Justice League: Gods and Monsters – 4 out of 5
If you follow the blog, you know that I’m an unapologetic fan of superheroes and comic books (not that I understand why anyone would have to apologize for being a fan of this stuff). I’m a big fan of all the Marvel films and I really dig DC’s animated features. When I heard that Bruce Timm—the man who gave us the epic Batman: The Animated Series and so many other awesome things—was creating a new Justice League story that would show a brand new look at DC’s Trinity (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman), I was all in. Not only because this was another chance to see another DC animated film but because Justice League: Gods and Monsters offers up a unique and original retelling—a new universe—for a completely different tale of the heroes to take place in.
|One of the biggest changes is that Superman is dressed like he's trying|
to join up with the goth kids.
In an alternate reality, Superman (Benjamin Bratt) is the son of General Zod and was raised by migrant farmers on Earth, Batman (Michael C. Hall) isn’t Bruce Wayne but Kirk Langstrom (the man who would be Man-Bat in the mainstream storyline) and is no longer a man seeking vengeance as a vigilante but a new form of vampire, and Wonder Woman (Tamara Taylor) is Bekka, a New God and the widow of Darkseid’s son. Together, they form a new Justice League that protects the world but is looked upon with suspicion from the population. After the deaths of brilliant men like Victor Fries, Ray Palmer and Silas Stone are made to look like it was done by the team, the world calls for an investigation. Soon, the team learns they are being blackmailed by a diabolical villain in an effort to remove them before he initiates a plan to convert the world to his vision of perfection.
Despite coming out of the gate with some amazing features in their animated shared universe, I haven’t been that impressed with the last few DC features. They’ve never been all out bad but too many of them have felt rushed and like they were pushing too much content into a seemingly short time span. This is also seen in Gods and Monsters as the story has the harsh responsibility to craft a new world but it also juggles having a story that is deep and massive. For the most part, the film does a great job of both feathering out the universe (this is also helped thanks to 3 short prequel animated features that can be found online...and I very much recommend watching them) and developing the mystery and intrigue of the story to a satisfying degree.
|Kinda looks like the Commissioner Gordon/Robo-Batman a bit.|
Like all DC’s features, the animation looks great and continues to keep a similar look with the other films (a look that fits perfectly with Batman: TAS). Additionally, the voice acting is pretty good. Bratt, Hall and Taylor do a great job of bringing life to these new versions of the Justice League. Finally, keeping with the trend of the other films, this feature is very mature and very dark. Sure, the film gives you some robot nipples in order to, I guess, be mature but what really blew me away was how dark the feature goes.
|Like Bat-nipples, only even more pointless.|
Gods and Monsters gets gory to the point that this film would easily be skirting an R-rating if it was a live-action film but what I really dug about this was how Bruce Timm really wanted you to make sure these aren’t the heroes you were raised with. Sure, some could argue that Timm was going a lazy route and making Supes, Bats, and WW darker for the sake of being dark but I saw it as an antithesis to what I’m used to. Superman isn’t the Boy Scout we know but a bitter and angry man, this Batman will only kill bad dudes (and do so by drinking their blood) and Wonder Woman is barely a shadow of Princess Diana. This new approach to their origins and going beyond by making completely different characters become these heroes rather just adjusting Bruce Wayne, Diana and Kal-El’s backstory really made for something interesting and not just a quick alternate universe throw-together.
|This Batman does not suck...well, he actually does.|
(Damn, did I really go with that awful joke?)
Justice League: Gods and Monsters might be the best DC animated film I’ve seen in some time. Its story is great, the voice acting is top notch, the new twist on the same old heroes is intriguing and the action is violent but exciting. Bruce Timm crafted a universe that is rich and has the potential for many more stories and more unique takes on other DC characters. I'm glad this world will return with online episodes and I'm excited to see what other neat routes this universe will take.