The Quarter Bin

Videos, Reviews, and Previews For Comic Fans

Justice League: Doom

Posted by Luke Brown On February - 27 - 2012

Justice League: Doom is the latest animated adaptation from Warner Home Video. Not only does it highlight the strengths of the original comic story it was based on, but it also continues to raise the bar ever higher for DC Comics animated features.

Justice League: Doom
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Directed by Lauren Montgomery

As Justice League stories go, “Tower of Babel” is one of the most memorable of the past decade. Pitting the Justice League against the greatest foe they never knew they had, the story focuses in on just how well-prepared Batman is for all possible outcomes. Unfortunately for the Justice League in this story, the contingencies Batman is prepared for are the members of the League going rogue. It’s an incredible story that really tests the limits of morality and consequence, and Mark Waid handles it with a deft hand. Thankfully, the extremely talented Dwayne McDuffie was tasked with adapting “Tower of Babel” into a feature, and the result is a slightly tweaked story that’s stronger for all the right reasons.

In the original comic, Batman’s plans are stolen by Ra’s Al Ghul, who then turns these fail-safes against the JLA. Here, Vandal Savage is the mastermind behind the attacks, though McDuffie has him recruit his own Legion of Doom to assist in the removal of the Justice League members. While the core of the film’s dramatic problem comes from Batman inadvertently causing everyone in the League all this trouble, having each of the members pitted against one of their biggest rogues adds a bit of depth to the story that was otherwise missing from the original tale. Ultimately Ra’s and Vandal are after the same thing (complete world domination), but in Justice League: Doom, the inclusion of characters like Bane, Mirror Master, and Star Sapphire gives each of the heroes something more to do than be angry at Batman. Additionally, the slightly tweaked methods of eliminating the Justice League are a bit more interesting in the film then they are in the comic. It’s a testament to McDuffie’s strengths as a writer that he’s able to tweak such an already strong narrative and make it more interesting.

Like any of the DC animated features to bring back a majority of the cast from the Justice League animated series, Justice League: Doom is one of the best acted films in the DC animated library. There isn’t much left to say about Kevin Conroy’s Batman or Tim Daly’s Superman, other than having these two actors reprise the roles once again only proves how definitive their takes on these characters are. Michael Rosenbaum, Susan Eisenberg, and Carl Lumbly also bring their respective characters to life in ways that only they can. While Nathan Fillion’s tenure as Green Lantern has been short, Justice League: Doom gives the character some surprising emotional moments that really resonate thanks to his performance. Bumper Robinson gets a go as the new recruit Cyborg (in an effort to make this JL cast as close as possible to that of the one starring in current comics), however his screen time is limited, and he acts as more of a plot device than anything in this film.

As for the villains, Phil Morris has played Vandal Savage before, but never with such bravado and calculatedness. He’s truly a villain that could go toe-to-toe with the League at any time, and it’s great to see him bring life to this character that is otherwise left to the wayside in favor of the Lex Luthors and Jokers of the world. Paul Blackthorne (Metallo), Olivia D’Abo (Star Sapphire), and Alex Denisoff (Mirror Master) do some solid work, but Claudia Black (Cheetah) and Carlos Alazraqui (Bane) leave more lasting impressions. As with any ensemble, it’s tough to really stand out when sharing so much of your screentime with the much more memorable and iconic heroes. That said, every single one of the actors holds their own against the longtime actors behind the League. Movies like this really showcase just how important Andrea Romano’s skills as a voice director really are for the DC and WB properties.

What really stuck out to me watching this film was how much more of an anime influence there was in the art direction. Even though the animated features have each had drastically different styles, none of them have been quite so Eastern in their style. It’s not a bad thing at all. The new style brings a kinetic energy and a looseness to the film that would otherwise have been missing were the art style more along the lines of what many have dubbed “Bruce Timm style.” The action sequences have more explosiveness in them, and the characters have a new life to them thanks to the heavy anime influence. Some people will undoubtedly be turned off by the new look, but honestly, Justice League: Doom looks great in motion.

I probably sound like an old record constantly talking about how each of the DC animated movies is better than the last, but that’s truly been the case. Justice League: Doom is no exception to that rule, and once again raises the standards of what we should expect from strong superhero features. It’s a great story. It’s got the best cast of all the films to date. There’s really no way this film can’t be the best one that Warner Home Video has produced to this point. I didn’t think any of the films would supplant Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, but they did it. I just hope whatever film is next can live up to this impossibly high new standard.

Justice League: Doom will be available on DVD and Blu Ray combo pack February 28, wherever videos are sold.

95/100 – Great.


1 Response so far
  1. Carrie Oman Said,

    Hi! You’ve been to the Paley Center recently for the Justice League: Doom premiere and I wanted to make sure you knew about an event we’re having with Comic Con this Friday – if it’s something you’d be interested in covering, just let me know!

    If you’d like to attend, email Carrie Oman at coman@paleycenter.org

    Viewing Party in New York
    PaleyFest Castle Viewing Party: Panel Live from Los Angeles with a Scavenger Hunt and Trivia from New York Comic Con
    Friday, March 9, 2012
    New York
    Kate Beckett and her fellow officers from the NYPD’s 12th Precinct have become quite adept at catching killers throughout Castle’s four seasons. Yet, there’s one case they can’t crack—the appeal of writer Richard Castle. Providing a service somewhat like Sherlock Holmes’s consulting detectivery, Castle—portrayed by genre-television icon Nathan Fillion—is a consulting writer, helping to solve cases with tips, hints, clues, and insights from the mind of the world’s foremost crime novelist. While a police procedural at its base, with references from steampunk to superheroes and Firefly to Watchmen, Castle takes great joy in incorporating the geeky world of Fillion and his fans.
    Come now, with your fellow fans, to see Fillion and his fellow cast members live from the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles for a PaleyFest panel and premiere screening of an upcoming episode before it hits ABC! Start sleuthing early for a citywide Castle clue scavenger hunt and Nathan Fillion trivia contest at the Paley Center!
    March 9 Schedule:
    4:00 to 8:00 pm
    Scavenger Hunt: The Great Castle Chase
    Featuring fifteen Castle and Fillion-related clues scatted around New York City landmarks and retailers. Find a clue; bring it to the Paley Center to claim your prize. Look for clues on Twitter at #castlechase. Visit newyorkcomiccon.com for full details on how to play.
    8:00 to 9:30 pm
    Prize redemption at the Paley Center.
    Prizes in the Great Castle Chase include Castle DVDs, books, and comics, New York Comic Con tickets, posters, and shirts, and free admission to future Paley Center events.
    The scavenger hunt and prize collection are free and open to all!
    Note: to participate in the trivia and PaleyFest event you need to purchase a ticket
    9:30 to 10:00 pm
    Hardcore Castle/Fillion Trivia Contest at the Paley Center.
    10:00 pm to midnight
    See a new episode of Castle and the PaleyFest panel with Castle cast and creative team livestreamed from the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles
    Light refreshments will be served.

    Presented with New York Comic Con

    Carrie Oman
    Manager, Public Relations
    The Paley Center For Media
    25 West 52 Street
    New York, NY 10019
    212.621.6785
    coman@paleycenter.org

    Posted on March 6th, 2012 at 3:20 PM

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