MOVIE: Justice League – Gods and Monsters
WRITERS/DIRECTOR: Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett/Sam Liu
In an alternate reality, the Justice League is a brutal force that the World fears and distrusts. So when the JL are framed for a series of murders, no-one is exactly jumping to their defence and it is up to Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman to figure this out for themselves and ultimately save the day.
Now this is more like it.
After efforts like Justice League:War, Son of Batman and Batman vs Robin. Gods and Monsters is a real breath of fresh air and a sign that DC Animation can be as good as they used to be, which was a long while ago. I put that down to two names…Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett, who both worked together on the amazing ‘DC Animated Universe’ (Batman TAS and Justice League Unlimited to name two of the DCAU), which to this day is still the peak of DC’s animated achievements (at least in my opinion). And with this latest DC animated Feature, you can see the effect Timm and Burnett have had right from the get-go. Everything about this film is excellent, from the writing, the animation (which I still prefer over what we have had with recent films), the action…everything has been improved over the previous release. And the fact that this is an Else-Worlds story adds even more as it allows the writers to come up with something more original, and boy is this different from what we have had over the last couple of years.
I will not be giving spoilers in this review (that’s a first for me) as I would rather people see this film without much knowledge of it, other than what the trailers and clips have offered.
Okay so we have Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman in this film, but this time (in what I think was a brilliant idea) they are not just different versions of Kal El, Bruce Wayne and Diana. They are in fact completely different characters, though still part of DC’s lore. Superman is actually the Son of General Zod (voiced by Benjamin Bratt) and was brought up by a completely different couple to the Kents, which gives him a more hardened view of the world due to how different his life has been to what we have seen with the mainstream version of his namesake. Then we have Kirk Langstrom (the Man-Bat in the main DC-continuity and voiced by Michael C. Hall) as Batman who is also a Vampire. And finally we have Bekka (a New God from New Genesis, who is voiced by Tamara Taylor) as Wonder Woman.
These three make up the Justice League in this new universe or more like it’s version of the Trinity and all three are really fresh and interesting takes on their namesakes.They all have strong origin-stories, though I do think Bekka’s stands out the most (since it appears to be the animated equivalent of something we have seen in Game of Thrones…that’s as close to a spoiler as I am going to get). All three actors give very strong performances (which is usually a given with most DC animated features), though once more I find myself siding with Wonder Woman as Taylor probably tops the trio with the wide-range she shows throughout this film’s runtime.
The remainder of the cast for this film is also equally as impressive and their characters are from all over the DC library, with many taking on different roles that I think most DC fans will like. And the antagonists of this film are also an excellent take on a not-so well-known team from the Publisher’s history (though they are most welcome as I have enjoyed reading their adventures in the recent New 52 story-lines).
All the action scenes are stunning to watch as they are really well choreographed and the animation really complements it (something that comes with any animated production that Bruce Timm is a part of). The story is well written and tightly paced, giving us a thought provoking tale of three people with powers that would allow them to change the world or rule it, and seeing how they change their views as the film progresses.
I could go on about how much I enjoyed this film, but ultimately I will simply say that if you are a fan of either Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman or just a DC fan in general. Then this film is a must-watch and I cannot recommend it enough (I would love to see a sequel to this, so we can get new versions of other Justice League characters as well).