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).
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.