Hey gang, Valkor here. Last year saw the introduction of the DC 52s into the cinematic animated universe with “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, where the Flash screwed with the continuity, only to repair it with everything matching that of the current comic universe. By the film’s end, audiences were given a sneak peek for the next title – Justice League: War, which completely puts the new 52 lineup in the spotlight. And after checking out the film, is DC/Warner on the right track? Let’s find out. Some spoilers ahead.
Justice League: War (based on the Justice League: Origin storyline) is set in the new DC 52 continuity, where much of the League’s core is already established superheroes, in a world where superpowers aren’t accepted, though they still protect and defend their respective areas. Batman (Jason O’Mara) is considered a myth by the people of Gotham, The Flash (Christopher Gorham) patrols Central City, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan voiced by Justin Kirk) protects all of earth, Diana aka wonder Woman (Michelle Monaghan) is struttin her stuff whilst visiting DC, and Superman (Alan Tudyk) intrigues all as he keeps watch over Metropolis. At the start they’re not even close to being a team, however a new threat emerges – Darkseid (Steve Blum), who proves that he’s too much for each individual to handle. They’ll have to put aside any differences to come together and put an end to this threat or earth and its population will fall.
Animation in JL: War follows the same anime style as Flashpoint, though the tone is a little watered down. The major difference about this Justice League compared to the previous continuity are the changes in the core team; in place of Aquaman and Martian Manhunter, we’re given Cyborg (Teen Titan Founder voiced by Shemar Moore) and Shazam (Sean Astin, Billy Batson voiced by Zach Callison). However at the end of the film, there’s hint that Aquaman will surely be in the next JL animated feature. The film also pokes fun at Batman being “a regular guy in a suit”, though the naysayers (and by naysayers I mean Green Lantern) is proven wrong each and every time. Supes loses his red underwear (and I’m in favor of that) and Green Lanterns’ got jokes. Next we get a hint at a budding romance between Wonder Woman and Superman. Finally, all of the characters are sporting their new DC 52 duds, except for The Flash, whose suit looks the same from the original continuity (the lines are there, but it lacks the additional yellow) and Wonder Woman’s costume, which adds more blue and the sleeves. Oh yea and lest I forget, Superman kills in in this film as well.
DC/Warner are kicking ass in the animated-verse and I wish their live-action front were done in the same line; I have no clue what’s going on with Man of Steel 2 or whatever it’s finally going to be called when it’s released. I’m just thankful to have the DCU animated-verse to fall back on, which thus far, has done an amazing job of bringing comic book favs and scenarios to celluloid life. With that said, Let’s see how well JL: War fares in the TOV Breakdown.
Before "Batman: Under the Red Hood", I didn’t think any of the DCU animated films would ever top its intensity and maturity, until Flashpoint Paradox arrived and it kicked a whole bunch of ass; Justice League: War lacks the intensity, but makes up for it with a solid story that’s chockful of action and fun. I think it’s great that we don’t go into much of the core’s backstory (Cyborg’s origin is told, but it’s not front and center), again they’re already established heroes, which means we delve right into the heart of things. It was a real treat to see the team dynamic grow and take effect, from the disjointedness in the beginning and how they all come together in the end, it’s amazing and plays out well on screen. The final battle between the team and Darkseid is a sight to behold! The animation is a carryover from Flashpoint and that’s not a bad thing; I love the anime style, which I think is a great fit for the universe and the colors and effects are eyepoppingly gorgeous. The voicework is hit and miss with a lot more misses than I’d expect from such quality work; standouts for me were Jason O’Mara as Batman, who adds just enough bass and rasp to make the character enjoyable to watch on screen. Then there’s Shemar Moore as Cyborg, he’s just too cool. Finally there’s Steve Blum as Darkseid; I didn’t care for the voicework in Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. Here, it’s done to creepy perfection. Justice League: War is a great effort from DC/WB that’s definitely worth checking out.
As great as the story is, it still lacks the same punch as Flashpoint. That film was seriously intense and had you on the edge of your seat until the end. In War, you get some wow moments, but not as many as in the previous film. The voicework isn’t as great either as most either sound far too mature and raspy (Hal Jordan) or the voice doesn’t fit at all (Wonder Woman).
Darkseid after receiving that serious ass whooping at the end of the film; and he gets his ass seriously whooped!
Justice League: War gets a Blu-Ray combo and DVD single/2-disc set release on February 4th; it’s not perfect, but if you’re a fan of any of the DC animated films, then you certainly won’t be disappointed. Lots of action and fun, wrapped around a concrete story makes this film a must see. And out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Justice League War a 4.