Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract Review


Now I can finally be caught up with the main DC films. They’ve been on a solid roll and it’s good to have DC finally reclaim the throne. That being said, it’s not nearly as good as Bad Blood or Justice League vs Titans. Those films did set quite a high bar though and this film is still pretty solid. The action scenes are on point and all of the characters get to show off their skills. Considering that fans had been waiting for this film for around a decade, it was nice for them to finally get a payoff.

The Teen Titans are finally a pretty close knit team. They’ve even got a new member named Terra who is useful for breaking into enemy bases. Nightwing does his best to get back into the swing of things since he left the team for a long time. It looks like he showed up just in time since the assassin Deathstroke has shown up once again and he has his sights set on the Titans. The Justice League aren’t available to help in this round so Nightwing has to put his training to good use and solve this issue on his own.

The film starts off with a decent action sequence as we learn about one of the Teen Titans first missions. At the very least, it was how they first met Starfire and ultimately she would become the leader. I have to say that the old roster may have been a little stronger since they had Kid Flash, but Starfire’s a pretty decent replacement. The actual Titans from that era were fairly unlikable as expected since the film really played up the whole Teens angle. That also ends up hurting the main cast to an extent as well.

The main plot with Deathstroke taking everyone down was a lot of fun though. I was wondering how they would incorporate Deathstroke into the film since he met an untimely demise a while back, but the reason was satisfactory and the most plausible one of the bunch. Fortunately for him, Deathstroke also got a lot stronger and became better at hand to hand combat. He looked so terrible in Son of Batman, but this was a great way to finally treat the character with respect. I’m definitely a Deathstroke fan and his portrayal here was spot on.

Naturally, Terra also gets a big role, but I can’t say that she was likable here at all. I’d actually say that her TV show version was probably better. This one’s subplot with Deathstroke was pretty unnecessary and her “Too tough for everyone” personality didn’t work well. If you want an example of a character who pulled it off, look no further than Damian! Damian’s role here was fairly small since he wasn’t in the comic and the writers didn’t want to upset the fans. Still, he looked good in his brief appearance as he put up a fight against Deathstroke and seemed to be the only member with common sense. I know the Titans are about acceptance and all, but letting in random people with no background checks is extremely risky. Damian’s hunch proved to be correct as it always is.

A minor subplot is how Starfire is worried that the other members treat Nightwing as more of a leader than her. It’s to be expected since he was the leader for a while, but he’s a nice guy and does his best not to usurp her authority. Starfire’s not a bad character and still a big step up from the TV show version. She could be better though. This also wasn’t Nightwing’s best appearance and all of the scenes with him and Starfire typically just slow the film down. He still does well in combat though.

Beast Boy’s still as annoying as ever. There’s no way Terra should fall for him just because he is constantly pestering her. He was basically asking to be betrayed the whole time and it’ll probably be tough for me to ever be a big fan of his. Blue Beetle’s scarab continues to act up and it’ll be fun to see if a film tackles that plot at some point. His subplot was pretty boring though and definitely didn’t need to be in the film. It’s nice of him to help out, but did it have to immediately have to also become a romance subplot? What happened to just having nice co-workers?

Raven gets the smallest role here, but she already had her own film so that makes sense. Unfortunately, she is heavily nerfed as a result. Honestly, the power levels are pretty bad all around here which is a shame since the previous film did pretty good with them. Raven losing to Terra is one of those “I can’t believe that happened” moments and the Titans just ganging up on Brother Blood at the end was also pretty iffy. His powers seemed to magically vanish and suddenly he was getting wrecked by everyone. The only main fight that I was really okay with was Deathstroke taking on Damian and Nightwing since a super soldier serum can definitely make that plausible. Every bit of strength and speed helps a lot in a fight like that.

The animation is definitely sharp as expected. All of the fights are pretty sharp and the character designs on point. DC’s never disappointed in this area though so it’s hardly a surprise at all. Unfortunately, the soundtrack didn’t return from Justice League vs Teen Titans. That one had some really good tunes, but this one went for a more generic ensemble. It wasn’t bad, but I can’t remember a single tune, you’d think that it was a silent film.

Ultimately what holds this one back from being as good as the others is the writing. It’s a little more sub par this time around as it’s a TEEN Titans film as opposed to being a Teen Titans film. There’s a lot of romance and drama everywhere with some rather iffy lines being thrown around. We did get our fair share of superhero action as well, but these elements definitely weakened the film just enough. It also doesn’t help that I’m not a Brother Blood fan and he’s as boring as ever. At least he got a power up so he could actually fight here. Still, you can easily forget that HIVE is in the film and it wouldn’t really change much.

Overall, The Judas Contract is a good film. It’s not as sharply written as the last few films and Raven was nerfed way too hard, but it’s still enjoyable to watch. The film breezes by since it’s so short and that allows then pacing to always be pretty quick. Damian’s a highlight as always and Deathstroke has fully reclaimed his glory. I look forward to seeing what the rest of 2017 can bring for DC animation. I want to see a Justice League movie now that DC is bringing its A game back. A Trinity War adaption could be a lot of fun or we could even skip to the Darkseid War at this point. Wherever we go, it should be hype!

Overall 6/10

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Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Justice League vs Teen Titans Review


The DC movies continue as I finally got to check out this film. As you may remember, I was pleasantly surprised by how Batman: Bad Blood was and hoped that this one would continue things on track. It’s definitely a solid film and I’d say that it is 2nd only to the former in the post Flashpoint era. I have more issues with it than I did for Bad Blood and it never reached the same level of intensity and animation that the former had, but it is a quality film. So don’t let the cover art scare you, it’s just DC’s way of reducing sales for all of its current films.

A demonic being by the name of Trigon has set his sights on the planet Earth. His ticket there is his daughter Raven, who is currently a member of the Teen Titans. She had trapped him in hell and he is unable to break free so he sends his subordinates to capture her. Can Raven defeat them and keep her friends safe? Meanwhile, Robin completely embarrasses the Justice League in front of the city so Batman demotes him from League member to Teen Titan. Robin doesn’t take it well, but learns that sometimes it is good to protect those who are weaker.

As you hopefully probably guessed, the title is pure clickbait. The Justice League vs Teen Titans fight lasts for only about 2-4 minutes. The rest of the film is mainly about the Titans although the Justice League gets their moments as well. That’s fine, I know that most Vs titles never actually go anywhere. Just look at Batman vs Robin although admittedly, that fight certainly lasted longer than this one. There’s a lot to talk about in this film so lets start with the Justice League.

They’re on the backburner in this film. While it is a sequel to Throne of Atlantis, the world just doesn’t revolve around them this time. Superman looks both good and bad. It was interesting to see him at first because he acts like the protagonist in a B grade horror film. A monster whizzes past, the door slams, and the room is even chilled to the core. Superman’s only reaction is the classic “If this is a joke…then it’s not funny!” and then he even yells in terror as he is taken over. For starters, the whole “Superman has no willpower” thing that the New 52 made popular is total nonsense. Superman doesn’t get taken over and his reaction times are good enough so he wouldn’t be taken in like that. It happens though. There is a lot of plot hax here. Nothing that hurts the film as a whole, but it does make you shake your head.

Superman getting steamrolled by Trigon at the end is another moment where you have to tilt your head. Superman beats guys like that for breakfast. The rest of the League didn’t do much better. Too bad Green Lantern wasn’t here to save the day eh? Superman’s fight against Wonder Woman and Flash was brilliant though. As I’ve always said, Superman is easily the strongest comic book character of all time. It’s not even close. I like how he’s faster than the Flash, Smarter than Batman, and a better warrior than Wonder Woman. It’s part of why he’s a good character, he invalidates the rest of the League with his existence. Effortlessly breaking Flash’s leg and then trapping Wonder Woman with her lasso is something for the record books. It was the best part of the film hands down and should answer any debates as to who would win in a fight. As Flash pointed out, it was a bit of a brutal way to take him down, but it was effective. It was also good to see Flash’s accelerated healing factor be acknowledged for once. I feel like most animated features don’t even remember this. On a final note, Superman’s voice has got to go. It was awful in this film. Maybe the guy was out of practice or something, but it sounded nothing like Superman.

Flash didn’t actually get a role beyond that. He got the shaft from the League members. Batman was good as always. It’s definitely unfortunate for him that Damian always acts out when they’re in public. Still, Batman takes control of the situation as always and even prevents himself from being mind controlled. He handled the whole thing quite well. His plan to have Wonder Woman hide herself and not engaging Superman as well was a little iffy though. Didn’t seem as brave a move as you’d expect. Wonder Woman didn’t hide which is a good thing, but she didn’t pursue either. I would have liked for her to have gone after Superman anyway. Her terribly irrelevant relationship with Superman can drag both characters down if it keeps up so hopefully that goes away soon. I don’t want it to be a main plot though, let it be a one line thing.

One last note on the Justice League, I can’t buy into the whole confrontation that happened later on. They want to take Raven in for questioning and basically arrest her? These aren’t the Avengers. The Justice League don’t randomly shoot civilians or kidnap teenagers for no reason. I can’t picture the heroes doing this. They could have handled the situation with more tact and I also don’t see how they didn’t notice Trigon the whole time. There were some stretches in logic to be sure, but at least it was still good to see the League. They got a bit more of a role than I had expected them too.

Now lets talk about the Teen Titans. As you’d expect, it’ll take a few minutes to get used to their new designs and voices. Starfire’s is an improvement from the start for me as I never liked her “I don’t understand human culture” gimmick. The jokes with it were never that funny so seeing her as a capable team leader was a nice change of pace. I feel like she was a little underpowered here. I do agree with her losing to Wonder Woman of course, but she did absolutely terrible against the Trigon demons to the point where Blue Beetle and Robin were doing far better. I’m just not sure I totally buy that, but it’s not an issue with her character.

Beast Boy was annoying as per usual. He was just a bit much the whole time and I also had to chuckle when I saw his undercover getup. It’s something that you usually see the mysterious heroine wear in an anime. I have a co-worker who has the same get up and she is not a guy. It’s just not something that you really see a guy wearing or maybe it’s just the way that it was animated. Either way, it was funny because that style isn’t for a character like Beast Boy. His personality would make you think that he’d be wearing something a lot brighter or more outlandish.

Raven was great as per usual. I think she did panic a little too quickly with the Trigon situation though. As she explained, he is still trapped in the crystal so it’s not as if he can do anything. All he can do is summon his minions and she can handle those right? Admittedly, she looked a little too weak in the first confrontation until she used her demonic powers, but they shouldn’t be a serious threat. Of course, once the Titans were held hostage, she didn’t really have any other choice. So long as we don’t get any random romance between her and Robin, their friendship is also a good subplot. They definitely do have similar pasts and aren’t good with others. Raven just handles it by keeping to herself while Robin likes to insult everyone. The Titans definitely would be in a jam without Raven’s powers so they’re lucky that she stays as a hero.

Robin was also a very solid character. Yeah, he’s a little meaner here and may have regressed a little in character development, (He still thinks Ra’s is a great man with good ideals? I feel like he should have moved on from that by now considering how crazy the guy was) but I still like his confidence. Robin does well in a fight and saving the Titans was a good way to start. He was also handling Blue Beetle pretty well until the unexpected attack. That’s why you should never let your guard down, even in a sparring session. At first I wasn’t thrilled about DC forcing Damian into every single plot, but now I’m okay with it. I’m still gonna say that Dick Grayson is my favorite Robin, but Damian is better than Nightwing. Nightwing appears for a few minutes here and never really looks good anymore. His era is really done at this point.

Blue Beetle is effectively Cyborg’s replacement on the team. For him, I didn’t have to get used to a new voice, but the new design would take some getting used too. The buzzcut look just didn’t feel quite as right as the Young Justice look. Still, he was a good character. He got less of a role than the others, but that’s probably because the Blue Beetle will get his own film like Raven at some point. There’s certainly a lot they can do with him. I definitely had no problems with him and I’ve always liked the Beetle. It definitely doesn’t take any nonsense from anyone and always goes out swinging. There’s not much to say about Cyborg to be honest. Of course, I had hoped that this film would help him see what team he should really be on. I can’t say that happens, but I can say that Cyborg has always acted more like a Teen Titan than a League member. It’s like how the Beast never quite fit in as an Avenger since he was an X-Man for so long. It’s hard to just switch teams.

I’d say that one thing which holds this film back a little is the writing. It is a lot weaker than the last film and maybe even last few films. It could be the Teen Titans angle I suppose, but a lot of the dialogue is pretty forced. Most of the lines are either from Beast Boy or about Beast Boy. Batman asking Cyborg what happens to the food that he eats was also completely out of left field. Those are just a few examples and the dialogue could be a little distracting at times. It got serious when necessary though and don’t get me wrong. It’s not overwhelming or constantly in your face, but it’s still consistent enough to be noticeable.

The animation for the film is pretty solid. That being said, it is certainly a step under Batman: Bad Blood. You’ll notice that for the hand to hand fight scenes, the camera starts to be a little shaky as to hide the actual animation. I found that to be a little odd, as if the animators weren’t too confident. The energy displays were on point though and the energy that all of the Trigon creations emitted was similar to Bass’ iconic energies or any cool anime villain. It worked quite well and since this film was a lot more supernatural than the last few, it got to use all of these effects quite a lot. I also like the fact that Batman and Robin’s eyes are always glowing through the suit. It does make them look more menacing.

The soundtrack is also a step down, but it’s reasonably good. There aren’t really any battle themes this time around or none that I can recall. That being said, we did get some lyrical songs for the montages. The song that played during Robin and Beast Boy’s duel was pretty catchy. The one for the amusement park adventures was also solid. They easily made up for the lack of battle themes although the best of both worlds would be to include them all. The sound effects for the hits was a little lower which was unfortunate, but I guess it’s tough to get that perfect balance.

I need to give a quick shoutout to Lex and the Legion of Doom for the worst villain plan ever as well. A little hyperbole thrown in there, but what were they thinking? So, Lex, Solomon Grundy, Toyman, Weather Wizard, and Cheetah thought that they could defeat the Justice League? They may have had the element of surprise, but they never had a chance of victory. Each individual fighter was outranked by his/her counterpart. There was just no strategy or gameplan here which was odd. Lex had a great line though. It went along the lines of “You guys are always fighting (Demons, gods, Superheroes, Machines, etc) and I’m just a poor industrialist caught in the middle.” Superman even had to sarcastically admit that Lex had a point there. It was just an awesome line to be honest. Plus, it’s a nice way to think about things and it could give you newfound respect for his predicament. That being said, Lex still needs to up his game. He may have had an after credits scene in a previous film, but apparently the writers decided to ditch that. Ah well, it happens. We’ll see if this post credits scene leads to something more direct. Well..we know it does since the next film is already out.

Overall, Justice League vs Teen Titans continues DC’s path into the light. This marks two films in a row where DC is looking like their old selves. I could definitely recommend this film to anyone. It moves very quickly and there is a lot of action. Superman’s scenes are great and went a long way to ensuring that this film got a solid 8. It was a team effort though with the film just being solid all around. Seeing the Justice League and Teen Titans in a movie together is pretty fun. While I’d like the film to be a little longer, being under 90 minutes does guarantee good pacing. It’s a tradeoff, but one that makes the film a little more accessible to everyone. Next up is Teen Titans: Judas Contract so we’ll see how that goes. I don’t expect it to be quite as good since Terra’s annoying and the whole arc will probably be annoying, but if handled well it could be good. I did like the comic after all and Damian can easily fill in for Grayson’s role since he is so skilled already. Also, it’s time to redeem Deathstroke since he looked completely terrible last time. Here’s to hoping that DC pulls out another winner. If they do manage this, then I think we can officially say that DC animation is back to quality for the forseeable future. Now they just need to fix their DVD covers.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Batman: Bad Blood Review


First off, I have to say that I was really surprised at how good this film was. DC’s animation films have been sorely dropping in quality ever since the New 52 began. I’m not counting the side films, just mainstream. Lets quickly take a trip down memory lane for them. Here are the DC animated films that I’m counting. Superman: Doomsday, Justice League New Frontier, Batman Gotham Knight, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern First Flight, Public Enemies, Crisis on Two Earths, Under The Red Hood, Apocalypse, All Star Superman, Emerald Knight, Year One, Doom, Superman and the Elite, Dark Knight Returns, Unbound, Flashpoint, War, Son of Batman, Assault on Arkham, Throne of Atlantis, Batman vs Robin, Gods and Monsters, Bad Blood. I’m not even going to count the Killing Joke and Justice League Dark. The former because I haven’t seen it and don’t plan to since the film looks so trashy and the latter since it’ll be a long time til a TV-14 version of it is up. Naturally, the film wouldn’t help DC’s case anyway since it’s as gritty as it gets.

So, Superman: Doomsday was a great film. It was a good way to kick things off. New Frontier could have been better, but it was a solid Justice League film. Gotham Knight was DC’s first miss, but they made up for it with the next two installments as Wonder Woman and Green Lantern were both very good. Public Enemies and Crisis on Two Earths were amazing and two of the best DC films of all time. Under The Red Hood and Apocalypse continued things off on a high level. All Star Superman was reasonably solid as well. It lacked in action, but had good writing. Emerald Knight was rather disappointing and Year One was pretty sad. You could argue that DC was starting to weaken at this point. Justice League Doom was good. It was a cut under the previous all stars, but it still felt right.

Next was Superman and the Elite. It’s easily one of the weaker Superman films and the animation was bad. Dark Knight Returns was truly dreadful though and it brought back the more violent roots that I was hoping to avoid. The next title (Superman Unbound) avoided this thanks to its My Little Pony styled animation. However, this was the end. We would now enter the violent era of DC films and this is where things got ugly. Flashpoint is super dark, gritty, and violent. It was a bad film that just left you shaking your head. Next was JL: War. Justice League War is a good story, but it was plagued by excessive violence all around. It’s no surprise though since this is where the New 52 started. Technically it’s not a bad film, it’s still good, but should have been far better. The next films would not have the Justice League to bail them out. Son of Batman is a gritty story where the writing just slacks off and the violence continues. Assault on Arkham is one of the worst DC films and with many villains as the main characters, you can see how it would be bad.

We went back to the Justice League next, but questionable writing and more excessive violence held it back quite a lot. Batman vs Robin kept the violence as high as it could and even threw in animal violence. Gods and Monsters is so disgraceful that I knew it would be bad 10 minutes in. It was just so disgraceful. But, there’s a silver lining now. Batman: Bad Blood has toned the violence down quite a lot and based on the trailers and clips for the next two films, it looks like things could finally be changing. Are we going back to DC’s prime in animation? It’s a possibility and one that I’m excited for. It’s fitting since the New 52 was cancelled that things would finally get back on track.

Now, lets start the actual review for this film. Batwoman is a new crime fighter in town who believes in destroying all of her opponents. She’s a villain who takes out other villains for the greater good and believes herself to be above the law. As expected, she gets in over her head and a group of villains decide to take her down. It would seem that she was just the bait to lure Batman in as he is forced to save her from Heretic and his goons which results in his capture. Batwoman must now team up with Nightwing and Damian to find and rescue the Dark Knight. Can they succeed and who is the true mastermind behind the scenes?

This film starts off with a lot of action and it never lets up. The first 10-15 minutes are effectively one long action scene. Batman and Batwoman are up against a bunch of C listers, but these guys still have decent abilities and the fight makes for a bunch of cool visuals. Also, Batman is still just a human so he can’t afford to let his guard down against anyone. While the villains may not seem all that intimidating, one good attack could always mean the end. The film did a great job of showing how Batman fights in contrast to the others though. He has no wasted movements and is easily able to handle multiple opponents by fighting very strategically. His fighting style here was focused on being defensive and launching powerful hits. I dare say that this film did a better job of illustrating that than any of the other DC films. Watch this title and see how the animators do a good job of distinguishing everyone’s fighting styles. It’s pretty impressive.

The animation is also very sharp. Some of the hand to hand scenes can maybe get a little stretchy like Talia vs Batwoman, but the style works well enough. The various colors help the contrast which is why the night scenes in particular have the best fights. The film is able to pull this off even in the day time by having the characters fight in doors. Damian vs the bulldozer guy was a good example of this. The strong sound effects and fluid animation helped this film produce some of the best fight scenes. I have Batman Beyond Return of the Joker as my favorite Batman film, but this one is really high up there as well. The main competition it would have is Under The Red Hood and Mask of the Phantasm. So, Top 3 is a real possibility, but I’ll refrain from actually placing it there for now since it could just be a knee jerk reaction of this film completely surpassing my expectations. I can’t say that I was particularly hyped for this film before watching it, but it certainly delivered.

An extra cherry on top for this film is the fact that it actually had a good soundtrack as well. Most films miss out on this nowadays, but Bad Blood has quite a few great action tunes and that helps to keep the intensity up from the start. The film may only be around 70 minutes long, but since the action never stops, it probably has more fights than most 100+ minute films.

The character cast is pretty solid as well. Batman isn’t in his right mind for most of the film, but he’s on point when he is. He’s very no nonsense the whole time and just shows up to take the villains down. He doesn’t bother with pleasantries or any of that. However, Damian was the standout here. This is how I’ve always pictured the character to act. Damian’s strong and extremely confident. The bragging works as long as he can back it up and he does a good job of it here. I don’t even mind his loss to Heretic since he was drugged first and still put up a good fight. He was trained by the League of Assassins so I expect him to be really skilled. He was a little underpowered in the first fight, but he managed to come back from that. The film couldn’t get the power levels absolutely perfect right? I’m not sure about Batwoman defeating Talia, that was a bit of a stretch. Still, I suppose she needed as least one win since that would have been sad for her fans otherwise.

I’m not really a Batwoman fan. She’s on the opposite side of the spectrum with the bragging. She talks a really good game, but ends up getting wrecked in almost all of her fights. She doesn’t last 5 seconds against Heretic and she was getting overwhelmed by the C list fighters. It wasn’t a good showing for her at all. I thinks she has the potential to be more likable than Batgirl, but she also feels like a Huntress ripoff at the same time. I guess I’ll need to wait and see what future films do with her. Nightwing’s not bad. It’s nice to see him getting more of a role in the films lately. It would be great if he had a little more confidence/arrogance like Damian though. Lately it seems like he’s completely mellowed out. That’s not bad, but it won’t help his personality.

Alfred looked really good here and his fight was one of the cool parts in the film. Bad Blood even managed to squeeze in Batwing. I haven’t read a comic with him yet, but he seems cool. He’s a not very subtle ripoff of War Machine, but as always DC managed to improve on the character. I already like him more than Rhodey. They both have a military background which explains why they can use the suits so easily, but Batwing seems far less likely to betray everyone to the government. His transformation scene was also pretty fun and definitely seemed like something out of Iron-Man. I’m definitely glad that he took the suit right away as well since a real character doesn’t wait for permission.

This aspect hurt Onyx quite a bit though. As a loyal bodyguard, I was expecting her to try and help Heretic out of at least avenge him. Part of being a good lackey is knowing when not to follow an order and that vengeance must come first. She waits way too long to do anything and that did destroy her whole character. There was nothing that she could do to exonerate herself, the time for action had passed. It was also unexpected since the film was playing it off like she was about to do something, but then decided not too. I do have to say that one other missed opportunity here was killing off Heretic before he could get a real fight. He was definitely a tough fighter so seeing him get a full fight against Nightwing or Damian would have been fun. He had a brief bout with Nightwing and to the hero’s credit, he was holding his own. The 2 on 1 fight just proved to be too much in the end.

Bad Blood is also good with the misdirects. I actually thought that Batwoman’s dad had turned evil since it would be the kind of twist that DC would turn to in the past. I’m glad that it wasn’t the case though because that would have been just plain unnecessary. He seems like a pretty good character so I’d definitely be on board with having him around in the future. That being said, sticking to the Bat cast is the best move. One of the reasons why this film was so good was because over 90% of the film stayed with the plot. Batwoman had a small subplot that was boring and acted as pointless filler, but it was probably less than 10 minutes if you combine all of the scenes. Keep the subplots as small as possible and your film will probably be a winner.

Overall, Batman Bad Blood was pretty solid. The nonstop action was good and it was just full of quality. For those of you who still want blood and intensity, there is a bit when characters are punched or stabbed, but it isn’t completely over the top and overdone like the last few films. It’s handled with a lot more dignity and composure this time around. If there’s anything that you may have a problem with, it’s that everyone seems to be breaking into the batcave these days. It did make for a decent jump scene though since I really wasn’t expecting Heretic to show up at that moment. The film was really good with having unexpected things occur. I highly recommend checking this film out. You will not be disappointed!

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Justice League Starcrossed Review


Justice League Starcrossed is a film that I’ve seen countless times in the past. It’s a classic that has withstood the test of time and still proves to be one of the best western films of all time. It makes sense as this film ended the Justice League (pre Unlimited) series and that was the greatest American cartoon of all time. It’s about time that I give this title a proper review.

Hawkgirl’s people arrive on Earth and let its inhabitants know that the Gordanians are planning to attack Earth so the Thanagarians (Hawkgirl’s people) will protect them. The Justice League agree to this, but Batman never trusts someone without having a plan in motion. He quickly figures out that this is all just a ruse, but is unable to help the Justice League escape. They are all kidnapped and upon breaking free they must figure out a way to retake their planet. The governments have been taken down and Earth is virtually defenseless. Not to mention that Hawkgirl is a traitor and can no longer be trusted. Things will have certainly changed when this is all over.

It’s a great plot and the film never breaks stride with its quick pacing. I’d also like to point out that the opening credits were very well done. It was essentially the main theme of the show and in the background you got to see a quick recap of the show for new viewers who could be tuning in. Of course, this is the Justice League so there’s no need for a very detailed recap. Everyone knows who the main characters are after all.

The film continues to start off well as the Justice League quickly try to stop the incoming alien threat before the negotiations begin. The first epic scene of the film is definitely when the Thanagarians betray the League so then the first fight occurs. Obviously, I’m going to call for a good amount of plot hax as the heroes should have easily crushed these aliens. I don’t care how much prep time they had, it wouldn’t be enough to take out this powerhouse group of heroes. Don’t even get me started on Wonder Woman losing while on the Watchtower!

That’s to be expected though so by and large I’ll let it slide. Having a depowered Superman for part of the film did help the drama angle since he couldn’t just fly in and wreck everyone. His fight against one of the Thanagarian soldiers was definitely solid. Once he was back to full power for the climax, I figured that the villains were definitely toast. Superman and the others really laid waste to the army with ease. If anything, Hro Talak is lucky that Superman had to go save Batman since he would have been crushed otherwise. At least against Green Lantern he was still able to stand in the end. Few can hope for much more than that after fighting the Man of Steel.

The Justice League had to go undercover for a little while so it was nice to see Clark Kent back in action. It’s times like these where having an established alter ego is so useful. Batman and Superman would pass the Thanagarian security checks. Green Lantern and Wonder Woman would have a tougher time if they don’t have some kind of ID. I feel like the Flash is the best off in this case though. With his speed, he can be in the next country the instant that someone spots him. The effects of the gravity wore off rather quickly after all. If anything, he could have ran everyone back to Batman’s place, but I suppose that this is more discreet.

As mentioned, Hawkgirl’s betrayal is one of the pivotal parts of the film. The League takes a vote on whether to allow her back in or not and my vote would certainly be on the nay side. Hawkgirl had a chance to be one of the Justice League heroes and blew it. Now she must deal with the consequences for that. It’s one thing to be confused and not take sides in the fight during the beginning (Which is still murky) but Hawkgirl’s been fighting alongside the League for a very long time. She knows that they are not villains and has no reason to doubt them. When the Thanagarians explain that the League is not being cooperative, Hawkgirl should have immediately helped the League. With or without her, they should have won the initial skirmish, but siding with the Thanagarians was the part that sealed the deal on Hawkgirl’s status as a traitor. That was when she crossed the line.

On a side note, I don’t like how she was able to find the Batcave. That’s a little too much hype. Sure, she’s a spy, but this is Batman that we’re talking about. You can’t find his base so easily. Hawkgirl may have tried to help in the end, but that’s what we call “Too little Too Late” It’s one of the main reasons why Hawkgirl is my least favorite member of the core Justice League. Still way better than Green Gullible Arrow though. I was never able to root for her again after this.

I’d also like to note that I was thrilled by the fact that the Justice League was able to get free without Hawkgirl’s help. It would have been a little insulting if they had needed her to break free and instead it was Wonder Woman who was able to initiate the escape. It’s also in character since Wonder Woman is a warrior born and raised. The next best candidate would have been Batman and he’s always pulling off things like this so I’m fine with the switch. Notice that Wonder Woman freed Batman first. The scene where the Justice League broke out was one of the best parts of the film. It was a great fight scene and definitely the moment where the League began to get the upper hand.

Back to Wonder Woman, her role here was really good and she actually outshone most of the League. In one scene, the Thanagarians are picking on some humans and Wonder Woman decides to step in. Similar to the time travelling adventure in Unlimited where she broke someone out of jail. Being impulsive is always a good trait for a hero and you’ve always got a duty to protect people even when it’s tricky. Batman is usually willing to let the villains have their way for a little while before stepping in so that he can win in the end, but that’s not Wonder Woman’s plan of action. Of course, it helps when you have god-like abilities. She’s certainly the MVP here.

Of course, this is the Justice League. They all look really good in the film with the exception of Hawkgirl. Green Lantern may have been suckered, but he does a good job of getting past that and helping to save the world. I really don’t think that his Power Ring can be sliced in half like how it was in the film though. Power Rings don’t break, no matter what kind of magic disruptor hits them. It doesn’t even run on magic after all. Flash’s role is a little smaller than some of the others, but he’s a solid hero as always. When he actually lets loose with his speed, he’s able to take down a lot of the fighters at once.

Martian Manhunter actually looks a little bad as well when you consider that he never told anyone how Hawkgirl’s mind was impervious to telepathy. A little sketchy eh, but trusting in your comrades is not necessarily a bad thing. He also went all out against the general and nearly broke him as he figured out how to use the controls. Running straight into a laser was a little iffy and he didn’t do as well as the other League members, but he did fine. Batman is Batman. As always he came up with the plan of action and even provided the safe hideaway for the heroes. Without Batman, the heroes would not have known about the Thanagarian’s true purpose for a little longer. (Again, it makes Hawkgirl look uncharacteristically naive not to realize what was happening though. I just can’t buy the explanation that she thought she was in the right)

Superman was sadly taken out of the first fight right away, but he bounced back and showed the Thanagarians why they call him Superman. He could have probably taken out the whole army on his own if necessary. This is still the greatest portrayal of Superman and seeing him in the DCAU universe is always great. Of course, his big character arc would soon start in Unlimited so the character won’t be going anywhere. Hro Talak’s a fine main villain I suppose. I like the character design although I naturally think that he could have been cooler without the romance with Hawkgirl. The film had quite a bit of romance with Hro Talak, John Stewart, and Hawkgirl, but luckily it didn’t take up too much of the film. It was also mostly the drama part of the romance that was in the film as well since tensions split them all the whole time. That’s the best way to handle romance so I’ll give the film some props for that.

Finally, I’ve got to give the government props for trying to fight back. They didn’t look so good and it would have been cool for them to have done some major damage, but they didn’t hesitate and went to back up the Justice League once and for all. It makes you wonder how things changed so much for the Cadmus days. For all we know, it had already started though. Whether the government trusts the Justice League or not, they were the best chance during the Thanagarian Invsion so it makes sense that they would team up. Still, I’ve always liked how the government aides the Justice League and it’s definitely the ideal situation. When an alien invasion comes knocking, then you have the government along with the Justice League. Again, I feel like the government should have been able to put up more of a fight since they’ve been shown to have some really high tech armaments in the past. It’s a mild complaint though and the general did his country proud.

This won’t come as a surprise, but the soundtrack is very good for this film. I believe that it’s the first time that the big opera theme comes into play. It happens in this film during the final fight with Green Lantern and the leader of the Thanagarians and it also played in Justice League Unlimited when Doomsday was kicking Superman’s can. Seeing the main theme is also good and the theme that plays when the Justice League are evading the authorities is classic. I’ve seen this film so many times that I can basically play out any scene in my head and even remember the music. It’s the sign of a true classic.

Naturally, the animation is also quite good as well. Like the show, Starcrossed’s animation has really held up through the years and I still consider it to have some of the best animation in all of somics. It’s definitely hard to top and you can really feel the action scene. Each blow has weight behind it and that’s something that newer films have a hard time of matching at times. Apparently one scene has some recycled footage, but you definitely wouldn’t notice that while watching it. The character designs are all on point as expected.

Overall, Justice League Starcrossed is a superb film and one of DC’s all time best. It loses to Justice League Crisis on Two Earths, but that is probably it. I’d put this at second followed closely by Batman/Superman Public Enemies. This was the perfect way to wrap up the Justice League series and start the Unlimited Saga. I’m sure that everyone was saddened to see the end of an era but it signalled another bright time just about to begin. If you’ve never seen this film before, then I highly recommend that you fix that transgression. All comic book fans should watch this film to see how you handle an alien invasion and why the Justice League shall never be surpassed as the ultimate comic book team. It’ll also get you hyped for the upcoming Batman vs Superman film since that will be a prelude of sorts to Justice League.

Overall 9/10