Saturday At The Movies – Justice League: War

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Here we go again, it’s the secret origin of the Justice League, yes, again. This time, it’s an animated version of the most recent version, the New 52 version by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. But where’s Aquaman? And what’s wrong with Captain Marvel, ahem, I mean Shazam? Check out my thoughts on Justice League: War after the jump.

This animated feature, in the same pseudo-anime style as the last few DC Comics animations, tells the new origin of the New 52 Justice League. You’ve heard me talk about the New 52 before. It was a complete reboot of the DC Universe. Some things stayed the same, and some things are drastically different. In the New 52, the origin of the Justice League is quite different from any we’ve encountered before. Click here for a look at some of the ways it used to be.

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In the new continuity, seven heroes gather to stop the looming threat of Darkseid from destroying a world that has yet to accept superheroes and does not yet trust them. These seven were Batman, Green Lantern, Superman, the Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and a newcomer in the history of the team, former Teen Titan, Cyborg. In this animated version, Aquaman is inexplicably replaced by Shazam.

Initially I refused to watch this movie in protest. I’m a big Aquaman fan, and there’s absolutely no reason to make such a substitution, in fact, in the New 52, Aquaman is more popular than ever. It was writer Geoff Johns, who along with artist Jim Lee, concocted this new origin for the Justice League – and in his own solo title reinvigorated Aquaman. To exclude the sea king is a slap in the face to that achievement.

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That said, I’m also a huge Captain Marvel fan, but this isn’t Captain Marvel. At least not any more. The New 52 character they now call Shazam is a more magic-oriented hero who bears little resemblance to the real Captain Marvel. Sure, he’s a kid who turns into a super-powered adult, but this Billy Batson is a thieving little snot and this Shazam guy is an arrogant boob. I am not happy.

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Let’s be clear, as far as I’m concerned, the real Captain Marvel is a hero, the real Billy is an innocent, and the real Shazam is an old and wise wizard. This clown appearing in War is a travesty of a classic character and those responsible should be ashamed of themselves. Give me Aquaman, give me Captain Marvel, or give me any one of over a dozen other heroes over this New 52 Shazam loser.

This feature could have been a lot if fun over and above my Aquaman/Shazam/Captain Marvel problem. The problem is that all of these characters are seriously flawed. Green Lantern is an ass, Batman curses, and Superman is just a spoiled brat. Wonder Woman is more a barbarian version of the Little Mermaid than a Stranger in a Strange Land, so much so that it’s pitiful. And taking its cue from Man of Steel, this Superman is also a murderer. There are times here where I was rooting for Darkseid.

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We get to see the new origin of Cyborg, which I didn’t care for. I disliked his new look just as much as I disliked Wonder Woman’s and Darkseid’s new visuals as well. There’s a lot of hitting and fighting, sometimes it just goes on and on. If I’d wanted superheroes fighting superheroes, or superheroes battling endless hordes of cyphers, I’d read a Marvel Comic. Quite honestly it went on and on so long, I zoned out on this flick.

It’s not all bad. I liked the Flash a lot, and her weird almost Cathy Lee Crosby costume aside, Wonder Woman was pretty good for the most part. I loved the T.O. Morrow cameo, but then again, I’m a geek. Justice League: War has some moments, and is visually stunning, but it’s not my Justice League. Your mileage may vary.

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