Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Justice League: War

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Batman doesn't really need to be in the Justice League, he just wants to make sure the rest of his Super Friends feel like they belong.  

Justice League:  War – 4 out of 5

When it comes to animated adaptations of their books, DC is where it’s at.  I’ve said it time and time again and every time I review one of their films but DC just knows how to do justice with adapting their comic books into animated form—now if they can only get their live-action films up to that level (they’re getting there, I think).  So how does Justice League:  War stack up to their 17 other animated films they released in this series?  

Does Cyborg really need the red light belly button?


War tells the story about how all the heroes of the world, currently viewed by the public as threats, must team together to stop a super-powered villain from consuming the Earth.  The Caped Crusader from Gotham; Batman (Jason O’Mara), the Last Son of Krypton; Superman (Alan Tudyk), the Man without Fear; Green Lantern (Justin Kirk), the Fastest Man Alive; The Flash (Christopher Gorham), the Living Bolt of Lightning; Captain Marvel (Sean Astin), the Amazonian Warrior, Wonder Woman (Michelle Monaghan) and the half-man/half-machine; Cyborg (Shemar Moore), are forced to put aside their petty attitudes and massive egos in order to work together and stop an invading force led by Darkseid (Steve Blum).  Can they overcome the odds (and each other) to protect the Earth and form the greatest superhero team up in all of existence?

Darkseid doesn't look like he thinks so.  Then again, Darkseid kinda looks like his morning
cup of coffee and bran muffin are about to explode their way out of him.

If a villain lands a punch on Batman, it's because Batman
allowed them to do so...because he's Batman.
The special thing about this adaptation is War is the first animated adaptation of DC’s ambitious New 52 continuity.  While my personal feelings of the New 52 is very mixed, I did enjoy they decided to adapt the new origin of the Justice League.  Granted, there are some minor changes from the pages made by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee and they are evident; like Aquaman is nowhere to be seen and is replaced with Captain Marvel but, for the most part, you get the spirit of the book.  Of course, I never thought I would be pining for Aquaman to be a part of the story…but they do tease at the end of the film he will be getting his own film soon.  As much as I make fun of the guy, I really do want to see an Aquaman animated movie.

Shazam!!!  Whenever I yell that, I also get superpowers.  Superpowers like being told
I'm making a scene.

Captain Marvel and The Flash stopping for a moment to watch
a squirrel eat a taco shell it found in the garbage.
While the New 52 has yet to really resonate with me like the old continuity did, the newly updated origin of the Justice League is still fun and action packed.  The characters, due to the new origin and restart of DC’s line, are slightly different from what I’ve grown up with and it was a little jarring seeing a very arrogant Superman jump from the cells to the screen but actually seeing the comic get adapted and seeing the action actually play out with terrific animation that really captured the power of each hero was just awesome and all kinds of exciting—like all the kinds of exciting.  Like from every category, every shelf and cupboard and everywhere else you keep the exciting.

An ex-girlfriend of mine once gave me a Green Lantern ring...it didn't give me any
powers of the Will so I broke up with her.

Some poor innocent bystanders just accidentally saw up
Darkseid's skirt.
The only real downside I had for the film was the voice acting.  While there are some really great actors doing some work here, there were some that didn’t work for me or were a hard sell.  For example, Sean Astin was great as Captain Marvel.  As you know, Captain Marvel is a little boy who, when he yells “Shazam” becomes a powerhouse superhero.  Astin, a terrific actor in his own right (the dude was a Goonie and motherfuckin’ Samwise Gamgee, for Cheese Sake), had the perfect voice for the role.  He brought a youthful, child-like tone to the character that was able to capture the character’s immaturity and strength simultaneously.

They covered up Wonder Woman's cleavage for the film.  Babysteps towards a nonsexist
costume for female superheroes.

I would say that Cyborg is compensating for something with that
gun but...well...it's a big fucking gun.
Most of the League was brought to life in similar and near perfect levels.  Christopher Gorham is great as The Flash (anyone else excited for The Flash’s show?), Michelle Monaghan brings to life the fish-out-of-water Wonder Woman and really captures her curiosity of the human race and Shemar Moore was perfect as Cyborg.  Finally, with the help of some sound editing, Steve Blum brings Darkseid to life and this blending really made him a chilling villain that does justice (yes, I keep intentionally using the word “justice”) to the character.

Wonder Woman finds no joy in her truth lasso.

The only real problems I had with the voice acting came in the form of my three favorite members of the Justice League:  Green Lantern, Batman and Superman.  Justin Kirk from Weeds is in charge of voicing Hal Jordan and, while he was always one of my favorite players on Weeds, I had a hard time accepting him as the voice of Green Lantern.  His voice just didn’t seem to fit the character design and it took till almost the end of the film for me to actually buy into him in the role.

The lighting effects they did with that ring were just fantastic in this film.

I had the same problem with Alan Tudyk as Superman.  I love Tudyk!  I gushed like a school girl the day I met him and love him in every role he plays—even if the role is in an incredibly shitty film (like a Transformers film).  When I heard he was voicing Supes, I didn’t know if he could capture the Big Blue Boy Scout.  However, the New 52 Superman is a little different than other incarnations of Kal-El we’ve seen and, after some time, I was able to accept him as Superman.  It was a little easier of a buy than Kirk as Green Lantern.

Interesting parallel, Alan Tudyk can also shoot laser beams out of his eyes.

Finally, I had a hard time with Jason O’Mara as Batman.  Not because O’Mara was bad or anything—he was actually really good.  The problem I had was the fact that I am such a fan of Kevin Conroy that he has become the quintessential Batman and forever will be the man in the cap and cowl.  O’Mara was an excellent Batman…it’s just hard to see Bats and not hear the iconic voice of Conroy.

There are two type of people in this world:  People who love Batman...and horrible,
evil people you don't want to know.

Justice League:  War is an excellent adaptation of the New 52 Justice League origin story.  We get to see new versions of our heroes adapted from the pages, the story is exciting (and we get a lot of cool Cyborg action), the animation is spectacular, and the fight sequences are epic in scale and epic in the fun/excitement factor.  While some of the voice acting took some time for me to really get behind, there’s little this movie does wrong.  It’s really just another example of DC showing they really know what they are doing with their animated films.

"We'll call ourselves The Avengers!  No, wait, I'm told we'll be sued if we go with that...
How's Justice League for everyone?"

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