it is is due to the meta, funny jokes at their core that shows a sense of self-awareness while not completely tarnishing it’s own brand. Super Pets follows in a similar fashion where it tells a genuinely sincere and sweet story about shelter pets coming together and gaining super powers, but the humor is the core of why it works and has so much charm in the first place.
Dwayne Johnson is predictably great as Krypto, bringing a sincerity and energy to both the character and film as a whole. But it’s really his dynamic with Ace (Kevin Hart) and the rest of the shelter pets that help this feel like a unique and genuinely funny adventure. One of the stand-outs among the cast being Merton (a turtle voice by Natasha Lyonne) who had the whole theater laughing with nearly everything she said.
Is the film as good as Pixar on their best day? Not necessarily. It’s a bit overlong towards the end and the plot doesn’t exactly do anything terribly inventive in terms of story and character work, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value in it. At its core, there’s a great adopt don’t shop message and a really warm heart at its core. It also coasts on being genuinely funny and colorful, which serves as a nice antithesis to the brooding nature of the live-action DC films. It’s not necessarily perfect, but it works great for kids and adults alike, and I found myself entertained and laughing for a majority of the running time.