DVD Reviews

Published on February 14th, 2014 | by Chris Daniels

0

Justice League: War

February 4th saw the release of another Warner Bros. Animation film in the
Justice League franchise titled ‘War.’ DC Comics is continuing to bolster
its brand with regular animated releases, and they are doing a great job.

The film opens as an obvious origin story.  Fans of the previous animated
films or TV series will notice some overt departures from the standard fare
of the last few years.

Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Batman lead off the film with their first
meeting in Gotham City, working quickly to solve a strange spree of
criminal abductions. As the two broker a tenuous peace and learn to work
together, they realize the Mother Box they found is linked to others like
it, and they head to Metropolis.

Wonder Woman, on her way to meet the President of the United States,
encounters winged beasts similar to ones fought by Green Lantern, Batman,
and Superman.  What’s unusual is that this time she uses a sword to
dispatch her enemies.  It’s something I’ve rarely seen in previous comics
or animated works.

The Flash, Shazam, and Cyborg all make appearances, and the team’s
structure gradually comes together. Meanwhile, the villain reveals himself:
Darkseid (who is one of my favorite DC villains).

This story is told wonderfully, with great action sequences and voice
acting (Sean Astin and Alan Tudyk – notable names). Overall, I was pleased
and entertained.

That said, there are a few major oddities within the film that stuck out as
strong deviations from the norm.

First, Superman kills someone.  Despite the circumstances, I was still
shocked to see his character taken in that direction.

Second, somebody drops the S-bomb.  I’ve never seen swearing in a “young
adult” film before, and though it was only used once, I was still taken
aback.

Third, the portrayal of Darkseid. He’s a great villain because of his
physical prowess, omega beams, and intellect.  The first two were
represented in fine fashion, but the last was woefully lacking.  Nothing
about this film showcased his intellect at all.

Fourth, Shazam seems to favor his lightening powers over his physical
assaults, which again, is in contradiction to most other comics and
animations.

While I found all of these examples strange and uncharacteristic with
respect to the usual formula, none of them were significant enough to be
considered a problem. I’m curious to see where this new trend goes.  Will
DC use this as a platform to start a new chain of films or TV shows?  Will
the language and body count continue to escalate? These are questions for
the ages.

Bottom line: if you are a fan of the genre, please watch it.  You won’t be
disappointed.

4 out 5 Stars

Author: Christopher Daniels
Editor: Jeff Boehm


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