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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths Review

Well, as you all know, whenever I pick up a new, straight-to-DVD animated film, I like to review it here on the blog rather than in with the rest of my movie reviews. So, let's take a look at the latest offering from Warner Brothers and DC Comics....

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

Directed by Lauren Montgomery and Sam Liu

Starring the voices of Mark Harmon, James Woods, Chris Noth, William Baldwin, Gina Torres, Bruce Davison, Nolan North, Jonathon Adams, Josh Keaton, Brian Bloom, and James Patrick Stuart.

Backstory: So, for a while now, whenever Bruce Timm (the mastermind behind this whole direct-to-video DC Comics animated film projects) was out plugging the latest DVD, he would tease us with this thing called Justice League: Worlds Collide. It was an unproduced script from his Justice League cartoon designed to fill in the gap between the first two season of Justice League and its final three seasons, known as Justice League Unlimited. Timm would always say that he didn't want to delve into the storyline to fine a detail, because their existed a chance that it could be made as one of these DTV movies. And, lo and behold, they removed it from the Justice League TV series continuity and re-christened it Crisis on Two Earths. And that right there raised eyebrows. "Crisis" is a loaded word in the DC universe...it usually implies a continuity-changing reboot. So, would this film be worth all of Bruce Timm's teasing?

Plot: One day, Lex Luthor storms into a police station and asks to meet with the Justice League. When the JLA shows up on the scene, Luthor explains that he's actually a heroic Lex Luthor from a parallel universe. In his universe, an organization known as the Crime Syndicate -- consisting of evil counterparts of the Justice League -- have eradicated all the world's superheroes, and are on the verge of finishing a weapon of mass destruction that would make them undisputed rulers. Luthor is the only superhero left in his dimension, and he's come to ask the Justice League for help. The Justice League say yes, and head off to do battle with their evil counterparts. The one wild card is Owlman, the evil counterpart to Batman. It seems the discovery of parallel universes has thrown Owlman into an existential crisis, and Owlman decides to modify that weapon of mass destruction to destroy all of existence. Can the Justice League defeat the Crime Syndicate and stop Owlman before time runs out?

What I Liked: I don't know why they made such a big deal about removing this from the Justice League cartoon continuity. The characters are portrayed exactly the same way, and if you're a fan of the show, it's blatantly obvious which plot threads are tied up and which are started. I don't think they re-wrote it at all! I think all they did was change the character designs and get a new voice cast. And I'm putting that under "What I Liked" because I like the Justice League cartoon. There's some great geek-out moments with heroes and villains, and if I may say so, the climactic battle between Wonder Woman and her evil counterpart Superwoman, is hawt.

What I Didn't Like: Billy Baldwin voicing Batman never really grabbed me. He seemed a little too...laid back in the role. And there were just a few too many fight scenes. Don't get me wrong, I like the geek out moments where obscure heroes and villains appear, but how about they get some dialogue and a little bit of character development?

Final Verdict: This was a really solid episode of Justice League. However, as I've been saying for the last few of these, Wonder Woman is still the best.

3 Nibs

Bonus Features: For bonus stuff on the DVD, you get previews for the last three DTV films, a preview for the next one, Batman: Under the Red Hood, a featurette on what a "Crisis" is in the DC Universe and what it means, the Justice League episode "A Better World," which also follows the evil twin pattern, and, something brand new for these DVDs. The first-ever short film under the DC Showcase banner, The Spectre, which I'll talk about in a later blog entry.

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