While DC hasn’t quite got their live action domination of the box office in order just yet, they have surpassed everyone in their straight to video animated films. With every release they typically seem to get better and better. Their latest, Justice League: War is the first of them to take on the New 52 stories and designs, based on the story arc from Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Geoff Johns, but can it bring this story effectively off the pages and onto the screen?
Justice League: War takes on the New 52 story of the founding mission of the Justice League as they are forced to join forces for the first time to take on Darkseid. As with all the DC animated films this one sports a great voice cast including Sean Astin, Christopher Gorham, Justin Kirk, Michelle Monaghan, Shemar Moore, Jason O’Mara, Alan Tudyk, and Steve Blum. The issue with the casting isn’t that they don’t do a good job; it’s that they don’t always live up what came before it. That being said, they all do a great job and depending on your personal opinion of what these characters should sound like is the only issue it has. As a whole this might be one of the better ones they have to date, just behind The Dark Knight Returns. This was the perfect story to choose to kick off the New 52 giving them a chance to not only re-introduce these iconic characters with their new looks, but also set the tone for some of the future films. The animation is awesome as always with great character designs and visuals that will no doubt keep fans of the series happy. This one sports some awesome action that pulls no punches and lets each of the characters shine. There are some aspects that are different from the original series most notably the change of having Shazam/Captain Marvel in place of Aquaman, but do put an interesting change on the story that really works. Be sure to sit through the credits for a sequence that will hopefully be the set-up of not only a future film, but hopefully the direction they are heading with this series.
DC continues to push the boundaries with this feature clearly gearing towards a more mature audience with some adult language, violence, and even a bit of blood. Make no mistake this elevates the story to a whole new level of where it should be, but does step it away from some of the younger audiences. In addition to the film the Blu-ray sports numerous special features including 4 vintage cartoons from the DC Comics vault, Justice League: War Act D – From Animatic to Pencil test, Deconstructing War with Jay Olivia and Jim Lee, a sneak peek at DC Universe’s next feature Son of Batman, and Creating Heroes: The Life and Art of Jim Lee.