Many fans of Scooby-Doo were saddened to hear of several projects being cancelled during the Warner Bros/Discovery tax write-off purge, including the animated feature Scooby-Doo! Holiday Haunt as well as the live-action Batgirl movie, and while those cancellations left many in mourning at least one item seems to have escaped the chopping block by being leaked online, a movie that would send the Scooby gang in search of the Justice League.
“Who do you call when your heroes need heroes?” This is the question that Jimmy Olsen (James Arnold Taylor) poses to Lois Lane (Tara Strong) as the “Mystery of the Missing Justice League” kicks off because after finding the Hall of Justice trashed and inhabited by a fiery phantom, these intrepid Daily Planet staffers turn to the only other group that could find answers, and no I don’t mean the Justice Society or The Doom Patrol or even the Suicide Squad, they go to the best of the best, Mystery Incorporated. Lois asks Jimmy to call his girlfriend, who it seems is none other than Daphne Blake (Grey Griffin), the redheaded member of the Scooby gang – a relationship status that comes as a complete surprise to Daphne who last saw Jimmy at summer camp when they were both nine – but other than telling Daphne that “We’ve got a mystery to solve” he must have skipped the details on the extent of their problem, so when the Mystery Machine rolls into Metropolis they are quite shocked to see a variety of supervillains trashing the city.
When the gang arrives at the Daily Planet Lois informs them that the reason they’ve been called in is that “Metropolis has gone positively Gotham since the Justice League disappeared a few months ago” to which Fred (Frank Welker) rightfully points out “What does a team of renowned investigative journalist need with a gang of meddling kids?” This is a fair question, something you’ll ask yourself multiple times while watching this movie, but Velma (Kate Micucci) realizes more must be going on than what appears and she is proven right when Lois reveals that the Hall of Justice seems to be haunted by a phantom, and before Fred can say “We have a mystery on our hands” the gang is off and running to save the day, despite a reluctant Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and Scooby-Doo (Frank Welker) who are not too keen on phantoms, fiery or otherwise, and to say the Scooby gang is out of their league would be a rather large understatement.
When they arrive at the Hall of Justice they are greeted by Mayor Fleming (Nicole Thurman) who had started offering tours of the Hall when the Justice League vanished, hoping that “Being in these hallowed halls will give people hope that one day our heroes may return, but ever since this “phantom” showed up fewer and fewer people want to visit this place.” Enter Lex Luthor (Charles Halford), his assistant Mercy Graves (Victoria Grace), and his dog Rex Luthor, and we learn from Fleming that Luthor has been “Pressuring the Mayor’s Office to seize the Hall of Justice as abandoned property and put it up for auction where he can get it at a steal.” That certainly does give him a strong motive for driving away tourism, but are there any other suspects of note?
We do get a couple of other suspects tossed in for good measure, but they don’t come off as plausible culprits, such as the lunch truck lady who is angry about not being allowed to serve food outside of the Hall of Justice and the guy in charge of valet parking, who is tired of parking super-vehicles and misses just ordering cars, seems even less likely, basically, neither of these two screams criminal mastermind. The rest of the movie follows your typical Scooby-Doo mystery with the gang separating up to look for clues, with the real bonus being all the wonderful DC Superhero Easter Eggs that practically litter every frame, and I particularly loved when we got the standard Scooby-Doo chase montage and that had Shaggy and Scooby ending up on Flash’s Cosmic Treadmill, which took them on a quick journey through time, and that is but one of many great moments that fills up the 78-minute running time. Of course, the gang eventually does team up with Krypto the Super Dog and that’s when then things get tense as the Hall of Justice goes into lockdown mode and the danger mounts.
• Seriously, Lois Lane couldn’t think of anybody else to call other than the Scooby gang? If a supernatural entity was involved I’d immediately think of Doctor Fate or John Constantine, not four kids and a dog.
• Scooby-Doo makes the understandable mistake of confusing Solomon Grundy with their old foe The Creeper.
• Lois Lane and Jimmy cannot recognize Velma when she isn’t wearing glasses, a nice nod to their inexplicable inability to not realize Superman and Clark Kent are not one and the same person.
• If the Justice League has been missing for months how is this a surprise to the Scooby gang? Were they solving a mystery off-planet during all this time?
• Shaggy and Scooby find a food truck outside the Hall of Justice called “Challenge of the Superfries” which is a super great pun and had me laughing out loud.
• Shaggy, Scooby and Krypto find themselves trapped in a Justice League Holodeck, and if I learned nothing from watching Star Trek: The Next Generation it’s that those things always malfunctioning.
• Lex gives his classic speech about “land” from Superman: The Movie “Son, stocks may rise and fall, utilities and transportation systems may collapse. People are no damn good, but they will always need land and they’ll pay through the nose to get it.” Basically, it’s clear from almost frame one that the writers of this movie have a love for the history of the DC characters and are not afraid to show it.
Now, it’s fair to say that the Scooby-Doo mysteries have never been of Agatha Christie calibre but that has never been a selling point or even a key ingredient to this franchise – the show’s target audience remains children so no one should expect an intricate plot – as the Scooby-Doo shows and movies have all been about the comedy and fun dynamic amongst the group, and whatever guest star they hook up with, and this time out we get bonus humour stemming from Fred becoming jealous of Daphne’s past with Jimmy Olsen as well his insistence on wearing one of Batman’s utility belt – which is useless until Daphne puts it on – and the final confrontation is both action-packed and hilarious.
Overall, Scooby-Doo! and Krypto, Too! is a top-tier entry among the Scooby-Doo movies, the animation is fresh and vibrant and the aforementioned superhero Easter Eggs are a treat for comic book fans, and even if the mystery isn’t all that mysterious the interactions between our heroes and the various villains more than makes up for it – Luthor constantly getting lost and being hung up on his past presidency provided some really good laughs – and the pairing of Scooby-Doo and Krypto couldn’t have been more perfect.
Of course, the real crime has nothing to do with the abduction of Justice League but with Warner Bros/Discovery shelving this gem and forcing fans to jump through hoops to find a copy to watch, someone should stick those executives in the Phantom Zone, but hey, with this leak happening we can hope that maybe someday the Batgirl movie will see the light of day.
You can find all my reviews of the various Scooby-Doo shows and movies collected here: The Wonderful World of Scooby-Doo.
Scooby-Doo! And Krypto, Too! (2023)
Movie Rank - 8/10
This is easily one of the better Scooby-Doo animated movies and it’s a real shame that most people will be unable to experience the fun and charm that constitutes this very excellent adventure.