Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review: "Justice League: War"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 27 (of 2014) by Leroy Douresseaux

Justice League: War (2014) – straight-to-video
Running minutes: 79 minutes (1 hour, 29 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and some language
DIRECTOR:  Jay Oliva
WRITER:  Heath Corson (based on the graphic novel by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee)
PRODUCER:  James Tucker
EDITOR:  Christopher D. Lozinski
COMPOSER:  Kevin Kliesch
ANIMATION STUDIO:  Moi Animation Studios


Starring:  (voices) Sean Astin, Alan Tudyk, Michelle Monaghan, Shemar Moore, Jason O’Mara, Ioan Gruffudd, Justin Kirk, Christopher Gorham, Zach Callison, Steve Blum, Dee Bradley Baker, Melique Berger, Kimberly Brooks, Rocky Carroll, Georgie Kidder, Richard McGonagle, Bruce Thomas, and Andrea Romano

Justice League: War is a 2014 direct-to-video superhero animated film from Warner Bros. Animation.  Starring DC Comics’ ultimate superhero team, the Justice League, this is also the 18th feature in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line.  This animated film is based on the 2011 comic book story arc and graphic novel, Justice League: Origins, by Geoff John and Jim Lee.

Justice League: War takes place on an Earth where superheroes are new and largely unknown to people.  In fact, one of these new superheroes, Batman (Jason O’Mara), is believed to be behind a series of strange abductions of people occurring in Gotham City.  The superhero, Green Lantern (Justin Kirk), arrives to investigate the case, but discovers that the abductor is really a monstrous alien, known as a Parademon.

With the help of another new superhero, Superman (Alan Tudyk), Batman discovers that this Parademon is part of a vanguard of an alien invasion of Earth.  Soon, the trio is joined by more new powerful heroes:  Wonder Woman (Michelle Monaghan), Flash (Christopher Gorham), and Shazam (Sean Astin).  Meanwhile, high school football star, Victor Stone (Shemar Moore), is about to have his life changed forever because of the Parademon invasion.  Darkseid (Steve Blum) is coming, and maybe, only a new hero called Cyborg knows why.

Back in August 2011, DC Comics essentially rebooted its line of superhero comic books, known as the DC Universe.  Familiar characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were basically the same, but their origin stories and the events of their (fictional) lives were altered.  Some characters, like Cyborg and Shazam, underwent big changes.  DC Comics called this re-launch, “The New 52.”

Now, “The New 52” comes to Warner Bros. Animations’ line of original movies based on DC Comics’ characters and universe.  2013’s Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox initiated the change and this year’s Justice League: War is the first movie since the change and the first in a new series of shared DC Universe animated movies.

The New 52 was highly controversial among many serious (or hardcore) DC Comics fan.  I liked it; the freshness made me feel like I was a kid again, discovering comic books for the first time.  But I must also admit that I no longer take comic book continuities and mythologies as seriously as I once did.

Honestly, Justice League: War did not feel new so much as it simply felt like something different, maybe a little strange and unfamiliar.  It’s entertaining, but nothing special.  Writer Heath Corson makes the character conflicts, interactions, and relationships interesting.  Director Jay Oliva delivers some slam-bang sci-fi violence and battle action.  This movie certainly looks like a comic book, especially the kind with big fight between superheroes and super-villains.

Beyond that, I think Justice League: War is for fans of the comics and other DC Universe animated movies.  There isn’t much here to attract anyone who is not already enamored with these comic book animated movies.

6 of 10

Monday, May 26, 2014

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