I was a superhero loving child, who grew up watching the likes of Superman on the big screen and Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk at home on TV. One of the biggest shames about the current renaissance in live action comic book adaptations is that they’re made for teenagers and adults – and the children who I think should be the prime audience shouldn’t be watching (ahem) the best of Marvel and DC on film or TV.
I’ve written about this before. It particularly bugs me because I really want to share my love of these characters with my 4-year-old daughter.
Cartoons are a good alternative, and a recent discovery were the animated LEGO DC Superheroes movies. I must admit, I had pretty much ignored these straight-to-video releases. But I was offered the chance to check out the series of three Justice League movies, including the latest instalment LEGO DC’s Justice League: Cosmic Clash. The previous ones are Attack of the Legion of Doom, and Justice League vs Bizzaro League.
I was happily surprised by them. The quality of the animation is really good, far better than I expected from a home entertainment only release. Having recently had the misfortune to see one of the Barbie straight-to-video movies (ugh), the quality of animation – as well as everything else – is so much better.
These are light comedies, that poke a little fun at the characters (much like the LEGO Movie did). The characterisations are fun – for the most part. Superman is a naive and giddy do-gooder; Batman is constantly suspicious; Green Lantern tends to be full of himself; and Cyborg is an enthusiastic youth.
But what of the female characters? Wonder Woman is a founding member of the Justice League and features prominently in all three films. While her character in the first one has an annoying tendency to make fashionista comments, she soon becomes the strong and respected hero she deserves to be.
Wonder Woman is even worshipped as a deity at one point by an all-female civilisation. In Justice League vs. Bizarro League, her ‘bizzarro’ version (Bizzara), who is supposed to be the opposite of her, made me chuckle when she proclaimed “I’m a pretty princess!”
Another prominent hero is Supergirl, who here is actually a girl – a high school cheerleader, who frequently breaks into cheers mid-battle. This is something you’ll likely either find endearing or annoying. Another Super-family character that features is Lois Lane, poking fun at her propensity to be rescued by Superman.
Other female characters include Saturn Girl from the Legion of Superheroes, plus villains Cheetah and Giganta (who my daughter really liked).
Superhero Movies For Kids?
These fit my desire for child-friendly superhero movies perfectly. The humour and general playful tone, mixed with decent plots, worked well. My daughter liked Wonder Woman in particular – especially when she took on Giganta – but she also enjoyed seeing the Green Lanterns (Hal Jordan was her favourite incarnation). She also liked it when the JLA played hide & seek – a current favourite game of hers.
Overall, I found these cartoons fun and engaging. Though comedies, they still don’t skimp on the action. However, in a classification system (BBFC) that rates the original Star Wars trilogy as U, the PG rating seems rather harsh. IMHO these are fine for any pre-schooler.
LEGO DC’s Attack of the Legion of Doom, Justice League vs Bizzaro League and the latest release Justice League: Cosmic Clash are all available to buy now.
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