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The Justice League. You know who they are. You know what they are about. You come to this film expecting to get something more or less familiar; more or less traditional, right? However, if you’re not familiar with something called The New 52, which is a relaunch of DC Comics’ entire line of ongoing monthly superhero books, you are going to be surprised by what you get in this animated rendition of them.
Another addition to the DC Animated Universe, Justice League: War hits the ground running and does not let up until the very end. When alien creatures from another planet called Parademons appear on earth and begin terrorizing innocent civilians, it’s time for the heroes to get to the bottom of it before all is lost. Trouble is, not only do they have to contend with a serious global threat, but they also have to contend with one another. Will they learn to set aside their differences in order to work together and win?
Of course they will, right? Wouldn’t be the Justice League if they didn’t. This film, based on Jim Lee and Geoff John’s graphic novel Justice League: Origin, which essentially tells the story of how the heroes all met each other. The idea is interesting enough that it deserves a look as it allows us to see other sides of these iconic characters that we don’t ordinarily see.
Character development in this film didn’t feel very strong at all here. This was a much more action driven affair. I will say however, that Cyborg was the only character that had any real depth, which I very much appreciated. He had a real arc and was a vital piece of the the team’s success. He also had a great deal to do, unlike in other Justice League stories, where he is often on the sidelines contributing to the team from the Watchtower or not even on the team at all.
Speaking of characters, those whose treatment I was most disappointed with in this film were Flash, Wonder Woman and Superman. Shazam could also be placed here to a lesser degree, as he was just used as comedy relief. However, he and Cyborg had great chemistry, which gave way to some nice intimate moments between the two. (Batman and Green Lantern also were a nice pairing, for that matter.)
I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Flash in Justice League: War. My understanding is that Flash is also nearly nonexistent in the graphic novel also, which is criminal seeing as how he is a major player. Superman in this film almost feels like a completely different character. He is way edgier, a little arrogant and comes off as a bit of a bully. I know it’s New 52 status and all, but this is going to take some getting used to. Wonder Woman was one character that I found to be inconsistent, unlike any of her other previous incarnations in DC Animated films. I liked that there seemed to be a childlike aspect to her, existing in the world of men, surrounded by people who fear others like her and her not understanding why that is. She seemed way more warrior minded, than I was used to seeing, which was cool, but she also was clearly just the sexy woman on the team, there for the male members to hit on, which was not cool to me because Wonder Woman is much more than that.
Other than these issues, the film is pretty entertaining. It is visually striking and stylistic in its look. The colors are also sharp and rich. The action is as great as in nearly any DC animated film and reminded me of an anime at times. I find it interesting how when watching an animated feature such as this, explosions or excessive use of super powers is almost something we take for granted. However, that is not the case in Justice League: War.
Fans of the Justice League might just be split down the middle on this one, as they could either love or hate this film. One thing I think can be agreed upon is that this isn’t a bad film, but its also not a great one. Justice League fans will have to see whether or not they’ll be able to enjoy this version, much like how many had to find out by reading the new comics.