ReviewsTelevision & Film

Review: DC SUPER HERO GIRLS: INTERGALACTIC GAMES Wins the Day

[Featured Image & Poster: Warner Bros.]

Cover artDC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games (2017)
Written by Shea Fontana 
Directed by Cecilia Aranovich 
Produced by Jennifer Coyle
76 minutes, rated TV Y7

I have to be as honest as I can from the start: the first time I caught wind of this newfangled ‘DC Super Hero Girls’ stuff, my inner monologue ticked rapidly over to “resistant to change” mode. Geez, I thought to myself, Warner and DC will go to any length at all to waste parents’ money on watered down dreck.

I was not enthused when my daughter’s eyes brightened at the sight of Batgirl in a Toys ‘R Us around her birthday.

Noting that, take it in all confidence when I admit that I was wrong. I sat down to this movie alongside my daughter and the daughter of fellow SciFi4Me contributor William Tramp, and got downright into it.

For those unfamiliar with DC Super Hero Girls, the series premise places many of our familiar DC characters in Super Hero High School in Metropolis. In Intergalactic Games, the school is hosting the appropriately named Intergalactic Games. This is a friendly competition against Sinestro’s Korugar Academy and Granny Goodness’ Furies, to encourage intergalactic peace and coordination.

As a baseline story, Intergalactic Games pits the quintessential good guys against the quintessential bad guys. If I’m being honest, though, the side stories held my attention more than the main plot. While the three groups are tensely preparing for the games, there are four additional story lines to track. Wonder Woman attempts to maintain dignity, decorum, and leadership while vying for a position as an intergalactic ambassador. Big Barda faces an internal conflict when faced with Granny Goodness and the Furies, a team to which she used to belong. Starfire is elated to reconnect with her knifster (“Girls who have the bond of the eternity”, according to Starfire).  There are nefarious goings-on surrounding the tech specialist. And what exactly are the Furies going to do if they manage to steal what they came for?

It all sounds complicated, I know. I had initial doubts that the kids would be able to follow all these strings. I definitely doubted they would pick up the hints about the power behind all this trouble (no spoilers!).

These are not the faces of girls who are struggling with plot hooks.

Maybe it’s just because the Hanna-Barbera cartoons I loved so much didn’t have all this intrigue. It could be that I just forget how clever five year-olds can be. Or perhaps both of these girls are unparalleled geniuses and can track complex drama patterns and subtle indications (nope). Whatever the source, DC tapped into some magic with this one.

As for the stickiness of the content, I think it’ll be a favorite for awhile. Evey and Claire both liked elements of the climactic battle, though Claire preferred image over story. It was also refreshing to see both girls pick favorite characters outside of what I had expected.

As an adult viewer it was delightful to hear some of the familiar voices – Tara Strong, Phil LaMarr, Hynden Walch, Greg Cipes – even if they were in unexpected roles. As a parent, it was great to see my daughter sit relatively still for over an hour without constant reminder. But as someone who can recite older animated DC properties along with the show – especially Justice League Unlimited – I was profoundly disappointed with the ultimate aim of the primary antagonist.

One complaint out of all those stories, though? Really not so bad, in the long run. If your kids like anything that kids generally like, be it cartoons, action, superheroes, or movie night with the family, pop some popcorn and grab a cape. This one is a win on all counts.

 

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