hunter114's Justice League : The New Frontier review

Justice League: The New Frontier

Intro -
I've gotta say that I like the story for this movie, it has a pretty clear narrative: Giant alien monster wants to destroy Earth, superheroes have to work together to destroy it. The characters are already well established and the origins have barely changed, so it's not like we are going to get something that can't be justified one way or another. I have also just noticed how much I've written, so if you want to skip me babbling on for ages just look at the conclusion part at the bottom.
 
Asthetics -  
One of the main problems for me, however is some of the animation, I mean I grew up in the 90's, so I'm used to the way that the Justice League looked in the cartoons and the movies. I didn't like the way that Hal Jordan's make looked like a giant triangle on his face, rather than an actual mask, I wasn't keen on Hal's costume, I thought that it was too much like it was his skin or something, it has no texture or layers to it. Another thing that I didn't like was Martian Manhunter's head and face, which I also thought was a bit too smooth and textureless though I think it's probably just the eyebrows that do it. The last great problem that I had was the "S" on Superman's chest, it just looks so wrong to me and it niggles at me, that it doesn't look like the "S" that people know and love and have tatooed on their butt cheeks or other embarrasing places. And yes, I do know that it's based on DC: The New Frontier and that I'm talking about basic asthetics here and that compared to the story it is really not important, but the general expectations of these characters is that they at least look believable or like you expect them to. 
 
Story -  
The opening was pretty much what you hope for in a comic book movie, yet it was unexpected too, most of the time you get a narrated prologue from the hero giving a big speech about how they got into the situation they're in, or include the words, "This is my city" or something like that, here we have something slightly different, granted there are probably hundreds of comics with the "Lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike" speeches, but I think it's more scary and ominous if you can hear the voice and I think that the voice does the job here. Then you have the painting in the book which carries the story along and gives the character more depth, even more so when you see that the author of the book is being used as some sort of telepathic proxy for this "thing" and then you see the book close and the title ("The Last Story") which really helps to build up the hype. This leads to the presumption that this character is powerful enough to destroy the world, then the guy shoots himself which is pretty much the whole "I don't care about you, you've outweighed your usefulness, DIE!!!" so we know this character is very, very bad indeed. 
 
After the opening credits we have the introduction to the characters, which I thought were depicted well which is to be expected as Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano have been some of these characters since the early '90's and have probably been reading the comics before then, which is why I think that DCAU is so successful. It is a little different though as DCAU have been using John Stewart and Wally West as their chosen Green Lantern and Flash respectively, which is strange as they are pretty much the main focus of the movie (As shown in the DVD cover)  
 
One of the important things for me is that the characters stay true to who they are and that their individual personalities come through in their actions, like when Batman and Martian Manhunter investigate the Center, or Superman defending J'onn against Faraday because they are both aliens. Even Batman doing something as drastic as getting a side-kick and changing his costume can be justified because he scared that kid, Wonder Woman and Superman's stand-off in the camp and Barry going on TV and retiring all seem like things you would expect the characters to do. 
 
A few bad things about the story though, firstly, two of the three most popular characters in the whole DC Universe are taken down pretty easily and then nothing happens after that, I can understand this, but I think there was something wrong with the way that it was done. Secondly, if you are gonna have the Green Lantern in a movie, you have to put the oath in there, it's just epic and it should have been put in there somewhere, though just putting it there for the sake of doing it is pretty poor writing, so I guess they made the right choice there. Finally, what the hell was going on with Aquaman at the end, I mean that was just out and out weird, it fit in with the story, but the way that is was done was kinda wrong. We also see Robin as a boy in the movie, but later on we see John Henry Irons (Steel) as a being younger than Dick Grayson and Black Canary as a member of the Teen Titans which I'm pretty sure she was never a Titan (feel free to tell me if I'm wrong) Another thing which I have found in these kinds of team-up movies is that hardly anything of the heroes private lives are shown, which I think is important to have that balance, the same thing happened in the Justice League TV series which was a real shame, though I do concede that Barry Allen and Martian Manhunter did have a few scenes which I actually liked.
 
A few more good things, Batman actually doing some research about what's going on, we see Ray Palmer before he became the Atom and one of his failed experiments is used to defet the Center (though probably a little bit of Deus Ex Machina there) so we have some character development which I think is important. We also have some easter-eggs for the fans with these little cameos from Adam Strange and Green Lantern (and others) but I think that it is important to see some sort of aftermath, to see what happens to the characters after the event has taken place. The epilogue with the montage of the JLA, Teen Titans and even some of the cameos from the most unexpected characters like Rick Flag Jr or John Hery Irons, who were probably incredibly influenced by what the JLA did, we also have the fight with Starro which elludes to the first appearance of the JLA together (Brave and the Bold #28) and all of that is set to Kennedy's presidential acceptance speech, arguably one of the most important and influential presidents of the 20th Century, as well as the speech's meaning, the representation of moving forward towards making the world a better place. Also if you look at the date on the newspaper, it is the same date as Kennedy's speech, not really important or noteworthy, but I just found it out and I like easter-eggs because they show a true connection to the original material and a show of respect to both the industry and to the fans. 
 
Conclusions - 
The only real problems I have with the movie are asthetic, which only affects the movie in a small way, I guess that they could have shown a bit more of the character's powers and private lives. I do like the characters and the story and the way that everthing is intermingled etc, but if you do want to see it, you have to bear in mind that it is set during the '50's and the characters are a little bit different from their DCAU counterparts. In fact this is probably one of my least favourite DCAU movies, but I still think that it is a good movie despite the animation.

1 Comments
Posted by Decept-O

Just want to add one of the additional problems I had with this animated movie was the hype surrounding it and the way some of the characters acted and were portrayed.  Everyone seemed.....too happy.  Robin was painfully effeminate, and the way some of the characters were introduced just fell kind of flat.  Still not a bad story but a bit simplistic and just not what I was hoping for when I finally watched it. 

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