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Justice League: War [Blu-ray]
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218 of 238 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2014
Alright, I don't normally write reviews but I thought I'd jump on here and try to give as fair a review as I can because no one else who has reviewed the film, as of this writing, has actually seen it. Vudu literally JUST released it a few hours ago for early digital purchase and I decided I didn't want to wait.

Well I'm happy to report that that was a great decision because I really enjoyed the movie. But let me get the negative aspects of Justice League War out of the way first because I feel there are so few of them.

Negatives:

1. The voice acting, especially for Batman and Wonder Woman is not great. I'm very much a Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, Susan Eisenberg fan. I think their takes on the most beloved Leaguers is iconic. I also find it odd that they cast George Newbern, who many prefer over Daly as Superman, as Steve Trevor instead. I think Andrea Romano does an incredible job with her casting and voice direction 99% of the time, but this is that 1% where it didn't quite work.

2. Some of the dialogue, like the original comic arc, is poor. I'm not as down on the New 52 as many die-hard DC fans were/are but I was never a big fan of Geoff John's and Jim Lee's first Justice League arc that this movie is based on. First, I never like leading with Darkseid because he's arguably DC's most important villain (all do respect to Joker and Lex). Second, I never felt Geoff gave Superman any credit in his writing; he basically makes the character a jerk, and it's off-putting. Arguably, in that first arc all of the Leaguers (except for Batman...of course) are total jerks for no reason. So some of the dialogue does follow the comic and is still unnecessarily combative. But thankfully, most of the dialogue choices do work in the film.

3. Related to my previous point - Superman and Wonder Woman come off as pretty two-dimensional in comparison to the other five. But again, this is a flaw originating in the source material itself, not the movie. Hal (obviously Geoff John's bread and butter), Barry, Victor, and Billy all have much more depth to them and are more interesting - this will be covered in my positives as well. I love that the lesser known characters receive a lot of attention, but it comes at too much of an expense to Superman and Wonder Woman.

Positives:

Where to begin - Despite the few flaws I really like the job that Jay Oliva has done directing this adaptation. As I said before, I never really liked Geoff's original arc, especially his take on Superman. But Justice League War is able to correct most of the major mistakes Geoff made while still following the same general structure and plot points of the comic. Let's get into some details

1. Superman. I'll lead with the big guy because he's why I read DC comics and watch their movies. While the Superman presented in Justice League War is pretty cold, detached, and calculating compared to previous incarnations, he doesn't come off as completely unlikable like Geoff wrote him in the original arc. He's not as warm as we're used to seeing but I'm okay with it because whatever he's lost in warmth and charm, he's gained in intelligence and awareness. No where is this more apparent than in the brief showdown with Batman and Green Lantern where a "realistic" fight actually occurs. Longtime Superman fans will love it, Bat fans probably won't.

2. Green Lantern. The entire story follows all seven heroes but Hal is the focal point. As with the comic Hal's bravado is laid on a bit thick. We all know how seemingly arrogant Hal is, but it's just cranked up to 11 in the comic. Despite that, the movie does a good job of making it work when it didn't work on the page.

3. Victor Stone/Cyborg

I've never been a big Cyborg fan. DC has been trying to push him heavily in the New 52 and with Justice League Doom two years ago. This movie is the first time I found myself really wanting to see more from the character throughout. I always thought the father/son dynamic over football felt very forced but it was handled better (not perfectly, but better) in this go around. And Cyborg's powerset is really shown off during the battle sequences, and they are quite impressive and fun to watch - finally! I now hope to see more of Cyborg in future animated movies, and maybe even the live action universe when WB gets their house in order.

4. Flash doesn't get much attention in the movie but Barry's unique personality shines through in the few scenes he's really in.

5. Shazam. Alright, I'm going to step in it because this is what most of the fuss has been about. Yes they replaced Aquaman with Captain Marvel/Shazam in the movie. Personally, I do like what Geoff has done with Aquaman in the New 52. It's probably a top-5 book in the rebooted universe. And the third arc that Geoff worked on for the rebooted Justice League, Throne of Atlantis, was quite strong. Despite all of that I don't mind the switch in this movie. That's partly because I've never been heavily invested in either character to care which one is on the main roster (I'd rather Martian Manhunter over either anyway). But it's also partly because I think the immaturity of Billy works well within the story.

Part of the problem with the comic this movie is based, along with all the other problems I listed, is that it was never even remotely believable to me (even with the general suspension of disbelief that's required to read comics) that Superman. Wonder Woman, and Aquaman (all somewhat diplomatic figures) would be as immature as they're depicted. In that original comic it never felt like there was an adult in the room, despite all of them being adults. I think with the introduction of Billy, instead of Arthur, the dysfunctional nature of the team makes more sense because there is, quite literally, a child on the team. The immaturity of Billy forced Hal to reexamine his behavior, and forced Wonder Woman to take charge. And the dynamic between Billy and Victor I found charming and unique to the team.

In either case, I can understand Aquaman fans being a bit upset but I'd say give the movie a chance. There may even be a surprise for the Aquaman fans ::wink wink::

I wrote this long review because no one else here has seen it yet, so hopefully this will help people out there on the fence make a decision. I really wanted to reach out to the fellow Superman fans out there that have been concerned with the way he's been portrayed in the New 52 (except for Unchained, that's an amazing comic). He's a bit different, but he's not the horrible mess that he was in the comic this is based off of. We're given those heroic moments we've come to expect from him, and he also beats down Batman, so enjoy it :)
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235 of 306 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 13, 2013
Amazon has not provided much in the form of product details beyond it being a Warner Home Video release that is 78 minutes induration. Amazon also has three separate listings for this item, a DVD (1-Disc) and Blu-ray due out February 4, 2014, and a DVD (2-Disc) due out March 18, 2014. To better understand what I may be ordering I did some on-line research...this is what I found. Websites like Dark Horizons & YouTube have debut trailors. I settled on Comic Vine for their assessment, not too vague, not spoiling over with info. It states:

"Let Justice Begin"

"When the powerful Darkseid and his massive, relentless forces invade Earth, a group of previously unaligned super heroes - misunderstood and, in some cases, hunted by the authorities - discover the only way to fend off the attack will be to work together as a cohesive unit. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Shazam and, in his origin story, Cyborg combine their respective talents in an all-out battle to save the planet." Based on the 2012 graphic novel, "Justice League: Origin," by Geoff Johns & Jim Lee, JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR provides a glance into the world before the Justice League was created, and offers the initial animated incarnation of DC Entertainment's "The New 52."

Wikipedia provided further information: Directed by Jay Oliva, produced by James Tucker, with a screenplay by Heath Corson. It list's the following characters / actors:

* Bruce Wayne / Batman - Jason O'Mara
* Clark Kent / Superman - Alan Tudyk ("Firefly")
* Hal Jordan / Green Lantern - Justin Kirk
* Princes Diana / Wonder Woman - Michelle Monaghan
* Barry Allen / The Flash - Christopher Gorham
* Victor Stone / Cyborg - Shemar Moore
* Shazam / Captain Marvel - Sean Astin
* Darkseid - Steven Blum
* Desaad - Bruce Thomas
* Silas Stone - Rocky Carroll
* Billy Batson - Zach Callison
* Steve Trevor - George Newbern

When I find an item on Amazon that has no product details I realise that I need to do some internet research to decide if I will pre-order it. So, I would ask you...if you find a product on Amazon with no product details...and in the review section someone has gone and done some research and provided their results for your consideration...why does this effort get a "not helpful" vote? I have found, over time, that many people appreciate this research, others react in a very confusing manner.
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44 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2014
Let me say first that I am not the target audience. I do not read the New 52. I grew up in a world where heroes were those people who exhibited extraordinary power and took it upon themselves to use it in a responsible fashion. This movie exemplified everything that is wrong with the re-imagining of these characters. But since this is a review of the movie let me pause and give the good first:

The Good: The action was good if a little bloody and some of the dialogue was rather witty albeit forced at times. Voice acting I thought was solid, exceeding the writing which felt forced at times. Animation also I thought was quite good.

The Bad: The heroes weren't that heroic.

Wonder Woman - Shame on the writers for discarding Steve Trevor and having WW have an instant flirtatious relationship with Superman. Power wise we are back to full strength WW and her being the warrior. However they gave her no desire or feelings of responsibility with being the Amazon's liaison to the outside world. She acted as if she didn't want that role.

Flash - Not much character building but I thought he was the best character. Very solid. He acted and behaved as I believed he should.

Captain Marvel (Shazam) - What made the Wizard Shazam choose him? In previous incarnations of CM Billy was the mistreated boy who chose to hold on to a good and moral life treating people with respect holding to a tough moral code. Billy, behaves as a spoiled self centered boy both in his real identity and in that of his alter ego. They also moved CM's powers to be more lightning. Gone is the similar power set to Superman. In my opinion the lightning blasting CM is just weird and doesn't fit. It's a choice and not one I would have made. The choice of naming him Shazam is stupid. That's what he uses to call upon his power. When he introduced himself as Shazam I expected him to suddenly change. A stupid rendition.

Hal Jordan - Reckless and brash he certainly behaves as a man with no fear...I found him...passable. Although I found he seemed to be flip flopping a lot in behavior and attitude. However one very important note...DARKSEID IS TOO BIG OF A UNIVERSAL THREAT WHO HAS CONQUERED PLANETS FOR THE GL CORE AND GUARDIANS TO NOT TO KNOW WHO HE IS. Ok I'm done...let's move on.

Cyborg - Weird rendition...I did very much like the use of his father and their relationship.

Batman - "Because he is Batman". There is a lot of take it with a grain of salt here. Batman knows everyone's secret identity which didn't make sense given it was their first meeting. Also Batman isn't a "sharer". Batman is supposed to be that hero of a few words. Here I found him quite chatty and willing to reveal back-story information in a way he previously would never have.

Superman - Wow...Here is a character that exemplifies what went wrong with the movie. Superman comes across like a high school jock that knows he is more powerful and better than everyone else. He is no one to respect or even like. In his first meeting with the other heroes he is letting loose with Heat Vision on Batman... If one of those connected what did he think was going to happen? That's the point though... Superman doesn't think. He is brash, rude and behaves at worst like a bully at best as someone who believes themselves superior to normal humans. He is a punch first ask questions later person. In my world that isn't Superman. The same way Azrael was never Batman this rendition in my mind will never be Superman.

All in all this movie gave us the heroes we didn't want...and at least for me not what I deserved. I don't care about arrogant heroes. I don't care about this group. So DC..here is a message from me to you. My money you will no longer have. Until I get my heroes back this is the last time I will spend money on anything coming from these characters.

> For those that like this all I have to say is that I am so sorry that your view of the world is so bitter that these characters feel like Heroes. Using powers can make you Super but being a hero is something different.
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43 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2014
I'm truly having a hard time with this movie and characterizing my feelings toward it. On the one hand it's a Justice League movie and as you can tell by the username, I'm a fan; however, I'm just not as sold on it as I'd like to be.

I love the comic series and am pretty happy with the direction the New 52 has taken and even though this movie is based on the initial story-arc, I just can't bring myself to love it.

Perhaps a big part of it is the voice actors in this movie, as maybe I'm just too attached to the old cast! Let's face it, it's hard replacing the likes of Tim Daly / George Newbern (take your pick) as Superman, Michael Rosenbaum as Flash, Nathan Fillion as GL, Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman, and there's simply no replacing Kevin Conroy as Batman IMHO. The new cast is merely okay and I'm particularly not fond of Jason O'Mara's voice filling the role of Batman. His voice just doesn't fit Batman for me, nor does it seem like it would help to strike fear in Batman's enemies in the same manner as Conroy's.

Speaking of voice acting, I'm not sure if it is the voice of (Justin Kirk) the new GL, but I feel as if Green Lantern and Flash are having an identity crisis (no pun intended). GL seems as if he has completely taken on Flash's persona and vice versa. GL comes off a little too cocky and a bit too much of a smart guy (but replace guy with three other letters). Don't get me wrong, I expect GL to have some swagger as he did in the JL comic story arc, but in JL: War it seems to go a bit overboard for me. In the movie, GL comes off as far more obnoxious than confident and I have trouble believing it is simply the writing and not the voice actor. I can't remember feeling the same way about the story in the comic which was very similar if not identical, so I'm not entirely sure. Who knows, it could be the slightest tweak here and there to the movie script versus the comic story-arc. What I do know without a doubt is that I feel Nathan Fillion was a perfect choice for GL so any other actor, for me, is a step down! Sorry, Justin Kirk.

As for the story in JL: War, I just feel it is a tad bit weak and although it was based on the comic book series, it just doesn't seem to translate as well as I had hoped it would. There was far too little substance and for some reason, it didn't come off as well as Geoff Johns's telling of it in the New 52 Justice League series. The heroes seem a bit more unlikeable in the movie than in the comic book series, particularly Wonder Woman, who comes off in the movie as a bumbling idiot. Once again, I don't recall her being written that poorly in the comic story-arc, but I may have to go back and reread it.

In addition, another thing that I noticed about the movie that didn't seem to hit me as hard while reading this story-arc in the comic series, is the heroes lack of concern in regards to destruction and their complete disregard for public safety. They destroy parts of Metropolis without giving it a second thought, which just doesn't seem like the heroes I've grown to know and love, particularly Superman!

In regards to the animation, it was done well enough, but I'm still not one hundred percent sold on the art-style which is a little too anime for my tastes. Don't get me wrong, I love me some anime, just not in my JL movies thank you very much. That's not a deal-breaker though as both Flashpoint Paradox and Doom had a similar, if not identical style.

Furthermore, what is up with Superman in this movie? He just looks weird to me in some parts of the film. He's either drawn way too muscular or his head is too big...And his "S" appears to be drawn too small! He just looks odd to me at times throughout the film unlike how he's drawn in the New 52 JL series! This is certainly not Jim Lee's Superman, which I absolutely love!

Some of you may feel I'm nitpicking here, but Superman is perhaps my favorite of the group, so I'm probably slightly more critical of how he's done as opposed to the other JL members.

In summary I feel that JL: War is on the cusp of being great and with a few tweaks here and there very well might have been. Your mileage may vary, but as it stands for me, while it is good and worth owning, it just isn't on the same level with Flashpoint Paradox or Doom, in this fan's humble opinion!
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30 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2014
For those of you who know don't know who Bruce Timm is, he was one of the pillars of bringing DC Animation into the next level of quality. Starting in 1992 he worked on Everything from Batman: The Animated Series all the way through The Dark Knight Returns part 1 and 2. DKR was his last project before stepping down as lead. As much as I thought Flashpoint was all right, I had a hard time with War. The voice acting seemed a little too artificial and the pacing seemed a little too jumbled. I know this is based off of the New 52 volume one graphic novel, but this production just seemed to lack the heart of past features. It was action packed for sure, but it lacked the Heart of Under the Red Hood or Superman VS The Elite.

I know they're doing another JLA feature next, but I'm hoping at some point James Tucker (who is an amazing man on his own) will go back to the solo hero movies. I'd like to see them even take a break from the Batman/Superman teams ups, maybe do a Flash or Green Arrow solo movie, or even the Teen Titans project that got cancelled a few years ago.

Overall, I think the feature is worth owning for some of the more absurd moments, but this doesn't even rank among the top ten for DC animation.If you're looking for some quality Bruce Timm stuff I recommend.

Green Lantern: First Flight
Batman: Under The Red Hood
Superman VS The Elite

Also, please remember this is a PG-13 feature and may not be appropriate for children under 13 years of age. As an adult I have NO problem with mature content, but I think people should be informed.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2014
This thing is filled with curse words and blood, obviously aiming for the 13-15 year old crowd. But the writing is still pretty horrendous. Seemingly written by 13-15 year olds, Wonder Woman is reduced to a childish moron who spends the first half of the movie fawning over pink ice cream cones while chilling out in front of the white house with some random little girl who is wandering Pennsylvania Ave after dark all alone. A group of protestors picket her arrival, accusing her of being a bully. So she uses her Lasso of Truth to expose one of them as s cross dresser, and somehow the protesters lose conviction in their goal because I guess the writers think that makes him a bad person. Very unenlightened, and shows a level of ignorance and immaturity that shouldn't be encouraged by DC's iconic super heroes.

Every single hero has a moment where a little kid is awestruck by an act of heroism, as if this movie was made for 4 year olds. Then smash cut to a guy dying brutally. Is this meant to be ironic? Cyborg's a grown man, but his relationship with his dad is more like a 90s kids movie, with the dad not showing up to his football games because he's a to invested in his own work. Then the dad proceeds to allow his son to prance around this incredibly unstable alien device that they're studying in a laser circle.

The aliens are inconsequential and totally boring. DC has a way of making their villains completely one dimensional, but this film takes it to a new extreme. They're all copies of the same boring armored alien that can fly and punch hard.

Flash looks like William Zabka (the badguy from Karate Kid). Superman has bed head and looks like a giant muscular baby. And Green Lantern will never shut up and stop trying way too hard to be the comic relief.

Batman is pretty cool. But there's a decade of animated source material to base that character on. If you can't make Batman cool, then you're truly hopeless as a writer.

Don't waste your time, this isn't one of the good ones.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2014
To be fair, it's just as good as the comic...which doesn't say much. I think the thing that annoyed me the most was just how much of a "dumb girl" Wonder Woman was. First they change her costume for some unknown reason, and then they make her a "I like ice cream and I like to swing sword at everything" bimbo. So sad. It would be awesome if they did a Wonder Woman cartoon based on the Brian Azzello comics. I did forget how bad the comic was and the supposed first "meeting" of Batman and Superman. I was bored and I bought this and now I regret it.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2014
I normally love the DC animated films, especially the last one, Flashpoint but what made that film so great (plot, characterization, depth) is stunningly missing from War.

War is literally 75 minutes of people just hitting each other. Over and over and over again.

And what was up with Wonder Woman's awful costume? It is the New 52, so why not put her in her new outfit? Superman murders Desaad? How could they make Darkseid so uninteresting???

If this is the way of the new DC Animated Universe then count me out.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2014
Just watched this last night, and to be brief about it, if you like action films that require no attachment between you and the characters, this film is for you.

Pretty much every character in this film has few reasons if any for an audience to care about what's happening. The exceptions are The Flash and Batman, and probably Cyborg - although that last character is pretty whiny and I still don't get his inclusion in these things.

As funny as it sounds, I'd recommend JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time over this film. The "Adventures" DVD was released directly to Target stores and is aimed to sell toys, but the characters in that film are much more approachable and the story is quite fun. And I guess when you get down to it, this DVD is meant to promote characters in comics, so it's kind of all the same thing.

In this film everything just kind of jams together and is sat on by a huge amount of gravitas. Pass.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2014
The new film Justice League: War was an utter failure. Just awful. The voice casting and performances were sub par for sure. The story was a flimsy shadow of the barely passable JL New 52 story it was based on. The cursing seemed forced and uncharacteristic of some of the characters. Superman was a blank slate of personality and the story was rushed and full of character relation scenes a child could have written better. The way Batman unmasked himself in the middle of a battle to "relate" to Hal was just sad and played like a scene from an 80's cartoon at best. The stylized designs of the characters were based on the New 52 for sure but, unacceptable. I can force myself to accept the New 52 but, if this is the animated offering of it they should have not bothered.

So many chances to set up the New 52 as something interesting. This film should have been a hallmark of DC films to open the New 52 to the non comic reading fans as something they could latch onto. Nope.

Granted, there were a very few lines between Green Lantern and the Flash that were what you would hope for but, nothing new.

Overall, possibly the worst DC animated film to date.
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