231 of 253 people found the following review helpful
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.
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.
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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