Blu-ray/DVD Review: ‘Justice League: War’

reviews-coffeeThis is just becoming business as usual for the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series. Director Jay Olivia is in my opinion, fast becoming a legend in DC animation. I have not read the graphic novel, Justice League: Origin, by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee which the film is inspired by…and didn’t need to. Thanks in large part to Jay Olivia’s masterful vision of how and when the Justice League met for the first time with a modern twist.

Using iPads and World Of Warcraft jokes, are just a couple of examples of how Olivia bridges the gap between our present time and bringing together DC characters whose origins roots go back as early as the 1940s. Marvel may be “king” at the box office, but make no mistake my friends…DC is in another league of its own in the home animation films arena, and Justice League: War is just another “business as usual” masterpiece trophy of action and comedy.

I touched on comedy and I really want to come back to that for a moment before we move on. Justice League: War is probably the funniest DC animated film I have ever seen. Most surprisingly, would be the chemistry between Batman (Jason O’Mara) and The Green Lantern (Justin Kirk). Their back and forth dialogue in the film’s early beginning, almost stole the show. Voice actor Jason O’Mara did a fantastic job on his interpretation of Batman.

Even though I always prefer voice actor Kevin Conroy as the Bat, it’s nice having a fresh and different voice for the character and O’Mara did a fine job of making the character his own. Justin Kirk’s Green Lantern might be my favorite actor to ever voice the Lantern. He is that good. I don’t think I have ever heard anyone call Batman a “douche bag” with such conviction and witty delivery.

However, it’s not just Batman and Lantern who delivered on the comedy. Wonder Woman (Michelle Monaghan), The Flash (Christopher Gorham), and Shazam (Sean Astin) all had their moment in the comedy spotlight, that had me chuckling to myself through out the film. Be it Wonder Woman always having to point a sword every time she addressed a anti-super hero protestor, or Shazam’s historical adolescent “what’s up” first introduction to the rest of the Justice League team members. Nor can I forget the hilarious scene when both The Flash and The Green Lantern look at each other to call “dibs” the first time they laid eyes on the sexy Wonder Woman or watching Green Lantern’s failed attempt at giving The Flash a secret handshake.

With so many characters in any Justice League film, it’s hard to give screen time to every fans favorite DC hero, especially for a film with a 79 minute running time. No need to be concerned. Never did I feel that I was being cheated out of quality screen time and action by any of the Justice League members.

In fact, I would say that I have never felt such an emotional connection with Cyborg and his origin story, who up until this film, was always a “background” member of the Justice League in my eyes. This film really opened my eyes as to what an interesting and tragic origins character Cyborg really is. I did not come into this film expecting any character development, so needless to say, Cyborg’s role in the film was a welcomed surprise.

For those like myself who have never read the original comics, no need to worry if the film won’t be as enjoyable. It is..in spades. The plot focuses on a world-wide alien invasion abducting hostages for an unknown mystery, and the Justice League meeting for the first time and learning to work together to defeat perhaps the most fearful super villain in the entire DC universe…Darkseid ( Steven Blum)!

Also let me add this, we have heard some epic voices from some epic villains in the past. Darth Vader…The Joker…but I have to say that the voice work for Darkseid in this film ranks right up there with some of the most scariest and intimidating voice work I have ever heard for a villain. Darkseid’s voice in HD surround sound is downright chilling to the bone.

If you have a choice, the Blu-ray format is the way to go with this one. The surround sound effect alone are worth every penny. Watching and listening in high-def surround sound doesn’t get any better as super hero’s are thrown through crumbling sky scrapers and exploding buildings. The action is fast, addictive and relentless!

The special features are even more icing on the cake. With 4 vintage cartoons from the DC Vault, giving us an interesting look on just how far DC animation as evolved. A Blu-ray exclusive featurette titled Creating Heroes: The Life and Art of Jim Lee as well as a welcomed sneak peek at the upcoming Son of Batman feature film. Justice League: War may not be the best DC animated film, but is definitely a worthy entry that can stand next to the other films in the DC original film series and is truly hands down the funniest of the films so far.

I give Justice League: War a very solid and entertaining 3 out of 4 throwing stars!

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