Listed as part of the Tomorrowverse line of animated DC movies, Legion of Super-Heroes has the feel of a pilot for a TV series as it tells the origin story of 21st Century Supergirl’s first teaming with the Legion of Super-Heroes, a futuristic team of young heroes from the 31st Century. While it covers familiar comic book story plot points, it is a fun superhero adventure geared towards a younger audience, although the message is universal.
The story opens with Kara (Meg Donnelly) being sent away from Krypton in a rocketship at the time of the planet’s destruction, like her cousin Kal-El. Unfortunately, her ship went off course and didn’t get to Earth until several years later. After a couple of months trying to fit in as a superhero, the lack of control over her powers and the resulting unintended consequences lead Batman to find her a liability. In response, Superman takes her to the 31st Century where she can train at the Legion Academy alongside other young heroes. Kara takes a bit to fit in, and she is distrustful of Brainiac 5 due to run-ins with the original Brainiac. But then, Kara notices Brainiac 5 treated like an outsider, like she was. This not only softens her stance towards him, but feeling form between the two.
In both the 21st and 31st Century, the Dark Circle, a nefarious terrorist group that’s been around for thousands of years and gone by many names, strikes. When it’s discovered the group has infiltrated the Legion, Brainiac 5 is presumed to be the mole. Kara works with him and some members of a divided Legion to clear his name and take on the terrorists.
Josie Campbell’s script has a young adult feel and contains plot twists that aren’t very surprising unless the genre is new to the viewer. Kara is strong-willed albeit misguided at times. Brainiac 5 is constantly misunderstood because of people’s preconceptions of him and foisting upon him the sins of his family. It makes sense that the two characters would form a bond, although it gets deep rather quickly, which makes sense for young people and the limitations of the movie’s runtime.
The video has been given a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer displayed at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. As is usual for these DC DTV animated films, the colors across the spectrum, whether bright or dull hues, are an important visual element done right. Blacks are inky and whites are accurate, contributing to a pleasing contrast. The characters are outlined in well defined black lines.
The audio is available in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Dialogue is clear in the front center channel. The sound effects augment the scenes, although when the Legion security system is overwhelmed, the volume is too loud and causes the speaker to distort and rattle. Otherwise, the action is supported well by the woofer.
The HD Special Features are:
- The Legion Behind The Legion (5 min) – Screenwriter Josie Campbell, producer Jim Krieg, and cast members Meg Donnelly and Yuri Lowenthal (who plays Mon-El) talk about the movie.
- Down to Earth: The Story of Supergirl (8 min) – As the title suggests, this featurette looks at the story’s main character.
- Meet the Legionnaires (9 min) – An overview of Supergirl’s Legion Academy teammates.
- Brainiac Attack: The Intellect Behind the Super-Villain (8 min) – This featurette focuses on Brainiac 5 and the members of his family. There are spoilers so don’t watch before the movie.
- From the DC Vault: Superman: The Animated Series – “Little Girl Lost, Part 1 and 2” – Season Two of the series concluded with Kara’s introduction to the TAS
- Previews of Justice League vs. the Fatal Five and Superman: Man of Tomorrow
Legion of Super-Heroes serves as a good entry point into the DC Comics universe since flawed heroes are easier for viewers to identify with. The movie made me want to see more of this iteration of characters. The high-definition presentation is pleasing and is what past viewers of DC animated movies have come to expect.