DC’s Battle of the Super Sons Movie Review

By Deja L. Jones

Super hero stories are fun because we love to watch larger-than-life figures doing all the daring, impossible things we wish we could. They tend to stick with us, however, because of how deeply we often relate to the themes at their core.

Last year for Superman Day, we suggested that the Big Guy in Blue still has a hold on our hearts after all these years because he’s as human as the rest of us are. DC keeps handing us evidence to support our claim, most recently in the form of the animated movie Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons. It’s a perfect combination of the over-the-top shenanigans we love and the deeply relatable story that gets us all in our feels. Even though they’re ultra-powerful Kryptonians, Superman and his son Jon Kent always display the best of humanity.

Like Father, Like Son?

“The world needs you, I get it. But he needs you too.”

The movie opens, as many Superman stories do, with the destruction of Krypton. This iteration features what just might be the most adorable version of baby Clark who has ever existed. At the same time, we also get a glimpse at the movie’s main antagonist. This family scene provides the first part of an interesting comparison — we see Jor-El in his final moments as a father, when he’s surely lamenting all the time he’ll miss in Clark’s life. When we see Clark as a father in the following scene, we find he’s a doting but surprisingly absent one.

The story focuses on his and Lois’ son, Jon, on his eleventh birthday, and it’s clear right away that they haven’t told him anything — not that Clark is Kryptonian and certainly not that he’s Superman. While it leads to Jon finding his nerdy journalist parents incredibly boring, it also means that he doesn’t have any context for why Clark leaves at the drop of a hat and is gone for long stretches of time. Instead, Jon is left thinking that Clark finds his job more important than his son. He actually says this to Clark in a fit of sadness and anger when his dad misses the baseball game that he promised he’d be home for.

Jonathan Kent, Son of Superman!

“I thought maybe it skipped a generation. Like red hair.”

Jon also doesn’t know that being the son of Superman means he’ll develop powers of his own. He’s a small kid and even though he’s on the baseball team, he doesn’t seem to be any good at it. Of course, this makes him an easy target for the school bully. So when his heat vision kicks in and he accidentally blows up a water tower, poor Jon is terrified and feels like a freak.

This prompts Clark to finally tell Jon the truth, and to say the kid is excited doesn’t quite cover it. His night gets even better when Clark takes him to see Batman, his favorite super hero, who they’re hoping might be able to tell what other abilities Jon could develop.

New Powers, Same Jon

Having a superpower still doesn’t make Jon any cooler though. He goes to school with a new pair of fake glasses on — a birthday gift from Clark who, hilariously, tells him it’s the first step on his path to becoming a super hero. Like clockwork, the school bully picks on Jon, saying his poor vision explains why he couldn’t hit the ball at yesterday’s game. When he meets Damian, Batman’s son and current Robin, the assassin-turned-Boy Wonder is dismissive. Damian clearly looks down on him. For the majority of the movie, Jon’s sincerity and enthusiasm make him an easy target for Damian’s derision.

Even at 11 years old, Jon is terribly relatable: Who hasn’t been teased for something outside of their control and felt like a freak because of it? What person hasn’t wished that someone they love would pay a little more attention, be a little more present?

Who wouldn’t be awed and slightly confused at the sight of a giant penny in the Batcave? Come on.

Jon and Damian Save the Day!

“Aliens are taking over the globe.”

Remember those over-the-top shenanigans? It is time.

The story’s main plot revolves around Jon and Damian saving the world from Starro the Conqueror, a mind-controlling, body-snatching alien starfish who travels to Earth and quickly neutralizes the Justice League. He popped up in the very first scene of the movie and hung out long enough to get tossed off of baby Clark’s escape pod. From there, he rocketed into the vastness of space, but later re-emerges as the Big Bad about a third of the way into the story.

Starro Brings in the Face-Hugging Horror

An alien starfish as a super-villain sounds silly without context, but the way this movie depicts the parasites forcibly erupting from their hosts’ mouths and plastering themselves over their faces is truly disturbing. The first time we see this happen is excellently animated, and the sequence provides little bursts of horror movie vibes every subsequent time it occurs.

With such high stakes, Jon and Damian are forced to work together to figure out how to rescue their dads (and, of course, the rest of the population). Along the way, they learn each other’s strengths as well as their own. It’s so heartwarming to see Jon’s earnestness wear away at Damian’s hard edges; it’s impossible not to think that Clark and Bruce’s friendship must have developed much the same way. By the end of the movie, the two are well on their way to establishing the iconic Super Sons bond that fans know and love them for. However, it’s watching them fight their way there — sometimes literally — that makes the movie worth it.

The movie looks incredible and sounds even better. Travis Willingham (Grog from Critical Role) is delightful as Superman. His casting is even more wholesome when you consider that not only is Superman his favorite super hero, but that his real life wife Laura Bailey (Vex from Critical Role) plays Lois Lane.

Their buddy Troy Baker (Joel from The Last of Us video game) steps back into Batman’s boots, and his former Retro Replay co-host Nolan North lends his voice to Jor-El. Darin De Paul is as perfect as Lex Luthor as he is in every other role he takes on. With an all-Starro cast like this, the leads Jack Dylan Grazer (IT and Shazam!) as Jon and Jack Griffo as Damian are obscenely well supported.

Overall, Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons is fun with plenty of heart and enough shenaniganry to keep you invested. Who’s your favorite Super Son? Share your thoughts with other DC fans at side.show/geekgroup, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!