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Customer Review

231 of 253 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I've actually watched the movie, January 21, 2014
This review is from: DCU: Justice League: War Special Edition (DVD) (DVD)
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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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 22, 2014 4:23:38 AM PST
Austinius says:
Nice to see somebody actually posting an ACTUAL review instead of "balancing out the ratings".
Besides that, fine job on the write up and I'm glad you enjoyed the film.
I haven't seen the film myself, but after reading, snarking, and verbally pissing on the comic itself -- you can say I have some trepidation about seeing it. For example, characters are flat (Supes, Wondy), characters are unlikable (GL, Bats), others are thrown in for the sake of it (Arthur, Barry, Cyborg), and Darkseid had little to no motivation and fell flat as villain -- but I digress, that's for a review of the comic than the film... Which the film is based on... But I am still digressing. Sorry!
Anyway, good job on the review and I might even give my two cents when I see it.

Posted on Jan 22, 2014 7:34:27 AM PST
JAY says:
Thanks for a great review of my film!

Posted on Jan 22, 2014 11:27:17 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 22, 2014 11:28:29 AM PST
B. Daniel says:
Great review!!!!

DC switched voices with each movie as they were trying to have a different feel and each stand alone. If they all had the same voice cast it would confuse a lot of people thinking the movies were connected. They did us fans a great service by having most of the JL/JLU cast come back for JL:Doom and such. That said they stated at NYComicCon that moving forward they would be using this cast for the forseeable future. So O'Mara is Batman! He will be repising the role in "Son of Batman," and I wouldn't be surprised if they get the rest to reprise characters as well. This movie is the beginning of them doing original New 52 based stories. Ones that have some basis in the source but are changed to have something new. Don't hate on Romano, she's still spot on you just got to give the newbies a chance.

Also guessing that the Aquaman film mentioned at ComicCon will be based on the "Throne of Atlantis" arc.

Posted on Jan 29, 2014 12:13:11 PM PST
Great review!!

I have seen it too and would agree with you almost completely. I've recently re-watched the JL & JLU animated series and there are many moments of the "Super-douche.' I don't mind it when it is verbal (the show) but when he does it with his fists it is a little much (War). I thought Victor story line was great, probably the best arc in the whole thing.

I thought the voice acting was fine. The problem is that we were seriously soiled by Conroy, so all other bats seem weak by comparison. Where I actually like the bat-voices of Bruce Greenwood, Jeremy Sisto, and Peter Weller -- but they seem less in comparison with King Conroy and the others voices . . . .

Anyway I'd recommend War to comics fan, but I think the best films they have done so far are TDKR, Red Hood, New Frontier, Public Enemies, Flashpoint and Crisis on 2 Earths. Most of the others are descent and none are poor.

Looking forward to Son of Batman. And a Throne of Atlantis movie (so far the best JL arc in new 52).

--J

Posted on Jan 29, 2014 3:17:01 PM PST
Xicily says:
Just saw the movie. I liked it but didn't love it. Superman who is my favorite DC character could be a little more balanced. I liked that he was smart, street wise and not sappy but he came off too aggressive. He seemed to be written just to be violent. Green Lantern was very annoying and unlikable. Flash was ok. Wonder Woman was dumbed down and not drawn well. She is one of the very few heroines for little girls and that's the best they could offer? I'm not a fan of Cpt Marvel. I didn't care for the villian. Batman was ok and more realistic (intelligent, resourceful yet human). He must have been the writers favorite. Hope future stories are more interesting and the characters better.

Posted on Feb 4, 2014 10:07:46 AM PST
Raven Wilder says:
Wait.... There are Aquaman fans?!

Posted on Feb 6, 2014 8:28:13 PM PST
First off; Never read the comic and not a big DC fan so I'm basing my review just on the merits of the movie and my basic knowledge of the characters.
1. I enjoyed the film and I was entertained. But for a film like this I should have been blown away.
2. Lots a negatives but I'll just focus on the main one. Darkseid. COME ON GUYS!?! How can Pixar take a character like Syndrome and give him some depth as a villain and Warner/DC just suck at writing the villain. We're supposed to feel tension just because Darkseid has a deep voice? Syndrome killed heroes and Darkseid can't? Ugh. Darkseid if arguably the most powerful villain yet the Joker always tops the list as fan fave and I believe it's because of the depth of the character.
3. Positives: I think they have definitely brought the heroes into the 21st century but went a little over the top with character archetypes. Wonder Woman sounds like Thor. She's so much more.
Anyway, that's my two cents. They had a real chance to do something awesome and missed the mark. Perhaps next time.

Posted on Feb 15, 2014 11:24:29 AM PST
JCL says:
Awesome review! I love it when people don't just rage but actually take things into consideration. Considering I'm not the biggest Geoff fan when it comes to his take on the justice league, I'm interested in seeing how I like this movie. And, since I love Wonder Woman and Superman we'll see how it goes for me, but now I know what to expect because of your review so thanks for that!

In reply to an earlier post on May 11, 2014 11:00:56 PM PDT
Mr. John C says:
The voice acting is awful. They constantly go to the lazy technique of uttering the first part of a statement as a question? and then the second part as an irONic statement.

Posted on May 11, 2014 11:03:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 11, 2014 11:03:30 PM PDT
Mr. John C says:
Regarding the immaturity of characters it baffles me that everyone is depicted as either an adolescent or young adult. Shazam (Captain Marvel) is best as a mature man rather than an adolescent like Billy.
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