This season was like a breath of fresh air after Season Three, which was so dark and gritty and full of angst. This season also marked the entrance of one of the critical figures in the Superman mythos: Lois Lane, played by Erica Durance. She’s tough as nails, Tomboy-ish and reminded me a lot of Teri Hatcher, who played the character in Lois and Clark.
We also got to meet Bart Allen, on day to become the Scarlet Speedster, the Flash.
The over-arcing storyline of the season involving the three stones was played out nicely and, when I first saw what they were for, was geeking out all over the place. Of course, the cliffhanger season finale didn’t help anything and brought yet another long summer as I waited for the Season Five premiere to show what happened next.
The only episode that bothered me—aside from the few that just seemed like filler—was the episode entitled “Blank,” where Clark loses his memory and the most recent person to learn his secret has to show him who he really is and what he can do. They did this in Lois and Clark and this episode almost seemed like a repeat despite the story being different.
This was a great season nonetheless. Superman rocks, and looking back and seeing Season Four in the grand scheme of what had gone on before and what has gone on since makes it work really well. This season definitely was a turning point in the series, the first step in taking Clark from teen to adult.
Justice League: The New Frontier (2008) Written by Stan Berkowitz Directed by Dave Bullock Runtime 75 min. 4 out of 5
In the fifties, the world doesn’t know what to make of superheroes. Some of them are accepted and beloved, others not so much. When a mysterious entity known as The Center rises to thwart the planet, the core Justice Leaguers—Superman, Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter—must unite for the first time to stop what is seemingly an unstoppable threat.
Based on the best-selling graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke, Justice League: The New Frontier is unlike any Justice League movie out there. For starters, it’s a period piece. Nothing modern day here, with the story taking place between 1953 and 1960. Even more so, it’s art direction is based on Cooke’s art from the graphic novel, where each character was drawn in a very forties-style way: simple, with minimal muscle and heavy lines for eyes. No bodybuilding superheroes in this flick. And, of course, all the backgrounds, supporting cast and tech in the film were all time-appropriate as well. Even the “advanced tech” in the film was old school in its presentation and style.
The story was good—very much an origin story for the Justice League, with the overarching origin story being that of Green Lantern—and each character was faithful to their source material. The pacing was a bit slow at times, with lots of talking—there were a few moments where I was, like, “Get on with it!”—but at the same time, it being a period piece, TV and movies back then had lots of talking, too.
Not that talking is a bad thing. Just wished for a few more fast-paced sequences—not necessarily violence or fighting—to move things along.
Warner Bros. and DC Comics are amazing at their direct-to-market animated features, each one meant to stand on its own instead of where one story feeds off another. By doing that, they pick and choose the best graphic novels to adapt and don’t have to worry about the baggage of continuity as a result. Doing Justice League: The New Frontier afforded them an opportunity to do something wholly original and deliver something that modern day audiences haven’t seen in recent years: a superhero story that takes place in the past. After watching this, I wish someone in Hollywood would do a live action version of Superman or Flash or whoever, but set it in the past. You can still be true to the characters, as this story has shown, but give something fresh at the same time and, from a marketing and creative standpoint, give something original as a result.
Justice League: The New Frontier is a fantastic movie, and for those who want more of their favorite heroes but sometimes wish something new was done with them, then this is the flick for you.
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013) Written by Jim Krieg Directed by Jay Oliva Runtime 81 min. 5 out of 5
When the Flash cranks up the superspeed and travels back in time to right a painful wrong, the timeline is drastically altered and he wakes up in a present that’s not the one he knows. There’s a war raging between the Atlanteans and Amazons, Batman uses guns, Cyborg works for the government and Superman is nowhere to be found. Worse, the Flash no longer has his superpowers thus cannot travel back in time to repair the damage and restore the timeline to the one he knew.
Powerless and with no Justice League to turn to, the Flash must decide how he’s going to change the course of history and if he’s willing to lose someone he loves—again—in the effort to save the lives of many.
This flick is the ultimate fanboy trip for Flash lovers. He’s the main character and this is the first time in DC animated movie history that he gets the focus. You got superspeed, time travel, alternate timelines, the Speedforce and more. Way cool and, frankly, it’s about time DC took a break from Superman and Batman as the go-to guys for movies, even in the context of a JLA movie. With a new Flash TV series in production as of this review, I’m thinking this was DC’s way of priming the pump, so to speak, to get audiences ready for more adventures with the Scarlet Speedster.
This movie’s strength lies in two areas: the Flash, and time travel.
On the Flash: you got a quick recap of his origin, a real sense for what drives Barry Allen, multiple amazing displays of superspeed (especially that running sequence at the end), and a hero to root for from start to finish. I loved it. As a DC guy, I like the Flash, but this film really made me appreciate him and care for him all the more as it gave a strong face to his mythology and character.
On time travel: I love time travel stories. The more scientifically accurate and plausible the better, but I’ll take just about any story that deals with time travel, parallel universes and butterfly effects. I write about that stuff in my own fiction, for crying out loud. Here, DC went to great lengths to explain the time travel in a plausible way and apply what we know of its possibility as realistically as they could in the context of the movie. Nice. The DVD extras that go further into this are an added bonus for us time travel enthusiasts and are much appreciated.
Storywise, I loved this movie and the twists and turns it took made me go, “Man, that’s awesome,” more than once. When I found out the history behind the Batman of the alternate timeline I went nuts. So cool and so utterly tragic. Perfect for Batman. And Superman’s portrayal in the alternate timeline? Crazy! Putting all that against a backdrop of an Atlantean vs Amazon war added a breath of fresh air to DC’s animated movies because, like I said, it was relieving to stay away from putting the spotlight on Superman or Batman. (Granted, Batman plays a big part in this movie, but in such a way that it’s not our Batman but another, which makes it fresh.)
The animated style chosen for this flick I wasn’t crazy about at first, to be honest. The small heads and wider bodies looked weird. It grows on you, though, and eventually you get used to it. The color scheme and bleak tone throughout added to the overall feel of what was a heavy story, thus sucking you in further.
This is not a movie for kids, though. There’s a lot of violence and gore, adult themes and some language. While I appreciate “grownup” superhero movies, I wish these elements would be scaled back a bit so I could show my kids these flicks and go on super adventures with them instead of having to shelve the DVD until they’re older so they can watch it.
From a superhero fan’s standpoint, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is a stellar movie adapted from the graphic novel by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert.
Justice League: Doom (2012) Written by Dwayne McDuffie Directed by Lauren Montgomery Runtime 77 min. 4.5 out of 5
Assembled by Vandal Savage, the elite members of the Legion of Doom—Bane, Cheetah, Mirror Master, Star Sapphire, Ma’alefa’ak and Metallo—are shown how to beat each and every member of the Justice League of America. Using the specific weaknesses of each hero, the Legion heads out to destroy their counterparts and bring them to their knees so Vandal Savage could implement the next phase of his plan: annihilating the majority of the human race so he can bring about a new world order from its ashes.
To make things worse, Vandal Savage didn’t discover how to destroy the Justice League on his own, and when the answer as to who was responsible is revealed, the JLA is rocked to its core with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.
Man, I love this movie. It features an all-star cast of all-star superheroes going up against an all-star roster of evil supervillains. Finally, we get to see the villains stick it to the heroes in a big way and not let up until the JLA is down. And I mean really down. It’s not often you see Superman on the brink of death, Batman humiliated and defeated, Flash completely screwed, Green Lantern a broken man, Martian Manhunter totally incapacitated, and Wonder Woman so messed up she doesn’t know what to do or which way to turn.
This flick is based on the “Tower of Babel” Justice League story arc by Mark Waid, who is arguably one of the best comic book writers on the planet. I can’t comment on this flick’s faithfulness to that storyline because it’s been over ten years since I last read it, but I do remember the overall premise and this movie delivered on that.
The heroes and villains look great in this movie, and it does well in showcasing their various powers and abilities.
It’s also an exciting movie that is fast-paced, has a sense of atmosphere, a sense of taking place in the overall DC Universe—thanks to other heroes and villains not mentioned above showing up—and gives the JLA a threat that even they might not be able to handle. And that’s the thing with a JLA movie: the threat needs to be so huge and so dangerous that it takes them as a team to solve the issue, and considering each one of them is extremely powerful in their own right, that threat needs to be mega huge, not just physically but psychologically as well. Justice League: Doom has that and delivers it in spades.
Also features the voice talent from the Justice League animated series so that totally adds to it as well, giving it a sense of familiarity.
Out of all the superhero movies on the market, this is easily one of my favorites and is good viewing for kids and adults alike.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010) Written by Dwayne McDuffie Directed by Lauren Montgomery and Sam Liu Runtime 75 min. 5 out of 5
The superhero known as Lex Luthor travels from a parallel Earth to ours and summons the help of the Justice League to take on the Crime Syndicate, an evil version of the JLA from his own Earth. Agreeing to help him, the Justice League travels to Luthor’s Earth and takes on the Crime Syndicate, pitting the likes of Superman against Ultraman, Wonder Woman against Superwoman, the Flash against Johnny Quick, Green Lantern against Power Ring, Martian Manhunter against J’edd J’arkus, Hawkgirl against Angelique, and, soon enough, Batman against Owlman.
In a true case of looking in a mirror darkly, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is a super heroic and super villained thrill ride that gives you two Justice Leagues for the price of one!
Such a simple premise but such a cool story. Why not have the JLA face themselves from an alternate reality? Who would win? If you’re fighting someone every bit as powerful as you are, would someone come out on top? What if they thought like you? Talk about playing with one’s shadow.
There’s superpowers galore in this movie as each hero gets to take on their counterpart and show what they are fully capable of. More so, you get to see what our beloved JLA would be like had they taken other paths in life as the similarities and differences between them and the Crime Syndicate are explored.
A bunch of other heroes make an appearance in this flick as well, guys like Aquaman, Black Canary, Red Tornado (a personal favorite), Firestorm (another favorite), and more. Kind of a throwback to Justice League Unlimited in that way.
Don’t be fooled, though, as this movie is more than just a superhero/supervillain slugfest. It gets into the deeper issues, the big one being about choice. In the context of the movie, if every choice we make spawns an alternate reality where the alternate choice(s) was also made, do any of the choices we make ultimately matter?
This movie is smart, interesting, and grabs you from the get-go. The action is top notch, the animation is ultra sweet, and if these direct-to-video DC Universe movies have proven anything, it’s that they know how to make a good Justice League flick. I can’t wait until they transfer that same know-how to a live action Justice League movie. Can you imagine how awesome that’ll be?
Anyway, back to this one. This is such a good movie and is a must-have on any superhero fan’s movie shelf. You not only get DC Universe’s all-stars, but the all-stars of a parallel universe as well. Like I said above, definitely a two-for-one ticket and definitely worth checking out.