DC Comics lays egg with Justice League: War

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DC Comics released its latest animated film last week, Justice League: War. The film is loosely based on the “Justice League: Origin” comic book story arc by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee from a few years back. The adaptation of that storyline into this film was disappointing and put a dent on DC’s shining reputation for excellence in animated movies as of late.

The audience is slowly introduced to the likes of Batman, Green Lantern, Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Shazam and Flash throughout the early goings of the movie. Instead of wondering how all these superheroes come together to fight off an  eventual alien invasion by Darkseid, the plot line becomes pretty clear 10 minutes into the film for anyone above the age of seven.

Each hero notices some aliens dropping alien tech in their respective cities and find out that it’s happening in other cities as well, which is what brings Green Lantern to Gotham City, who subsequently runs into Batman. Then the not-so-dynamic duo travel to Metropolis and guess what? They just so happen to run into the Man of Steel fighting aliens trying to plant alien tech in his city for an impending invasion too! Then Darkseid comes to Earth and all seven heroes band together to defeat one of DC’s biggest villains despite this being their first time meeting one another (with the exception of Lantern and Flash).

(Photo courtesy of DC Entertainment)

Aliens invading Earth is not only a tired comic book storyline, it’s a tired Justice League animated storyline. As fans of the Bruce Timm-directed Justice League cartoon from the early 2000s know, that is how the team came to be for the four-season long show. This latest title bearing the Justice League name feels like an extremely rough draft of something Timm and his writing staff might have come up with for their pilot story which aired over a decade ago.

Not only is the story tired and lacking in this film, but the writers and voice actors can actually make any hardcore League fan hate every single person on the team. Green Lantern is so obnoxious at times that he makes it hard to concentrate on the porous storyline. Wonder Woman and Shazam want to do nothing other than beat people up and shout childish battle cries. Batman is often busy letting everyone know he knows their secret identities or finding a gadget in his utility belt. He also reveals his identity freely at one point, which next to shooting someone, is the most un-Batman thing ever.

Superman is an arrogant, annoying brute that somehow has a slightly more tolerable feel to him than Wonder Woman or Shazam. Cyborg is either yelling or doing his best Eeyore impression for most of the film. Flash is the only main character that won’t make his fans disgusted and, next to Batman, is the only member who seems to act like an adult. It felt as if these characters were all caricaturized parodies of their comic book counterparts.

This movie is nothing but fight scenes and dialogue that is supposed to help justify for said fight scenes. How this came from the same company that has come out with gems like Batman: Under the Red Hood and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox in recent years is beyond me. Justice League: War felt rushed, obnoxious and a bad imitation of the comic book arc it attempted to follow.

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