Interestingly enough, not only does Justice League: War marks Warner Brother animation’s first attempt at a New 52 story, it’s also the first installment in their new shared movie universe. So when Son of Batman comes out in May, it will be in the same continuity as Justice League: War. Apparently, at least two of the three movies they release each year will be a part of this new continuity. Which means that this particular film will be the corner stone and progenitor of all that will follow after.
Luckily, it doesn’t disappoint. This movie seems to set the stage for some interesting character development, from super powered loners into the heroes we know they become. It’s based on a well-received storyline by the Wonder Twins themselves (Geoff Johns and Jim Lee), and the voice cast is basically a who’s who list of well-liked television actors. I mean seriously, Shemar Moore and Alan ‘Freaking Wash’ Tudyk in the same movie? You had me at hello.
Justice League: War is about seven people coming together to stop an alien invasion, and in the process becoming one of the greatest superhero teams ever known. The story takes place pretty early in all of the hero’s careers. They do a really good job of making it seem like a realistic and natural path towards what we all know is down the road. It’s not one of those lazy Saturday morning ‘You’re a hero, I’m a hero. Let’s do this!” type of thing.
In fact everything, from how the heroes interact with one another to how the regular folks react to them, is rather realistic and interesting. This movie’s biggest strength lies in its witty dialogue and humor derived from good characters. For instance, the arrogant and loudmouthed Green Lantern (Weed’s Justin Kirk) is one of the best surprises to come out of this movie. His interactions with Batman (Terra Nova’s Jason O’Mara) and The Flash (Covert Affairs’ Christopher Gorham) make for some real laughs. Plus, the film’s frighteningly badass Wonder Woman (Eagle Eye’s Michelle Monaghan) is easily my favorite version of the Amazonian to every grace the small screen.
While this movie stays relatively true to the comics, there were a few things lost in translation. The biggest change from the original story is that they completely removed Aquaman, replacing him with Shazam (The Goonies’ Sean Astin). Honestly though, while I was initially disappointed by the substitution, by the end you kind of forget all about Aquaman. I don’t mean that as an attack on King of Atlantis, it is just that the multilayered Shazam seems to fit better into a story about new heroes just on the cusp of their destinies.
Also, I just really like Shazam.
Justice League: War is a good example of why I have had so much love and respect for DC animation since I was a little dude. Between their TV shows and direct to video movies, they have spent nearly two decades crafting intelligent and highly enjoyable entertainment. DC Animation is so good at what they do that they took a storyline that I was not a big fan of in the comics, and turned it into a movie I have already watched more than once. If this movie is truly any indicator of what is to come from DC’s new animated continuity, I can’t wait for more.