By: Bob Marshall

The Story

Now the  story goes that Batman (in secret) had a contingency plan to take down  each super-powered member of the Justice League (Superman, Green  Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash and the Martian Manhunter) without them knowing of course.  Super villain Vandal Savage hires a member of  each heroes rogues gallery, (Mettallo, Bane, Star Sapphire, Cheetah and  Ma’alefa’ak) to take down the Justice League (including Batman – although they have their own plan to take him down) using the  information held on the Bat-computer.

I don’t want to say too  much about the film because I don’t want to do a spoiler filled review. I  will say the film is very good, each hero is given a good amount of screen time  and the necessary character moments to move the film forward, while satisfying each the fans of each character. I don’t think its a secret that the villains do take down the league pretty early on in  the film, which is my only real negative point. The film isn’t long  enough for the takedown of the Justice League to have a major impact.  The plot moves on very quickly but its pretty much a minor nitpick, as I  know they have a budget they have to stick too. Another minor nitpick would be that some of the villains were a weak choice in my opinion. i.e.  Cheetah. On to the good points: Cyborg is integrated into the story  extremely well and when I first heard he was going to be in it, I wonder why but it works. I won’t explain why, you’ll have to see it to find out. The opening scene with the Royal Flush Gang is a real treat and it was nice to see the Justice League have an opening show. Now one thing that does bug me about these films and the DCAU, is the way Batman is treated like a god.  Having said that, this is one thing they get right in this  film.  Although the film centres on Batman’s contingency plan, he doesn’t  have the answer for everything and in the end its a team effort that  saves the day.  Now onto the other things:

Animation

The animation was stellar.  It had an anime tone, which in my opinion is a very good thing.  I think out of all the DC animated movies, the designs of the characters in this film have to be my favourite of all.   Everyone looks  superb and as a huge Superman fan I am mostly pleased by the look of the Man of Steel.

Voice Acting

This was a sort of reunion, I assume  done in memory of the late Dwayne McDuffie. Tim Daly returns as  Superman, Kevin Conroy as Batman, Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman,  Michael Rosenbaum as the Flash (albeit this time as Barry Allen) and  Carl Lumbly as the Martian Manhunter (and also as the villain  Ma’alefa’ak). Phil Morris also reprises his role as Vandal Savage from  Justice League. It’s no surprise that they are all as good as ever.  Bumper Robinson as Cyborg I’m unsure about, I’ll admit I can’t really  put a voice to Cyborg so I think maybe that’s why I’m unsure. Nathan  Fillion reprises his role as the Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) from Green  Lantern Emerald Knights and is fantastic; I heard he’d recorded his  voice work on his own and you can’t tell at all, it all blends in very well. My biggest surprise was David Kauffman reprising his role as Jimmy Olsen from Superman the Animated Series. It was only a cameo but was  such a nice treat. All the other voice roles were fine but I didn’t care so much for Mettallo’s voice.

Blu Ray

The film  looked fantastic in High Definition and the sound was incredible. I had  to turn my surround sound down really far as it was so loud (but clear).

Extras:

A League of One: The Dwayne McDuffie  Story – this was an emotional documentary on a what appeared to be a  great intelligent man who provided so much entertainment through comics and animation. R.I.P Dwayne.

Guarding the Balance: Batman and the JLA – This was an interesting documentary more about the Tower of Babel comics story than the animated film and it even shows a few comparisons to Watchmen, very entertaining.

Preview of DC Universe’s Next  Animated Original Movie Superman vs the Elite – I’m looking forward to this.  It’s fantastic that George Newbern is reprising his role of  Superman. This sneak peak doesn’t go in depth about the other voice actors, instead it focuses on the comic’s story .

Cyborg: His Time has Come – A short doc on how the character of Cyborg has grown throughout the years from a Teen  Titan to a main member of the Justice League. Its interesting but very  short.

Other than that we get 2 bonus cartoon (Justice League  episodes Wild Cards parts 1 and 2), a digital comic of Tower of Babel  and some trailers.

 

Summary

All in all I have to say this has been my favourite of all the DC Universe animated movies,  right up there with All Star Superman, Batman: Under the Red Hood, Green Lantern: First Flight and Superman Batman: Public Enemies for me. Also, I thought it was much better than Crisis on Two Earths and  having the original voice cast back (sort of) made it feel more familiar than that one.  This really helped to buy into the film.

Overall Grade: 10/10

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