A Justice League for A New Generation in “Justice League: Gods and Monsters” (Review)
As part of our San Diego Comic Con coverage Geeks With Wives was able to attend the premiere of Justice League: Gods and Monsters from DC Entertainment and legendary creators Alan Burnett and Bruce Timm with director Sam Liu. When this movie was announced I have to be honest I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. But thanks to Machinima we were treated to a couple of shorts via YouTube that introduced us to this very different DC universe in which The Trinity take on a different looks, attitudes and origins.
You have never seen a Justice League like this before. Timm and Burnett have created a universe that is worlds apart from other animated or comic book incarnations of the super team. This isn’t your mom and dad’s Justice League, the bright colors are gone, the Boy Scout attitudes and extreme heroism has vanished, and the “No Kill” policy has been heat visioned out of existence. Instead we are presented with a League that is darker, more brutal and extremely deadly. In this incarnation the Justice League only consists of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman and while their names may be the familiar you may have a had time recognizing them. Superman (voice by Benjamin Bratt) has a slightly different lineage compared to his Smallville counterpart. Superman is brash, arrogant and a definitive god among men ready to take action and prepared to do whatever it takes for peace.
Wonder Woman (voice by Tamara Taylor) is not an Amazon from Themyscira and is missing her signature lasso. Instead she is Bekka, a New God from New Genesis, brandishing one of the coolest weapons in the DC arsenal, a sword that is not only unbreakable and can cut through anything but also contains a Mother Box, which allows her to teleport to any destination she desires. Batman (voiced by Michael C. Hall) probably underwent the most drastic change as he is now Kirk Langstrom, a desperate scientist who in an effort to cure himself of cancer, turns himself into a blood sucking, murderous vampire.
Justice League: Gods and Monsters shows us a world where the public seems to loath The Trinity due to their brutal and destructive tactics for taking down the bad guys. The fire is only further fueled by the media and especially Lois Lane as she often refers to them as terrorists and Gods waiting to conquer the world. Our story begins at a point when this fear and hatred is starting to come to a head and even President Waller and the American government are distancing themselves from the League. At this point our villains appear; hulking robots that seem to be mimicking the league members as they kill prominent scientists around the world. The league must hurry to find out who is killing these scientists and why before the government and public start to put the pieces together and blame the league for these relentless murders.
Burnett and Timm have crafted a truly unique and jaw dropping tale in Justice League: Gods and Monsters. In the opening minutes alone I found myself making “ohhing and ahhing” noises as the League decimates a band of villains. The first 5 minutes does such a fantastic job at establishing the new rules for this new Justice League and engaging the audience through hardcore violence. There take no prisoners, No Surrender, do whatever it takes to establish order and peace attitude is made very apparent very quickly. This opening scene was probably my one of my favorite moments of the film as the League breaks necks, slices henchman and disintegrates bad guys on their quest for victory.
This new take on the Justice League really reinvigorated my interest in these now classic characters as their new backgrounds and origins present character development that is slightly different but just as dark and dramatic if not more than their comic book counterparts. I especially loved learning about Wonder Woman’s reasons for coming to earth as it resembled a very memorable scene from Game of Thrones and shows us Wonder Woman’s heart and the reasons for her distrust of men.
Besides seeing new character development and origins for The Trinity another huge highlight and surprise was the amount of humor within Justice League: Gods and Monsters the creative team really did a great job of balancing the brutality and hardcore violence with a few gleaming moments of laughter mostly thanks to Micheal C. Hall’s Batman who’s deadpan and monotonic delivery offered a few great laughs in this overly dire situation. Another huge highlight of this film was the fact that you could obviously see the creators where having a blast playing around in the DC universe. Tons of recognizable and notable characters show up throughout the story making this film a fun DC themed Easter egg hunt. My only real complaint with Justice League: Gods and Monsters is we may not get to see these characters again or visit this new corner of the DCU. Burnett and Tim do such a fantastic job at making an adult animated film for DC fans that I dreaded seeing the credits role and just wanted to live in this new universe for a few minutes longer. If was just so satisfyingly entertaining to watch Batman play detective all the while sucking the life from his criminal victims or to see Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor interact with sexual tensions and emotions running high, I even found myself more attracted to this Superman as although he is still the all powerful alien he is very much flawed and struggling with the fact that he could easily rule this world but doesn’t.
In my opinion DC animated films have always been a cut above the rest as it’s obvious that those involved have a deep affection and knowledge of the universe in which they play and this latest offering maybe the best yet. The animation is always great in these films and Gods and Monsters is no exception as fight scenes are well choreographed and by far the most exciting sequences. Animation has never really been an issue for DC so you should expect the same quality in character design, backgrounds and movement as you would will all the other films in the DC animated vault.
Justice League: Gods and Monsters offers a more adult and extreme take on the classic DC Trinity that will leave you smiling from ear to ear as the credits role. Burnett and Tim have developed a story that is engaging and full of enough twists and turns to keep you hooked and on the edge of your seat for 90 minutes. This new Justice League may not be for everyone (especially kids) but if you are looking for something with a little more of an edge and a lot darker than anything going on in the DCU now then Justice League: Gods and Monsters is a must watch and not to be missed for any comic book or superhero fan..