Justice League: War (2014)

Film: Justice League: War
Release: 2014, Video
Starring: Sean Astin, Christopher Gorham, Jason O'Mara
Directed by: Jay Oliva
IMDB page: Link opens in a new window
Description: All over the world, strange kidnappings by monstrous beings are taking place. During an investigating into the matter in Gotham City, Hal Jordan the Green Lantern of Earth meets the rumored "Bat Man".

Hans' thoughts:

Kickstarting a new DC animated universe, Justice League: War is an adaptation of the first story arc of the rebooted Justice League comic books from 2011. On planet Earth, superheroes are appearing for the very first time and brought together to fight a full scale invasion from the death lord of planet Apokolips, Darkseid. A few changes has been made to the original story for the sake of adaptation, the most notable being that Aquaman is switched out with Shazam (Captain Marvel) in the roster of the team. Why they decided to do so is anyone's guess, but it might be because Shazams origin story was retold as a subplot in the original format independent of the main story-line. 

Acting wise I have to admit I felt it in places was a bit weak. Especially the actress playing Wonder Woman had a few lines that felt way too read from the script, probably rehearsed well enough, but it's like she didn't make the dialogue her own. It's the same case in varying degrees with the other actors, however for whatever reason she was the one that stood out the most to me. Steve Blum, who's an industry veteran by this point did a good job as Darkseid however the voice-filtering on him sometimes made him nearly incomprehensible. Despite this, dialogue is actually very much on point and works well with the very uncomplicated plot - exposition is handed out quickly, "this is what's going on and why - now watch Superman punch this alien". This paves the way instead for more silly remarks and reactions between the individual heroes to the strangeness that surrounds them.

I was actually pretty thrilled by the action scenes in this, the movie does not serve as an origin story for the individual heroes (with the exception of Cyborg) so it's taken more of a "less talkie, more punchy" kind of nature. The action scenes are well edited and animated, with sound effects that really underscores the effects of the punches. The artstyle of the movie is similar to that of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox from last year, and serves as a decent adaptation of the new costumes designed by artist Jim Lee.  Both Flashpoint and this story was written by Geoff Johns, and you can recognize his background as a writer for The Flash and Green Lantern as they've both been given extra attention. Flash was the main character in Flashpoint, and Green Lantern is the main character in this piece. Green Lantern especially ends up being a character with humorous moments and exchanges right from the get-go.

Justice League: War is by no stretch a great animated movie and it pales in comparison to some of the other DC direct-to-video releases. Despite the creators intention of making it a jumping on point for newcomers, It unfortunately also withholds one of the problems of the animated films by just leaving way too much up to the viewer. Hopefully some of the more unknown characters like Shazam will come into their own with a movie detailing their origin. That being said, for anyone who loves well-animated action scenes and the Justice League this is an entertaining piece through and through. It keeps a fast-pace, has some funny lines and a great retelling of both the origin story of Cyborg and the coming together of The World's Finest, setting up what will hopefully be a great series of movies.
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