JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR
I suppose I am a bit late to DC’s New 52 concept which rebooted the company’s entire superhero line but the very idea repulsed me back then, so you will forgive me if I decided not to indulge when it all went down in 2011. The direct-to-video animated movie, Justice League: War, represents the first movie adaptation of the New 52 series (in particular, Justice League) and thus, I thought it would be an appropriate time to give my 2cts worth on this latest reboot.
In a word – awful. In an attempt to update their superheroes all DC have succeeded in doing is make their lead characters a bunch of unlikable, unsympathetic assholes. The worst of the lot is Green Lantern/Hal Jordan. Yes, I remember the classic Jordan Lantern as fearless and a bit reckless but here he comes across like a arrogant jackass. What kind of hero is that?
I guess the fault lies with writer Geoff Johns whose lack of skill with characterizations is plain to see in that first Justice League: Origin arc. And somehow these flaws are actually exacerbated in this movie adaptation. Batman is egocentric, Superman is aloof, Wonder Woman is dumb, Flash is naive and Lantern, as I said before, is a buffoon.
Only likable character is Cyborg, whose trials & tribulations at least tug at the heart, even if his whole scenario is ridiculous (even for a superhero comic). One thing that the movie does have over the comic book is the replacement of Aquaman (yet another annoying character) with the original Captain Marvel (or Shazam, as he is called here) whereby the latter is able to provide light, comic relief – which the story definitely needs! Only thing is that the Billy Batson character is also portrayed as an asshole but thank goodness his super-powered alter ego is good for laughs, at least.
To cut a long story short – the Justice League meet and form to face a common enemy – in the original comic book decades ago, it was Starro the Conqueror (a villain that would be comical nowadays viz. a gigantic starfish!) but now we have Kirby’s Darkseid. Cue numerous opportunities for fight scenes on the streets of Metropolis and massive devastation (you thought Man of Steel was excessive?). Of course, the super-team is victorious at the end and so begins a new era.
Possibly one of the worst animated superhero movies I have ever seen. But I must stress that the source material did not give the movie makers much to work with and to their credit, the use of Shazam instead of Aquaman did offer some improvement. I sincerely hope that the New 52 concept will have no sway over future DC animated movies or even the upcoming Batman vs Superman or Justice League films.