Justice League: War (2014)

JusticeLeagueWar

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Not good enough.

For the most part, I’m a fan of the PG-13 cartoons that they release every year for DC, which normally has to do with the Justice League of America. It’s because they are so bold, it’s like they are made for the kids who grew up in the ‘90s like me that miss the old days of Saturday morning cartoons. Instead of just being the same type of thing, they are edgier, more violent, with language thrown in here and there for the big kids. I think it’s brilliant. Justice League: War reminded me a lot of the series finale of Smallville, which is cool, but as a movie, I don’t think it measures up to the bar that the other films raised before it.

The film takes place before the superheroes of the Justice League ever met. At most, they’ve just heard of each other. For the most part, Gotham City still fears Batman, and they don’t know what to make of all the other heroes – Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Green Lantern. Then, Shazam and Cyborg come into the picture and you have a group of superheroes that are still working alone. That is, until the evil Darkseid shows up planning to take over Earth. That’s when the team of seemingly random superheroes decide to work together to stop this attack.

Apart from the “bad” language, there was very little that made this Justice League film deserving of its PG-13 label. Normally, you have a really dark film with dark imagery too, like intense violence…that’s key. It usually feels like a real movie…just cartoon. This movie feels more or less like another episode of a kids TV show with cussing. The violence was there, but not much more than what you’d see on a kids program. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Not really, but if you have expectations based on all of the other films like it, then it could definitely disappoint.

What I will say is that the dialogue is really good. That felt right. While Batman and Superman were relatively keeping it serious, a lot of the other characters were cracking jokes left and right that just split the tones in half in a good way. There was some really good one liners in there, to be honest. But again, this…like Man of Steel…focused completely on the superhero sides. There were a few moments here and there where it was like – yeah, you’re Clark/Bruce/Hal/Diana…whatever, but you never see these guys actually portraying their alter egos. Personally I think half of what makes any superhero tale great is the battle between both worlds. Clark Kent is just as important as Superman, as is Bruce Wayne to Batman. Not seeing any of that is really a bummer, because there are things in each of their lives that continue with importance. Like Lois Lane and the Planet, or the Batcave with Bruce doing his super-hacking…this film had none of that.

The plot itself mirrored the series finale of Smallville, which was Darkseid trying to take over earth. They portrayed his character and minions better in this film, but as far as entertainment goes, I was more thrilled with Smallville’s interpretation. Darkseid is a very cool character, and I think they did him justice here, heh….justice…but it just felt like a special episode of the Justice League TV show…that’s it. That’s not normally how it goes for these animated films, so yeah…I’m a tad disappointed.

The Good:

The written dialogue was pretty much brilliant in this film. The characters that needed to be funny were hilarious, and the characters that needed to be serious were just that as well. Their teamwork together worked bucket loads. The animation was also top notch, as it usually is with these movies.

The Bad:

I wasn’t as captivated with the movie as I have been for other DC PG-13 cartoons. It wasn’t dark enough, especially for a plot dealing with Darkseid, and it should have been way more violent than it was.

Memorable Quote:

Green Lantern: Wow, someone forgot to take their True Blood this morning.

Batman: I’m not a vampire.

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