Just when you were afraid that Hollywood might be running out of superheroes to make films about, here comes the big-screen cartoon debut of Krypto the Superdog, the Labrador-ish pooch who has been Superman’s best friend since he first appeared in the comics in 1955.
As voiced by Dwayne Johnson, Krypto is tail-waggingly happy to fly around Metropolis with his master (John Krasinski), so he is miffed when Superman has the nerve to go out with Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde) instead.
If that wasn’t traumatic enough, an evil guinea pig (Kate McKinnon, trying her hardest) gets her claws on some Kryptonite.
She then robs both Superman and Superdog of their powers, while accidentally giving these powers to the long-term residents of a city-centre animal shelter – a bulldog (a low-energy Kevin Hart), a tortoise, a pig and a squirrel – because which city-centre animal shelter doesn’t have a pig and a squirrel?
It may sound like undemanding summer holiday entertainment but the clumsily titled DC League Of Super-Pets will satisfy only the most rabid of dog lovers.
The cluttered, unimaginative plot never really picks up speed, there is no chemistry between the underdeveloped characters, and the comedy consists of the usual gags about drinking from toilet bowls, plus some snarky postmodern asides and creaky wordplay.
Writer-director Jared Stern and his co-writer John Whittington seem especially keen on in-jokes about DC’s other films.
But the only amusement offered by the Justice League cameos comes from trying to work out which actor is voicing which superhero, while the mopey Batman (Keanu Reeves) is a pale imitation of the one in the Lego films.
Still, the animation is gorgeous. Paying homage to Max Fleischer’s 1940s Superman cartoons, the artwork glows with soft, warm light, and boasts some glorious retro-futuristic art-deco architecture.
Another Superman film set in this version of Metropolis would be worth seeing – but Krypto should stay in the doghouse where he belongs.
Not exactly a dog’s dinner but definitely not best in show.
Out Friday in cinemas