Joker, short on money for his criminal endeavors, strikes a deal with Lex Luthor to kill Superman. Batman tracks Joker to Metropolis and alerts Superman to the Joker's plan. After initial distrust of each other, the World's Finest team up to thwart the villains by night. By day, Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent clash over the attention of Lois Lane. Written by
Kestrel (Anthony Paladino)
a fun crossover, with two heroes against two villains in a battle of wits, money, and a girl
Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent are very far apart as far as alter-egos go, though of course Superman's alter-ego is the figure he sneaks into to get out of the 'right-outta-Krypton' mode and Wayne is the side of 'normalcy' for a man who every night goes out in a black outfit and cape to act as the detective to end all others. But somehow they're the two most popular superheroes (not too arguable at this point), and while they already were given crossovers in their DC comics, notably in the 80s, it wasn't until the mid 90s on the Superman animated show that the crossover officially took place.
And I was glad to finally see it- it's a breezy one hour of unpretentious comic-book entertainment, with lots of bravura moments of action (as predictable as they can become with a man like Superman, particularly when compounded by lead or, golly-gosh, given way to kryptonite), incredible humor (I fell on the floor laughing at a good deal of the Joker's gags and one liners, particularly the 'acid' joke, and just in general with the pranks pulled and the great voice work applied by Mark Hammill), and a dedication to the roots of the characters. It's also fun to see the tug-of-war given emotionally between Wayne and Kent/Superman with Lois Lane, who wants to get closer to Wayne as she's all about getting closer to those in power- as opposed to ol' 'Smallville' with the glasses (ho-ho), and how she reacts when she discovers the truth behind the bat.
Even the premise isn't half bad: the Joker asks for one billion dollars from super-billionaire Lex Luthor- who here is likely much more bad-ass and more conventionally effective as a villain, as often as he does falter like all villains, than his cinematic counterparts- to kill Superman. His plan is a smart one, though mostly with many tricks that the Joker has to keep on using, usually against Luthor himself, culminating in the climactic third part where the Joker takes the huge ship across the city to destroy all that Luthor has put money into! It's up to the caped crusader and the faster-than-speeding-bullet man to get the job done, if they can put their heads together and let egos get by.
For die-hard fans who've yet to see it, rush as fast as possible to a nearest video store- and then, if likely not available, then Netflix or elsewhere online- as it's the top of the cartoon-movie pops in terms of meeting expectations. It's not particularly nuanced, and far too short for more depth than is allowed from about four or five comic books attached together at random. But as someone who watched the 90s Batman fairly regularly, it's a real treat to look back at this again.
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