Batman Superman Movie: World's Finest

Tagged: Film

Animated made-for-tv film (1997; vt Batman/Superman Adventures: World's Finest). Warner Brothers Animation for Warner Brothers Television. Produced by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini and Bruce W Timm. Directed by Toshihiko Masuda. Written by Burnett, Dini, Stan Berkowitz, Rich Fogel and Steve Gerber. Cast includes Clancy Brown, Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Dana Delany, Lisa Edelstein, Mark Hamill and Arleen Sorkin. 64 minutes. Colour.

The Joker (Hamill) and his girlfriend Dr Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn (Sorkin) travel to Metropolis with an offer to kill Superman (Daly) for Lex Luthor (Brown) for one million dollars. Since the Joker has armed himself with a large kryptonite meteorite, his offer is credible and Luthor accepts. Batman (Conroy) follows the murderous pair to Metropolis from Gotham City. His alter-ego Bruce Wayne, then unaware of Luthor's his criminal activities is working with Luthor's manufacturing corporation to produce Robots for which Wayne has idealistic plans while Luthor wants to sell them to the US military, leading to disagreement. Superman's discovery of Batman's presence in "his" City leads to a confrontation: Batman holds off Superman with a sliver of kryptonite and warns him that the Joker is in town with a large quantity. Superman uses his x-ray vision to discover Batman's secret Identity; Batman returns the favour by planting a tracking device on Superman and following him to his apartment. The Joker nearly succeeds in slaying Superman in a kryptonite-trap; he is saved by Batman, and the two team up to thwart the Joker and Harley.

The Joker has a falling-out with Luthor; Bruce Wayne and Lois Lane (Delany) develop a romantic relationship. The Joker uses one of the Wayne/Luthor robots in an effort to kill Batman, who flees to the printing press room of The Daily Planet newspaper. His mask, and cape are caught in the press machinery, revealing his identity to Lois; Superman arrives and destroys the robot. The Joker and Harley again quarrel with Luthor and his henchwoman Mercy Graves (Edelstein); Harley and Mercy have a brief semi-comical fight. Finally, the Joker and Harley turn against Luthor and steal a huge flying-wing aircraft from him, intending to bomb Metropolis. Mercy is tied to the outside of the plane, but the heroes arrive and free her just before takeoff. Superman flies Batman up to the aircraft, where the Joker has Luthor hostage, and battle ensues. Finally the plane catches fire; Superman rescues Luthor, Batman parachutes to safety with Harley, and the Joker (yet again) apparently dies when the plane explodes in the ocean. The heroes and Lois part as friends.

This spin-off from Superman: The Animated Series (1996-2000) – edited together from three episodes – is an enjoyable offering, played as if it were the first meeting between the two Superheroes. One in-joke is Lois Lane's quick penetration of Batman's identity when she had yet to discover that Clark Kent was Superman. The title was taken from the long-running DC Comics title World's Finest, which featured monthly Batman/Superman team-ups. [GFi]

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