Film: Justice League Gods and Monsters.
Directed By: Sam Liu.
Running Time: 72 min.
This direct-to-video animation presents an alternative universe in which the Justice League is manned by its own alternative versions of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman who dispenses justice in a much harsher, bloodier manner then their original counterparts.
This animation was a hail back to the style of the earlier DC Animated series from the 90’s and early 2000’s with a bit more blood and polish, perhaps because of Bruce Timm, the man who was behind a lot of the character designs for DC animated series and films, is a producer in its creation. The character designs are nostalgically brilliant, the action sequences were slick and well animated with attention to angle and impact, and the voice acting was perfect for each character.
The characters themselves were an interesting roster of alters in this alternative universe, each were well rounded, given a moment of back story, particularly Batman and Wonder Woman. The sense of moral ambiguity is there, and the challenge to personal belief systems, particularly in Superman was there, but this moral ambiguity is engaged to shallowly to be as effective overall as the narrative suggests it should. Batman and Wonder Woman should have also been given these moments of facing their own moral interpretations, not just Superman, and even then it’s not so much of a struggle as a too readily done acceptance.
Another unfortunate flaw was that the characters needed better dialogue with each other, since they are a team. The movie would have been stronger character-wise if the movie had taken the time to include a flash back as to how they come together, and perhaps a bit more interaction with each other present time outside of smashing skulls and possible world domination shit hits the fan meets.
The plot was kept at an intensive pace for the most part from beginning to end, with the possible potential of a sequel or a spin off but not in your face about it, and can stand on its own if that happens or not. The pace does work with the darker themes, and the gratuitous violence is not to over the top (though there is a lot of it) but works within the narrative. The battles are entertaining and the neat little twist in the end was good. This is a decent story that perhaps could have benefited from a bit more screen time to flesh out the story more.
This is one of the better DC Universe Animated Original movies, with a mildly decent plot and intriguing premise, good pace, excellent animation and character designs, good voice work, and over all something that DC animated fans should give a gander.
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