an animated turtle, pig, squirrel, and two dogs
Courtesy DC Entertainment

The biggest recent Justice League movie was Zack Snyder’s Justice League, released last year on HBO Max. It’s got a lot in common with this year’s DC League of Super-Pets. The usual cast of DC heroes shows up: Superman, Batman, Flash, Cyborg, Wonder Woman. They’re initially reluctant to work together, but eventually they learn the value of friendship and that they’re stronger together. Then they go off and fight a telekinetic hairless guinea pig.

Okay, that last bit is just in Super-Pets. And that’s much to director Jared Stern’s credit. If you’re going to tell a tale of rudimentary morality, straightforward sentiment, and gratuitous empowerment, it’s best to keep the tone light. Super-Pets does so via some expected gags (various animals keep bumping into Wonder Woman’s invisible plane), some slightly further afield (Krypto’s favorite chew toy is a Batman doll), and first-rate voice talent. Kate McKinnon as that mad scientist guinea pig is particularly unhinged, but even she is surpassed by Natasha Lyonne’s cigarette-hoarse nearsighted turtle with super-speed and Keanu Reeves’s Batman who needs a puppy. Dwayne Johnson as Krypto and Kevin Hart as Ace the Bat-Hound hold their own, and the 3D animation is sufficiently adorable—I especially liked the homicidal kitten who coughs up grenade hairballs. The smaller humans who saw the preview were delighted, and their parents didn’t seem to be suffering. If I had to choose between rewatching Zack Snyder’s four-hour Justice League mope-fest and sitting through this twice more, I’d choose the super rodent over Darkseid every time. PG, 106 min.

Wide release in theaters