New To Blu - Justice League : War

After The Flashpoint Paradox our hopes were high. Find out if Justice League: War measures up.

Justice League: War is scheduled for blu-ray release on February 4th. However, it is currently available on demand through Amazon Streaming.

"Haha! Gil Gadot! Nice try!"
Justice League Origin has graced my eyeballs about four times now. When it was first announced they were adapting one of my favorite new comic series into an animated film, my inner-child and outer-geek shook violently with giddiness and then I said, "Yippee!"

For Justice League: War it was announced they were not only removing Aquaman and his ultra bad ass entrance into the story, but they were replacing him with Shazam.

Yes, Shazam.

I was peeved. I'm still peeved. Then the first clip released and my dreams were being peed on. Hal Jordan's voice was weak. The animation was clunky and boring. But, it was charming. And still no, "Hey, just kidding about that Aquaman thing. See?! Here he is!" He's still not in it, and I'm still butt hurt about this.

Well, I've finally seen it and I'm bitterly relaying to you that I... uh... actually liked it. Overall, the story is very faithful. The character interactions, though limited by the truncated running time, are intact and fun. I've always been a harsh critic of the Saturday morning cartoon animation quality these DC flicks are treated with. With the excellent Flashpoint just passing us, War continues this push for a better sense of power and motion.

My biggest gripe, however, boils down to the voice acting.

Hal Jordan's voice actor is far too cocky teenage jokester and not enough overconfident hard-head. This seems to be a problem with literally every single Jordan adaptation outside of comics. Everyone wants to make him into the arrogant rockstar kid in a man's body. He isn't Tony Stark. Stop it.

Michelle Monaghan is an otherwise decent actress, but she couldn't be more miscast as the voice of a powerful Amazonian warrior. Pro-tip for you casting directors, when a role calls for an unusual speech pattern, or, ya know, to portray a battle-torn princess raised by Greek gods, maybe she shouldn't sound like she comes from frickin Iowa. Is it really too much to ask for a unique accent? What are these people, actors or something?

Cyborg's story was handled surprisingly well for the short time they had to explain his character. The mild liberties taken with his design were fresh and very cool. I'm sure some fans out there won't dig it, but I did. The design had a more viciously cyberpunk vibe to it. The thing is, though, I'm really not much of a fan of Cyborg, anyway. He's kinda lame, in my opinion. Only one problem. So, he's a high school football player and he sounds like Uncle Phil?

"Pllllease stop saying Christopher Nolan!"
What are these casting directors smoking?

The remainder of the voice cast was serviceable to pretty good with Batman and Flash feeling the most authentic out of the team, even if moderately so. Although, Darkseid did sound pretty darn super wicked.

Thankfully, the majority of the jokes fired hit their mark. I still find Geoff Johns, the original writer of Origin, has a whip smart technique to pacing humor in comic panels that for some reason these animation directors can't seem to precisely replicate. War, however, might be the best animated DC flick as far as comic-relief goes.

And why do Shazam, Bruce Wayne, and Superman all have the exact same head? No one said anything in the meetings? The shortcomings of this flick really baffle me.

All that aside, they made it very easy to let go of these issues with just how fun it was. The action was huge and relentless, utilizing every single member of the team. A lot of Hal Jordan's constructs were especially amusing. Wonder Woman was brutal. Batman was intensely clever and quick-thinking. The action was at its best when multiple characters' abilities were strung together or combined. You can tell it was fun planning all the moves.

For Shazam daring to take the place of Aquaman, his story was fairly well implemented. I really wasn't expecting them to fit him in as well as they did. No spoilers, but he has a neat little crossover with another JL member that could make for some charming side-stories if explored in further films.

Yeah, I really didn't like the voice acting, but DC is stepping up their game on all other fronts for their animated line. Justice League: War, although the geek inside me just can't shake that the book is still so much better, is still a very fun and admirable addition to DCs growing excellence in the animated market. It's a high recommendation already, but an even higher recommendation for those who don't already hold Origin on a pedestal.

There's still no Aquaman, though.


- review by J.G. Barnes