Hey gang, Valkor here. The gangs over at DC/WB Entertainment have been on fire lately with their animated films; it’s too bad that their theatrical stints have been a mix bag as I really want Batman vs. Superman to succeed. But considering all the characters they’re gonna shove in there, they may as well call it Justice League: Origins and get it over with. Ah well. Back to the animated DC Universe, the next film to come down the pike appears to take place within the DC 52 universe, but it’s much more light-hearted. Check it out, it’s JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time.
In “Trapped in Time” The Justice League fight to stop the League of Doom from attempting their latest nefarious plot – to use satellites to freeze the earth. The JLA are able to thwart the plot with the only casualty being Lex Luthor, who gets trapped in a huge block of ice. Fast forward 1000 years later and frozen Lex is being exhibited in a museum alongside other JLA memorabilia. It is then we meet Karate Kid (Dante Basco) and Dawnstar (Laura Bailey), who have dreams of joining the Legion of Superheros someday. Karate Kid shows off his abilities by throwing a punch that would ultimately release Lex from his frozen prison. As it just so happens, in another room there’s also an hourglass called the “Time Trapper” that can be used to travel through time. Lex gains control of the item and teleports back to the base of the League of Doom, to set off his next plan – to travel back in time and to stop Superman from being found by the Kents thus stop the creation of the JLA, giving him and his cronies free rein to do whatever. Can the JLA along with the newcomers put an end to Lex’s plot as well as battle against the Time Trapper?
Talk about lowkey DC/WB, JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time, came from out of nowhere. But you can tell by the costumes the characters are wearing that it takes place within the DC 52 universe (Superman has no red undies), but it’s a standalone story all of its own as it’s not as edgy as say Flashpoint or War. It actually has the style of the aforementioned films with the tone of Batman: Brave and the Bold - it even features Diedrich Bader as Batman. JLA: Trapped in time has less of an edge than the previous JLA films, but can it still hold its own and come out on top?
I grew up watching the Superfriends as a kid and JLA: Trapped in Time feels kind of like that but for a whole new generation. You get plenty of action for the adult set and loads of silliness for the younger crowd, but overall it's all fun. The story is very simple and very straightforward that’s a good vs. evil paint by numbers, without any crazy twists. From the box art I thought the animation would be really cheesy, and while it’s not JL: War standards, it’s still plenty impressive keeping with the anime appearance, plus loads of flashy colors and fluid animation. And I’ll be damned, but the voice acting in this sneaky release of a DVD is by far better than the previous JL films and for the most part each actor fit their role perfectly. However, I freakin love Diedrich Bader’s take on the Dark Knight and for this style of film, he’s a perfect fit. I’m so glad he was chosen. I’m also a huge fan of Grey DeLisles, who is certainly no newb when it comes to animation voice-acting; her Mandy from "The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy” is one of my favorite characters, but her take on Wonder Woman is better than the previous actor. Finally, the ending is open for a sequel and I hope DC/WB put out a few more of these as it’s a simpler and yet just as entertaining as the previous films.
I thought the plot to get rid of Superman to get rid of the Justice League… kinda far-fetched. This is to say that Superman is responsible for the DCU all together, or at least its heroes, who vanish when Lex’s plot succeeds. Why do they have to vanish? Shouldn’t they still exist within the time frame, just not as the JLA? And given the threat involved, the heroes would still band together to stop a threat larger than one hero can handle. I’m sure this film was created for the younger mindset who may be unfamiliar with the universe. But for those of us who are familiar with the universe, it might – just might – put some people off.
Though initially a Target Exclusive, JLA: Trapped in Time is available now and it’s kid-friendly, light-hearted entertainment everyone and anyone can enjoy. The film is short (53 minutes), well acted, with great animation and loads of action and fun. Definitely one to check out and I recommend watching. So out of TOV 5 stars, I give JLA: Trapped in Time 3.5.