Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
After almost recovering from the wanton mass of death and destruction that was the glorified CGI tech demo calling itself 'Man of Steel', I have been jolted back into Mass Destruction  Shock with the latest DC \ Warner animated feature 'Justice League: War'.  I believe this is the 19th DC \ Warner animated feature and I think I've seen them all as there should be random comments about most of them on this website, and I've largely enjoyed them all.  But when ranking these features, one of them has to be at the bottom of list… and I'm thinking this would be that one at the bottom of this list of general overall excellence.

The comic enabled amongst us will inform us that 'Justice League: War' is the first film featuring the rebooted DC universe, termed 'The New 52', so things are going to look a little different.  We have our heroes, Superman (Alan Tudyk), Batman (Jason O'Meara), Wonder Woman (Michelle Monaghan), Cyborg (Shemar Moore), Flash (Christopher Gorham), Shazam (Sean Astin) and Green Lantern (Justin Kirk), but they barely know each other, and for the most part are barely aware of each other's existence.  Worse is that the public at large is a little scared of these super beings, showing them a severe lack of superhero love.

The problems arrive in the form of a wave of flying beasties who are accosting the good citizens of our planet, something that is thought to be the work of the mythical Batman and must be put to a stop.  It's not Batman obviously, but Batman is working hard to end this nonsense.  Unfortunately he has to deal with the massive assholery of one Green Lantern who acts first and thinks never and shows no respect to Batman, thinking he's just some lunatic in a bat suit.  Which he is, but still...  Green Lantern doesn't even show that much respect to Superman when he comes around.  These few beasties were just the tip of the iceberg as a portal has been opened and wave after wave after endless wave of beasts have entered the planet Earth… all at the command of the feared Darkseid (Steve Blum). 
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We do have an origin story to deal with as Victor Stone has to become Cyborg, which is quite fortuitous since the newly birthed Cyborg has all kinds of come-in-handy skills that will be critical in assisting with the vanquishing of this threat, Flash will pop in, Billy Batson will Shazam into the game, and Wonder Woman will save the President while getting mercilessly hit on by the other boys in tights.  What's up with that?  I think she has eyes for Superman though.  Sorry Steve Trevor, you might not be able to compete with that.

The problems continue to mount with the menace exponentially increasing, and worse, Darkseid himself is on his way.  And Superman done got himself captured (?).  How is this yet to be formed Justice League going to save the day?  I'm guessing by blowing stuff up, punching stuff in the face, and collapsing buildings.  That's how. 

So… do you enjoy animated mayhem and violence?  I mean do you like it … a lot?  Because the more you enjoy watching animated stuff getting punched, kicked, lasered, tazed, and zapped… the more you will love 'Justice League: War'.  Personally, while I enjoy animated action as much as the next guy, this one may have been too much for me.  There's that, and I'm still not sure I'm comfortable with my Superman wearing his underwear under his costume as opposed to outside his costume where it belongs. 

Since this is a new, reimagined, rebooted universe we are dealing with in 'Justice League: War', I'm thinking a little more time would've been better spent getting us familiar with these new characters.  Yes, that would've subtracted valuable time from watching Darkseid get punched in the face over and over and over again, but I would've been okay with that.  And what little we did get to know about our characters, I didn't really like all that much.

Batman is Batman, he didn't get too much tinkering, if I am to take this movie as the gospel of the New 52.  If anything, he might be a little more laid back.  Hal Jordan, while always a bit of smartass, has now metamorphosed into a full-fledged, loose cannon, borderline braindead asshole.  Wonder Woman, on the positive side, has become even more badass, but on the negative side tends to punch people in the face first and ask questions later.  Even her teammates.  Superman is probably the most disappointing as he is almost The Hulk, just with better grammar and laser beam eyes.  Perhaps the plan with the New 52 is to make Superman more vulnerable, with this being achieved by making him not very bright.  But most of our opinions of these heroes is just supposition since so little time was spent watching them do anything except smash stuff.  To that end, however, Cyborg did get awarded with the most characterization since the movie did take the time to set up his origin, though this character did go from dying teenager to supreme cybernetic, multi-skilled, world saving badass about as fast as anybody could ever imagine.

The Tour de Force, of course, is the grand battle with Darkseid.  Unfortunately, Darkseid is about as dumb as everybody else in this movie, since pretty much all he does is smash and eye zap.  Like Superman, only bigger and uglier.  It got a little dull after a while.  I did like it when our future JLA decided to use 'teamwork' which basically equated to more smashing… but different.  It probably shouldn't have worked, but amazingly, it did.

Despite the great look and solid voice work, 'Justice League: War' was pretty disappointing, if for no other reason than DC / WB has set the bar so freaking high.  This one didn't reach that high bar.  Or the bar below it.  Or the bar below that. 
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