I got a chance to check out the new direct to video DC animated feature, Justice League: War. Based on the first major story line in the New 52 Justice League comic book from 2012, this movie featured a familiar story with some very odd twists to it.
ALERT! POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU WERE WARNED!
If you watched the last DC animated movie, Flashpoint, then this is a continuation of that story. From now on, most of the DC animated features will now take place in the New 52 – like universe. It’s already weird enough that Flash didn’t even realize from some divergent time paradox that the outfit that he went back in time in was not the same outfit he came back to the present in. Head already blown? Long story short – DC used Flashpoint to reboot the entire DC universe, and in essence merging elements from the DC, Wildstorm and Vertigo universes. Apparently, that has now flowed over from the comic book side to the animated universe as well.
Justice League: War is a retelling of the origin story of the Justice League. Batman, Green Lantern, Superman, Wonder Woman, and others gather together to fight the forces of Darkseid as he prepares his parademons to invade Earth and terraform it to match his homeworld, Apokolips. If you’re old enough (or savvy enough) to remember how the original Justice League was formed, I guarantee you that this was not it.
This movie, while containing several elements from the comic book story it was based on, varied in many different ways. The first obvious change is that Aquaman is nowhere to be seen…instead, the team is now joined by kid hero, SHAZAM (has DC finally let go of using Captain Marvel? does it really matter because people called him Shazam anyway…).
Along with the Justice League’s origin story, we get a quick origin story of Black superhero, Cyborg. We also get the first meeting of Superman and Batman…well, really all of them, but when you think about it, who really matters beyond DC’s two greatest superheroes?
How did the movie stack up to me? First let me say that the action was really good. The animation was top-notch. The voice-acting was okay, but without Tim Daly as Superman and Kevin Conroy as Batman, none of it really compares the same. I got done watching the movie wanting more.
The flow of the movie itself was kind of quick. They linger on some parts (the meeting of Green Lantern and Batman, and then Superman), but other parts seem to zoom by. It was almost like they realized they spent most of the movie building up the team, and now they had ten minutes left to defeat the bad guys and live happily ever after. That’s not what happened, but that’s what it felt like.
The inclusion of Shazam instead of Aquaman was different. They even threw in an added bonus feature between Billy Batson and Victor Stone which threw in another little twist into the original story line.
Everything considered, this was a worthy movie. Definitely a worthy investment to rent it or even buy it if you are a collector. One thing to remember, Marvel made waiting out the credits almost the must thing to do. Very few people get up out of their seats when a Marvel movie is done. Hoping to capitalize on that hype, DC has thrown in their own mid-credits teaser. Be sure to keep it going and watch it during the credits.