In 1997, Batman the animated Series moved over from FOX to the Warner Bros. Channel Kids WB and the two superheroes Batman and Superman were unofficially together. To maximize ratings, Warner teamed the pairing of DC Comics titans for “Batman/Superman” which involved new episodes of both shows on alternating weeks. They would also eventually cross over in to one anothers’ universe. Taking off from the successful series of crossovers, Warner launched the TV movie “World’s Finest,” and it’s a bang up success all things considered. “World’s Finest” manages to take what we love most about both series, and plays Superman and Batman off of one another beautifully.
They fight for about thirty seconds but eventually come to an understanding and realize that they share common enemies that want to see them both undo the work of the other hero. To make things worse, their common enemies Lex Luthor and The Joker come to an understanding and decide to pair forces to bring down the two titans once and for all. With Harley Quinn’s help, the Joker tracks down a statue called the Jade Dragon, which shocking enough ends up being a huge piece of Kryptonite. Meanwhile CEO Lex Luthor is making a business deal with Bruce Wayne and wants to use Wayne’s new robotics program to produce a series of robots armored for war and combat.
Bruce wants no part of it, however, and Lex is not about to stand back and let Bruce push him around in the board room. Director Toshihiko Masuda adds a definite anime flair to the production carrying on some of the unique storytelling from Bruce Timm’s animated series’ while also having a ball staging some excellent action scenes, and the like. There are a slew of memorable moments that unfold from Harley and Lex Luthor’s bodyguard Mercy getting in to a rumble, Clark and Bruce’s sly competition to discover each other’s secret identities, and Superman attempting to battle Bruce’s robot prototypes with Lois strapped on to it at his mercy.
“World’s Finest” commits to the concept of letting both superheroes shine; Writers Stan Berkowitz and Alan Burnett give them their fair due constantly never really handing the entirety of the events over to just one caped avenger. Bruce and Clark work so well together but are also constantly at odds, competing for information on criminals, competing for the affections of Lois Lane, and trying to find a balance between Batman’s dark vigilance, and Clark’s idealism. Fans coming out of both series’ will enjoy the service and proper respect the TV movie pays both characters even including the respective iconic voice characters like Mark Hamil as Joker, Tim Daly as Superman, Kevin Conroy as Batman et al. It’s a treat to see Warner cross over both properties with an entertaining and action packed adventure, and years later it’s still a raucous and entertaining action film and spin off.