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Justice League: War Review

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Inspired by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's JUSTICE LEAGUE story, DC's latest animated movie explores the iconic team's origin as they face off against Darkseid.

Justice League: War is easily the most action-packed movie DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation have yet to make. Seriously, once all of the characters are established, it's pretty much one big fight scene after another. If you love seeing these characters smack each other around and battle evil, then prepare for some fun. However, if you thought the action in Man of Steel was too much, then this one just isn't for you.

The movie's inspired by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's first JUSTICE LEAGUE story in the New 52. If you've read it, then you basically know what to expect when it comes to the basic plot. For everyone else, the premise is simple: Darkseid invades Earth with a swarm of Parademons and the heroes must work together to stop him. And boom (tube), the Justice League is born as they unite and attempt to defeat this massively powerful villain.

Writer Heath Corson and Director Jay Oliva stay relatively true to the source material while also adding in more than a few changes. Sometimes animated movies keep the core idea of the plot but drastically alter everything else. Such isn't the case here. A lot of Johns' hilarious lines remain and more than a few jokes are thrown in to keep the comedy coming. Cyborg's origin story is also changed and it gives him a closer connection to what's going on. It technically changes who he is yet the basic concept of the character remains the same. And, as everyone knows by now, Shazam has replaced Aquaman. Yes, it sucks we don't get to see the very awesome shark moment, but trust me, it's because they have bigger plans for Arthur. Patience is a virtue, yes?

The film does a good job handling the team's chemistry, too. The Flash (Christopher Gorham) and Green Lantern (Justin Kirk) is without question the most entertaining pair and have the best lines. Not only that but their voice actors also deliver the strongest performances. If you're one of the people who constantly rant about the new SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN series, then odds are you'll hate the fact this film alludes to the attraction between the two. For everyone else, it'll deliver some solid laughs. A bond is created between Shazam and Cyborg as well and it's certainly an amusing one. For all his power, Billy Batson's still just a kid who idolizes this football star and it definitely shows. Meanwhile, Batman simply has amusing interactions with everyone.

As stated above, this movie is overflowing with action. They basically take the fight scenes from the source material and then multiply the duration by a thousand (that's a rough estimate). Some of the close-up shots feel too abrupt instead of intense (most notably when Cyborg debuts), but overall it's all of the action you could crave and then some. I didn't keep track of how long the fight with Darkseid is, but damn, it goes on and on. Plus, who doesn't want to see Wonder Woman flipping around and slicing Parademons apart?

The character designs are by Phil Bourassa, the lead character designer for Young Justice. The new costumes are perfectly fine and overall it's a very appreciated improvement over the incredibly bulky bodies we saw in DC's last animated movie (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox).

The movie's PG-13 and they take full advantage of that. The violence isn't nearly as graphic as Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (essentially limited to Parademons getting obliterated), but the rating is absolutely earned with the language. So, consider this a warning if you have a young one and don't want them hearing some colorful vocabulary.

As for gripes, the drama with Victor and his father doesn't translate that well and drags a bit. There's also a couple of times where shots linger a tad too long, making for somewhat awkward moments. Just like in the source material, Darkseid's essentially reduced to a boss battle type of character. He's there to brawl and Steven Blum spends more time screaming and grunting than actually talking. His physicals also fluctuate a decent amount and, as someone who's really into characters' stats and abilities, that stood out to me. Jason O'Mara's the new voice of Batman (he reprises the role in Son of Batman) and I'm left down the middle on it. Some remarks feel a tad uninspired while others are just fine. Speaking of Batman, the filmmakers find a way to toss in a second Dark Knight vs. Superman scene. As a Batman fan, it's downright amazing. But as a Superman fan, it comes off as an unnecessary departure from the source material (there's already so many places to see a darker Superman). Lastly, I don't mind it, but fans may want to know a certain infamous moment between Batman and Green Lantern remains.

Justice League: War is all about hitting you with big action and big laughs. The story isn't all that compelling and some may find the fights exhausting, but if you just want to enjoy seeing these characters brawl and banter for a little over an hour, then odds are you're going to have a good time with this one.

And yes, there is a mid-credits scene!

119 Comments
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Posted by scouts1998

@k4tzm4n is the mid credit scene for son of batman or another new 52 storyline?

Edited by k4tzm4n

@scouts1998 said:

@k4tzm4n is the mid credit scene for son of batman or another new 52 storyline?

It's not for Son of Batman and no, I won't give it away :P

Staff
Edited by dagmar_merrill

@scouts1998: Google tells me it's about Thrones of Atlantis.

Online
Posted by Alak

"As for gripes, the drama with Victor and his father doesn't translate that well and drags a bit."

Aw, that's actually one of the things I liked about the New 52 JL books when they first came out. Still anxious to watch this movie, though. Great review!

Posted by LordoftheNorth

Jason O'Mara has been my biggest concern their was a clip of him treatening a parademon and it just made me laugh does he get better as the movie goes on or is he just hit or miss

Edited by LyraFay

A mid-credits scene?! Huh?

Edited by noj

Absolutely CANNOT wait for this! I really wish they could release these more often. I'm VERY rarely dissapointed with a DC animated feature

Edited by scouts1998

@dagmar_merrill: I've heard people's idea of that as the sequel, trinity war as another sequel and court of the owls as a spin-off.

Posted by noj

@lordofthenorth: I was a little concerned as well but his voice in the Son of Batman trailer eased my worry a bhit

Posted by Veshark

Can't say I was looking forward to this. I might get around to watching it but....ehh, the source material was never that compelling to begin with and the art style seems very meh.

Posted by GraniteSoldier

I must admit, I've always found DC to release better animated movies. Pretty excited for this.

Posted by AllStarSuperman

Can't wait!

Posted by HushoftheWind

Just got finish watching it and i was honestly expecting it to be bad, but i was surprise how much i liked it. Definitely buying it once it releases.

Wonder Woman kicked major a$$ in this film, she had a damn good showing against Darkseid. She straight up stabbed him in the eye and was tanking shots from him while was enraged.

As far as the Wonder Woman Superman attraction, i feel, as i do in the comics, as it quite bland and forced. i was hoping the film would better portray the spark attraction between to the 2 powerhouses besides "Hey, you're strong, im strong, you get me." Just bad imo.

I was griping that Shazam was in this over Aquaman, but i see why they choose him giving the mid credit scene.

Flash also had a stout showing against Darksied. I can't believe he stabbed him in the eye with a freaking crowbar, my goodness. Darkseid was getting maimed this film lol.


Batman wasnt downplayed to much in this film too much thank goodness for that, i do feel like his speech to Hal Jordan before rescuing Superman was portrayed better in the film then it was the comics.

Online
Edited by ArturoCalaKayVee
Edited by batmannflash

@arturocalakayvee: you didn't hear it from me, but it can be found online

I haven't seen it yet, though.

Posted by ArturoCalaKayVee

@batmannflash: Lol, alright, I'm gonna wait until the video is released but thanks.

Posted by mpto216

The physical copy isn't out yet, but those who can't wait or don't care can get the digital download now.

I was much more entertained by the movie than the story it was based on. There was just a lot more personality to all the characters. My one major gripe is Wonder Woman's voice. It's not bad, it just felt inconsistent. Sometimes it felt like Michelle Monaghan was overacting. If DC could translate this movie to live action, it would play out a lot like Avengers. Lots of action, great character moments and plenty of humor.

Posted by JTKirk101

So batman and superman fight twice?? how does that go down?

Posted by Tev18

AMAZING MOVIE! I'M GLAD WE ARE GETTING A AQUAMAN MOVIE! THRONE OF ALANTIS GOOD STORY!

Posted by JTKirk101

No No please tell me about the bats vs superman fights...

Edited by iceslick

@arturocalakayvee: There was an exclusive contest for fans to win tickets to see JLW before everyone else a few months ago. It was on Comic Vine, so I guess you missed out on that one. I saw it too, it was a great to see it and be there.

Edited by manwithoutshame

This sounds great. Justice League in the New 52 is awesome.

Edited by RulerOfThisUniverse

Loved the book, can't wait for this.

Edited by sentryman555

I just don't see why they have George Newbern in the movie if he isn't voicing superman.

Posted by MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg

The massive amount of action in this movie akin to Man of Steel isn't surprising. Jay Olivia was the storyboard artist for Man of Steel who said in that movie he went for over the top action, and it seems to be carrying over into his DCAU movie works as well.

Edited by ColaNicole
Edited by ArturoCalaKayVee

@iceslick said:

@arturocalakayvee: There was an exclusive contest for fans to win tickets to see JLW before everyone else a few months ago. It was on Comic Vine, so I guess you missed out on that one. I saw it too, it was a great to see it and be there.

Man, I'm missing everything these days! This is like the fifth thing I've discovered I've missed today! I gotta be more vigilant...

Posted by Thitiki

Can someone tell me what happens between Superman and Batman as mentioned it's like Dark Knight?

Posted by iceslick

@arturocalakayvee: Yeah, I guess you gotta visit the site more often. lol That's what I love about this site, that there's always something to have a chance to win at. So, try not to miss one next time.

Posted by PapiNacho

Nothing happens in the first fight it is just an extended shot of both Batman and Superman being awesome. The second one is Supes crontolled by Desaad and Bats dodging until Supes regains control.

This movie was amazing. Batman's voice was emotionless at times, but that was about it, it really made the characters all seem ten times more awesome than in the novel. Even Jordan was more likable.

Posted by PunyParker

1 thing......IS Batman good?!

(Yeah....im THAT much of a fanboy.)

Posted by asjmooney

So is this out now? I thought it wasn't released until Feb?

Posted by Superguy1591

Batman survived hits he shouldn't have...

Batman is also endowed with super-agility...

IT'm starting to think that Olivia is the reason I did not like Man of Steel as much as I wanted to... he refuses to slow down at the right moments and speeds up at the wrong moments.

3.5/5 for me.

Edited by MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg

Thoughts after seeing the movie:

  • Flash and GL / Shazam and Cyborg were fun together
  • Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Darkseid were very one dimensional and flat characters
  • Superman is literally a flying brick who loves punching things
  • Wonder Woman is supposed to come to Man's World to promote peace, yet she loves combat so much in this movie
  • I didn't like Darkseid coming to Earth to fight the League. He's supposed to be a major tyrant. Desaad or Kanto or other minions should've been the main baddie (and I also had this gripe with the comic as well).
  • Hal said "I got this" way too much, and fails equally as much
  • Dr. Slias is a dick
  • I don't get Batman's line saying that he and GL were the only normal people on the team. Does GL not wear a power ring and thusly grant him superhuman powers?
  • Too much action and very little development. Its clear that Jay Olivia took similar style approaches with Man of Steel and this movie
  • Nice focus on non - Batman characters
  • The scene with Superman killing Desaad while under mind control was not needed. Like at all.
  • Credit scene is nice
@superguy1591 said:

IT'm starting to think that Olivia is the reason I did not like Man of Steel as much as I wanted to... he refuses to slow down at the right moments and speeds up at the wrong moments.

3.5/5 for me.

Agreed. I guess if you approach it as a mindless action film, it is easier to digest.

@punyparker said:

1 thing......IS Batman good?!

(Yeah....im THAT much of a fanboy.)

He mainly talks and argues with people (mostly Hal). Fun interactions, and nice showing of his skills.

@hushofthewind said:

As far as the Wonder Woman Superman attraction, i feel, as i do in the comics, as it quite bland and forced. i was hoping the film would better portray the spark attraction between to the 2 powerhouses besides "Hey, you're strong, im strong, you get me." Just bad imo.


This.

Overall it's a very "meh" film.

Edited by lifeofvibe

is it on the web yet?

Edited by staypuffed

I loved the original story arc, but I'm hugely bummed out that I'm going to have to wait about 3-4 months til it's released here in Australia. I'm trying not to spoil the mid-credits scene for myself, but I'm so tempted! I'm also worried about Batman's voice. SURELY there are voice actors more suited for the role...

Posted by NightFang

Well now I have to see this.

Posted by HushoftheWind

@colanicole: Batman pretty much evades all of Superman attacks, b/c he Superman was still possessed by the parademon transmuting process. Pretty much a mindless Superman vs Batman fight.

Online
Posted by Nahuel

The source material is very crapy, so I don't have any hopes for this movie, but seeing the review I'm glad they address the attraction between Superman and Wondie, because it felt so forced in the comics.

So... I'll wait for the Blu-ray release

Posted by SupBatz

" Justice League: War is easily the most action-packed movie DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation have yet to make. Seriously, once all of the characters are established, it's pretty much one big fight scene after another. "

....Ughhhh....

So very not interested anymore.

Posted by The Stegman

I know people complained about the voice actors and the fact this is based off a very mediocre story arc, but I can't wait to see this! DC animation has yet to disappoint.

Posted by Saint_Wildcard

I totally called it, I knew that the Cliana relationship was gonna show it's head in this movie.

Posted by Sovereign91001

I'm lookin forward to seeing this.

Edited by Saint_Wildcard

Complaints

-Bad Dialogue (mostly Wonder Woman)

-Altered Darkseid's voice

-Introduction to the WW/SM relationship was weak (and this is coming from someone who is pro CLiana)

-Superman was even more hot headed than he was in the comic.

-Strayed too much from the original story.

-No Aquaman

Pros

-Superman beat up Batman

..... I'm sold. Ordering my copy ASAP.

Posted by SanoHibiki

Beforehand knowing on which comics this movie based, I from very beginning knew that I shouldn’t expect deep meaning and hidden depths. Just seat, watch and enjoy. And I wasn’t disappointed. Fun, full of action, pretty identical to comics. That movie deserves to be watched once or twice, if only to let your brain rest.

Well, some negative. Expected fanservice for Batman’s, a little strange face design for Superman, DC recently overdoing with “Let’s make brainwashed Superman kill someone”, a little one-dimensional portrayal of several characters.

But I was pleasantly surprised that first SM/WW hints on something more than friendship were actually included in this movie.

4/5.

Posted by k4tzm4n

@saren said:

I actually like Hal in this, even though he was an insufferable jerk in the source material. I credit the voice actor for that.

What I really didn't like was Darkseid's voice. Couple that with him floating through the city slicing buildings in half with his Omega Beams, and they essentially turned him into a Reaper.

It caught me off-guard at first but on the plus side, he barely even spoke. During the panel, Andrea Romano said they wanted to change his voice because it wouldn't seem right to have a human voice coming from such an inhuman character.

Staff
Edited by Saren

@k4tzm4n said:

@saren said:

I actually like Hal in this, even though he was an insufferable jerk in the source material. I credit the voice actor for that.

What I really didn't like was Darkseid's voice. Couple that with him floating through the city slicing buildings in half with his Omega Beams, and they essentially turned him into a Reaper.

It caught me off-guard at first but on the plus side, he barely even spoke. During the panel, Andrea Romano said they wanted to change his voice because it wouldn't seem right to have a human voice coming from such an inhuman character.

Seriously? Everyone loved Michael Ironside's Darkseid. Andre Braugher was great too.

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