I (finally) read the entire Justice League: Origin 6-parter a few months ago, having taken advantage of one of Comixology‘s 99-cent sales. I don’t recall right now if I’d originally stuck with the book for 3 issues, or 4..but I know that I “let it go” before the arc was done, as I was bored with it and it seemed more flash than substance. Sure, it was pretty to look at for the most part, but the story was just lacking, and not up my alley of preference.
I’d like to think that I approached this film with little expectation and an open mind, but so recently off the JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time thing, biased against anything seeming truly long-term in the New 52 comics, and not particularly ENJOYING the comics this is based on I think I was predisposed to dislike Justice League: War.
Visually, with the animation, I liked this a good deal better than Trapped in Time. In particular, something about this Superman worked better for me than a lot of previous animated versions, though I could certainly do without the “collar.” Granted, I’ll take the collar over nearly-bare-shoulders and a sagging cape, gladly!
Nothing with the animation–in and of itself–ever grabbed my attention positive or negative. Which, technically, is a positive in my eyes. It just is what it is…neither calling attention to itself for revolutionarily spectacular style or effects nor being “off” in such a way that I noticed it or had a problem with it.
I’m far more used to Batman’s costume changing through the years, and am less familiar in general with the other characters’ costume specifics to have any particular opinion there. Superman’s costume worked well for me (or as well as it can)…I don’t mind the loss of the “trunks” and the darker blue to the suit is fairly subtle and doesn’t bother me, either.
My problems with this film come with the story…or as I felt, its lack thereof. This seemed to be little but one fight scene after another, alternating between hero-versus-hero, heroes-versus-generic-bad-guys and heroes-versus-boss-bad-guy. Basically, this might as well have been a video game, punctuated here or there with a few moments of mandated pre-provided plot.
While I “get” that these aren’t “my” versions of the characters–this IS based on the New 52, after all–there’s a certain “heart” missing from all of the characters in this. None of the heroes have any qualms about wading in to the slaughter of the parademons–there’s no hesitation, no questioning if they’re alive or should be rounded up rather than killed–by ANY of the characters. There’s also the admittedly nitpicky aspect of Shazam cursing (an obvious huge step away from the “holey moley!” exclamations often attributed to the character)…this was (for me) the most bothersome of the subtle things in this film.
Aside from a few touches of humanity–Batman and Superman acknowledging Clark and Bruce; Vic/Cyborg and Shazam/Billy’s secret; Batman sharing his identity with Green Lantern come to mind–these came off as two-dimensional archetypes rather than characters to actually care about. We’re just outside witnesses to the events that unfold, albeit with front-row seating. We don’t get into any of the characters’ heads, we get only–at best–hints to their pasts, we don’t actually see anything “personal” with them or any supporting cast/characters.
I didn’t note any of the voice actors going in, so rather than hearing so-and-so AS _______, I simply heard the characters speaking. By the end credits I realized Alan Tudyk voiced Superman, and having recently been on a Firefly/Serenity kick, that was a welcome surprise. (Of course, as said earlier: there’s not enough to the characters to really care, or for me to really get to where I’d recognize a single voice I’ve not previously associated with the animated character). All the voices seemed to work, none of them gave me any pause to hear THAT voice coming from the given character.
The extras aren’t particularly impressive. I always watch the featurettes as I’m interested in the content and refuse to watch video interviews online, and tend to find these of a higher production value than “just” some quick interview video posted online.
The Jim Lee featurettes seem just a “love fest” to Jim Lee. I would have preferred more of a documentary feature on the history of the Justice League and its varied incarnations through the years–from the original mash-up of “let’s throw all our characters into one book!” to the late-’80s “Bwa-ha-ha” and the ’97 Morrison “Big Seven” through Meltzer‘s Identity Crisis and post-Infinite Crisis reboot on to the current New 52 stuff.
I bought my copy from Best Buy specifically for the Superman figurine. I already had several figurines from previous releases and had missed a Superman one several years ago, so paying the $2 above Target and Walmart‘s $18ish opening-week price didn’t bother me on that end. That the film failed to truly entertain or really hold my interest is a sincere disappointment. Having now experienced this one for myself, I’m quite hesitant at the thought of any future Justice League New 52 films (such as one hinted at by a scene in the end credits).
All in all, if you already know these characters, if you like the New 52 incarnations of ’em and don’t mind the film’s “assumption” THAT you already know the characters (and want almost all-action and virtually no character development), you’ll probably dig this film. Alternatively, if you prefer deeper stories and well-rounded characters/character-interactions and the like, you’re about as well off here as you’d be watching friends play a videogame.
If anything, I’d recommend (if possible) a Redbox rental, and then if you happen to enjoy this, consider a purchase at that point.
Filed under: Movie Reviews | Tagged: Batman, Cyborg, Darkseid, DC Comics, DC Universe, DC Universe Original Movie, Justice League, Justice League War, New 52, Original Movie, Shazam, Superman, war, Wonder Woman | Leave a comment »