Suggested by Destroyer Dark Vader has a lot of power within The Force. He can do just about anything he likes with it. Since the power is limited only by your force of will, Vader can just try to force choke Lex right off the bat. It won’t be enough though. In some cases Lex has obtained Superman’s abilities and he merged with Brainiac once. His physical speed is enough where he could snap Vader right off the bat before any attack could go underway. Vader’s durability isn’t high enough to prevent this from happening. Lex Luthor wins.
Suggested by Destroyer Dark Vader has a lot of power within The Force. He can do just about anything he likes with it. Since the power is limited only by your force of will, Vader can just try to force choke Lex right off the bat. It won’t be enough though. In some cases Lex has obtained Superman’s abilities and he merged with Brainiac once. His physical speed is enough where he could snap Vader right off the bat before any attack could go underway. Vader’s durability isn’t high enough to prevent this from happening. Lex Luthor wins.
Suggested by iKnowledge Guts is a powerful swordsman who has great speed at his disposal as well as a solid amount of power. As powerful as Lex is with his various suits and obtaining Superman/Flash’s abilities in the past he just isn’t ready to take on Guts. Guts can use short bursts of speed to wreck havoc on Lex and a single hit would deal a ton of damage. If given enough prep time Lex would certainly think of a way to win, but time isn’t on his side right now. Guts wins.
Suggested by iKnowledge Nighthawk is a guy who’s definitely had some good character arcs over the years. He started out as a two bit villain and eventually became a hero that you could rely on. He’s not particularly powerful though and Lex has had many super forms over the years. Lex merged with Brainiac on one occasion after all and he got Superman’s powers at another time. It wouldn’t take him long to think up a plan to take out Nighthawk with. The guy needs a big power up to match Lex. Lex Luthor wins.
Suggested by Destroyer Martian Manhunter is definitely very strong. He has really taken Superman to the edge of defeat in the past. That being said, he can’t actually beat Superman. Lex has obtained Superman’s powers in the past so that form will also be a little too much for him. The strength and speed is simply too much. Lex Luthor wins.
This show always brings a lot of memories. Not only have I seen this show numerous times, but it is easily my favorite American show of all time and top 5 overall. It is the perfect adaption of a superhero team and I doubt we will ever see another such title top this one. Justice League ran for a very long time and got to fit in dozens of excellent episodes. They hold up well and you will be hard pressed to find a bad episode here. Even the worst episodes are still fairly good when placed in another title. Let us get started because this is an incredibly long review. Maybe it should be called a look back to be more accurate?
The show is divided into two parts. There is Justice League and then there is Unlimited. I count them as the same show but you could make the case for it being two separate titles. Part 1 is a lot more episodic, but each adventure was double length which made it easy to tell just about any story. Unlimited’s episodes were normal length, but they made up for it with long story arcs. Both had very different styles and worked well in their own way. I’ll talk more about Unlimited in a bit, but lets focus on part 1 first.
The show started off with ambitious three part event which showed how the league formed to fend off an alien invasion. Part of what made the DCAU so awesome was the continuity and Justice League builds off of what was already established. As a result Batman and Superman already know each other. The first aliens still manage to escape, but only because Superman was being telepathically attacked at the time. What starts off as a Batman and Superman story quickly transforms into a Justice League adventure. While I would have loved to have seen the team fight each other as per the trope, logically it makes sense that these veterans wouldn’t randomly start attacking each other when there are aliens to deal with. Priorities right? Superman may have been heavily nerfed so he wouldn’t steal the show, but beyond that I really had no problems with this start to the series. You could feel the tension and the danger from the alien invasion and the animation holds up extremely well. I dare say that it is the best looking episode in the series, particularly the first part of the 3 part adventure, but naturally there is a lot of competition there. You may see me nominating a few other episodes for that honor in this review.
I won’t go through all of the Justice League episodes of course, but the series had a lot of great episodes and I want to give a good chunk of them an honorary mention. After the explosive alien invasion story set the stage, the League got to fight many foes as a team. One solid episode was when the Manhunters arrived to arrest Green Lantern. I like this two part episode because of the great action scenes and story, but part 1 stands out particularly for the opening scene. The Watchtower is able to detect the arrival of these drones so the League quickly heads in to intercept them. Unfortunately, Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman aren’t available so the rest of the team has to make do. Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter, and Flash put up a decent fight and get some hits in, but they are clearly outmatched. That is when Superman comes in, for one of the most satisfying moments in the series. This episode may have less importance in the grand scheme of things than other episodes, but it is still a personal favorite moment of mine. Superman has a tendency to lose to things that he shouldn’t in these episodes and is under powered at times to make the others look good, but not here. He is taking all 3 of the Manhunters down and calmly walks through one of their large energy blasts. It was definitely a lot of fun to watch and I am confident that The Justice League would have won that fight if it hadn’t been interrupted. The other members were getting their second wind as well. The music selection was also really good for this moment. The only weak part of the episode is Green Lantern taking his judgment so passively. I understand that he was feeling guilty, but he definitely should have looked into the situation more. Especially considering that you cannot atone for your mistakes if you are dead. I just disagreed with Green Lantern’s whole rationale here, but he got the job done once his innocence was proven and took the Manhunter leader down.
Another all star episode, and one of the greatest episodes in any show period, is the Amazo saga. Amazo is a being who can copy powers and abilities. They can be physical equipment, mystical abilities, or even biological ones. Amazo doesn’t seem to have any limits and he can mix and match different powers during combat. The only downside is that he gets the weaknesses as well but since most of the heroes have no weaknesses, it is definitely a worthy cost for such power. This is one of the rare episodes where you get to see the entire cast fight at once and Amazo makes for a very good villain. Superman provides us with the highlight moment once again as he actually appears to have the upper hand during hos fight with Amazo even though the latter should technically be more powerful at the moment. It just goes to show that Superman’s battle experience and tactics should not be underestimated. Batman meant well, but he probably should not have interfered this time or maybe he could have waited a little longer to make his move. He can’t take much of the blame though because the other League members should have been ready to nab Amazo once he was weakened. I think the League could have used more teamwork to take Amazo and Luthor down, but overall it was still a great effort and an epic saga.
Amazo would later return for another great episode in Unlimited. Unfortunately, this one was only a single part so it didn’t have quite as much time for the adventure. The episode did its best to cram in as much action and intensity as it could despite this limitation. Amazo has now become a super being with unlimited power and he wants to destroy Lex Luthor. The expanded Justice League assembles all of its forces to fight him, but their combined might doesn’t really have much of an effect. I definitely think that Amazo’s power was a little exaggerated here. He was portrayed as being completely and utterly invincible, which is a bit of a stretch. Sure, they did injure Amazo once or twice, but thanks to the fact that he can heal and can move whole planets with his mind, it isn’t much of a consolation in the end. It definitely would have been nice to have seen a proper fight between Superman and Amazo here. Amazo typically just beat everyone with a single energy burst which makes sense because there was only one episode to cover such a big plot, but it still would have been really cool to see this gold Amazo fight.
Another rock solid episode is the return of Mongul over in JL Unlimited. That episode is easily one of the all time best and it certainly has one of the best music selections out of all the episodes. The constant rock music really amps the episode up to the next level and the fight between Superman and Mongul is intense. Wonder Woman’s fight with Mongul is also pretty great even if it is very one sided. I could care less about the future fantasies everyone was having. They were all right, but at that point I just wanted to see more of the fight. It’s true that this episode makes no sense in continuity since Mongul was fairly weak in the original series, but it is an adaption first and foremost. Making Mongul this strong is a good move since he is always a big threat in the comics. Also, having an episode with just the main 3 League members was certainly a treat. The banter and intensity can’t be matched by the side member.
Next on our list of really good episodes is the debut of Shazam. It starts off with a fun mini fight as Shazam beats Superman to the rescue. The latter begins to feel jealous the whole time and makes things hard for Shazam. This escalates when Superman finds out that Lex has planted a bomb under the new city that he built. Lex even invited a lot of kids to this to make it even more stressful for Superman, but Lex denies this. Shazam chooses to believe Lex and that begins the big fight between Superman and Shazam. It’s definitely one of the better fights in the series as they both possess powers that are a blast to watch in combat. Superman is always my pick to win despite Shazam’s strength being magic based. Superman is simply more powerful. Still, Shazam does land a lot of good shots in and there is even a nice homage to the famous punch between Superman and Doomsday. Naturally, Superman wins this exchange. Superman was a bit extreme with how rude he was to Shazam in this episode though. That is probably the only negative that I would have with this episode. I do think Shazam should have shown up another time as the series went on. He may not be a member, but he is still a hero so I’d expect to see him during the alien invasions.
One fun episode involved Flash Appreciation Day as the Speedster got a whole museum in his honor. It is nice to see a hero being appreciated since a great number of them are treated like crooks and vigilantes. This episode may not have been incredibly action packed or plot heavy, but it was a fun episode that was handled well. The pacing was very quick and the writing was solid. Batman should definitely have put up a better fight against the Rogues, but I guess I can always just try to say that he would have won if he didn’t have to save the Flash. Flash also got another good episode a few seasons earlier when the Justice League went up against Eclipso. The JL was quickly taken out of action as they got mind controlled by an alien rock. Batman wasn’t around of course since that may have made things too difficult for the Flash. Be that as it may, Flash did a stunning job of taking on the League long enough for him to find a cure. The episode had some fun commercials and most shows don’t really deal with the PR angle enough. It is definitely something that the League has to deal with in order to keep their great reputation. Flash may have been outsmarted by the media in this episode, but he was still wise enough not to volunteer for the final commercial.
Green Lantern had a solid story where he went to an alien planet to rescue his mentor. Her squad had been attacked by a group of priests with white energy blasts which could actually break through the energy constructs that Green Lanterns could make. The opening fight scene is definitely very epic and starts the episode off on a solid note. The rest of the episode isn’t quite as interesting since Green Lantern has to relearn how to use his powers and the villains suddenly get a lot weaker. They had to nerf them since the strong members like Superman and Wonder Woman weren’t around, but it would have been the perfect time to just have a bunch of Green Lanterns show up. Still a good episode in the end, but one that had a pretty weak conclusion. Despero is a real fighter in the comics, it would have been cool to have seen that here.
Justice League had its fair share of aliens attacking the planet and one of the deadliest threats was the arrival of the Dark Heart. It was a self replicating machine that can eat anything and use the material to duplicate itself. This even worked on all kinds of energy so projectiles and physical blows would only make it stronger. This was the first time we got to basically see the entire Justice League Unlimited get in on the action. Towards the end even the stronger members like Wonder Woman were starting to weaken. It’s safe to say that Superman and Supergirl are the only ones who would probably be totally safe thanks to their durability. The Dark Heart was definitely impressive and its mechanical monsters made for good minions. This episode is definitely a classic and it even got to squeeze in the government acting shady at the end.
Aresia’s debut made for another fun story. Unfortunately she never got to appear again. She made for a fun good villain so that was too bad. She wanted to rid the world of men and gathered up a group of villains so she could accomplish this task. Defeating Superman is probably her best feat. It was cool to see a Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl team up. Unfortunately, Wonder Woman was nerfed as a result and I’d say that her mom was as well. Surely she should be able to fight off a human with a sword right? She is supposed to have super strength and must have been an incredible warrior to have become the queen. I’m not sure where it all went wrong for her. The episode also started out very strongly with Batman showing up to deal with Aresia’s group. He was super close to winning even though he was heavily outgunned. His fans would definitely be pleased.
While it didn’t have much of a plot, we can’t forget the Christmas special. It was a fun little episode where we got to see the team just hang out and enjoy a peaceful day for once. Flash definitely got the best plot as he had to try and find the perfect present for the kids. Ultra Humanite was even a decently likable villain here. This was the only Justice League episode that wasn’t a one hour special so it felt like a nice little bonus to the rest of the show. It’s always good to see a Christmas special and naturally one with Superheroes would be a lot of fun.
Back to the intense action episodes. Metamorpho was a really fun episode and that’s mainly because it was another episode where the whole team could fight. Having a 1 vs 7 (Usually more like 1 vs 5 since one or two members will be missing) fight is just a lot of fun. Granted, there is definitely some plot hax to be found here since Superman should be enough to deal with Metamorpho. Sure, Kryptonite gas is scary, but Superman should be able to keep on fighting a little better. It was especially sad for Green Lantern during that match. Metamorpho may have been a little overpowered, but it just continued to show why he is such a good opponent to have. As a character he wasn’t great though as he was fairly gullible, but more on that later. Even the giant monster fight was actually cool because it had a real cool theme as Superman flew towards it. He got wrecked of course, but I liked Superman’s confidence. No matter how many times he loses, Superman tackles the villain without hesitation.
An interesting episode was Task force X. It involves a lot of plot hax and instances where you will wonder how this can possibly be aiming to be realistic, but I suppose the episode did its best considering that having a team of humans infiltrate the Justice League would never really work. Superman and Batman weren’t around so that does add a little credibility. Throwing either one of those two into the mix would have not been wise. The Task Force definitely weren’t all that likable, but they were all right as the antagonists. I am glad that the government got to throw their weight around for once and this is probably the best depiction of the Suicide Squad in all of animation.
Wild Card was an interesting way to end Justice League. It didn’t have the same weight that an average finale would have, but it was a great episode regardless. We got to see the Joker show up and as he rarely gets to face off against the whole League, it was pretty interesting. His Royal Flush gang probably looked a little tougher than they should have as the League should destroy them in a fight, but the League did take the win in the end so that’s what counts. It was also one of the only times where we got to see a reality warper get in on the action so that was definitely interesting as well. She is a little overpowered and Superman should be able to resist this, but she was a good villain. The romance in the episode wasn’t handled all that well, but it very rarely is. It’s the only weak point of the episode and the adventure is pretty epic otherwise.
A fun episode which didn’t have a lot of stakes or importance in the plot was the Legion of Superheroes episode. Every series has an episode or two that has nothing to do with anything, but still ends up providing us with an great epic. After all, a solid self contained story can still have a lot of depth and excitement. Seeing the Fatal Five take on members of the Justice League is not something that you would expect. There was a lot of action here and the episode was great from start to finish. While it is one of the stronger episodes, I did have some power level complaints here. Is the show really trying to say that the Emerald Eye is stronger than the Power Ring? I definitely have a tough time buying that. While fewer people will agree with this, I do think that Supergirl could probably take out the whole Legion of Superheroes on her own. Mon-El and Ultra Boy would prove to be the toughest opponents, but I am confident that she would prevail. It would have been cool to have seen Superman break into the future and help out, but I suppose it would all be too easy if he did that all the time.
The Vandal Savage three part event was one of my least favorite episodes when I first saw it. It was a big deal because my cousin came over to watch this live with me and the rest of the family, but I wasn’t impressed. It was a swarm of plot hax all converging on the same spot. Random robots were handling the League and they had a tough time back in World War 2. The episode had aged decently and I like it more than I did the first time, but the concept is still better than the execution. Vandal Savage also just isn’t a very good villain. He is immortal, but beyond that I have a tough time seeing him as an actual threat.
He would end up returning in the Death of Superman episode where he apparently destroyed the Justice League. I don’t buy that. Even if he is immortal, there are many ways to beat Savage. The team may be a lot weaker without Superman, but they are still tough. I think the show was low balling them this time. Still, it was fun seeing a destructive future where WWIII occurred. It’s too bad that Superman’s powers were on the fritz though. I suppose it would have all been too easy otherwise. The present subplot with Lobo was definitely fun though. It had been a while since we got to see him in animation. Batman arriving on the scene without prep time against the villains was a little cheesy, but if there is any character who can save Batman fair and square, it is Superman.
A good one shot episode was the one with the underground arena where Huntress investigates why Black Canary has grown weaker. It turns out that JL members have been kidnapped and forced to fight in brutal battles. Ignoring how bad this makes the League look for not noticing this, it makes for a fun episode. Who doesn’t want to see a lot of good hand to hand fights? I am also glad that Wonder Woman was completely defeating the other members. Let’s face it, numbers alone isn’t enough to overwhelm this amazon. The soundtrack was really good in this episode and matched up well with the quick fight scenes. It was definitely a lot more fun than the first underground episode with Wildcat. That one needed more cool fight scenes like this one.
The Felix Faust saga is one that I have seen many times. It is a fun two part event because we get some fights that you wouldn’t typically expect to see. Hades vs Superman? That is definitely a winner right there. We also got a brief fight between Superman and Wonder Woman. Naturally, I do have to point out that there was a lot of plot hax here. I don’t care how magic based Hades is, he can’t take down someone as strong as Superman. He even beat the Flash. I don’t remember how GL lost, but I am pretty sure that he was in the fight. As always, it was great seeing just about the whole League getting in on the fight. If you ignore the power levels, then you can just enjoy the great visuals and hype. Imagine that Hades is a whole new character or something who was made to be Darkseid level. This saga also got a sequel where Felix Faust returned to get his revenge on Hades. One of the reasons I liked that episode is because the first time the Destroyer armor appeared, it could not be stopped. This time, the heroes got to actually destroy it, which is a lot more satisfying. WW and Hawkgirl were the only JL members on deck this time, but they were enough.
Now we are getting near the end so let’s look at some of the best episodes in the series. A really solid two part episode was the battle between Darkseid and Brainiac. The former asks the Justice League for help, but as you would imagine, it’s a trap. Superman did see it coming though so I’ll give him props for that. The only part that brings this episode down a little is the subplot with the New Gods. They’re all very unlikable characters who are overhyped to oblivion and are ultimately pointless. Still, the main plot is good enough to overshadow this as Superman finally gets a big rematch with Darkseid. Darkseid is one of those guys who really gets on Superman’s nerves and you can tell as Superman is a whole lot more aggressive in this episode than he usually is. He was really raring to go.
Time for what is still the best two part episode in the series, the Justice Lords! It features another universe where Superman crosses the line and takes a life. This causes the League to become crueler as they go about getting Justice through any means necessary. They don’t start murdering everyone or rule the world out of the blue, but they begin to take away freedom of speech. It is handled very realistically. If Superman did ever lose sight of the heroic path, this would be a reasonable direction to go in. He believes that he is doing it for the greater good even if the civilians may not like it. Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman would likely get on board right away because they are used to a system like this. Flash wouldn’t go for it, but that wasn’t really an issue since he was dead. Martian Manhunter would roll with it, but it is hard to see Batman rolling with this. The show did do a good job of making it feasible though. The Justice Lords aren’t going around murdering people or anything like that. They’re just acting as dictators now for the greater good. It’s not the right approach, but at least you can understand their reasoning.
We even get to see how they fight as a team when the Justice Lords take on Doomsday. It would have been cool to have seen Doomsday take on the League, but this was a fight that nobody saw coming and was just as satisfying. It really helped start the saga off on a good note. Naturally, things got even better as both teams fought each other. The only missed opportunity was not having both Supermen fight each other. That would have been a blast. Crisis on Two Earth’s, the movie also skipped this fight so I’m not sure what the deal is here. Still, seeing Flash take on Superman was cool as well. The Justice Lords never got to really return (Androids don’t count) but they had a nice impact. It just goes to show how one moment can completely change an entire planet. You always have to stay vigilant.
Continuing the Doomsday plot was an episode in Unlimited. I didn’t really buy the recon origin for Doomsday, but I’ll take it I guess. It felt unnecessary but seeing him get to fight the real Superman was definitely a blast. Superman definitely should have put up a better fight, but we can attribute that to the fact that he was fighting while inside a volcano and couldn’t go all out. Doomsday is a tough villain as well so the fight shouldn’t be one sided anyway. The Batman subplot was also engaging as he does what he always can beyond the shadows. While Superman was dealing with the obvious threat, Batman still saved just as many lives on his own. It was a solid episode and certainly one that holds up well as part of a bigger saga, but also as a stand alone. It also had a great soundtrack and if you’ve noticed, that typically happens. Great episodes have great themes to accompany them.
The Deadman episode was definitely a lot of fun. It took place during the Legion of Doom arc. He is a ghost because of a mistake Deadman made a long time ago and he needs to balance the scales to move on. The problem is that he never gets any closer to this goal. His temple is attacked one day and so he is forced to ask the Justice League for help. There is no time for backup so it is just the main 3. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. That’s part of why the episode is a blast since it is the three of them against the whole villain army. Needless to say, they clean shop. The villain group is actually pretty powerful since they have heavy hitters like Bizarro, but that just speaks to how strong the Justice League is. The episode is basically one large action scene and does a good job of ending Gorilla Grodd’s plot. It also reminds you of the difference between heroes and vigilantes. Deadman makes a call but it isn’t the right one. I don’t think he should be able to control Superman, but it’s not that big a deal. The music is great as expected and the episode has the thematic atmosphere that always elevates the episode to the next level.
Another personal favorite of mine is the epic Back to the future two part event which sees the return of Batman Beyond and a lot of other characters from that series. It is like the crossover that we had been waiting for. The first episode takes place in the past so it isn’t nearly as good. The guest stars aren’t very interesting and the villains are weak. The second episode is just so awesome that it makes up for this. Seriously, having the really cool futuristic music of Batman Beyond back once again is definitely very cool and even seeing the villains again was nostalgic. It does remind you that maturity isn’t always a good thing though. The old Terry would have jumped into the fray with Wonder Woman and the other JL members right from the start while this one decides to retreat. First of all, there is no way that the JL should be losing to these Batman Beyond villains. Superman isn’t there, but Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Batman can take these guys on. The fights definitely had a Lot of plot hax to try and make the villains look tough. I didn’t buy it for a minute, but it did make for some good fight scenes. Also, the Hal Jordan cameo was definitely really cool. Little tributes like that are always fun to see. It was definitely an epic way to end the season.
It’s time for another really epic finale, the return of Brainiac. It wrapped up the excellent Cadmus arc on a really high note. I also would have loved seeing the new Amazo body, but this is just as good. Brainiac’s fused form has a great DBZish design and he is certainly one of the toughest foes that the League has dealt with. I also really enjoyed the brief Justice Lords cameo. The music was really good and they made excellent use of the mindgames. I do like that the Flash was immune as he shouldn’t have any doubts that can be used against him. That’s pretty much Flash’s whole deal. Batman and Wonder Woman also didn’t seem flustered. In the end, Flash pays a pivotal role in stopping the threat and I’ve always considered him to be one of the secret heavy hitters. When the writers aren’t having him trip on everything and get knocked out by nonsensical plot lines, Flash can hold his own with the best of them. The thing is, you can say the same for most of the JL members, which is what makes the team so special. Flash fans had definitely earned this after seeing their favorite character downplayed for so long.
We can’t forget Lex Luthor’s original criminal group from the first part of the show either. He made his own mini Legion of Doom involving Ultra Humanite, Shade, Star Sapphire, and a few other members. Team vs Team fights are always a lot of fun and while the Justice League should have the huge edge over this team, the villains use a lot of teamwork to make it close. Throwing in the Joker also added an extra dynamic. He held his own pretty well considering the fact that he doesn’t have any powers. It was just a fun two part event. There weren’t any world shattering stakes or big guest stars, but it was a solid action two part event which showed that Batman still considers himself to be a loner at heart. For the record, I don’t disagree with his call. He’s the most experienced member and breaking into a villain base on his own seems reasonable.
Another good episode involved yet another team battle. Dr. Fate had gathered his own team to stop a supernatural menace. The problem is that he intends to sacrifice Solomon Grundy in order to do it. Superman decides that this is inhumane and while Grundy has given his consent, it’s hard to say whether he really understands the stakes or not. So, the Justice League decide to do battle with Fate’s Defenders. This episode involved a heavy amount of plot hax to make Dr. Fate’s team stay in the game. There’s no possible way that Aquaman can beat Wonder Woman. The only incarnation of his that has any shot is the New 52 version and that still doesn’t work because it’s also Wonder Woman’s strongest depiction and she’s still ahead of him. I think Fate should have beaten Hawkgirl, but having a magic disrupting weapon does make things tricky. Superman’s fight with Aquaman is the best part of the episode. Yeah, this was definitely an awesome two parter and it’s one of the episodes that I’ve seen the least so it’s always cool to revisit it.
Finally, we’ve got the final two parter with the return of Darkseid. The first part is exclusively used for a big villain team against team battle as half of the Legion of Doom sides with Luthor and the other half go with Grodd. There’s a lot happening in the episode so you have to keep your eyes peeled if you want to catch all of the background fights. The main bout with Grodd and Luthor is also handled really well and was epic despite both characters not usually being combatants. It all goes back to how great the show is. The second part is mainly Darkseid’s fight with Superman and Batman while also showing all of the other heroes handling the minions. This definitely should have been a three parter to fit it all in as it is very rushed, but the fight is still satisfying. Whenever Superman and Darkseid are on screen, you know that cool things are about to happen. One slight issue I have is the fact that Superman loses in the end. He really deserved this win after all of these years.
That’s it for individual episodes, but I’d like to quickly give a shout out to the overall Cadmus arc. It was a superb addition to the show and is part of why Unlimited was so good. The first part of the show always stuck to self contained episodes while the Cadmus arc connected a whole season of Unlimited. Amanda Waller’s group were portrayed well. They were outgunned, but there is a lot that you can do with science. The verbal debates between her and Batman were always good to see and the arc always asked the tough questions. It has the honor of being one of the only pieces of media to properly portray a more complex/darker Superman. He was forced to look at the gray lines and betrayal from his friends. Superman never snapped and took a life though, but he would get visibly irritated and temperamental. It doesn’t always make him look good, but it does show how he is still only human. Bending the rules to save Question was a morally iffy move, but one that I felt was completely in the right and I was glad he made the call. Whether you can prove that Cadmus is evil or not, it doesn’t change the fact that they kidnapped and tortured one of the League members. I’d have been very disappointed if Superman had not broken in ASAP. There was definitely no time to call in the League and no real need anyway. Superman can handle whatever they throw at him. Galatea, The Ultra Men, the Captain Atom battle, Luthor’s Presidential Subplot, there were a lot of awesome plots within the arc. To really understand just how great it was, you’ve got to watch it. There’s a reason why many consider this to be the high point of the franchise, it was just very awesome to watch and you’d be at the edge of your seat the whole time. I think Cadmus got off a little too leniently, but the fact that they are currently disbanded is a start.
We may as well start off strong with Superman in the characters section. He is easily the best character in the series and it isn’t even close. His character is portrayed to perfection and beyond in this series. While Superman does take a beating throughout, you have to remember that he is constantly holding back so that he doesn’t injure someone. He only really goes all out a few times and even then he goes to great lengths to ensure that he does not destroy the villain that he is facing. Superman is the ultimate hero and the Unlimited Cadmus arc did a good job of also showing that he can get angry as well. Storming into the Cadmus facility and rescuing Captain Atom may not have been playing by the rules exactly, but it was certainly the right thing to do. Even if Atom was a total traitor there. It is certainly hard to forget that and it will hurt the character in his right up. Superman has always been meant to be the ultimate symbol of heroism and justice. He does a great job of upholding this role and is portrayed as an intelligent guy in addition to being the world’s strongest fighter.
Next up is Batman, another highlight of the show. The DCAU is really how I became a Batman fan. His character is definitely a lot tougher to get right than Superman’s. That is because Batman can be more of a vigilante at times and some authors like to make him cross too many lines or show off his Bruce Wayne alter ego a little too excessively. In Justice League, these problems are nowhere to be found. First of all, Batman is portrayed as being very heroic in Justice League. He even gets along with the cops a lot more than he usually would. His voice is very iconic and helped make his scenes even cooler. He ended up saving the League several times and he started this tradition in the very first multi part story. Batman is basically perfect here and he is right under Superman. It is no wonder that both of these characters are my top 2 comic book characters of all time.
Wonder Woman is next on the list and she is very good. You are going to quickly notice that a great number of characters are pretty likable in this show. With the writing so on point, it is to be expected. Wonder Woman is always eager for a fight and that is really why she is such a great character. Once again, I have to point out For The Man Who Has Everything as a great example of this. Wonder Woman is eager to fight Mongul right from the start and doesn’t give up even when she is completely outmatched. The two part time travel adventure in Unlimited is another good example of why she is so likable as Wonder Woman declares that Justice League members never retreat even when the other characters were losing their nerve. WW is a warrior so she is made of sterner stuff. While the gap in power between her and Superman is rather large in this show, she is still quite formidable.
The Green Lantern in this show is John Stewart as opposed to Hal Jordan. Hal is still my favorite GL, but John is handled well here. One thing that I typically don’t like about army characters is that they tend to follow the rules a little too closely, even if it means letting a teammate get a bad deal. It is why I typically like the rebels like Batman…or Hal Jordan. Luckily, the army angle isn’t played up too much. If anything, that is Green Arrow’s role this time. John is maybe a little too quick to doubt himself at times like his terrible appearance in the Manhunter two parter, but just about every character is entitled to having a bad day or two in a series that is this long. He has plenty of good scenes to counter all of the bad ones like when he was able to get up and fight on in the Legion of Superheroes episode after getting blindsided. He also put in a great effort during the Starcrossed invasion. I also do appreciate the fact that he doesn’t have to keep his secret identity a secret. He just transforms whenever he wants too and that lets him act a lot quicker than some of the other heroes. As with Superman, his power is low balled quite a lot to make the villains look good since he should be able to take most of them down without a sweat. The Justice League is just too strong though so it is to be expected. Guys like Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, and Superman can take whole superhero teams down on their own. With all 7 united, there are very few foes who can last against them.
Next up is the Flash. This isn’t Barry though as the show opted to use Wally West. This means that his personality is closer to Spiderman’s than Superman. Wally can be fun to have around as he always keeps the atmosphere light. He can flirt a bit too much at times, but for the most part he is actually funny instead of just being super annoying the whole time. He does have a tendency to trip quite a lot, but that just goes back to the plot hax issue. There aren’t many villains who can legitimately land a hit on Flash so unless the writers can be really creative, they end up having to wave the flag of defeat by low balling Flash. One episode that did a good job of giving Flash a real challenge without a lot of plot hax was the Flash museum episode. Mirror Master’s abilities make him a decent match for the Flash and once the hero is stuck on a boomerang, there is only so much that he can do. So far, all of the characters that I have mentioned are likable and can hold their own episode with ease. That is about to change as I do not like the final two members.
Next up is Hawkgirl. She is the perfect example of a character who talks a great game, but can’t really back it up. She has some slight super strength as her stats are similar to that of a super soldier. Hawkgirl’s mace is a great weapon to have around as well. Unfortunately, we all remember how her character went down the tubes in Starcrossed. Granted that it was the movie so whether or not it should be counted in this review is up for debate. It colors all of her actions in a new light and I’d say that it is all right to count it here. Hawkgirl’s drama in Unlimited was also not very interesting and I missed the mask. A positive trait that she has is her eagerness to fight, but this time it was simply not enough to turn her into a likable character. I’m still surprised that she was chosen as one of the original 7. There were definitely other characters who could have worked better. At least Justice League’s writing is still top of the line so Hawkgirl is never terrible aside from Starcrossed. Put her in another show and she would probably outshine most of the characters, but we can’t just ignore Starcrossed. Thanks to that, she is definitely a very bad character.
Finally we have the Martian Manhunter. Theoretically he should be one of the strongest members since he has a great array of useful abilities. Well, I don’t think that the show agreed. He gets some super strength and still has his intangibility and everything, but despite all of this he never looks that good. He spends most of the time getting wrecked by everyone and panics quite a lot. When he tries to scan for Lex Luthor in the Amazo two part adventure, Manhunter is so distressed that he has to fly away and reconnect to himself. He also quite the team for a little while towards the ens of Unlimited and becomes a complete by the books fellow, which hurts him quite a lot. If you’ve read my reviews in the past, you will probably know that I think comrades should always come before the rules. Considering that a teammate was kidnapped by Cadmus, he should have been quick to approve the plan. He is not someone that you can count on in a pinch so there was no way that I was going to like him.
Aside from the main 7, I’d say that Lex Luthor deserves the first mention. He is portrayed very well in Justice League and is often the one who brings a lot of villains together. While he often acted on his own in the Superman show it would appear that he finally saw the value in having underlings work for him. He is easily the most likable villain in the series. His super powered Brainiac form was definitely quite the sight as well. It was a solid power up.
Justice League had a good track record with the more strategic villains. They don’t all have to be powerhouses although those tend to be quite good as well. Amanda Waller is another good example of a solid villain. She may not have been quite as charismatic as Lex, but she still did a pretty good job through and through. Cadmus needed to have a good leader to make them credible and she was really suited for the role. Her banter with Batman was always a lot of fun and she certainly did not lack in confidence.
Mongul is the polar opposite of Waller as he is all about physical combat. I didn’t care for him much in War World as he was portrayed as more of a pretender to power who needed blackmail to win. In Unlimited, they powered him up quite a bit which I thought was a really good idea. He should be able to give Superman a really good fight. I mean…isn’t that the point of a good Superman villain? He has tough competition to compete with there though since Darkseid, Doomsday, and Brainiac are all around as well. Brainiac was a mix of strategic and powerful. Needless to say he is also a great Superman villain. He didn’t get a whole lot to do in the series as his appearances were limited, but he made a big impact whenever he would show up. The two part fusion with Lex was definitely a big moment.
Doomsday is easily the best of the power villains. His first appearance really sold him to be as he had a very Vegeta sequel character to him. He wanted a challenge and was disappointed after wrecking the JL. In Unlimited, he kept his confidence and lived up to the hype. Honestly, I’d say that he was even stronger than Mongul and Darkseid in this continuity but I’d say that you could make a real case for any of the three. They were all very close in power.
Darkseid got the series finale to himself so he definitely had a big role. His final power up was a lot of fun to have and he was always a very cunning villain. Just look at how he baited Superman into doing one last Dash attack with a few well placed words. That’s part of what makes him such a good villain, he is anything but one dimensional. His voice actor did a good job with him and the episodes really gave him the status and recognition that is due. Darkseid is a planetary threat and he leads an incredible army. There are few foes who are this dangerous.
One kind of villain that is usually fun is when a hero gets a dark counterpart. This is a trope across all of media and Justice League was glad to throw a few in as well. Aresia is essentially Wonder Woman if the hero ever went too far. They have a brief fight and are fairly evenly matched. Aresia is an interesting villain who was a little underused, but still managed to be interesting. Galatea is basically evil Supergirl and she got a sizable role. She was one of the stronger villains in the show since she is Supergirl, but physically a little stronger. I’d argue that it’s debatable though as clones are rarely as strong as the original. Galatea’s Ulta (Ultra? Something like that) Men were less impressive, but they were mainly around as a distraction anyway.
Green Arrow is one of those characters that I didn’t remember being awful until I re watched the show for the 10th time. He’s definitely worse than I could have ever imagined. He only joins the team because he hopes to get a date and then he does his best to sabotage the team at every angle. He is supposed to represent the average joe who may find the team scary. Maybe this is good in theory, but certainly not in practice. We don’t need him egging on the civilians after the League was hijacked and nearly destroyed a lot of people. Even when he is “defending” the league, he makes sure to do it in a bad way so that they all look bad. After the Question is kidnapped and the team finds out that Cadmus is responsible, Arrow is against attacking them. (Martian Manhunter agreed…) Arrow just stands for the worst of the League and I was waiting for everyone to boot him out. When the going gets tough, Arrow gets going and that’s not the kind of guy that you want on your team.
Black Canary is a far better character. She is always ready to fight and doesn’t mind breaking the rules when necessary. Her rivalry with Huntress always made for a cool dynamic even if the fights were a little one sided. I still say that Huntress should have the edge in a pure hand to hand fight, but it is what it is. Huntress was even better than Black Canary. She became a mercenary and was booted off of the League. Once she became a loner, Huntress was able to help out a lot more from the shadows. Without her, the Question definitely would have been forgotten. She acts like Batman to an extent as she is certainly a vigilante through and through.
The Question and Captain Atom are two characters who are sort of good at first and then fall down the ladder. Atom’s decent is in a league of its own though. He betrays the whole League and allows the Question to be tortured while he just waits in another room. He did it for the Army, but that just shows that he has no moral compass. There was no way he was going to recover from that and he ended up being one of the worst League members. The Question also cracked as he went off to go destroy Luthor. That was never going to work, but at least I can understand his reasoning. It’s the wrong move, but it was logically sound so it wouldn’t make the character drop all that drastically at all.
Amazo is one of those figures who isn’t a good character, but makes for a good villain. I like having him as an opponent for the League because he’s super strong and his adaptive abilities are really fun. His personality just isn’t that interesting though as he goes from being super naive to super emotional. He also looks embarrassingly bad in his final ever appearance. That was definitely a nice moment of plot hax and Unlimited went a little too far with how powerful they made him. Still, he gave us some of the best episodes in the series. His first two part fight with the League was definitely awesome and his gold mode felt like something out of an anime with how powerful he was. I definitely wish he had gotten to appear more.
Solomon Grundy’s another good villain to have around. He got a really good power up in Unlimited that allowed him to finally have a really good fight with Superman. They’ve had good matches in the past I suppose, but it was always obvious that Superman would wreck him by the end. This new form changed all of that. The show handled the ending pretty badly though. Certainly not the way that the climax to such a fun episode should have went down. Grundy’s not very smart and the show tries to portray him as a nice guy sometimes, but I don’t really buy it. He’s not too bad though.
Gorilla Grodd is one of those villains that I never really cared for. He’s a classic “Talks tough, but can’t back it up” character. Thanks to the fact that this show is amazing, he’s not all that bad. Grodd will never be my kind of villain, but at least you can actually take him seriously here. His ultimate plan was pretty terrible and I’m glad that Luthor called him out on it. Grodd’s overconfidence was ultimately his downfall, but he made for a good sub villain.
Back to League members, Supergirl was certainly a great character. She got a lot of character development during the show as she went from being a pure hot head to an experienced fighter who was still eager for a challenge. Unlike a lot of the petty characters throughout media who don’t like to be in someone’s shadow, Supergirl embraced the fact that people would think of Superman when they saw her. She was proud to be related to him and continued to excel. It was a shame that we couldn’t see her in the final two episodes, but she had a great role in the series. She was one of the strongest fighters and she was the first one to charge in against Amazo once he made it to Earth. The League shall definitely miss her.
Aquaman’s one of those League members who gets a little too close to politics. I think he’d choose that over his ties with the League which is why I wouldn’t trust him much. This was before the New 52 days so he isn’t all that strong either. At least he’s fairly good at Chess right? Dr. Fate was the leader of the sub Justice League group and he was pretty annoying. He was always very cryptic and making the wrong choices. Sacrificing the few for the many…no wonder he never became a League member!
Felix Faust was a pretty weak villain who eventually became strong by grabbing a magical armor. It shows just how important a good artifact can be in a fight. I definitely didn’t like him as a villain, but at least he was tough in Unlimited. Hades is a villain who was definitely over hyped in Justice League. He actually takes down Superman and Flash, which is pure plot hax. His design is cool, but the character is not. It’s a bit of a trend for some of these villains, but if it makes for good fights then I’m game. There are certainly a bunch of other characters in the show so enjoy meeting them all once you start! Some characters are pretty cool like Star Sapphire and Mirror Master while others aren’t handled well like Hawkman and the Ult(r)a men.
You will not be surprised to hear that Justice League is a technical masterpiece. The animation doesn’t just hold up well against the newer shows, it destroys them. There has never been an American TV show with better animation and I’m starting to doubt that there ever will be. The character designs were all on point and that made the 3 fight scenes even better. Fights can only be so good when the character models are bad so having really good ones like the type found here can make quite the difference. Some episodes in particular also stand out for the great animation. One such example is the opening three part special. I dare say that it may have had the best animation in the series. It was also a rare example of a night time fight done right. The animation stays solid throughout the rest of the series and into Unlimited. It was simply way ahead of its time. There was never a moment where I looked at back at a full episode and didn’t find it to be brilliant.
We also can’t forget about the great soundtrack that the show had. It used a wide variety of themes over the course of the show. In particular, I’d say that Unlimited had the best themes. For The Man Who Has Everything’s music was extremely good. It had a lot of good rock music and really threw you into the episode. We also had a quick moment of Batman Beyond music. Another good tune was the one that played during the battle between Superman and Doomsday in Unlimited. Opera type themes like that can be quite epic. There are a lot of other great themes like that scattered around. As for the first theme song, its decent. I do appreciate it a little more than I used too, but it still isn’t great. Unlimited’s theme song is a big step up from the original as it sounds pretty inspiring. It is still rather low budget as far as the images are concerned, but the audio is good.
I think a perfect example of how great the show is on a technical level can be traced back to Luthor vs Grodd as I mentioned earlier. I don’t care for Grodd and I can’t usually take Luthor seriously in a fight. Despite this, the fight was actually very well done. This is due in part to the crisp animation during the fight. It was visually on point throughout. The music chosen was very fitting and illustrated just how important this fight was. The writing was good as proper trash talk can also really help a fight. Finally, the character development that both of them had already received had built up to this fight for a very long time. If a typically uninteresting fight like this one can be very good under this show’s direction, you can just imagine how awesome the other fights are. Superman vs Shazam, Captain Atom vs Superman, Superman vs Mongul, Darkseid vs Superman, Doomsday vs Superman, etc. It’s hard to describe just how awesome they are.
I really want to go off on a tangent about why I think the Justice League are so much better than the Avengers, but I do verbally attack the latter quite a lot lately. I’ll just briefly say that of the 7 members in the show, Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Superman could probably beat the Avengers on their own. Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter, and Batman teaming up could also potentially pull this off although it would be very close. Ignoring the power levels though, the Justice League are just a lot more likable because they are loyal. The Avengers are constantly splitting up because the government plays them against each other or adds some new law in. The Justice League have never taken orders like that and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. In the latest Avengers Assemble episode, The Avengers allowed the Hulk to be given a thunder collar that would constantly zap him and while they halfheartedly talk about it, they simply allow it to happen. They let the government treat the Hulk like a slave or an animal. The Justice League would never allow one of their members to be treated like that. Nuff said.
Overall, This was definitely a long review. Typically I discuss the arcs more generally or just choose less episodes, but Justice League has always been a very special series so giving it a more thorough review was fun. It’s my 5th favorite show of all time and if we discount anime, then it’s number 1. There is no comic book show even remotely in the same league as Justice League and I dare say that nothing will ever reach its level. It is American perfection as far as I am concerned with animation. I could go back and talk about the positives as I wrap up, but you already know what I think of the show in great detail. So, instead of all that I’ll just recommend that you go watch the series if you haven’t already. I have a policy of only giving one perfect score per field on the blog so Yugioh GX already claimed the 10/10, but that’s the only thing stopping this show. It’s essentially perfect and it will show you why the Justice League is and always will be the greatest superhero team in fiction.
Suggested by Destroyer Tifa is definitely a cool character, but I’m afraid that she did not get quite as many feats as Cloud over the years. She has a good amount of super strength and speed at her disposal, but they aren’t at the crazy amounts needed to defeat someone like Lex. Lex has taken Superman’s abilities on multiple occasions and that will give him the edge over Tifa in this round. Anything that she can do, Lex can match and do better. Her magical attacks will be useful, but none of them are enough to compensate for the physical differences between the two. Lex Luthor wins.
That title’s a mouthful eh? I thought about shortening it, but this is how I formatted the previous films so I may as well keep it in. Also, I’ve published other posts with long names in the past so it’s not all that new. This may be surprising to hear, but Attack of the Legion of Doom is easily the best Lego film out there. It beats The Lego film and even all of the other DC titles. I don’t see this one being surpassed to be honest since it really hits all of the right notes. This is Lego as it was always meant to be.
The Justice League have effectively ended all crime. The villains have not been able to get anything going since they are always outgunned. Lex Luthor decides to fix this problem by making his own group…the Legion of Doom! He holds tryouts to see who will join his legendary group. In the end, the roster includes Gorilla Grodd, Sinestro, Lex Luthor, Black Manta, Cheetah, and a few others. The League will have to fight extra hard if they want to beat this well knit team, but they have some problems of their own. Batman was voted as the leader of the Justice League, dethroning Superman and raising tensions among the rest of the team. Cyborg is also dealing with some drama so this is the perfect time for the Legion of Doom to strike!
There is one major reason above all others as to why this is the best Lego special. Lego specials don’t really do much in terms of fight scenes because they are comedies above all else. There may be the occasional fight, but typically they are short and not really played seriously. That’s not the case in this special as we actually get some extended fight scenes and they are played completely (90% anyway) seriously. These are fight scenes that you could picture actually looking really good with another animation style. DC wasn’t pulling its punches this time. One scene in particular that looked good was when Batman used his secret punch on Black Manta. These kinds of action scenes you would not usually see in Lego.
Another feather in this film’s hat is the soundtrack. The music themes are a little hard to describe. I’d say that they have a bit of a party theme to them. It’s easy to jam to the beat as you watch the heroes and villains duke it out. The themes are very fast paced and definitely a lot of fun to listen too. It is easily the best soundtrack in all of Lego and that’s considering the fact that The Lego Movie had a fairly decent soundtrack as well. When you consider how good the music was and the fact that the action scenes were so solid, it is easy to see why this is the best Lego film.
Meanwhile, the Lego graphics are about what you’d expect from now. I still consider this to be one of the weakest animation styles out there, but it is what it is. It looks like your average Lego film so at least there is a lot of consistency there. It’s not better than usual or worse than usual. It simply fills the bill and moves on.
One of the main plots is that nobody really thinks Cyborg is League material. He begins to doubt it as well when he constantly puts the team in danger so that’s a cause for some tension. It’s a great plot because that’s what we all thought when the New 52 tried to force Cyborg on us as a Justice League member. I’m sorry folks, but he’ll always be a Teen Titan to me. Dick Grayson, Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy are in the same boat. You can throw them on other teams like the Outlaws or the Doom Patrol, but they’ll always be Teen Titans when it counts. Cyborg really tries, but he simply can’t keep up with the rest of the team.
As per usual, Batman steals the show here although Superman is a decently close second. Batman taking charge of the League was great and he even reminds us that he is the brains of the operation on many occasions. He is the only one who saw through just about all of the plot twists in the film and he held his own when it came time to fight. He was also smart enough to realize that leaving the planet while there were still a lot of villains there was not a wise move, even if Superman overruled him there. Batman’s the ultimate solo act and without him the League would be finished. The films have done a good job of taking a comical spin on his personality traits, but not taking the bad ones and making them worse. (Teen Titans Go) Rather, they’ve taken his better qualities and made them even better.
Likewise, it is good to see Superman’s ultra heroism at work here. He is so fair and just that he naturally assumed that he could not vote for himself in the election. He knows that the system works after all and he always manages to get in some one liners as he fights crime. Naturally, there is no fear of the other villains within him since Superman is all but invincible so he grins for just about the whole film. There is some kryptonite towards the end, but Superman definitely doesn’t go down without a fight.
Flash and Green Lantern spend the whole film fighting over Wonder Woman so I can’t say that they handled things all that well. This is an example of a quality that I was hoping would not be dramatized. Wonder Woman’s role is fairly minimal as she tries to ignore Flash and and GL whenever possible although it’s not always easy. As for the villains, they’re all fairly accurate here. It’s easy to sympathize with the Trickster a little since the heroes intentionally mess with him quite a bit. Sinestro is easily shown to be one of the smarter villains from the get go which was good. He certainly deserves the title more than the others. Lex Luthor called the shots as expected and he insulted Gorilla Grodd quite a bit, which could be a subtle reference. Deathstroke also gets a quick cameo, which was handled very well. His fans are sure to be pleased.
Make sure you stick around for the end of the film by the way since it hints at big things to come. I’m certainly ready to see this plot actually happen since it has been set up for quite a while now. Seeing the big villain at the end arrive to fight the Justice League will be a blast. If the writers are able to handle it well like they did here, we’ll be in for quite the show. I still doubt it will be able to beat this film, but I’m ready to see what they do with it here.
Overall, Even if Lego films are not your thing, this is a film that I would recommend. The writing is very good as is the soundtrack. The Justice League members look solid for the most part and the fact that we actually get some fight scenes here is just an added bonus. The film is also fairly short as well so it is not like you would lose a lot of your time by giving this one a shot. You can say that you’ve seen Lego at its peak and if this doesn’t help you become a Superman fan, nothing will! (It’s a great answer to Batman V Superman as well folks since they both get to trade witty banter and try to out think each other with their very different views on how to handle a situation)
All right, here we go! This is a film that I’ve been hyped for ever since it was announced. Man of Steel is still one of the greatest comic book films of all time and I teeter between it and Avengers quite a lot. One day I may say that Avengers is better and the next I’ll go back to Man of Steel. It’s a tough choice since Man of Steel obliterates Avengers when it comes to action while Avengers has the better dialogue. At the time of this writing it’s safe to say that I’m going with Man of Steel, but who knows in the future I suppose. You may have heard, but this film has been critically panned and everyone is complaining about the film. I’m not surprised though. Ever since the very beginning of the film’s announcement, I knew that it would be too much for the general audience. This isn’t Deadpool, where the dirty jokes and over the top violence will keep the audience smiling. This isn’t even the Avengers where you have a joke every 30 seconds to make you smile. Batman V Superman is simply an action movie that pits the two most popular superheroes of all time against each other and it succeeds! It doesn’t need any fluff to keep you entertained. Technically my review has no real spoilers in my opinion…but I recommend watching the film first just in case.
Although, it was fun to see the coincidences as I walked into the theater. For starters, there were a few people who left the earlier showing about 30 minutes early. How do I know? Well, I got there around 2 and a half hours early to wait in the line with many other die hard DC fans. There was even some Street Fighter music blasting in the background. Then, when I walked into the film, there was a little kid kicking my seat the entire time. I’m guessing that a critic must have hired her to stop me from having the ultimate theater experience that I was expecting. All right, with the premise out of the way, let’s launch into the film.
Superman’s infamous battle with General Zod destroyed a large part of Metropolis and also crushed one of the big Wayne Enterprises buildings. There were thousands of fatalities as critics of the first film were quick to point out. I certainly don’t buy the reasoning that Superman could have lured Zod away. Both combatants were at around equal strength so good luck stopping fatalities in that situation. The neck snap is another issue altogether and Pokemon actually did a homage to the final fight, but with the correct ending in Mewtwo vs Genesect. An excellent movie in its own right as well. Either way, Batman blames Superman for what happened and has decided that the Man of Steel must die.
Superman is struggling with regaining his confidence because a lot of people are doubting him. He goes into a terrorist area to save Lois Lane, but then he’s framed for destroying a bunch of terrorists because they were shot while he was in the area. First, I have to point out how unrealistic this is. Superman doesn’t use guns so how was this really a set up? The only way it can possibly work is if the bodies were completely ground to dust so there was no evidence, but there was nothing said to even hint at this so it seems like people just ignored the evidence lying inside of the victims. The whole thing was just a little laughable.
A bomb also goes off just when Superman is about to make a speech to try and defend himself so that’s essentially the last straw for Batman. Once he gets his hands on some Kryptonite, then it’s time for the fight to begin. The third plot is about Lex Luthor as he continues to make a mockery of the original comic book character. This was one of the biggest miscasts that I’ve ever seen. This guy just can’t play Lex and he probably shouldn’t play any comic book character again after this. He’s always shaking and trying to have an epic moment, but they all fall flat.
Then from the trailer you know that the film ultimately ends with the three heroes taking on Doomsday. There was a lot of controversy about the trailer showing too much, but I always chuckle at the notion. A trailer can’t show too much. Ultimately, you want to know as much of the film as possible or at least the hype moments. Without Doomsday, the trailer would not have been quite as good. This way you get to be hyped up for a few months rather than a few minutes while watching the film. Throw in your spoilers, twists, after credit scenes, and everything else into the trailers. If it makes them more epic, then you’ve succeeded. Dialogue is a different matter. You want to have the big lines, but I feel like using the comedy lines in a trailer can be tricky since you know that they’re coming so you won’t laugh or even break a smile when you hear them again. I’d say that Marvel’s typically the guiltiest of this as DC doesn’t believe in jokes anyway.
Let’s take a look at some of the critical lines in the film and how they hold up. “Be their hero Clark, be their Angel, be their monument, be anything they need you to be…….or be none of it. You don’t owe this world a thing. You never did.” The first part of the line is fairly good. Sometimes you have to sacrifice what you want to do in order to do what you should do. Of course, it also sounds a little extreme and part of Superman’s problem in this film is that he’s essentially letting himself become a bit of an angel figure for the people. As a Christian throughout his comic history, Superman definitely wouldn’t let himself be presented in that way. Still, the overall message of being a hero and a symbol to people is something that Superman’s always done and you would expect Martha to give him some sound advice here. Instead…she tells him that he can just not do that? To abandon Earth because he doesn’t owe them anything. Gee..I wouldn’t want her to be pep talking my Super Smash Bros crew! It’s similar to how Pa Kent told Superman to let everyone die in the first film. It just comes off as a terrible thing to say and maybe the intention is to show that the world has corrupted them too since that’s a bit of a moral here, but it’s a shame that it comes at the expense of these two characters. Corrupted Ma Kent was really terrible in this film.
Next line is Bruce Wayne’s iconic line about Clark Kent and the Daily Planet being hypocritical. *quote grabbed from IMDB* “The Daily Planet criticizing those who think they’re above the law is a little hypocritical, wouldn’t you say? Considering every time your hero saves a cat out of a tree, you write a puff piece editorial about an alien that could burn the whole place down.” Bruce Wayne is trying to sound really tough and menacing here, but the actual line doesn’t really make any sense if you ask me. Since when has Superman been above the law? I highly doubt that Bruce would have simply allowed a friend to have been killed in a terrorist war camp if he had been around. If he’s referring to Superman attacking General Zod, then he’s no better than the masses as there wasn’t another choice. All Superman has been doing is helping people and mitigating global disasters so Bruce just comes off as desperate here. He’s the one killing all of the random minions, not Superman. I never agreed with the line from the start, but then again…I tend to disagree with just about everything that Batman does in this film.
Finally, let’s get into Lex Luthor’s philosophical question. He states that if God is All Powerful, then he cannot be All Good. If he is All Good, then he is not All Powerful. After all, then why do bad things happen to people? Well, that’s a question you will likely get asked a lot as a Christian. It can get followed up by other gems like why give humans free will if they will just use it to commit atrocious crimes and if he knows all, then do our decisions even matter? Well, humanity without free will is not really much of anything. If we didn’t have free will, we’d basically be robots so we essentially wouldn’t exist. Free will is a necessity and it is the right thing to do, even if it means that life’s going to be hard for most of us. Your decisions naturally do matter. God knows what you will do, but you do not, nor does anyone else. You still have to live your life in the best way possible and you should strive to be the best Christian possible. Finally, God can be All Good and All Powerful without contradicting either statement. It’s well within his power to stop all wrong doings, but doing so would certainly violate free will and that would not be the right thing to do. It would be the easy move to make, but we have to learn from our mistakes and willingly choose to follow him. Otherwise the whole endeavor is pointless anyway.
Those were the big lines so now let’s tackle the more specific positives and negatives of the film. There are a bunch of them to get through here so lets start! An easy positive is certainly the fight scenes in the movie. I loved the battles in Man of Steel even if they were ahead of their time. Movie goers and critics aren’t quite ready for these high levels of CGI. As a huge video game fan, I’ve had time to get used to them and I feel like they more accurately show off the true powers of a titan like Superman than if they went for a more realistic hand to hand battle. In fact, I’d say that this style has severely made characters like Thor and Hulk look weaker than they should. At this point in time, I don’t even consider DC vs Marvel in terms of live action fighting capabilities to even be a debate. Superman would effortlessly crush the Avengers. Look at how Thor had to retreat from an array of bullets or how the Hulk took a lot of damage against the Abomination. Superman’s already fought opponents far stronger and faster than any Marvel counterparts. That’s why it’s important to have a good action scene.
The battles in Man of Steel and Batman V Superman are the best comic book fight scenes of all time. There is nothing even comparable or remotely close to it. The best Marvel fight scene to date is Kurse vs Thor and even that fight was still very quick and was over before you knew it. We don’t have a chance to have battles quite as insanely awesome as in Man of Steel for the most part since Batman can’t move at those speeds anyway, but the final fight with Doomsday is pretty close and it was a blast to see. Whenever there is an action scene in this film, it delivers.
I also greatly enjoyed the soundtrack. Wonder Woman’s theme is naturally the standout one. When she appears it really compliments her big scene of saving Batman. It’s an action scene with a sort of nostalgic undertone that’s hard to place, but gives the theme some depth. Batman’s theme is also fairly good although it’s a little less obvious that it’s his theme. There’s also what I call the “Justice League” theme that shows up for all of the big cameos and hype moments leading into Justice League. It was hard not to laugh when it first played as someone was looking at a photograph since it’s intense rock and felt a little out of place, but I’m always up for a good tune. It can play during a very emotional moment and I’d still be okay with it. There should never be silence when there could be a good theme playing instead. The whole film feels very epic and thematic as a result of these themes and since Man of Steel also delivered with a lot of incredible tunes (Or one good one that kept on repeating over and over again) in Man of Steel, I hope to see this trend continue in Justice League.
Let’s dip into the negatives for a second. We do get a random bath scene with Lois as she and Superman try to talk about the bad situation that he’s in, but it feels really unnecessary. Superman can’t even give her a decent response and just pulls a cop out by jumping in. Avengers didn’t have to use any phony gimmicks like this to try and grab ticket sales and you don’t need this scene. It’s just a waste of time and they could have used the extra time for more fight scenes or something. The romance also doesn’t work because Superman and Lois hardly talk to each other and don’t even seem all that close. It’s not the romance that we needed, but I suppose that it’s the one we deserved considering the Rotten Tomatoes score. (I admit that I’ll never grow out of that Dark Knight reference)
Let’s talk about our first main character, Lex Luthor. I knew that he’d be a disgrace to the great villain right when I saw the trailer and I was not wrong. My hunches are usually right on the money with this kind of thing. Why is it so hard to adapt a villain properly nowadays? Mandarin, Ultron, Joker, etc. Lately we just don’t know how to bring the big villains onto the big screen without embarrassing ourselves either a lot or a little. In Luthor’s case, he’s the worst villain yet and only Joker may give him a run for his money in Suicide Squad. Luthor is essentially a comic relief Luthor who may be a little smart, but he’s so over the top that it just doesn’t matter. One of the most face palm worthy moments was when he forced a senator type guy to eat a candy. Seriously…whyyyyyyyyy. There’s not much to say about how bad this guy is except for the fact that it looks like he’ll unfortunately return for some other titles in the future. I’m just glad that he didn’t end up getting any supernatural powers at the end. I was worried that the film was going to go there for a minute or two and that would have been truly devastating! We need an actor/personality switch for this guy pronto. It was the biggest failing of the movie and Lex is the worst character by far.
Time to talk about the big controversial character in the film..Batman! We grew up with a Batman who didn’t use guns and who didn’t kill people under any circumstances. This Batman doesn’t believe in that since he’s based on the Miller version who is jaded with the world and is willing to murder anyone in his way. Now, he’s not quite as extreme as I was worried he’d be, but Batman does murder/torture people. He uses guns openly to take out many soldiers in the future where morals have been pushed to the wayside and in the present he uses his Bat Car armaments as well as his plane to kill a lot of minions. Even in the hand to hand fight scene it’s heavily implied that he broke some people based on how they landed. This Batman is pretty petty at times as well. In one scene a minion managed to stab him so Batman quickly picked the guy up and grabbed the spear so he could stab him through a wall. That ought to teach him eh! Alfred even lets us know that Batman was not always like this, but things have changed. It seems that Robin was the last straw.
What’s supposed to make you feel better about this is the fact that Batman only murders criminals. Think of it this way. Batman has finally become the vigilante that the cops always feared he would be and they actually support him this time. Yes, the cops are finally on Batman’s side for once now that he is willing to cross the line and deal out lethal punishment. We even see the aftermath of when he breaks into a lab and let’s just say that the fight seemed to have gotten pretty deadly. Again, the film tried to show us that we can sympathize with him because the people that he tortures by branding a logo on their body are the worst of the worst from the criminals. In the end, that’s not how Batman should operate and slowly but surely, the films are trying to make our superheroes cross the line more and more by placing them in tough moral situations. What happened to Superheroes making the right decisions no matter the cost?
Still……Batman was pretty likable. He just feels more like a villain or a hero who is willing to become a villain in order to seek vengeance. See, let’s not take Batman at his word about how he needs to protect the future by murdering Superman. He just wants to kill the guy because Superman destroyed a lot of his employees and friends during the fight in Man of Steel. He feels like he owes something to the fallen and he has to avenge them no matter the cost. No matter how you look at it, revenge is really the only thing that he’s after and that can still be a compelling reason to follow. I’ve always thought that the concept of doing something evil and beforehand knowing that it was so in order to potentially save others even if they don’t know it to be an interesting plot point. It’s been used several times like Homura’s final actions in Madoka Magica Rebellion or the Question’s attempt to kill Lex Luthor over in Justice League. Still, when you really cut to the chase, willingly committing such an act makes you just as guilty as any other criminal. A sin by any other name is still a sin. It’s fun to follow Batman’s story arc from his perspective and that’s what makes the first half so interesting, but I was certainly never in doubt that I had chosen the right side with Superman.
Batman’s Bruce Wayne persona was handled pretty well. He attends events as part of his strategy and never goes overboard with trying to prove that he’s not Batman. It’s pretty futile anyway as just about everyone seems to know who he is. The last straw was the fact that a certain villain knows his identity and tricks him consistently throughout the film. I mean really? Isn’t Batman supposed to be some kind of detective? He certainly gets suckered a lot here and even Wonder Woman is able to steal his encryption device with ease. She does have super speed which gives her a bit of an advantage, but you feel bad for Batman. Things really don’t go his way at first. He does believe that he’s fighting for the human race in his justifications though so at least he gets the cool Rocky type montage as he works out to prepare for his fist fight with Superman.
Superman is another interesting figure. He’s still not sure what he should be doing. He’s used by multiple characters and he refuses to ever come to his own defense when people accuse him. Superman’s extremely out of character and the fact that he so openly talks about killing Batman when, let’s face it, the villain’s not going to keep his end of the deal is just sad. I mean come on guys. I could write a better Superman when I was three. He also really plays up the savior aspect although part of it is the fact that the director loved to use slow-mo cam whenever possible. Superman’s always striking a pose of looking up at the sky or slowly floating down from it. When he arrives at the court hearings, he stays in the air for a few good minutes so everyone could see him before he landed. I mean, the facial expressions can crack you up a lot during the movie, but it’s unintentional. It’s definitely hilarious to see Batman and Superman constantly glaring at each other like in the future segment. I remember people making fun of that a lot when it first came out in the trailer.
The film still got Superman’s power levels right for the most part. The whole taking a hostage at gun point should have absolutely no effect on someone with Superman’s level of speed and it doesn’t. Superman is able to take Doomsday into space and honestly that probably would have been the end of it if the government hadn’t intervened, but that did a good job of showing off Superman’s high level of regeneration when next to the sun. Superman’s a hard guy to keep down after all and he’s still the strongest comic book character of all time. He’s also the most morally sound one, which is something that I wish the film had showed a little more. His line about how nobody stays good on this planet is a terrible one. Superman’s whole character arc is that he always does the right thing no matter how tough it is. Don’t start having him admit that he may not be able to succeed or that he’ll eventually be forced into making the wrong call. That’s just not Superman.
Wonder Woman got the biggest role from the superheroes after Batman and Superman. She had the best theme in the film and she gets a good role in the final battle with Doomsday. She seems fairly strong physically so I hope to see more of that in Justice League. I’m still not crazy about her using a sword since I feel like it undermines her strength a bit like with Thor, but she is evidently still powerful enough to restrain Doomsday even if just for a little bit so that’s a good start and she has a lot of speed. She was definitely portrayed well here and she doesn’t have to have as much drama as the other two. She was actually having fun during the whole film until she finally decided to step in and fight. What were the other two doing? Well, Batman was brooding a lot and getting ready to possibly die while Superman was doubting himself and feeling sad the entire time. It’s easy to see who is handling the situation best here. Although, I do wish that Wonder Woman had been told about the dream of the future instead of Batman just saying that the League would be needed soon.
Let’s not forget the side characters like Lois Lane and Perry. Lois was pretty good as she did her best to exonerate Superman and put herself in the line of fire a lot. It did ultimately make things dicey for Superman, but a reporter’s got to do what she’s got to do I suppose. She came through in the clutch for the team near the end when she revealed the truth about Superman’s cryptic words. She still may not seem a whole lot like the Lois from the comics, but she’s a good character. I actually liked Perry as well even if he’s comically bad. He doesn’t stand for the right things anymore and doesn’t want to ruffle any feathers. Neither does the government so maybe everyone just doesn’t mind letting themselves get stopped by the powers of a profitable company. Perry was always giving Clark Kent the wrong advice so we’ll see if he changes his tune after the heroes helped save the world or if he’ll hey even more extreme. Either way, he was pretty entertaining though.
This film gives us a lot of glimpses into the future of what DC is planning. We get cameos for three other Justice League members. One of them is horribly miscast though. Unfortunately he has black hair. Not blond and not red, but black. Seriously? You can’t even properly get a character’s appearance right anymore? Let’s just say that a certain TV show did really well with this guy so I would expect better from a big budget film although I had already called the fact a long time ago that the show wouldn’t be surpassed here. The suit and actor look much better in the show and people are already very used to that version so it’s going to be a little dicey. Another character’s only cameo was a lot of yelling so no comment there. As for the third, he’s not miscast per say, but he looked terrible since he seemed to be confused in his own element and he was very slow. The scene was horribly filmed for some reason. Well…I’m sure they’ll look better in their own films….probably. I just want Green Lantern at this point so he can keep everyone in check.
Batman also gets a vision of the future or a possible future. There are many theories about this and I can think of at least 6 myself, but that’s practically a cop out so let’s go with the most likely one. Darkseid is going to wage a war on Earth and without the Justice League in existence, what will happen is that they will take over and they will convince/trick Superman into joining them by framing Batman for murdering Lois Lane based on the whole “You took her from me!” line. That’s why Batman is told that he needs to form the League. If the League is available from the get go, then this will never happen so I don’t expect the scene to directly ever come into being. Since the League will be there to prevent this from happening in the first place, I’m confident that Darkseid’s war won’t be as successful. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be surprised if the films want to use the really old and beaten Superman is evil trope, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and will say that they avoid it this time.
This film is about two hours and a half do it decides to use the first 100 or so minutes on build up before the actual fight starts. I’m fine with this because the set up is where you start to get the hype going. Naturally, both characters don’t get along and they do meet before the actual fight. Batman’s plot is very interesting to follow and the whole movie went by incredibly fast. I would have easily watched the film even if it was another hour or two longer. If anything, that would have been nice to have explored more options, set up Justice League a bit more, or just to give us another Batman vs Superman fight.
Their fight happens near the end of the film and it’s pretty hype. Naturally, there is a ton of plot hax here, but as I mentioned before the film, I didn’t really care who won. Batman has his prep time meme that I love so much and if he won it would give his fans more ammo to use against Superman in all future debates. I’m fine with Superman winning as well since he’s physically got the massive edge and he could beat Batman in a heartbeat. Either way I would probably call plot hax. Suffice it to say, Batman does get prep time for this fight and there is a clear winner. There is no tie or a similar cop out like that, which I was thrilled about. Nothing’s worse than seeing the film just take the easy way out so that they don’t anger the fans. *coughIron Man vs Thor. Vision vs Thor. Thor vs Hulk.cough* Either way, I think you’ll be satisfied with the fight, even considering that one of the fighters wasn’t doing all that much fighting which made the fight a little more lopsided.
Afterwards, the plan to save someone was a little sketchy though. Considering that there were only about 5 minutes and how close the whole thing was, it was a super risky plan. In fact, it’s a plan that should not have worked. The instant that everyone started to get attacked outside, I’m pretty sure that the hostage would have been destroyed. It certainly made more sense for Superman to have done the whole thing on his own, but superheroes are typically lucky I suppose. They only aren’t when it’s relevant to the plot. Whenever a villain tells the hero to freeze and they basically say “lol no” as they run towards the villain and punch him out, it seems like plot hax. The villain could have easily just have shot and the whole thing would not have boded well for the heroes. Still, it’s just something that happens I suppose. On a slightly smaller level of plot hax, I have to say that it was iffy how easily Lex infiltrated the alien ship. Kryptonian tech is a lot better than that so it was a bit of a disappointing scene.
Doomsday certainly did not disappoint as the big villain. It would have been awesome if he had talked like in the Justice League show, but maybe next time. He adapts so you never know if he’ll appear again someday. He made for a great villain even if the fight had some plot hax with how Superman suddenly stopped using his speed and focused on power. It was a credit to his endurance though since Superman was pretty exhausted when the fight first started. Doomsday’s great energy blasts were certainly thrilling to see on the big screen and I look forward to seeing how Darkseid is handled. I definitely trust these guys to accurately show off his design. Picture Thanos and Apocalypse, but even cooler.
Finally, I’ll also give DC credit for not making this film overly violent and gritty like their animated films. I actually didn’t find the film all that violent at all since it was basically bloodless like The Dark Knight. In fact, I’d say that the Dark Knight was more violent thanks to the pencil scene. There was nothing like that here which would make you wince or look away. Most of it is very stylized and that’s why I would actually say that they handled the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents a lot better than any other film or show. They died in basically the least violent way possible. The climax is all hype as well with terrific action and no unnecessary elements.
DC vs Marvel has always been a big debate through the years. DC has always won on the animated front even if Marvel has the current edge while Marvel had the edge in live action. Man of Steel is the greatest comic book film live action-wise, but Marvel would win through sheer numbers. Well, that’s no longer the case. With Batman V Superman in the books now, the tides have turned and DC now wins in this area as well. I don’t see Marvel mounting a comeback..ever really. Unless DC goes on a huge downwards slide, these two films should be able to keep them afloat and the rivalry has finally ended. With this, DC beats Marvel in every area under which they compete. Good games Marvel. You can keep your high RT scores and big universe, but I’ll take DC’s cheat codes of throwing in their 3 biggest characters without all of the individual movies and set up. If it works, why not right?
That’s not to say that all of DC’s films are going to be fantastic after this though. I still think that Suicide Squad is going to be quite bad and the trailer still looks really sad. That is a film that I have absolutely no hopes for, but at least the bar is set really low so there’s always the slim shot that it could surprise me. There’s the possibility right? Marvel’s films are consistently good so I’ll give them credit there. DC’s are all over the place with hit or miss titles, but when they hit, they hit quite effectively!
Overall, Batman V Superman was a blast. Honestly, I doubt I even came close to touching on everything here, but the film review really would go on forever otherwise so if you have any specific questions about something that was not addressed, feel free to leave a comment. I still think that the film should have been called Batman Vs Superman, but I guess the S got lost in the budget cuts. I really look forward to Justice League and seeing Superman get to team up with some of the other heroes. He needs to prove that he’s faster than the Flash and stronger than any other character. That’s part of what makes him the ultimate hero, but they also need to make him nicer and more talkative like the Superman that we know. Rather than brooding and striking poses as if he was Batman, Superman needs to show his leadership qualities as well. As for Batman, he needs to start murdering less. It’s possible that I’m over analyzing the ending, but I feel like he is starting to show some development there so that would be awesome if true. Don’t listen to the bad reviews. Critics/General Audience viewers just weren’t ready for this one yet. You have to realize that the action scenes and plot move at a very quick pace and a lot of things happen so if it’s overwhelming for you, then you may want to take a few more months to prepare yourself first. Play some memory games and Chess battles first to warm yourself before walking in. Then prepare yourself for epicness and a next gen experience! Oh and I almost forgot, no worries if you were sad about the property damage and loss of life last time because the character makes sure to constantly remind us that the areas where they fight are uninhabited so there are basically no fatalities this time around. See, the heroes still care about the little guys even when the world is at stake. That’s what being a hero truly is!
Update 12/2/2019 I realized that I had not actually put any film with the 10 star title. This one claims victory in that arena with a slight win over Infinity War and Man of Steel.
Mail time Mail time…Mail Tiiiiiiime! Anyone remember that classic jingle? Well, it’s time to dip into the DCAU for some fun comics. If there’s any character who can always give you a good time, it’s Superman. These comics are a nice blast from the past and really feel like they could have been Superman episodes from the TV show. Everyone’s in character and that means you can expect the colorful cast to each play their parts with good ole Superman in the center of it all.
This collection brings 10 issues although the back only talks about 5 of them. A little harsh to the half that are left out right? Well, each issue will get its turn in this review. Starting things off in this collection was when Lex Luthor made a fake Superman to frame the real thing. This takes place very early on in the show so Lex Luthor wants to eradicate Superman since he knows nothing about him. Lex can’t control the Man of Steel after all, but Superman’s one step ahead of him the whole time. It was a fun way to start the collection and the fight between the two was definitely great. The android was tough, I’ll give him that. Superman always has the last laugh though and the ending was pretty hardcore since Superman made Lex give him more credit. That’s how you get the villains in line.
Another story had the return of General Zod and Mala. They had been shrunk down to an ant’s size, but thanks to prison guards allowing the cell to be attacked, they escaped and Zod turned into a giant. Can a pea sized Superman stop Zod and force him to turn from his evil ways? I don’t think so, but it would be pretty intense! It was a fairly amusing story, but not quite as action packed as the others. Dan Turpin certainly looked good though and he actually got some good shots in. It’s always good to see the cops and detectives get some props over here.
One of the most interesting comics was about Clark Kent remembering his days as Superman. He once came upon a plot that actually blew up Metropolis. So, his classic pal, Mr. Mxy—-etc decided to rewind time to give Superman a fighting chance. Superman got to follow the cause of the explosion a very long way and it turns out that it all started because a clock exploded, which made a kid throw a curve ball, which, etc, etc. Superman also had to deal with a guy who had a kryptonite rock, which made things very difficult as well. It was fun seeing the chain reaction in motion and Superman had a pretty good line when he told the kids not to play Baseball. Just a fun story through and through.
One of the sadder stories involved Livewire. She realized that the world had grown to be very sexist so she decided to control the media so that whenever a guy would be seen on screen, the station would only play static. The female news anchor loved this, but it was pretty extreme so Superman decided to step in. He got crushed since it’s hard to trap lightning so this comic saw the big team up between him and Lex Luthor. The big fight with Livewire happened and it was pretty epic. I only say that the story is sad because then Livewire is locked up and the people around her start to make sexist comments once again. It was a bit much since Metropolis shouldn’t be quite That bad and I felt like the comic didn’t need to add that in. Superman’s around to keep everyone in check after all right? Still, Livewire is one of Superman’s deadliest foes so their fights are always fun.
Continuing on from that, another story involved a kid who looked up to Lex Luthor and Superman. Little did he know that his father was framed and died because of Lex though and his mom finally breaks the news to him alongside Lois. Visibly shaken and startled, the kid must try to get past this as he attempts to save his sister from a burning building. It was a decent story and it actually tried to make Lex look at least a little good. If nothing else, he never meant for the kid to get hurt and actually wanted to honor his part of the bargain about helping the guy’s son since he would end up staying quiet on the Lexcorp issue. Unfortunately, minions aren’t very good at counting and the karma caught up to Lex. No real fighting in this story though.
Toyman’s back in town and he means business! He starts to sell a lot of Superman action figures in Metropolis and then a lot of thefts occur in the city. Everyone is baffled by what’s happening, but a little girl tells Clark that it is all the action figure’s doing. he decides to follow up on this lead and the kid was right! Can Superman stop Toyman from damaging the Superman brand? It could hurt his marketing sales for years to come if something is not done. Another good story and the plot is definitely classic. The figures are relying on quantity vs quality and they manage to cause some damage, but Superman’s always got the edge. Even if Toyman escaped rather easily.
Many black cats appear on the streets and it turns out that Brainiac has decided to attack Metropolis to get Superman’s orb and find out what it knows. Superman will not stand for this and decides to fight, but the black cats can merge into a Super Fighting Robot. It’s actually a pretty even fight and lasts for most of the issue. That instantly makes this one of the better issues. Lois doesn’t look too good here though as she is easily turned into a captive and as a result, Superman is forced to let Brainiac get to the orb. He can’t really do anything while inside of there, but the memories have now been defiled. Noooooooooo.
Due to an enraged citizen telling her hot dog stand owner that she is Superman’s girlfriend, Metallo decides to kidnap her. This story was another decent one, although you wouldn’t expect the super villain to walk around thinking that just anyone who claims to be related to Superman is on the money right? Either way, it’s a good thing that Superman is always around since he comes through when things are at their diciest. Metallo is usually a good villain although it depends on the continuity, but in this case, he was just a little bland and didn’t actually put up much of a fight, which was a little disappointing.
Finally, we had a comic where Jimmy tried to prove himself as he took pictures of Superman in action. It was probably emotional for his fans to see Jimmy in such duress, but he proved that with a little guts and some pizzazz, he could take pictures with the best of them. There were no super villains this time, but a new gravity gun took away Superman’s ability to fly, which made for a neat tribute to the old comics as Superman had to run everywhere. He even got an epic burn against Lex, although I give Luthor credit for going through the front door. He is certainly courageous.
As for the art in the collection, I’d say that it’s good. Superman’s chin can be a little too big, even for him, but I suppose that the art can’t be perfect right? It’s still pretty smooth and makes for easy reading as you blast through the collection. It’s bright and fits the Superman tone. It’s certainly a far jump above the Teen Titans Go issues, I’ll tell you that much. I also do like how the artists are able to draw the DCAU to the point where you could look at a single pace and say “Ah, that’s from the Superman TAS designs right?”
Overall, This collection does the Superman series justice. I highly recommend this to any Superman fan and certainly to anyone who likes to see a good fight scene. Superman may be the strongest comic book character of all time, but he doesn’t let it go to his head. He never forgets about the smaller folks and comes across as a really nice guy, even if he has to pretend that he’s a little meek as Clark Kent. Unlike most collections, I can’t say that I actually disliked any of the issues. I didn’t like the ending to the Livewire one and the Jimmy comic wasn’t very eventful, but they were all fun and entertaining with their respective plots. Hopefully the library gets more volumes of this series since the Superman Adventures is definitely a keeper.
Now it’s time to take a look at the Superman show! Unlike Batman, Superman never really got any shows after this, which was really too bad. He had the ultra old shows from the good ole days, which were a lot of fun, but Superman needs a new one. Ah well, it would have a tough time beating this one anyway as this is the definitive Superman cartoon, which really defined the character. I still consider this to be the definitive Superman portrayal. Between owning all of the collections for this one and the Batman show, our comic book show collection is going strong!
The Superman show was much shorter than the Batman one, but with around 50 episodes give or take a little, I’d say that it still had a good run. We got to see a lot of villains and there were a lot of plot lines to wrap up. I’d also say that the series had more guest stars than the Batman cartoon, which is impressive considering its smaller size. It doesn’t have that same theater feel, but that’s all right since Superman accepts its position as more of a comic book series from start to finish. It’s fantastical and gets pretty out there at times, but this is a Superman show so that’s really how it should be.
As with the Batman review, I’ll quickly highlight some of the good episodes and maybe mention one or two, which fell flat for me before going into the characters. Naturally, Lobo’s big debut made for a good two parter. The fight between him and Superman was a lot of fun and Lobo is crazy in an interesting way for the most part. Likewise, Blasts from the Past was another good story arc as two Kryptonians arrive from the Phantom Zone and try to trick Superman. When that doesn’t work, it’s fighting time and seeing Superman go up against foes who are nearly as strong as him is always a blast. Of course, they don’t have Superman’s longer exposure to the sun or his genius intellect.
Speed Demons was really fun as the Flash makes for a great guest star. I still say that Superman would easily beat him in a race, but I know that Flash fans would beg to differ. The Weather Wizard wasn’t much of a threat…but who would be right? Father’s Day was another good one as it saw the debut of Kalibak. We can’t forget the Hand of Fate either as Dr. Fate helped Superman fight off a demon. That episode was a lot of fun and the creature had a good design.
There are many more really good episodes, but let’s talk about what could be the best one. The three part World’s Finest event! Batman comes into town and Superman doesn’t like that since the Dark Knight’s tactics can be…questionable. Lex Luthor and Joker also decide to team up so the heroes have a real fight on their hands. Naturally, the big draw was that the heroes would finally be meeting up and I’ve seen those three episodes over a dozen times. This was an awesome event and I never tire of them.
Batman would appear two more times as Superman teamed up with Robin to find him and when they teamed up against Ra’s Al Ghul. Supergirl’s opening two parter was another great arc as she got to fight the Furies and help Superman out. The final two parter with Darkseid was definitely intense although I don’t believe that Superman could ever be mind controlled. It was still definitely an intense arc. Darkseid’s first two part event was also quite good as well as the episode where Clark Kent appears to have died in a car crash.
Another solid episode had the Legion of Superheroes arrive to help Superman in the past. Those characters never got to appear all that much in animation although they had a great episode in Justice League Unlimited, which was certainly neat for their fans. Seeing Superman in high school was also neat as he took down the bullies while still learning more about his true strength. He went a little far with the bully, but it was still relatively minor to what the average character would have done and Superman learned his lesson. The bully did have a rough time of it later on as he was thrown quite a long distance. (But lived somehow)
There are a lot of entertaining episodes to be found in this show. Ranging from light hearted Clark Kent themed ones to the dark and intense Darkseid episodes. The show really knows how to alter the mood depending on the situation and it makes for a lot of good stories. Superman is always in character and since the writing is always good, that takes care of most of my main concerns.
As for episodes that were more of a miss for me, basically any Bizarro episode. I definitely didn’t care for those stories. Obsession was another episode that fell flat. Basically, any time the villain is obsessed over getting a girl, the episode is going to fail because it just makes the villain look so petty. There are other episodes out there that don’t rank too high either due to animal shenanigans or villains who weren’t very cool, but for the most part, nearly all of the episodes were quite good.
Naturally, Superman is an incredible main character. He is the definition of heroic and definitely stands up for justice. While Batman gets things done in the shadows, Superman gets to be around during the daytime. The public is usually very appreciative of him and Superman does his best to keep their trust. Darkseid wrecks this for him in the end, but it’s always nice to see Superman get public support. After seeing so many heroes run from the government and be despised by the world, Superman is always a nice contrast to that.
While some may find his incredible abilities to make him boring, I’d say that they help to make him such a great character. He is supposed to be virtually perfect so then you can see how well we could all handle tough situations if we were invincible. Superman always makes the right calls and he’s a great role model for anyone. Naturally, he’s a little too tough in the sense that he has to get nerfed in just about every episode or else it would all be too easy. So, get ready for a lot of plot holes involving the power levels. Superman shouldn’t lose to just about any of the situations that he’s put in, but you can just assume that he is holding back and toying with the opponents. This is practically canon after Justice League anyway.
Superman’s supporting cast is stronger than Batman’s if you ask me. Naturally, Lois Lane has a huge role here and she instantly beats the people surrounding Batman. She’s constantly going on dangerous missions so Superman has to come to the rescue. That being said, she can fight and Lois is still prepared for many dangerous situations. It’s just that she tends to attract super threats who aren’t deterred so easily. Her bold personality has won Lois many fans and this is definitely the best portrayal of her character. She is supposed to be tough and independent, two traits that the show does a good job of showing.
Beyond that, Superman’s supporting cast don’t really get huge roles. Perry White is around to remind Clark that he needs to step up his game. A drunk sailor is typically around to back up Superman. He’s a nice guy and a good character even if he could have used some more screen time. Lana doesn’t appear very often either. I always found her to be a likable character back in the Smallville days, but the city life didn’t do her any wonders as she became the head of a fashion show and got tricked by people in the know. She also didn’t handle the puppet lady too well, but since she knows Clark’s true identity, at least she can typically count on a save since he’s always pretty close when in Metropolis.
We’ve also got Jimmy Olson here as well. I’ve never been a big Jimmy fan in any continuity, but he had some decent moments I suppose. He certainly looks better here than in some other adaptions like Superman vs Doomsday where he sold out. Thurpin was essentially the big cop in the Superman continuity. He didn’t last as long as Bullock, but he was certainly a good officer. He definitely didn’t mind jumping into danger and he talked tough right up until the bitter end. That being said, antagonizing the enemy is something that you should typically only do when you have super powers or can think of a way to survive the situation.
We also can’t forget Superman’s super powered help like Steel. He didn’t get to appear all that much, but he was a nice guy before he adopted the persona so it was cool to see him get his blows in. He would have a small role in Justice League as well, but a pivotal one as he held off Galatea for a little while. Green Lantern makes a brief appearance and he looks pretty good. It was a nice way to see his origin story even if he would never really do much in the continuity again. Sinestro made for a fun villain in that episode.
Another guest star for the series was the Flash of course. He was certainly a fun addition to the team. Supergirl had a fairly big role as she helped out in quite a few multi part episodes. She was introduced a little late in the series, but she mastered her abilities with great speed. Her powers never seemed to be as impressive as Superman’s, but she helped fight off an invasion and cover for Superman when he was out of town. She even got some episodes to herself where she proved her meddle. Supergirl’s always been a really fun character and I’d say that this show really nailed it with her portrayal.
As for the villains, Superman definitely dealt with quite a few heavy weights during the series. Metallo was one of the main stays who appeared quite a few times through the episodes. It’s safe to say that he’s nowhere near Superman’s level in strength, but he did put up quite a few close fights thanks to his Kryptonite. It’s a running gag that he always clobbers Superman at least once with that gimmick. For the most part I’ve always been a Metallo fan. He can be a little cheesy and act like a generic grunt at times, but for the most part he’s a pretty neat villain.
That being said, I prefer Parasite. His gimmick has always been cool as he can steal energy from Superman and grow stronger. I grew up with this design thanks to the Gamecube design and it always made me think of him as a really cool villain. He’s technically not too much of a threat unless he can grab Superman, but he’s able to do that quite often so I guess that would make him a legitimate threat right? Livewire was not quite as likable in her human form although I did like her gimmick of basically being against everyone. She thinks that adults are part of the old way and basically tries to incite rebellion at every chance that she can get. Even Clark Kent had enough at one point and Superman always tries to act mild mannered in that form. I do like Livewire’s confidence though as she seriously believes that she can win the fight.
Lobo is naturally a pretty chaotic villain who gives Superman a tough time. He’s definitely not my kind of villain in the sense that he’s constantly looking for romance and flirts with Lois. It’s sad because he’s a cool character otherwise. He reminds Superman that he is The Man and I like to see him fight other villains. He would make a brilliant rival/”anti hero” (likable villain) if not for his character flaws. If nothing else, he’s a pretty fun character to watch. I’d say that he’s essentially a better version of Bizarro. I personally don’t find Bizarro all that funny or entertaining. Typically his stories just end up being tragic and you can’t help, but feel bad for the guy. He gives Superman some tough fights, but he’s typically just misunderstood.
Naturally, Darkseid has a fairly big role in this series. He’s a villain from the shadows from the most part, but he does step out into the limelight when the time is right. He’s a very strategic villain who rarely fights himself even though he has the power to do so. He prefers to break Superman through other means like telepathy. Naturally, Superman can crush him when going all out, but Darkseid has the edge otherwise. He launched a pair of pretty solid invasions on Earth and he’s definitely one of Superman’s ultimate villains. He’s a fighter who always has a threatening presence.
Granny Goodness is also around, but she’s really just there to be a weak villain who lets her minions do all of the work. It’s definitely hard to find any reason to really like the character. The Furies are decent fighters and I like them as enemies for Superman and Supergirl, but their personalities aren’t really existent. I also call plot hax whenever they appear since they shouldn’t pose much of a threat physically.
Brainiac is definitely known as one of Superman’s most deadly opponents. I mainly became a fan of him through the DCAU as I liked his new mecha design much more than the traditional green one. He could actually give Superman a pretty good fight when they met up and his laser blast against Lex would certainly have some future ramifications. This genius always has a backup plan and while it is not enough to take down someone like Superman, it makes for some good episodes.
Toyman has always been a bit of a recurring Superman villain. He can be amusing at times and unlikable for the rest of the episodes. I can’t say that he’s typically my kind of villain, although he’s much better than other interpretations of the character. The one in Superman vs Doomsday for example, Toyman looked pretty bad there. Kalibak’s surprisingly more likable, although his whole gimmick is that he’s strong, but not very smart. I liked the fights between him and Superman and even the senior Kents got involved. That was one of the episodes which had a lot of fun with the soundtrack and Superman just seemed to be in shock for the whole fight. Once he snapped out of that, it was game over for Kalibak!
Superman’s animation is naturally solid as it came out during the prime of western animation! The fights are even better than Batman’s as Superman trades blows with heavyweights like Darkseid and Lobo. Buildings are shattered and Superman is taken to his very limits during some of these fights. The visuals are always very bright and you will clearly be able to see everything as it unfolds. This definitely doesn’t feel dated and should continue to look good for some time.
As for the soundtrack, the Superman show had a lot of fun altering it to fit whatever the episode’s theme was. For example, the Lobo episode used a lot of crazy disco music throughout the episode. Some will play out more like the retro Superman, heroic themes that you would expect. The music can go from ancient to futuristic, from elevator styled peace to chaotic war themes. Superman really has it all and it’s why I’d say that the soundtrack is pretty stunning. No matter what type of music you like, you should find some good themes to listen to during the show.
There aren’t any other Superman shows to compare this too so let’s look at where it ranks compared to all superhero shows! Right off the bat, it loses to Justice League, but beats up every other DC show. Really, the only other show that I would say is really close would be Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. After a little thought, I would still say that Superman has the advantage here as it has the solid edge in fight scenes. At 2nd place in the all time lists, that’s pretty impressive for the show!
Overall, Superman is definitely a great show. He makes for a great lead in it and the characters who surround him are pretty good. Add in the solid soundtrack, good animation, and the fun battles and you have got a winner here. You’ll definitely be cruising through the episodes once you start and there’s no turning back. You can continue these adventures in Justice League and then you’ll find it hard to watch the newer versions of the characters. I highly recommend this to all comic fans or to anyone who likes a good adventure with solid writing and some action to top it all off!