tek's rating:

DC Super Hero Girls: Hero of the Year (not rated)
DC; DC Database; IMDb; Warner Bros.; Wikia; Wikipedia; World's Finest
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Max; Movies Anywhere; Vudu; YouTube

Caution: spoilers.

This is the first direct-to-video film in the DC Super Hero Girls franchise, released during the middle of the second season of the webseries. It begins with Barbara's computer, Oracle, waking her up with an intruder alert. She calls her friends, dons her Batgirl suit, and she, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Bumblebee go check out the alert. The "intruder" turns out to be Big Barda, of the Female Furies. (And now I'll spoil something about the TV special Super Hero High, which aired earlier in the season than this movie was released, but which I didn't see until like a few days after I saw the movie. The villain in the special turned out to be Granny Goodness, the leader of the Female Furies. She used the school's boom tube to teleport the Furies, including Barda, from Apokolips to Earth. Eventually they were defeated and locked up in Belle Reve Penitentiary. However, it was obvious that Barda was already starting to doubt whether she should be a villain.) Anyway, in this movie, when the heroes see Barda, they attack, before she can explain that Principal Waller has allowed her to enroll at Super Hero High. So, the battle ends, and the heroes do their best to accept her. However, when Lady Shiva finds out Barda is a student now, it will take quite awhile for her to trust the former Fury.

Anyway, there's a lot going on. Supergirl is really missing her parents, who died when Krypton exploded. Commissioner Gordon is teaching a class. Hawkgirl starts teaching Beast Boy to act more dignified than his usual clownish self. Everyone is getting ready for the upcoming Hero of the Year award ceremony (which is being directed by Crazy Quilt). Lois Lane is doing a news report about the award. Nominees include Hawkgirl, Cyborg, Katana, Lady Shiva, Wonder Woman, and Bumblebee. (And maybe Flash? Lois tried to interview him, but he sped away before she could ask him anything, and she didn't specifically say he was a nominee, so I'm not sure.) And then, something weird starts happening with the giant amethyst crystal on top of the school's main building. So, some students will have to keep a watch on it. Hawkgirl takes the first shift, to be relieved later by Barda. While Hawkgirl guards the amethyst, she's attacked by a villain who steals her belt, which contains Nth metal from her homeworld of Thanagar. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman's shield was cracked during the earlier battle with Barda. So, she has to go to Themyscira to get the Master Alchemist to fix it. She's joined on this trip by Batgirl, Supergirl, and Bumblebee. (They leave Super Hero High before the attack on Hawkgirl.)

Supergirl has a crystal pendant that her mother had given her before she left Krypton. (The type of mineral the crystal's made of has a name that sounds like "nemma-sine," but no amount of Googling has revealed to me how it's actually spelled.) Now the crystal suddenly starts triggering visions of Krypton, and her mother. This exacerbates her uncertainty about how much she fits in with her adoptive family, the Kents. (She's unsure whether she wants to stay with them in Smallville during the upcoming school break, or stay with Wonder Woman on Themyscira.) Meanwhile, Wonder Woman's mother, Queen Hippolyta is certain her daughter is going to win the Hero of the Year award, and gives her a new tiara. But then a shadow creature steals the ruby from the tiara, as well as damaging the battery that powers Bumblebee's suit. And when the heroes return to Super Hero High and learn about what happened to Hawkgirl, the Junior Detective Society starts investigating. Hawkgirl learns that the school's amethyst was once a portal to Gemworld, and that the thief's identity is Dark Opal. (Incidentally, I happened to have just watched some animated shorts called Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld, in which Dark Opal was the villain, not too long before I watched this. So it seems like my timing is uncanny. Although I should mention the "Amethyst" from that series is a person who I assume has nothing to do with the amethyst crystal at Super Hero High.) But before they can learn much more about what's going on, more shadow creatures steal items from Katana, Barda, Star Sapphire, and try (but fail) to steal Supergirl's crystal. Meanwhile, as Bumblebee's battery loses power, she gets stuck in her shrunken state, with apparently no way to replace the battery while at that size. So Batgirl will have to try to figure out a solution to that problem, while the larger crisis is going on.

The shadows deliver the stolen items to Dark Opal, who is working with a woman named Eclipso, who had been banished from Gemworld. The items can be combined to create a scepter that would apparently give them the power to take over the universe. But it needs Supergirl's crystal, which is protected by an aura that prevents theft, so it will need to be freely given by Supergirl. Meanwhile, the shadows have abducted the Alchemist from Themyscira, to force her to combine the stolen items. She only does so because Eclipso has a black diamond that allows her to control people's minds. And later, Dark Opal abducts the Kents, Hippolyta, and Commissioner Gordon, all to force Supergirl to trade her crystal for them. And of course, once the scepter is completed, Eclipso, Dark Opal, and the shadows attack Super Hero High. So there's a pretty awesome battle there, with all the heroes (and even some non-supers) getting in on the action. There's also a battle on the Moon, between Eclipso and Supergirl and Wonder Woman. Of course, the heroes ultimately win, and everyone who had lost items get them back. And of course, Bumblebee's problem is also fixed, in a way that I think intersected nicely with the main plot. Oh, and Lady Shiva finally learns to trust Big Barda.

So, there's a big ol' happy ending. And we do finally learn who won Hero of the Year, but I'm not gonna spoil that. Anyway, it was a pretty fun movie, with good action, drama, humor, and everything. Really, I think a full movie-length story works better for the Super Hero Girls franchise than episodes of the webseries that are each only a few minutes long. (But then again, being familiar with the characters and general tone of the series probably does make the movie more enjoyable than it would be on its own.)

Hero of the Year * Intergalactic Games * Legends of Atlantis

DC animated index