Live-action adaptations of DC Comics might have had a few hiccups in attempts at cohesive interconnected world-building on the silver screen, but the animated frontier, being the franchise’s strongest suit, has always set the standard for similar ventures. Whether it is with “Super Friends” in the 70s, the revolutionary “DC Animated Universe” in the late 2000s, or the recently concluded New 52 adaptation “DC Animated Movie Universe,” the execution of the shared universe concept in DC animation has been perfectly done in every iteration. The newly released animated DC movie “Legion of Super-Heroes” is the fifth installment in the ongoing DC animation continuity “Tomorrowverse” and revolves around the exploits of the DC Superteam of the same name. The movie primarily deals with the adventures of Supergirl as she finds a place of her own and explores the titular team from her perspective. Jeff Wamester returns to the director’s chair, with Josie Campbell writing the script.
‘Legion Of Super-Heroes’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
As the movie begins, the audience finds the protagonist, Kara Zor El, spending time with her mother, General Alura Zor El, the High Defender of Krypton, in the futuristic city of Kandor. Alura lets Kara know that she has been accepted into the Military Guild, but before they can celebrate Kara’s achievement, the fated planet Krypton falls to its doom—as the red sun starts emanating destructive flares. As the planet’s core starts crumbling, Alura manages to secure a single hypersleep interstellar pod to save her daughter. A distraught Kara helplessly watches as her mother spends her last moments assuring her of her faith and love for her daughter and asks her to watch over her cousin. For those who don’t know, Kara Zor El is the elder cousin of Kal El, aka Superman. In the first movie of Tomorrowverse, “Superman: The Man of Tomorrow,” we saw the destruction of Krypton from an infant Kal-El’s perspective; “Legion of Super-Heroes” shows the tragedy from Kara’s point of view. The debris spilt from the destruction knock Kara’s space pod away, and she drifts away in the vast cosmic.
After the opening credits, we are brought to the present timeline. Kal-El has grown up in the loving care of the Kents, adopted the identity of Clark Kent, and became the champion of people, Superman. Due to her pod getting off course initially, Kara arrived on Earth much later, resulting in her remaining a teenager. Unlike Kal, who has learned to embrace humanity through his experience on Earth, Kara, now known as Supergirl, struggles to find a grip on her powers or even adjust to life on Earth, which she considers to be “primitive” and “backward.” During a scuffle with the villainous Solomon Grundy, she causes significant property damage due to her recklessness and remains carefree about the consequences. Batman shares his skeptical views about her, which Kara overhears and leaves. Clark sets out to console her, and Batman spots the futuristic weapon previously wielded by Grundy and senses suspicious activity, as someone with Grundy’s intellect wouldn’t be able to acquire something this advanced.
Clark tries his best to comfort his cousin and asks her to try to adjust to the ways on Earth, but Kara is nearly convinced that with her planet and her family gone, she doesn’t belong anywhere. Clark comes up with a solution as he takes Kara to the Legion of Super-Heroes. Legion is a team of superheroes in the 31st century who banded together after getting inspired by the heroics of Superman after learning about him in their history. As Superman takes Kara to the Legion, in the present timeline, Star Labs is attacked by a bunch of assassins. Batman manages to take them down, but they bite the suicide pill before any sort of interrogation can take place. However, their involvement with the previous attack is identified as their weapons match Grundy’s. A severed head of the supervillain Brainiac can be seen in the labs.
At the Legion dorms, Kara befriends several metahumans, like Mon-El, Bouncing Boy, Triplicate Girl, Dawnstar, Invisible Boy, Phantom Girl, and Arm Fall Off Boy (yeah, because why not) trainees who want to be inducted into the prestigious ranks of Legion. Kara mistakes Brainiac 5, a twelfth-level intellect descendent of the original Brainiac, to be a likewise threat and squares off with him immediately. Later, upon learning that Brainiac 5 is trying to absolve his infamous heritage by trying to do good and that he, too, feels like an outcast, Kara starts acting sympathetic toward him. Meanwhile, the three Legionnaires Timber Wolf, Shadow Lass, and Chemical King are assigned the duty of safeguarding the Legion HQ, as the rest of the team members are missing in action. Timber Wolf expresses his distrust of Brainiac 5, as all the past clones of Brainiac have turned out to be villainous, and he suspects Brainiac 5 won’t turn out differently.
A repentant Kara contemplates making amends with Brainiac 5 for her past behaviors and follows him. Nearby, the group of assassins attempts an infiltration at Legion HQ and murders Triplicate Girl. Brainiac 5 is held captive by the three Legionnaires who consider him to be the culprit, as he orchestrated his admission to the Legion trainee academy. Despite his plea of not being guilty, Legionnaires imprison Brainiac 5. Kara hears the name of the assassin group “Dark Circle” (not optometry-related) and searches the Legion database to find out about them. Turns out they are a space terrorist cult of unknown origin, identified by the circle symbol over their mask. Kara approaches Brainiac 5, who is held in custody, to know about his course of action. He confesses he joined Legion trainee ranks to stop an attack from his villainous Brainiac clone family, who were associated with Dark Circle, and planned a heist of the Legion vault. An ancient reality-bending mechanism called the “miracle machine” was their target. Warning: the Legionnaires won’t have helped, as they probably wouldn’t have believed him due to his family stigma, something which has returned once again to bite him back. Kara breaks him free, and the duo sets out to secure the miracle machine from letting it fall into the wrong hands. Mon-El spots them and offers to assist in their effort.
The trio manages to bypass the Legion vault security with the help of Brainiac 5’s gadgets, intellect, and teamwork. Mon-El betrays them and stabs Kara with a Kryptonite dagger. It turns out he was a race supremacist zealot, advocating things like ethnic cleansing to eliminate the weakness that he considers the Legion to be. The Legionnaires are ambushed by hordes of assassins and, after being defeated, held captive along with the trainees. The leader of the Dark Circle turns out to be none other than the supervillain, Brainiac the first. After his death in the 21st century, he created Dark Circle to sustain himself by preserving his consciousness and incorporating other clones of him into his body—thereby creating a ghastly, monstrous composite version of himself. Brainiac confesses that he used B5’s intelligence to unlock the impregnable security of the Legion vault and that he will use the miracle machine to change reality according to his will. Brainiac 5 escapes with an injured Supergirl and nurses her back to recovery. The duo regroups with the trainees who escaped Dark Circle’s clutches, and it is revealed that Triplicate Girl’s two other selves survived. They manage to rescue other trainees, and Dawnstar sends an SOS signal to the missing Legionnaires. The team launches retaliation against Dark Circle as Brainiac 5 and Supergirl confront Brainiac the first. However, Brainiac successfully links himself to the machine and starts changing the galaxy according to his will. B5 manages to form an apple of discord among the integrated selves of Brainiac by making them fight for supremacy. In their battle to gain control over their machine, the clones tear the body apart, thereby killing the Brainiac in the process. In her effort to undo the effects of the machine, Kara accidentally enters its imaginary plane.
In the imaginary plane, she meets her mother. For a brief moment, Kara contemplates bringing Alura and Krypton back, but Brainiac 5 reaches her in time using his advanced form of communication to convince her that the priority of the situation is to save the universe. Kara comes to her senses and bids her mother adieu. Alura once again assures her daughter, and inspired by her mother’s words; Kara wills the miracle machine out of their reality—thereby saving the universe and becoming the hero she was destined to be. After a brief scuffle, Mon-El is taken to custody, and the rest of the Legionnaires missing in action return to HQ. As a gesture to acknowledge the bravery of the trainees, all of them are inducted into the Legion’s ranks.
“Legion of Super-Heroes” raises some important issues regarding identity, stigma, and accountability but never goes far enough to explore them. The voice cast did their job tremendously well, especially Meg Donnelly as Kara and Darin De Paul as the original Brainiac, who both perfectly aced their roles. Another issue with the movie was that, except for Brainiac 5, none of the original Legion characters received the highlight, and most of the characters were written plainly. Superman’s teenage connection with The Legion could have been explored as a backstory. The soundtrack is great for most of the parts, and the “Tomorrowverse” vibrant animation is as dynamic as it is vibrant.
‘Legion Of Super-Heroes’ Ending Explained – What Happens With The World’s Finest?
The post-credits scene of the movie shows Kara enthusiastically conversing with Clark, and it feels like she has found her home in the 31st century- which is somewhat closer to the condition of her former home planet. After introducing Brainiac 5 as her boyfriend to Clark, Kara takes leave. Batman asks Supes whether he has requested Kara to come back in the 21st century. Superman replies they themselves are confused regarding the situation. A large crater is seen to be formed in the middle of the road, with fire encircling it. Before the duo can exchange information further, they are abducted from Earth by a extraction beam, the source of which remains unknown. At first glance, it might seem like Boom Tubes are being used to take people to Apokolips, but the upcoming DC movie title hints at another formidable villain. Supervillain Mongul, with his Warworld, is probably the antagonist of the next movie, as the title “Justice League: Warworld” suggests. The villain is infamous for hosting gladiator-styled battles with heroes and villains of different piles of earth, and with the World’s Finest already under his grasp, the rest of the league will follow suit pretty soon. With the recent DCU slate announced by James Gunn, it remains to be seen whether “Tomorrowverse” will get integrated into the prime continuity or work in its separate ways.
“Legion of Super-Heroes” is a 2023 animated action film directed by Jeff Wamester.