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Justice League: War [Blu-ray]
Format: Blu-ray|Change
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on May 30, 2017
Shazam replaces Aquaman, but other than that, it sticks pretty close to the source material.

Some people have said they don't like the voice actors, but I'm okay with each generation getting their own characters to appreciate. Just because I like Kevin Conroy doesn't mean I can't appreciate another Batman. Under the Red Hood is still awesome, and that one doesn't even have Mark Hamill!

I, like most, enjoyed the treatment Cyborg got. I think he's often underutilized, so it's nice to see him get some attention.
From my understanding, Superman is still supposed to be coming into his role, so he hasn't embraced his Beacon of Hope status yet.
I didn't like the treatment Green Lantern got, but he's the most true to form character from the comic... which was written by Geoff Johns.

Aside from the Divine Crowbar, there isn't anything that I don't enjoy/appreciate about this movie. I would love to see DC do all seven remaining volumes of this series.
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One of the best DC animated films but my only gripe is why switch Aquaman out for Shazam? Makes no sense because in the book (Justice league origin) Shazam isn't in it not sure why they chose not to follow the comics. Other then that it's all action and very little story and gives a somewhat decent introduction of how they all met. They all seem to have heard of one another in their respective universe. The story evolves around darkseid and his parademons invading Earth using these cubes as teleportation between their homeword and ours, won't spoil to much but that's pretty much the basis of it.
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To be brutally blunt: Justice League: War is probably not a movie you'll enjoy if you aren't already familiar with most of the cast, with the exception of Cyborg, who gets his origin story in this particular story anyway. While the New 52 comic continuity is a reboot, Justice League itself leaves the development of individual heroes to their individual comics for the most part, leaving the Darkseid story arc at the beginning of the Justice League *series* to focus on its own rather basic inter-dimensional invasion plot while featuring a lot of bombastic action sequences and witty banter. Infofar as loyalty to the comic story it's adapting, the major change this movie makes to the Darkseid arc is leaving Aquaman out of the equation entirely (Aquaman makes his debut here in the comic), and inserting Shazam (who wasn't involved in Justice League's opening New 52 arc at all).

While lacking in familiar voices for the cast that would present a familiar feel for those who enjoyed DC's previous animated offerings, the animation is a notch shy of top-notch and the performances are quite good. Other DC movies have had better action than this one, and more fleshed-out plots, though. Puzzlingly, though the first in line as far as animated "New 52" movies go, this one doesn't really try to establish itself as a starting point in the new continuity. It feels like a movie that should have happened after Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Shazam all had their own individual animated movies.

Nevertheless, the flaws didn't ruin the experience for me; if you're already a DC fan it'll probably be a blast to watch. Can't recommend it to newcomers, though. Dip into some other DC media first.
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on March 24, 2014
This isn't your mom and pop's Justice League... Rather it's reimagining of the the iconic team based the DC New 52 look. The Justice League is based on the magnificent seven (substitute Aquaman for Shazam for it's storyline counterpart and Cyborg for Martian Manhunter for you comic traditionalist out there... In which case you'd probably have to change GL & Flash from Hal & Barry to Kyle & Wally, but I digress) and at it's core is an origin story. Many people have complained about the dark tones and violence DC has been portraying in their movies, but I for one really appreciate it. This isn't the infallible do good era of yesteryear, instead we see classic characters struggle with issues and even react as would any average Joe Schmo. I think this grounds the characters in reality while allowing viewers to identify with them. Yes they are superheroes and yes they should inspire and be role models, but let's be real... The sanctimonious supehero attitude adopted because of comic codes in the 50's & 60's was just as ridiculous and sometimes portrayed the character as shell of their former selves. Anyone who thinks this is too violent hasn't read some of the more essential DC comic book stories out there like DKR, the Killing Joke, the Death of Superman, Identity Crisis, Death in the Family, Emerald Twilight, etc. I personally think that DC is marketing this movie to a more mature audience and anyone looking for a more light hearted interpretation of these characters need to look no further than the CW and Cartoon Network cartoons like Teen Titans Go, Young Justice, the Batman or Legion of Superheroes.
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on June 28, 2016
The voice work isn't the best, especially for Diana and Batman. I think even fans who aren't attached to Kevin Conroy and Susan Eisenberg will find those two characters weren't done well. However, the animation and design are great.

The antagonism between the characters is over done, but it's really only an issue with the Green Lantern and Superman. We expect Batman to be a jerk, but Superman is supposed to be a nice guy, and Green Lantern is portrayed as way too full of himself. He even starts a fight with Batman just because he ticked Lantern off. What was just bad is that Lantern started it with the line "Let's rumba Spooky!" No, just no. Wonder Woman's opening scene is great. Her second scene? Not so much. You could overlook most of that, though, if there was connection between the characters. Cyborg and Shazam have some good moments, and Green Lantern and Batman showed some promise in the second half, but none of the other JL members really even get to know each other, and that goes for the "romance" between Superman and Wonder Woman, too.

On the plus side, Batman is awesome, the fight scenes are good (if a bit gory), and it's a good story line. Not one of DC's best, but far from its worst.
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Enthusiast: Star Warson February 24, 2014
This movie is an iteration of DC's "New 52" this is the Justice League the way it is now, except for one big difference which I don't understand. We have Shazam instead of Aquaman. I love Aquaman and don't see why the change but I'll go with it. (Maybe DC will do a movie with only Aquaman, hint, hint) I love the portrayal of Green Lantern, this is how he is now in the new 52, cocky and arrogant and a definite wise guy. His interaction with Batman is hysterical. I love all the characters and did feel this was terrific...one complaint (well, besides no Aquaman) Darkseid is a great villain but the Justice League was constantly fighting his Parademons, again and again and again, you get the picture until finally we took on the big bad Darkseid himself....very cool and lots of fun.
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on October 17, 2014
Could've been drawn with a bit more detail. The film could've used Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, Susan Eisenberg, Michael Rosenbaum, and Nathan Fillion in the roles of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Green Lantern. After these actors playing the roles for the better part of two decades the different voices took some getting used to.
Although I did like the changes in the story and the addition of Shazam I didn't care for the exclusion of Aquaman. Not as good as All-Star Superman or Superman/Batman: Apocalypse but it was an entertaining take on DC's New 52 version of Justice League.
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on February 12, 2014
One of the common complaints I'm coming across regarding this new "Justice League" DCAU production (other than the replacement of "Aquaman" with "Captain Marvel" who is now "officially" called "SHAZAM" -- but if you watch through the end credits you'll get your answer to why this animated feature chose not to carryover DC's resident "pet fish" this time around) has to do with the "unherolike" behavior of our beloved "SuperFriends" -- they're rude, they're obnoxious, they're backbiting, they're pouty, they're haughty & headstrong... they're just not very likable people. Well, I for one do not see any of this as a problem! In fact, I think this take on the "Justice League" makes for better story telling.

Keeping in mind that this feature is the first one based on DC's "New 52" storyline (unless one wishes to include "Flashpoint Paradox," which I personally do not), I do not see the characters' behaviors as being any sort of a major problem. Nerve grating? You bet! -- that is, *IF* you're any of the "over 20" crowd who has grown up on a steady diet of archetypal "honorable hero" vs. "unambiguous rogues & villiains" who play their respective (expected) roles: whether these are characters as portrayed in comic books, professional wrestling arenas, first-person shooter video games, etc.

So even though it was somewhat "unsettling" to observe these great heroic figures acting all cocky and/or behaving so immaturely with little or no refinement, this set-up actually works and plays out more realistically (though admittedly it's a bit "overdone" at times) once we take into consideration that (in this "new" reality) these are in fact "NEW" characters with "never before seen" abilities who have been thrown into a society "unprepared" for them and often "unreceptive" and "distrusting" of them -- in other words, the people (of the "New 52" universe) have yet to view and embrace these "aberrations" as "heroes," even when they do things that clearly are "heroic" in nature!

So it "feels right" that these "unique" individuals who are just "starting out" do not feel a need to behave "stoically" or with a mind of "responsibility" and "respect" toward the public at large or even toward one another, thus they have this air of "self-importance" about themselves -- or to quote it another way, "With great Power comes great Arrogance." These characters with their "special abilities" which nobody (not even the "supers" themselves) yet fully understands or respects are more-or-less acting on "impulse," much in the same way that any one of us who found ourselves endowed with a similar "special ability" or "fortuitous advantage" which had just been suddenly thrust upon us would/might fall susceptible (think your typical newly discovered "hot" film/television/radio "overnight sensations" who rapidly expect to receive "preferential treatment" in all aspects of their public lives, for example). These are characters who are still trying to make sense of their world and to find a way to fit/work in and around it -- in fact, the whole time I was watching things play out with them, one though kept haunting my mind: "These guys are just within a breath and a half of becoming the 'Crime Syndicate'!" (see "Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths" to get the reference)

So watching these individuals not only coming to terms with their "special abilities" but also trying to "manage" them in ways just enough to keep themselves from crossing over that fine line into the "dark side," as it were, it was refreshing to watch "heroes" *GROW* into their own, rather than just being "born honorable" or having an "epiphany" which makes them instantaneously "angelic": these are "good" people who recognize that what abilities they possess could easily "corrupt" them, but who are still working their way through these abilities trying to find their "true calling."

I was initially afraid that they were going to try to go the "X-Men" route by making the "New 52" characters the objects of blanket hatred by the masses (perhaps they can still go back to their archives and reintroduce "G. Gordon Godfrey / Glorious Godfrey" from the "Legends" mini-series and work that back in into the "N52" line, especially since they decided to introduce Darkseid so early on in the new history), but the fact that after having been objects of so much distrust, theses "costumed vigilantes" have actually shown themselves to be on "our side" and have thus not only won the respect & admiration of the masses, but the "costumed" warriors themselves have also come to appreciate and have more respect for what possessing those powers and abilities truly means to themselves and to others, and that these chains of events with regard to the repelled intergalactic invasion becomes the catalyst which finally begins to transform what are essentially a group of reckless kids in adult bodies (though still quite literally in Cap.Marvel's/SHAZAM's case) into the "heroes" we know we can expect them to become in time.
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on May 18, 2014
As you probably know this movie is based on the Justice League Origin story (New-52). One huge difference is the absence of Aquaman and the introduction of Captain Marvel in his place. I felt the character swap-out worked very well in the context of the story so don't sweat it too much.

The movie has a number of great one-liners from the comic, and overall sticks very much to the storyline. Which is a great storyline.

The voice-acting is very good, though Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly (or George Newbern who basically sounds exactly like Tim Daly) will forever be the best Batman/Superman voices. Ever. Still, I thought Jason O'Mara did a great job as Batman. He's also in Batman and Son, FYI.

Buy this now and support DC's generally-outstanding efforts in these direct-to-DVD films!
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on February 9, 2014
Given the elements that needed to be crammed into this film, (that is, handling each of the protagonists) the production team did a pretty good job. Some reviewers have made the claim, that the attitude of the hero characters in general is somewhat off-putting, but personally I only thought that the Green Lantern was a bit jarring. Shazam is a child after all. The reality is that Hal Jordan is not a particularly likable character in any incarnation, so I'm not sure that's inconsistent. I'm one of those "Just let John Stewart be the Green Lantern" types however, and I can understand why some viewers were not pleased with GL in this film. That said, the conflict between the various heroes made sense, and reconciled appropriately.

The animation style and alterations to character design were, for the most part, well done. Darkseid in particular looks quite a bit better in this film than his comic counterpart, and the nod to Metal Gear Solid designs incorporated into Batman's suit distinguish and round out his design. The action sequences are kinetically rendered and easy to comprehend as well.

The voice acting has a couple of low points, but is actually quite a bit better than the trailer made it sound. Thankfully Steve Blum's voice is digitally altered, as he simply doesn't have the gravitas to play a dark god. Michelle Monaghan as Wonder Woman is the other questionable choice, she didn't seem to find an effective voice/attitude for the type of dialogue she was presented with and the character falls flat as a result.

I realize that JLA: Origin shoehorned their options when it comes to representing Darkseid, but his character is a failure in this film, and for me, that's the greatest weakness of the feature. At his best, Darkseid is represented as a being of incomprehensible power, who could level virtually anything if he chose to, but instead plays games with strange and arbitrary rules to amuse himself. I'd argue that's why the character sometimes can read as a "God", rather than a more trivial villain.

Here Darkseid comes across as a raw brute, who is ultimately beaten into the ground. It's a poor handling of DC's most powerful, and one of their most influential characters and it was a letdown. Additionally, the lack of a clear main character makes the entire affair feel spastic and lacking in a plot, but no more so than most of the JL features.

There is quite a bit to appreciate here nonetheless and most fans of DCAU material will enjoy this flick. Newcomers who are just looking for an action oriented superhero feature may actually be even more pleased, since the weaknesses of the film are primarily related to some questionable choices in characterization. It's not a brilliant piece of cinema, but it handles what it sets out to do well.
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