- User Rating: Excellent
Pros:Great storyline, high drama, intense action; incredible and experienced voice cast.
Cons:B-list villains rounding out the Legion of Doom
The Bottom Line: The Justice League finally meets its match. And its Doom.
Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Superman. Batman. Wonder Woman. Any one them on their own could hold back armies. Has held back armies. Together, with the addition of Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and newcomer Cyborg, they form the Justice League, and are virtually unstoppable. Until Justice League: Doom.
This latest entry in the Direct-to-DVD (and BLU-Ray) series of movies from Warner Premiere and DC Comics, Justice League: Doom is a good movie that gets most things right. An adaptation of the Tower of Babel comic book storyline by Mark Waid, it has the Justice League split into individual members, each attacked by a supervillain with a weapon specifically targeted to them. For some, it's an obvious weakness, like a Kryptonite bullet for Superman. But how it's delivered is cunning and effective. So one by one, the Justice League members are picked off.
The villain masterminding all of this is the ancient Vandal Savage, a caveman mutated by a radioactive meteor millenia ago so he can never die. He recruits villains from what must be the LinkedIn of DC Comics to destroy the Justice League. He offers a huge payoff, and has the plans to deliver. It's all connected to a larger scheme that he has, which is something that even the other supervillains don't plan on. Savage's Legion of Doom is lifted from the old Challenge of the Superfriends cartoon, complete with a swampy headquarters, but it isn't quite as formidable. Instead of the arch-villains of each hero (Lex Luthor, Sinestro, Captain Cold, etc.), it's mostly B-listers. Sure, Wonder Woman has her Cheetah, but Superman's match here is Metallo, Flash's is Mirror Master, Green Lantern's is Star Sapphire. It was admittedly nice for Martian Manhunter to have his own baddie in Maalefaak--another shapeshifting Martian to take him out--but the Legion of Doom could have, should have been stronger.
There are some excellent twists and chilling moments that I won't give away here. The plans that destroy the Justice League don't originate with Vandal Savage, but have a much more sinister and surprising origin. That has lasting effects after the the League falls apart, and perhaps even beyond.
This is a stand-alone adventure, but it plays like an episode of the beloved, departed Justice League television series. That's partially due to the voice cast, which includes the Batman (Kevin Conroy), Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg), Flash (Michael Rosenbaum) and Martian Manhunter (Carl Lumbly) from that series. Tim Daly and Nathan Fillion voice Superman and Green Lantern, which they didn't do in the television series, but have in other animated projects. It's an outstanding voice cast who knows their business, and it elevates the entire production.
The animation is solid, and the action is good--director Lauren Montgomery has worked on most of these productions, and I enjoy her work. It doesn't veer too far into anime, and although it's rated PG-13 for violence, this isn't as graphic or bloody as some of the others in this series of movies. This is dramatic, intense, and one of the best Direct-t0-DVDs yet.
More than anything, and coming the same week as yet another awesome Avengers trailer, this made me wish that DC Comics and WB could get their stars aligned to get a live action Justice League movie made. Made right. Alas, for now, I'll have to stick to the cartoons. With quality work like Justice League: Doom, I'll do so gladly.
MORE DC UNIVERSE ANIMATED MOVIES
Justice League: The New Frontier
Batman: Gotham Knight
Green Lantern: First Flight
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
Batman: Under the Red Hood
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights
Batman: Year One
Justice League: Doom
UPCOMING DC UNIVERSE ANIMATED MOVIES
Superman vs. The Elite
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
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Viewing Format: DVD
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older