Monday, August 17, 2015

On DVD: Justice League: War (2014)

As part of DC's "New 52" initiative in 2011, Geoff Johns & Jim Lee, ah, reinvented the Justice League. Cyborg, if you will, graduated from the Teen Titans after more than 30 years of comics time to the big leagues.

Unfortunately, Johns & Lee's initial story arc, adapted into the 2014 DTV, "War", winds up an uneven mix when transferred to the screen.

Writer Heath Corson fumbled the ball, badly, in adapting Johns' original script. Aquaman was left out of the movie, replaced by Shazam (formerly DC's version of Captain Marvel), who didn't officially join the League until much later, after his own storyline, run as a backup feature in the book, had run its course. And his reboot is a bad story unto itself.

The plot? Darkseid decides to invade Earth. The way the DCU was rebooted by Johns, Lee, & friends, all past history is no longer relevant. Our heroes have only been around a short while, and are only meeting, in most cases, for the first time. Victor Stone (Shemar Moore, Criminal Minds) is a football hero instead of a track star. Billy Batson is his biggest fan, but Billy is also living in a foster home, and steals Vic's jersey after a big game. That's not the Billy most of us know from back in the day, and I had a problem with Johns' reinterpretation of Billy. Green Lantern comes across as an arrogant jackass, continuing the narrative Johns established with Hal Jordan, and that includes the live-action 2011 movie that preceded the "New 52" by a couple of months. Shazam is no better, with Billy's mind in an adult body. That particular configuration has been in place since the late 80's, and it's even worse now. Wonder Woman (Michelle Monaghan) is new to "Man's World", of course, and acting as an ambassador. George Newbern, who voiced Superman in Justice League (2001-4), voices Steve Trevor here, with Alan Tudyk taking over as the Man of Steel.

Corson is trying too many things at once. The artists working on the film got Cyborg's armor coloring all wrong, as it looks more grey than silver. That makes no sense. In contrast, Moore is one of the better actors in the cast. Toon veteran Steve Blum voices Darkseid, and nails it.

Following is the trailer:

The DVD includes trailers for "The Lego Movie", and "Son of Batman".

Rating: C--.

No comments: