A review by Ross Joseph
- Director: Jay Oliva
- Written by: Geoff Johns, Jim Lee and Scott Williams (story), Heath Corson (screenwriter)
- Starring: Alan Tudyk, Jason O’Mara, Michelle Monaghan, Christopher Gorham, Justin Kirk, Shemar Moore and Sean Astin
I should warn you, there may possible mild spoilers here.
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, bringing death and destruction, leading the Justice League to fight as a team rather than as individuals.
Review: This DC Universe Animated Original Movie (DCUAOM) is based upon the Justice League: Origin comic (2011-2012) and kicked off the rebooted DC new Universe. It’s a very long story and maybe one day I’ll go into it when I review the Flashpoint Paradox; until then just know that Justice League: War is the origin story of the team. Every character is established within their own city but War shows the heroes coming 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 weak ending, and the pacing was a little off for me. 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 minute run time, the story moves along at an extremely fast pace. Before you know it, the invasion is happening and heroes are teaming up.
Pacing wise, I was never bored. This film moves along quickly yet still manages to introduce everyone involved with more than enough time to set up the story and threat. I’ll let you in on a big secret, I don’t like Cyborg. Never have and, up until this film, I thought I never would. Here in Justice League: War he was a fairly deep character. I found him very interesting, crucial to the story and team. Yes, he played the same part as in the comic but here, Cyborg never felt forced into the story as he was in the comic.
Character interaction and development are major parts here. Thankfully each person is given enough to say and do. 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.
For those wondering, Wonder Woman in the only female here, but she is handled with such love and care that I really want her to have another DCUAOM of her own. I 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, was well handled here. 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. But it was the perfect score for a movie like this. It set the scenes and quietly played. 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 ring provide some of the best animation hands down. I was in love with the style this film uses and, as soon as it finished, I returned for a second viewing.
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, pit them against each other, 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.
Rating: ★★★★☆ 4/5. If this was used as a template for the DC live action Justice League movie coming before 2020, I would be one happy nerd. It has everything it needs to unit the heroes and fans.