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.