Comic Book Movie Review – Justice League: Doom

Justice League:  Doom is the latest DC Animated release.  The story is loosely based on the Mark Waid written story “Tower of Babel,” that appeared in JLA #43-46.  This is also the last project that Dwayne McDuffie worked on before his untimely death last February.  Overall, the best thing about this movie is that it mostly reunited the voice cast from the Justice League cartoon.  Only mostly because Hal Jordan is the Green Lantern that is used instead of John Stewart, or Kyle Rayner, who was used in the comic.  That’s not to say that the story is bad, but I do have some issues with it, which I will get into after the break.  There are spoilers.

Justice League:  Doom

Directed by  Lauren Montgomery

Written by Dwayne McDuffie

Starring
Kevin Conroy as Batman
Tim Daly as Superman
Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman
Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern
Carl Lumbly as Martian Manhunter
Michael Rosenbaum as The Flash
Phil Morris as Vandal Savage

The movie starts with the Justice League foiling a robbery by the Royal Flush gang.  Cyborg is also there, because Batman asked him to check out some unusually advanced technology that they were using.  Batman sees someone in the mirror of the Batmobile, but doesn’t see anyone when he looks behind him.  When he gets back to the cave, Mirror Master comes out of the mirror and steals some files from the Bat-computer.  He brings these files back to Vandal Savage who has also gathered Metallo, Cheetah, Star Sapphire, Bane, and Ma’alefa’ak (Martian Manhunter villain).  Each villains are offered a large amount of money to take out their respective hero in the Justice League.  Bane lures Batman out by removing his parents graves, and then buries Batman alive.  Metallo lures Superman to him by pretending to be a suicide jumper, and then shoots him with a kryptonite bullet.  Cheetah infects Wonder Woman with nanites that cause her to think everyone she sees is Cheetah.  The Flash gets an explosive device bolted to his wrist, and has to keep running to keep it from blowing up.  Green Lantern is unknowingly hit with some fear gas and doubts himself after he’s unable to rescue hostages from an explosion.  Martian Manhunter is tricked into drinking a toxin that will cause him to sweat magnesium, and is set on fire.

Vandal Savage congratulates everyone, and tells them the rest of his plan.  He’s going fire a missile into the sun that will create an electromagnetic path for the solar flare that is created by the missile striking the sun to follow.  This flare will strike the Earth, and kill everyone on the side facing the sun.

Batman uses keys that were in his pocket, and punches his way out of the coffin.  He starts contacting people, and realizes what’s happening.  He begins instructing people on what to do to help everyone.  Long story short, everyone is okay, but they are unhappy with Batman.  However, there is the matter of dealing with the person who stole his files.  He knows where they are because his encrypted files send an alert back to him if they are opened.

The Justice League shows up at the Legion of Doom headquarters and a big fight ensues.  In the end, the rocket still gets launched, despite the best efforts of Cyborg.  Despite the best efforts of Superman, the rocket hits the sun.  Within a little over 8 minutes, Cyborg comes up with a plan to save the Earth, and implements it with the help of the rest of the League.  (Well, Green Lantern was trying to hold back the flare with a shield to give them some time, but Superman returned from near the sun with plenty of time to help.)  Cyborg saves everyone by figuring out that the Legion of Doom was going to survive the flare by making themselves intangible, so that they would not feel the effects of the solar flare.  (This was a device used earlier by the Royal Flush Gang.)  Cyborg figures out how to do it for the entire planet.  It works just long enough for the Earth to be saved.

Back in the Watchtower, the League votes to allow Cyborg into the League.  They ask for an apology from Batman for his actions, but he says he’d do it again because someone has to be prepared in case members of the league were to go rogue for any reason.  Before the League can vote to expel him, he quits.

This movie really consisted of three action segments:  stopping the Royal Flush Gang, the League getting defeated, and the League saving the day.  Those sequences were nicely done, but those three sequences were most of the movie.  I feel like the 75 minute time limit that DC puts on these movies really hurt this one.  Especially when it’s revealed to the League that Batman was behind these plans that nearly killed them.  They just kind of brush it off, since the threat is still present.  Even when everything is okay at the end, they don’t discuss it much.  I just feel it was a missed opportunity to create some drama, and don’t think that anything should have been removed so that this could be added.

Also, Bane looked funny.  Not wearing a fedora funny, but still a little odd.  Of course, had they gone with the original story, Ra’s Al Ghul would have been the main villain in the story, and not a Vandal Savage that wants to rule the world by destroying most of it.  Yeah, that didn’t really make much since to me.  Also one of those things that would have been helped by added time for explanation.

Even with the story issue, the dialogue was pretty good.  Don’t really much else to say about it.

On the Blu-Ray, there’s also a really good documentary on Dwayne McDuffie that’s worth a watch.  They do conveniently stay away from his time writing Justice League of America, that didn’t exactly end well.

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One comment

  1. I think DC’s one-and-done animated movie format hurt this one more. So Batman quits the league – so what? It’s not like they’re going to follow this up. It’s hard to get much drama going when the story ultimately ends completely at the end of this one film.

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