Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Justice League: Starcrossed

And we're back on Fishing in the Discount Bin!  Took a couple weeks off there, because I was on vacation in the real world.  Normally, I work ahead, and pre-post everything, but this time out, I thought, "Ah, screw it.  The 20 people who read this won't mind."  And here we are.  I'm back now, and we can get back to it, with Justice League: Starcrossed.  This is in my notes at May 4, 2019.

I don't remember if Justice League had aired its final episode before or after it finally came to Canada, but I do remember running out and buying Starcrossed as soon as it came out.  Starcrossed is the three part final episode that was also re-edited into a straight-to-video movie.  Yup, I've got the bookends.  I've got where the series began and where it ended, but nothing in between. 

So, pretty much the only thing you need to know going into the finale is Green Lantern and Hawkgirl became an item.  The League is running security at an event in Washington DC because Batman got some intel about a terrorist attack about to go down.  But, Batman was only partially right, as an alien ship comes out of the sky and attacks!  Before the Justice League can attack, it's shot down by a bigger alien ship.  The bigger ship lands, and to everyone's surprise, it's full of Hawk-people!  Hawkgirl identifies their leader as Hro Talak. 

Quick Easter egg:  "Hro Talak" is an anagram of "Katar Hol," the name of Hawkman.  According to the creators, they didn't want to sully the real Hawkman by turning him into a villain.  Oops, did I just say too much?

Hro Talak addresses the people of Earth.  The Thanagarians (that's the proper name for Hawk-people) have long been at war with the Gordanians, and this war is now encroaching upon Earth.  Turns out Hawkgirl wasn't stranded on Earth by a rouge transporter beam, as is her official origin story.  She's an advance scout who was sent to Earth to spy upon Earth to see if Earth would be willing to help Thanagar.  Further complicating things is the fact that Hro Talak is Hawkgirl's fiance.  Needless to say, Green Lantern is feeling all kinds of betrayed. 

The people of Earth accept the Thanagarians' help, and the Thanagarians begin building a massive force field generator to protect Earth from the Gordanians.  But something about their story doesn't sit right with Batman.  Batman begins investigating, but once the Thanagarians catch wind of what he's doing, they attack.  The Thanagarians seize control of the planet, and thanks to intel gathered by Hawkgirl, the Justice League has their powers neutralized and they become prisoners of the Thanagarians. 

But of course, it doesn't take long for our heroes to escape.  They make their way to a department store.  They change into their secret identities, and then decide to make their way to Gotham City, where they'll reconvene in the Batcave.  I do like the scene where they learn everyone's identities as they change into civies. 

Flash:  Whoa, wait.  What about those of us with secret identities?  I mean, I trust you guys, but....

Batman:  (points at Flash)  Wally West.  (points to Superman).  Clark Kent.  (Batman unmasks)  Bruce Wayne. 

Flash:  (beat)  Showoff.  (Flash unmasks) 

While this is going on, Hawkgirl is feeling troubled.  She's come to care for the Earth (and one Earthman in particular), and she's wrought with guilt over what she's done to her friends.  And it doesn't go better when Hro Talak shares the real plan.  Turns out they're not building a force field.  The Thanagarians took a page from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and they're building a hyperspace bypass.  With it, they'll be able to get behind enemy lines and attack the Gordanian homeworld.  Hawkgirl can't see the Earth destroyed, so she slips out and delivers this intel to the League. 

But, Hro Talak's aide is jealous of Hawkgirl, and had Hawkgirl followed.  As soon as she returns to Hro Talak's command ship, she's arrested for treason.  The League plans their counter-offensive.  The bypass generator is protected by a force field, and the switch is on Talak's ship.  Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern will take the ship and shut down the generator.  Batman, Flash, and Martian Manhunter will destroy the generator, but to do so, they''ll have to re-take the Watchtower (taken over by the Thanagarians when they first attacked.)

First, though, the Thanagarians attack the Batcave, and the League and the hawkpeople brawl.  No doubt they decided to do this because they thought it was the final episode.  Have one last brawl back where this universe all began with Batman: The Animated Series.  It's full of lovely Easter eggs to Batman lore. 

Our heroes launch their attack.  On the command ship, it all comes down to Hro Talak and Green Lantern as they fight over the switch.  Needless to say, with these two in love with the same woman, their fight gets very personal very quickly.  Hawkgirl escapes her cell, and tries to talk sense into Talak, to get him to stop, but he's blind with rage at this point.  Eventually, though, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl win the fight, and turn off the force field. 

Just in time, too.  The rest of our heroes have liberated the Watchtower, and Batman discloses his plan to destroy the bypass generator:  literally drop the Watchtower on it.  But, someone has to stay behind to pilot it down.  Batman takes the job, throwing the Flash and Martian Manhunter off the station.  Superman, however, does not stand for this, so Superman leaves the battle and saves Batman with moments to spare.  I love their exchange as they watch the bypass generator go up in flames. 

Superman:  You've always got to be a hero, don't you?

Batman:  Right back at you.

I just love it when Superman and Batman have buddy cop banter!

Conceding defeat, Hro Talak orders his troops to stand down, and the Thanagarians withdraw from Earth. 

We then finish up at temporary Justice League HQ in Wayne Manor.  The question now is, what to do with Hawkgirl?  Does she stay on the League, or do they dismiss her?  But before they can decide, Hawkgirl chooses to leave, telling them that making them decide is forcing them to make the same tough choice between duty and friendship that she was forced to make.  She and Green Lantern have one last tender moment, where she confesses to Green Lantern that the one thing that remained true was her love for him.  And she flies off into the sunset.

The end. 

And that was the end of Justice League.  Well, not really.  To the surprise of even the show's creators, it was renewed for another season, but with a few caveats.  Firstly, no more hour-long episodes.  Secondly, they wanted to freshen up the premise a bit.  So, they did this by opening up the doors to pretty much the entire DC universe.  Beloved B- and C-listers would join the team on an as-needed basis, and the rebooted series was Justice League Unlimited.  Hawkgirl eventually came back, too, and there were many great episodes dedicated to dealing with the aftermath of Starcrossed

So many great moments, too.  Like when they start planning things in the Batcave.  Alfred's back, and he has that same wonderful dry humour he had on Batman: The Animated Series.  He and Flash have great byplay. 

(Seeing the famous dinosaur statue in the Batcave)

Flash:  Wow!  It's a giant dinosaur!

Alfred:  And I thought Batman was the detective. 

And again, props to the voice acting on this show.  Phil LaMarr and Maria Canalas as Green Lantern and Hawkgirl are just phenomenal. 

Justice League was just a great series, and a great capper to Bruce Timm's 14-year tenure running the DC Animated Universe.

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