Justice League: War REVIEW
Director: Jay Oliva
Based on: Justice League: Origins by Geoff Johns, Jim Lee and Scott Williams
Written by: Heath Corson
Starring: Alan Tudyk, Jason O’Mara, Michelle Monaghan, Christopher Gorham, Justin Kirk, Shemar Moore and Sean Astin
Plot: The Justice League come together for the very first time in DC history to tackle an Alien invasion from Apokolips. Darkseid eventually makes his way to Earth and brings death and destruction in his path leading the Justice League to fight as a team rather than as individuals.
Review: This DC Universe Animated Original Movie (DCUAOM) is based on Justice League volume 2 (collected as Justice League: Origin) and kicked off the rebooted DC new Universe which was commonly referred to as the New 52. The entire reboot is a very long story, and maybe one day I’ll go into it if I ever review the Flashpoint Paradox, until then, just know that Justice League: War is the origin story of the team. Every character is established in their own respected city, but War brings these heroes together for the very first time.
When I heard that Justice League: War was being made, I was extremely cautious. The comic book it was based on had some problems, especially the limp ending, and the pacing was always a little off for me. So going into this film, I expected the same thing. Happily, the problems I had with the comic book have been fixed. Because of the very tight 79 minutes (could’ve been longer), the story moves along at an extremely quick pace and doesn’t allow for needless baggage that could have held it down or otherwise ruined the viewing experience. Before you know it, the invasion is happening and the heroes are teaming up.
Pacing wise, I was never bored. This film moves along so quickly yet still manages to introduce all the heroes with more than enough time to set up the story and main threat. I will let you in on a little secret, I don’t like Cyborg. He was part of the Teen Titans and when the New 52 launched, Geoff Johns decided to try make Cyborg a main player. For the most part, the character works alongside the other Justice League members, however much like the comics it’s based on, his introduction is ham-fisted. I feel like you never get to know him before he’s made into the hero, Cyborg. The character feels like a total waste of time and unfortunately because he is so important to the story, you can’t do without him.
Character interaction and development are major parts here, and thankfully each person is given just enough to say and do on-screen to warrant their presence. No one is left behind or under used except Superman. Yeah one of the major players and he feels so out of character. I wasn’t impressed at all. At times, he came across like a bully and down right mean. I was really surprised by this considering he’s such a main hero at DC. Yet again, this is another cause of the DC reboot and them trying (at least in the comics it’s based upon) to make Superman more Alien.
For those wondering, Wonder Woman is the only female here, but is handled with such love and care that I really want her to have another DCUAOM of her own. Loved her here and the way she stands up for herself.
Voice acting by all involved was spot on. Yes, even Batman, which wasn’t Kevin Conroy (the voice of Batman in my head), was well handled. Which strikes me as funny considering Jason O’Mara was Batman in Son of Batman and I didn’t like him there. Go figure.
I never really took notice of the musical score here, mostly because it was so generic. It set the scenes and quietly played throughout. Action scenes, which Justice League: War has in spades, are easily some of the best produced by the DC animation department so far. The fights are intense and some use of powers surprised me. Green Lantern and his power ring provide some of the best animation here, hands down. I was in love with the style this film uses and as soon as it finished, I returned for a second viewing.
Final Thoughts: At the end of the day, I was over the moon with Justice League: War. In under 80 minutes, the writer and director manage to bring together a group of characters with big personalities, have them tackle against each other, and then deal with their issues and come together as a team. I was blown away by the action and pace of this movie as well as the fact that no one (except Superman) was left underused.
This is a faithful retelling of the 2011 comic book it’s based on while giving us fans some amazing visuals and excellent voice casting. Sadly, Cyborg is still shoehorned onto the team and Superman feels a little out of character, but otherwise, Warner Bros should look at this as the template for the upcoming Justice League film coming in the next few years.