Thursday, March 8, 2012

Justice League: Doom Review

Arriving just in time to cleanse the pallete of the rancid taste left from the abyssmal Ghostrider: Spirit of Vengeance is Justice League Doom, the latest offering in DC Entertainment's direct to dvd line of animated features. When I learned that the company's next animated venture following their stellar adaptation of Batman: Year One was going to be another ensemble film featuring the world's mightiest heroes I felt a little dissapointed. In my opinion, the single character films like Batman: Under the "Red Hood" and "Year One," as well as "Green "Lantern: First Flight" have been some of the strongest offerings in the line thus far whereas the films featuring multiple heroes, "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, and "Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths" have fallen a bit short and have often felt like prolonged t.v. episodes. Nevertheless I was excited by what looked in the adds to be a perilous and high stakes JL story (I know, I know, like any superhero story isn't without peril and high stakes) and hoped this one would be the exception to what had come so far.
In short, JL Doom delivers. Sure the film boasted tons of the larger than life superhero specticle one would come to expect, but were the movie really shines is in the levels of suspense and moral ambiguety that propels the narrative forward and really hones in on the fact that, for all their god-like powers, superheroes can still be incredibly vulnerable when given the right weakness to exploit.
The movie's villain, Vandal Savage, and his lethal selection of assorted rogues from each League member's long list of villains find just such a way to hit each hero were it hurts when they infiltrate the Batcave and steal confidential files documenting Batman's own meticulously planned out methods for neutralizing each hero should they ever go rogue and become a threat to the world.
A megalomaniac who has been blessed, or cursed, however you want to view it, with immortality after coming in contact with a meteorite in the stone age, Savage has amassed a fortune from his centuries long existence and entertaines intimations of world domination but must first remove the greatest obstacle standing in the way of his goals. The Justice League of America. So Savage recruits a deadly enemy of each member of the League promising them an obscene amount of money and the chance to rule the world by his his side should they suceed in destroying the League. The villains cast their lots in with Savage and The Legion of Doom is officially formed.
Having pilfered the most effective ways take down the earth's mightiest hero's from the mind of one of the greatest combat strategists in the world, Batman, The Legion of Doom sets about luring each League member into an isolated situation were it looks like they will be able to take care of business and save the day as usual, but things are not what they seems. What results is some of the most intense, edge of your seat  suspense that I have ever experienced watching an animated movie. You truly do start to wonder if Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter will make it out of this one entirely unscathed much less make it out at all.
Of course, as a Batman fan first and foremost, I favorite segments were the ones involving Batman and his newly christened, Legion of Doom conterpart, Bane in which the venom enfused monster of a man strikes at the Dark Knight in a truly terrifying and brutal way.
The character Cyborg plays a pivotal role in the movie and proves why he is worthy to stand alongside the A-listers of the DCU. Personally I have never really been a very big fan of the character but really liked how he was used in this movie, quite a bit more so than the forced, abc school special way he has been tact on to the Justice League in DC's flagship, new 52 series.        
Unquestionably the biggest threat they have faced so far, the League's  first encounter with The Legion exacts a major toll that reaffirms their significance in the world while at the same time, shaking the team to its very core both personally and ideologically. And though the fourth act of the movie plays out in a pretty predictable fasion, it is still a thrill to watch The Justice League emerge stronger from the adversity and face their tormentors head on with no fear.
I had a blast watching this movie and, though I like what has come before, would definatley place it at the top of the DC animated features focusing on an ensemble cast. The action is thrilling, the exchanges between the characters are genuine and well written, and the story adresses some pretty heavy topics of trust and power. Simply put, Justice Leaue: Doom does not disappoint.


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