Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
Special Edition, Standard Edition
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DCU Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths (Blu-Ray)
In a parallel Earth ruled by the Crime Syndicate, the Justice League must fight their evil doppelgangers in a battle that would be dead even, except that their malicious counterparts are willing to do the one thing Batman and Superman never would: kill.]]>
The arrival of a heroic Lex Luthor--yes, you read that correctly--leads Superman, Batman, and the rest of the Justice League to confront their evil, alternate-universe identities in Crisis on Two Earths, a terrific addition to the DC Animated Universe (DCAU) line of direct-to-DVD animated features. Based on Grant Morrison's JLA: Earth 2 graphic novel, the action brings the core Leaguers (Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter, though not the Dark Knight, who stays behind to ruminate on the evils of his own world) to a second Earth where their villainous counterparts rule the roost as part of the Crime Syndicate. What ensues is a solid mix of drama and action that, surprisingly, doesn't end with a wall-to-wall brawl between Justice Leagues. Instead, the story takes intelligent forays into the reality of a world ruled by super-villains, and the consequences of intruding on that reality. Though the story is a reworking from the failed Justice League: Worlds Collide feature (which was designed to serve as a link between the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series), Crisis on Two Earths never feels like a patchwork effort; rather, it's well conceived and stands solidly next to some of the best DCAU efforts. The scripting is supported by a solid cast that includes Mark Harmon as Superman, James Woods as Owlman (the alternate-world Batman), Chris Noth as the "good" Lex Luthor, and William Baldwin, who acquits himself well as Batman, but can't replace Kevin Conroy.
Extras are plentiful and include the gritty, Steve Niles-penned DC Showcase for The Spectre, which also turned up on the Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam DVD; the live action pilots for the '70s-era Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter and the unaired, threadbare Aquaman; two bonus episodes of Justice League, both dealing with alternate Earths; and a 30-minute look at the powers that be at DC Comics and the changes that have been wrought at the company. A handful of sneak peeks at upcoming and previously released DCAU DVD releases, including Batman: Under the Red Hood, round out the set. --Paul Gaita
"The New World" extended cut
"A First Look at the Next DC Universe Movie: Batman--Under the Red Hood"
Green Lantern First Look
Superman/Batman Public Enemies First Look
Wonder Woman: The Amazon Princess
Bruce Timm’s Top Picks; "A Better World" Parts 1 and 2, "Twilight" Parts 1 and 2
DC TV pilot episodes (live-action): Wonder Woman (previously on Wonder Woman S1 release), Aquaman (never before released)
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Speaking of Batman, his portrayal in this movie does no represent the Batman I have always envisioned. This is largely because William Baldwin has a higher pitched voice and cannot really project the rage or toughness that Batman requires. For me, I for the most part only enjoyed the parts where Batman was fighting or not speaking. On the otherhand, Superman is a commanding force here; Mark Harmon does an excellent job.
All in all, it's a decent movie but Batman was ruined for me so there is no way I can rate this 5 stars.
I recommend the double-disc version of this because of the special features. Check out the pretty amazing short animated movie of a lesser known DC character named the Spectre, voiced by the wonderful Gary Cole. I was surprised how good this short was.
You also get 2 episodes of the Justice League Animated Series that basically have a very similar storyline to "Crisis". "A Better World" parts 1 and 2 almost surpass the movie in terms of quality and intensity.
Again, buy this but only if it is the double-disc package.
My interest is because it was written by the late Dwayne McDuffie, it was originally going to be part of the DCAU, it's story taking place between the "Justice League" and "Justice League Unlimited " TV series, and bridging those shows. McDuffie was an excellant writer (one of the best in the DCAU's Emmy-winning staff), and the story was inspired by one of the best known of DC Comics' Silver Age stories.
In this film, super-hero Lex Luthor - the last surviving member of his Earth's Justice League - recruits the Justice League to return with him to his world to stop the murderous Crime Syndicate (made up of evil counterparts of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.) Unlike past incarnations, this Crime Syndicate operates like a super-powered Mafia, having divided up the world, and each 'godfather' backed by super-powered lieutenants. They haven't taken over the world because this is more profitable.
Now, I would have snapped this up on it's release had it stuck straight to the DCAU framework, but it was altered to fit into the hodge-podge of DC direct videos, abandoning the familiar DCAU voice cast and character designs. To my amazement, though, that appears to be all that was changed.
The movie has an "all-star" prime-time cast, including NCIS star Mark Harmon as Superman, and James Woods as lead villain Owlman.
Voice acting is different from on-screen acting (on-screen, body language does most of the talking; in voice work, you have only that - your voice - to create character as well as deliver dialogue). So Harmon and Woods came across as subdued, and the best performances were by those with voice acting experience (especially Gina Torres of "Suits" as Superwoman, Brian Bloom as Ultraman, and Jonathan Adams as the Martian Manhunter).
Visually, the character designs are in keeping with the DC direct videos, meaning good comic book styling, but only Owlman and Superwoman stand out as memorable.
The final result was a fast paced movie, full of action and good characters, and included a twist (of course), that upped the ante on the final battle.
Had it been made as part of the DCAU, It would easily have been one of the DCAU's best adventures. But the downside is that it's not really DCAU canon, and will probably be lost in the mixed bag which is the DC video releases.
Either way, I'm surprised to say I can recommend this one!
I really would have love to seen how the Crime Syndicate came into being. Perhaps a quick origin story would have helped but I don't think they were ever told in the comic books either. Also, the Shazam family are seen several times in the alternate universe as criminal counterparts, why the heroic Shazam family in our universe never showed up to fight them, I will never know.
Owlman is a bit perplexing as a guy who just doesn't seem to care about anything except destroying all reality. I really enjoyed the mafia setting between the Crime Syndicate during their meetings. I never seen that in the comic books either. Great imagination went into this project which could have turned up as dry material if it wasn't in the right hands. I rate it as excellent.
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