Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam
Zach Callison as Billy Batson (voice)
James Garner as Shazam (voice)
George Newbern as Superman/Clark Kent (voice)
Jerry O’Connell as Captain Marvel (voice)
Arnold Vosloo as Black Adam (voice)
Danica McKellar as Sally (voice)
Kevin Michael Richardson as Mister Tawky Tawny (voice)

The Spectre
Gary Cole as Jim Corrigan/The Spectre (voice)
Alyssa Milano as Aimee Brenner (voice)
Jeff Bennett as Foster Brenner/Peter McCoy/Flemming (voice)
Rob Paulsen as Drew Flynn/Lt. Brice/Deandre (voice)
Jon Polito as Police Captain (voice)

Green Arrow
Neal McDonough as Green Arrow/Oliver Queen (voice)
Malcolm McDowell as Merlyn the Magnificent (voice)
Steve Blum as Count Vertigo (voice)
Grey DeLisle as Black Canary (voice)
John Di Maggio as Merc (voice)
Ariel Winter as Princess Perdita (voice)

Jonah Hex
Thomas Jane as Jonah Hex (voice)
Linda Hamilton as Madame Lorraine (voice)
Jason Marsden as Young Man/Bartender (voice)
Michael Rooker as Red Doc (voice)
Michelle Trachtenberg as Bar Girl (voice)

Special Features:
Includes four shorts: “Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam,” and the extended versions of “The Spectre,” “Jonah Hex,” and “Green Arrow” with never-before-seen footage
Bruce Timm presents four bonus cartoons featuring Green Arrow, Jonah Hex, Shazam!, and The Spectre

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.40:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1 Sound
Spanish and French Languages
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 96 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Make your stand against evil with this exciting Collection of 4 DC Showcase Animated Shorts starring favorite DC Comics super heroes! Chosen the world’s protector against the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man–pride, envy, greed, hatred, selfishness, laziness and injustice–young Billy Batson accepts his destiny as Captain Marvel. Battling alongside Superman against nefarious Black Adam, Billy soon discovers the challenge super heroes ultimately face: is it revenge or justice? For bounty hunter Jonah Hex and hard-boiled cop turned vengeance ghost The Spectre, getting their hands dirty is part of the job– maybe even the fun part. But Superman, Green Arrow and Black Canary follow an internal moral code to guide their actions. They know it’s easy to get lost in the darkness of the fight, especially when villains like Merlyn the Magnificent and Count Vertigo place no value on human life.”

“Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam” is rated PG-13 for violence and some sexual content.

Mini-Review:
With this DVD you actually get four animated shorts. Each is around 20 minutes long and features DC Comics’ A-Grade through C-Grade characters. While the running time is quite short, the stories waste no time in getting to their points. They dive right into the action. For those who are borderline ADD like myself, it will suit you just fine. If you’re looking for something more substantial, you may find yourself frustrated.

The “Superman/Shazam!” short is an origin story for Captain Marvel. We see Black Adam arrive on Earth and attempt to preemptively strike his future rival. This, of course, leads to a knock-down, drag-out fight between two of DC’s heavy hitters. The addition of Superman in the mix is a nice way to add a familiar element for viewers while providing more mayhem in the action scenes.

Next up is “The Spectre.” Gary Cole voices the supernatural killer. What makes this one unique is that it is made to look like a ’70s exploitation flick. We see hairs and pops in the screen, ’70s era music and editing, and more. It’s a dramatic change from “Superman/ Shazam!,” but a welcome one.

If more traditional superhero action is your fare, then “Green Arrow” delivers. We see the B-Grade DC hero (possibly even C-Grade) do battle in an airport to save a young European princess. It’s a brutal battle filled with arrows and blood. It shows that Green Arrow and Black Canary can be compelling characters on their own despite their lower ranks in the DC Universe.

Last up is “Jonah Hex.” Put this 20 minute short up next to the live action film and I guarantee you that every Jonah Hex fan will choose this one every time. It’s a great western setup filled with action, the usual Western tropes, a dark twist, and more. It also has a fantastic voice cast consisting of Linda Hamilton and Thomas Jane. Maybe if WB had put these creators in charge of the live action movie they wouldn’t have had such an embarrassment on their hands.

If you’re a fan of any of these DC Comics’ characters, then this is a DVD you’re going to want to check out. While “Justice League Unlimited” and “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” have been showcasing these lower tier DC characters, this DVD continues that tradition with a bit more of an adult twist.

While there are no bonus features pertaining to the shorts on this DVD, you do get the added bonus of a few episodes from other TV series featuring these characters. You get a “Batman: The Animated Series” featuring Jonah Hex, a “Justice League Unlimited” episode featuring Green Arrow, and more. Overall it’s a great batch of animation all on one DVD.

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