New on DVD/Blu-ray: Justice League – War (2014)

Justice League War (2014) Movie Image

Seven years ago, DC and Warner Bros started releasing direct-to-video animated films, with a retelling of one of the most controversial storylines ever, the Death of Superman with the film “Superman: Doomsday.” Seventeen films later, they have essentially started over with “Justice League: War.” “Doomsday” had an art style that was still reminiscent of the DCU Animated shows that had just ended the year prior with “Justice League: Unlimited,” and each film subsequently moved further and further away, creating their own unique takes on the characters. But all of those storylines were classics (with a few originals) and were from a vault of well known and loved stories. In 2011, DC Comics concluded the company-wide “Flashpoint” crossover, which led to the reboot of the DC new Universe (DCnU), or New 52. The DCAnimated Universe has recently done the same, starting with “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox,” and the release of their 18th film, “Justice League: War.”

If you’re wondering why I went through that long explanation, it’s not just to show off my geek knowledge, but to inform fans of what to expect when they watch “Justice League: War.” With the exception of Batman, Flash and Cyborg, many of the characters are quite different from what we’re used to. Superman is just brute force personified and hasn’t learned the subtleties of his abilities, let alone subtlety in general. Wonder Woman is a warrior tasked with being an emissary for her people, when she’d rather just be enjoying battle. Green Lantern is an egotistical jerk, which is understandable when you’re carrying around one of the most powerful weapons in the universe on your finger. And Captain Marvel, well, his alter ego Billy Batson is kind of a jerk, too, but he’s got a chip on his shoulder from a lifetime of being moved from one foster home to another.

Darkseid in Justice League: War (2014) Movie Image

This is the New 52 Universe now, and if you aren’t on board with it, then it’s time to move on. It did wonders for DC Comics, and the plan is to do similarly with the animated films, with “War” being the first in a new set of connected movies. So I’m sure we’ll see versions of the characters closer to their more well known versions, but these are supposed to be when the world really first meets them and everyone’s kinda new to it. Now that all of that is out of the way, on to the film. I don’t have to go into much detail as it’s a relatively simple story. Darkseid has set in motion an invasion of our world, and though it starts clandestinely, the discovery of his agents by heroes of Earth have forced the invasion into full swing. Now the heroes have to band together to defeat this foe.

With the voice talent of Jason O’Mara (“Terra Nova”) as Batman, Christopher Gorham (“Jake 2.0”) as Flash, Alan Tudyk (“Firefly”) as Superman, Michelle Monaghan (“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”) as Wonder Woman, Justin Kirk (“Weeds”) as Green Lantern, Shemar Moore (“Criminal Minds”) as Cyborg, and Sean Astin (“Lord of the Rings”) as Shazam, it’s a very different movie than past iterations of the League. But it’s still a very good version and Andrea Romano’s casting doesn’t disappoint. Batman and Green Lantern’s banter is priceless, and a lot of the personality quirks make for some great interaction between the team. And when they finally do start working together, the action is insane. And speaking of action, I didn’t mention Steve Blum as the voice of Darkseid. They gave him a truly alien voice, on top of making him huge. The final fight is absolutely over the top, but what a fight it is. It truly does take the entire League to win this. The story is very straightforward but they do some slower stuff with Cyborg’s origin.

Justice League: War (2014) Movie Image

Jay Oliva directed “Justice League: War” and much like “Man of Steel” (which he storyboarded), there is rampant collateral damage during the Darkseid battle. But this was the case in the source material as well, and it actually is part of a running issue through the film that gets resolved at the end. Oliva seems to thrive on big action, and “War” has plenty. Phil Burasa provided character designs once again, and as usual they were great. Superman towers over everyone and is only smaller in size compared to the bulky Cyborg, Flash is lean, and Batman is the perfect human specimen, while Darkseid is an imposing behemoth. They all looked great on screen and in action, even Captain Marvel, er, Shazam.

This is the opening shot in a new era for DC Uninverse Animated films. O’Mara is our Batman for the foreseeable future, reprising the role once again in the upcoming “Son of Batman.” And oh, stay tuned during the credits.

Buy “Justice League: War” on DVD/Blu-ray.

Justice League War (2014) Movie Blu-ray Cover



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  • Aegon the Conqueror

    Can’t wait to watch this somewhere over the weekend. Look forward to them each year.
    I can’t bring myself to call Captain Marvel Shazam.

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

      It’s good. very good, if you can deal with the characterizations. they really didn’t bother me at all. And see that’s the thing, growing up I always called him Shazam, even knowing his name was Cptain Marvel. The action is amazing, and the group fight is insane!!! WW is a BEAST!!!!!!

      • LM888

        Well, thank you for proving me right again. Everyone gives this shit film a pass so long as they have explosions, gore and violence.
        If the characterizations don’t bother you than you clearly have no fucking idea who these people are. This film turned Superman into a bully, Hal Jordan into a jerk, Billy Batson into a punk and Wonder Woman into an idiot. They all gleefully kill things in their wake without any compassion or care against a boring villain who they could’ve replaced with anyone and no one would’ve guessed the difference. And the only damn defence you can offer is “Well the action is cool” well sorry, but one long boring ass action sequence set to unlikable characters isn’t good enough.
        Justice League War is the epitome of everything currently wrong with DC. Grimdark stories, out of character behaviour, stupid idea, poorly executed ideas, not enough real character growth, long fight scenes that overstay their welcome, long stories that get boring real damn fast, no real resolution, heroes I can’t look up to or relate to. All in the name of making them REAL or BEAST in your opinion.
        Wonder Woman is strong and powerful, but she is not a bloodthirsty imbecile who is quick to drop her pants for the first super strong dude she finds. You and people who think like you are why DC is shit now, why we get this garbage replacing what wasn’t broken in the first place. I’m hoping this film crashes and burns, but it looks people are stupid enough to overlook bad storytelling in favour of juvenile humour and mindless violence. Style over substance, that is what people seem to be clamouring for now a days.
        I have never felt I wasted my time more than when I watched this film and I won’t waste more of it bothering with the like of you. Enjoy your cheap garbage junk food, may your brain rot.

        • Aegon the Conqueror

          Damn dude! I dunno how you think things work around here, but we still treat one another with respect even if our opinions differ extremely! This is not youtube!
          That being said, I dunno how you can criticize NEw 52 across the board when it has brought us the modern Batman, Batman and Robin, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Batwing etc comics. I really can’t see it.

  • Aegon the Conqueror

    Just finished watching it. Quite enjoyed it. Not as good as Flashpoint and certainly not as good as TDKR 2, but enjoyable nonetheless. Now for Son of Batman.