Friday, April 18, 2014

Film Review: Justice League War

Released February 4, 2014 Justice League War was directed by Jay Olivia and scripted by Heath Corson. The film is adapted from "The New 52" by DC Comics. The animated film is direct to video and is largely taken from Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's re-envisioning of the Justice League's Origins. Justice League: War is much more than a reboot. It’s essentially taking the Justice League’s characters we all know, and making them more contemporary &; adult like we saw in the film ‘Flashpoint: Paradox’, &; less child-friendly. It is the absolute key difference between what Marvel’s animated teams are dishing out & what Warner Bros/DC Comics are utterly self-assured in doing. DC Comics has been doing this with successive direct-to-dvd animated movies for years; And they have yet to disappoint !

The crux of this movie is the early ensemble of  Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Shazam & Cyborg to see off the threat of Darkseid, who is intent on converting the population of Earth to serve him as energy source &; an army. As mentioned previously this film is largely based around the Geoff Johns, Jim Lee & ; Scott Williams book, ‘Justice League: Origins’, the story is very much faithful to the book for the most part, this movie really focuses in on the overcoming of egos, self interest &; the investment in teamwork to overcome a powerful enemy whose focus is singular, organized &; relentless.

Do we miss the fact Aquaman isn't here? Heck Yeah ! But we love the inclusion of Shazam here, even though having him in the same circle as Superman for some folk is uncool. We loved seeing the duo relationships in the movie; Shazam &; Cyborg, Lantern &; Flash, &; the kindling relationship between Superman &; Wonder Woman

The animation style shows some inconsistencies at times ,which are noticeable enough to take you out of the moment as the movie progresses. The film is nowhere near as flawless as ‘The Dark Knight Returns’, & certainly not a patch on ‘Justice League: Doom’. Despite as annoying as these few scenes are, they really don’t detract from what is essentially a really well done animated movie.

The voice-acting under the ever-watchful eye of Andrea Romano never misses a beat. It’s the one thing you can’t ever take away from Warner Bros on these. Andrea runs a tight ship in this area &; it continues to sail bold here, with sails fully puffed out, strongly capturing the essence of these characters with new voices bringing new textures to these characters.

Jason O’Mara really flows here with the same spirit Diedrich Bader did for The Batman, while holding some of the gravitas Conroy brings to the caped crusader. Michelle Monaghan as Wonder Woman just nails it to the wall.

The soundtrack for this feature yet again really helps drive this movie along. This time, Kevin Kliesch helms the composer’s stand for the first time in the DC Universe for Warner Bros. Kliesch’s audio tapestry is earnest enough that it belies his more recent home slice work on movies like Tangled, Thundercats, &; Frozen.

Rebooting any film is not easy. Rebooting some of the most beloved icons in popular culture today that have been around over the last 75 years in various forms is possibly the scariest undertaking anyone could do. When you've done it for the world of paperback comics time and time again, &; then you tackle the behemoth juggernaut of die-hard animated movie lovers, you’re either playing with fire or you're an expert fire juggler. Warner Bros &; Jay Olivia have proved that they are the latter.