Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons (2022) poster

Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons (2022)


USA. 2022.


Director – Matt Peters, Screenplay – Jeremy Adams, Producer – Jim Krieg, Music – Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion & Lolita Ritmanis, Animation – Studio Mir (Supervisor – Yong Ho Kim). Production Company – Warner Bros. Animation.


Jack Dylan Grazer (Jonathan Kent), Jack Griffo (Damian Wayne), Travis Willingham (Superman/Clark Kent), Troy Baker (Batman/Bruce Wayne), Laura Bailey (Lois Lane), Darin DePaul (Lex Luthor/Starro), Nolan North (Jor-el), Tom Kenny (Green Arrow/The Penguin/Principal Cunningham), Zeno Robertson (Jimmy Olsen/Melvin Masters), Myrna Velasco (Wonder Girl/Lara/Mom)


Jonathan Kent grows up in Smallville, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. He finds their work as reporters dull and is not happy with his father being away so much. In his upset, he emits heat vision beams from his eyes. Clark comes to him to reveal that he is Superman. He takes Jonathan to meet Batman in order to have Jonathan’s DNA analysed to see whether other superpowers are likely to emerge. Jonathan does not get on with Batman’s son Damian, the new Robin. Batman and Superman go to investigate communications silence from the Justice League Watchtower in orbit but returned with their bodies taken over by starfish aliens. After Damian narrowly avoids being killed by the possessed Batman, he decides to join forces with Jonathan to fight the menace of the alien Starro that is intent on taking over the Earth.

This was another film among the DC Original Animated Movies. The others have included Superman: Doomsday (2007), Batman: Gotham Knight (2008), Justice League: The New Frontier (2008), Green Lantern: First Flight (2009), Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009), Wonder Woman (2009), Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010), Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010), Superman & Batman: Apocalypse (2010), All-Star Superman (2011), Batman: Year One (2011), Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (2011), Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part I (2012), Justice League: Doom (2012), Superman vs. The Elite (2012), Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part II (2013), Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013), Superman Unbound (2013), Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014), Justice League: War (2014), Son of Batman (2014), Batman vs. Robin (2015), Justice League: Gods and Monsters (2015), Justice League: Throne of Atlantis (2015), Batman: Bad Blood (2016), Batman: The Killing Joke (2016), Justice League vs Teen Titans (2016), Batman and Harley Quinn (2017), Justice League Dark (2017), Teen Titans: The Judas Contract (2017), Batman: Gotham By Gaslight (2018), Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay (2018), Batman: Hush (2019), Justice League vs The Fatal Five (2019), Reign of the Supermen (2019), Wonder Woman: Bloodlines (2019), Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (2020), Superman: Man of Tomorrow (2020), Superman: Red Son (2020), Batman: Soul of the Dragon (2021), Batman: The Long Halloween Part One (2021), Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two (2021), Injustice (2021), Justice Society: World War II (2021), Catwoman: Hunted (2022), Green Lantern: Beware My Power (2022), Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham (2023), Justice League: Warworld (2023) and Legion of Super-Heroes (2023).

Jonathan Kent, usually referred to as Jon so as to avoid confusion with Clark Kent’s human stepfather, is the son of Superman and Lois Lane. Jonathan first appeared in the comic-book Convergence: Superman (2015), which was part of a series that mixed different DC continuities. He was properly introduced later that year in the mini-series Superman: Lois and Clark (2015-6) and formalised with the DC Rebirth continuity reboot in 2016. Jonathan, whose costume is a mix of cape, ragged jeans and sneakers, is seen as slowly growing into his powers. The character of Jonathan accrued some controversy in 2021 when the announcement was made that Jonathan was bisexual (with some outlets misleadingly reporting this as being that the new Superman was now bisexual). On screen, an infant version of the character makes an appearance in live-action tv the Arrowverse Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019) storyline and a child version in the tv series Superman & Lois (2021- ),

Damian Wayne, the Robin, was introduced in Grant Morrison’s Batman and Son (2006), the son of Batman and Talia al-Ghul. Having been raised in the League of Assassins, Damian is versed in the ways of an assassin and Batman is constantly having to tame his more lethal impulses. Damian first appeared on film in Son of Batman (2014), which gives his origin story, and had made a number of appearances in other Batman and Teen Titans films, although has yet to appear in a live-action incarnation.

The Super Sons - Damian Wayne (Jack Griffo) and Jonathan Kent (Jack Dylan Grazer) in Batman and Superman Battle of the Super Sons
The Super Sons – Damian Wayne (Jack Griffo) and Jonathan Kent (Jack Dylan Grazer)

The idea of the sons of Superman and Batman having adventures together goes back to the story Superman and Batman: Sage of the Super Sons (1973), which appeared in Action Comics. There have been assorted Super Sons comics since then, although many of these create sons that are completely different to each other and ignore prior continuity. The film version we have here draws from Super Sons (2017), a comic-book series that was launched by DC featuring the adventures of Jon and Damian.

Battle of the Super Sons is a lot more fun than I expected it was going to be. The film gets off a near-perfect invocation of the great Lost American Childhood in the scenes with Jonathan and Clark on the Kent farm in Smallville. There is the almost iconic image of the two of them relaxing on a bale of hay looking up at the night sky together and then later flying together. Jonathan is giving perfectly precocious voice casting with Jack Dylan Grazer – the nephew of top Hollywood producer Brian Grazer.

And when it comes to the introduction of Damian, this comes with a wittily sparring conflict that keeps on running through the film to the very last scene. Naturally, this becomes one of those films where you know that the initial prickliness between the two characters is going to thaw to friendship and mutual support by the end of the film – a cinematic trope that goes all the way back to films like The 39 Steps (1935) to The Defiant Ones (1958) and Lethal Weapon (1987). There is a great deal of humour to the film, which is what makes it so unabashedly enjoyable. Although you do keep wondering why Damian keeps a cow in the Batcave.

The film also gets in an appearance from Starro the Conqueror, an almost forgotten DC Comics villain that suddenly found a new lease of stardom after appearing in the recent The Suicide Squad (2021). It should be noted that Starro’s origin story here as a lifeform that came from Krypton and mutated during the journey to Earth is very different to the one it has in DC Comics continuity. We also get an appearance from Krypto the Super Dog during the visit to the Fortress of Solitude, who is considerably less friendly (at least initially) than the Krypto that appeared in DC League of Super Pets (2022) three months earlier the same year.

Trailer here

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