Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Next Sunday A.D., a recession leads to Lex Luthor becoming President of the United States. Seemingly solving the financial crisis with a wave of his hand, he declares the curbing of vigilantes the main focus of his Presidency, even forming a government Super Team. Understandably, Superman is pissed.

Soon, it's discovered that a Kryptonite meteor the size of a small country is headed towards Earth and will impact in seven days. While President Luthor tries fighting it off with rockets, Batman slyly hints he's "working on something with one of his contacts". Luthor proposes to meet with Superman to discuss the threat; it turns out to be an ambush where Secret Service Agent John Corben (Metallo) lays the smackdown on the Man of Steel until Batman bails him out. In the aftermath of the ambush, however, Metallo is found murdered. Luthor frames Superman, citing mental imbalance due to the meteor, and announces a bounty on his head.

Cue an entire movie's worth of Superman, and Batman, going up against pretty much the entire DCU. Along the way they pick up a grand total of two allies: Power Girl and Japanese 13-year-old genius the Toyman. Things change quite a bit as the film progresses, however. A sub-plot deals with Luthor having a Villainous Breakdown as panic spreads, his anti-meteor tactics fail and his Presidency goes south.

A direct-to-video adaptation of the first arc of Superman/Batman, and one of DC's Bruce Timm-produced animated films. Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Clancy Brown and CCH Pounder reprise their roles from The DC Animated Universe, while Allison Mack of Smallville fame takes on Power Girl's first animated appearance.

A sequel, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, was released in 2010.

Tropes used in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies include:
  • Adaptation Distillation: The adaptation refines the storyline in many ways with increased coherency (such as giving Luthor a more plausible case in incriminating Superman and putting some more reason into Batman and Superman's story). A few of the comic's more awesome moments had to be omitted, however (such as the tussle with the future Superman, the appearance of the Bat- and Super- families, and Batman's fight with Luthor.
  • Analogy Backfire: the exchange between Captain Marvel and Superman.

Captain Marvel: It doesn't take the wisdom of Solomon to know that you should stay down.
Superman: Tell me something Captain Marvel, would Solomon have gone to work for Lex Luthor?

  • An Ice Person - One of the villain sub-groups consists of four of these: Captain Cold, Mr Freeze, Killer Frost and Icicle.
  • Axe Crazy: Lex!
  • Badass Normal: Batman obviously. And this movie does more than a good job of showing just how badass.
  • Captain Ersatz: The political comedy show at the beginning of the movie is called The Weekly Show.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Power Girl, between Superman and Lex Luthor. She truly believes Lex had changed and made America (and possibly the world) a better place. And she wants Superman a part of it, because they (and she) need him. But Superman doesn't believe Lex had truly changed and knows he's planning something. Power Girl seems disappointed in Superman's refusal. Yet, she doesn't really believe Superman killed Metallo. And she became very disturbed by Lex in person, which led her to believe Superman was right about him.
  • Continuity Nod: A number of references are made to past events from the comics.

Batman: Your funeral.
Superman: Already had one.

  • Conservation of Ninjitsu: Superman and Batman are mobbed by hordes of supervillains all looking to collect the billion dollar bounty of Superman, and each of the villains is defeated by a single punch or combo, despite many of them frequently challenging (And defeating, in some cases) these heroes single-handedly.
  • Conspicuous CGI: Essentially every vehicle and especially the composite Batman/Superman rocket, which makes for some jarring animation.
  • Cool Starship: Toyman's Composite Superman/Batman rocket.

Batman: Wow.


Batman: "I'm working on something with one of my contacts."


Superman: Are you sure this thing can do the job?
Toyman: Does Power Girl have big-
Batman: Just input the codes!


Why is it the good villains never die?

  • Large Ham: Captain Marvel arguably counts. Somewhat justified, as he's really a kid's idea of what a superhero should be like.

"You know, you've never been any good against magic. And magic's what I'm all about!"

  • Legacy Character: The Captain Boomerang who briefly appears with the army of supervillains is Owen Mercer, the son of the original Captain Boomerang in the comics.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Half the cast of The DCU seems to make an appearance, nearly all of them going for the heroes' throats.
  • Magic Skirt: Amanda Waller
  • Most Common Superpower: Power Girl is involved, so of course.
    • Lampshaded twice by Toyman, including an apology for an incident with his experimental x-ray goggles.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Power Girl felt guilty for nearly getting Captain Atom killed, because of her anger at Major Force and Lex.
  • Power Fist: Hawkman whips one out and punches Superman through a mountain.
  • Precision F-Strike: Luthor calls Amanda Waller a bitch just before jumping into his Powered Armor.
  • President Evil: Luthor is this trope.
  • Psycho Party Member: Major Force turns out to be this for Captain Atom's crew.
  • Shout-Out: Occasional callbacks to DC continuity - such as Superman mentioning he "already had" a funeral (which technically doubles as a callback to fellow DC Universe movie Superman: Doomsday).
  • Something They Would Never Say: How Batman figures out that the Rogues Gallery is really under Gorilla Grodd's mind control.
  • Stealth Hi Bye: It's Batman.
  • Stupid Evil: You just couldn't settle for being President, could you, Lex? You had to pump yourself full of kryptonite steroids and go crazy.
  • Unstoppable Rage:
    • Superman does this to Luthor after Batman takes off in the rocket ship. For starters, he punches him so hard that he coughs blood. A few minutes later, Superman takes a kryptonite beam to the face while chasing Luthor and keeps flying at full speed.

Superman: That was my best friend. And you just killed him!

    • Power Girl, after finding out Major Force killed Metallo on Lex's order.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Luthor, drugged-up on Venom, decides that the meteor crashing into the Earth might not be such a bad thing since it means he has a chance to start the world anew with a few carefully chosen survivors who can build a glorious new Ubermenschen society under his leadership.
  • The Voiceless: For those who are only familiar with the Teen Titans cartoon, Starfire (if you recognize her) is unusually quiet. She grunts maybe twice while chasing Superman. There's also Katana, but for those only familiar with her in Batman: The Brave And The Bold, that's not really unusual, even if her costume (until Season 2) isn't familiar.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Luthor goes through one of these. From trying to stop the only human on the planet capable of destroying the meteor to donning an armored power suit to wildly rambling at the cheering crowds at the end:

Luthor: The voice of the people must be heard! I am the President! God bless America! God bless me!


Luthor: You come to this planet, declare yourself the savior of mankind... well, I think it's time you died for your sins!