Justice League: Doom has some of the same flaws of other DCU Animated releases, one being a short running time, that it limits any kind of character development or arc. Even so, the action and adventure elements are both fantastic and compared with the other Justice League movies, this is probably the best.
Genre(s): Animation, Action, Adventure
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 77 min. – $24.98 | February 28, 2012
Directed by: Lauren Montgomery
Writer(s): Dwayne McDuffie (written by)
Voice Cast: Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Susan Eisenberg, Nathan Fillion, Carl Lumbly, Michael Rosenbaum
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, 2 Bonus Cartoons, DVD Copy, UltraViolet Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 29.6 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 4.0/5
The latest in the DC Universe Animation line might not be the best, but it’s probably the most entertaining of the bunch. I like what Warner Bros. and DC Comics are doing with their direct-to-video animated movies both in terms of the actual animation and their voice casting putting together a who’s who amongst voice talents.
Justice League: Doom finds the League in trouble after a group of super-villains known as the Legion of Doom targets our heroes. Their leader is an immortal named Vandal Savage (PHIL MORRIS) who hires a variety of villains to each take out one of the League members in order to pave his way to rule the world (what a shock). On the surface it’s a well organized plan but the execution and logic doesn’t exactly hold muster. But I suppose that’s par for the course in any comic book where the villain’s primary motivation is to rule the world.
Batman (KEVIN CONROY) must contend with brutal nemesis Bane who physically and psychologically beats up on Bruce; Superman (TIM DALY) tackles the alien cyborg Metallo using a Kryptonite bullet; Wonder Woman (SUSAN EISENBERG) takes on the feline Cheetah who uses some nanobots to hallucinate the Amazon Princess; Hal Jordan/Green Lantern (NATHAN FILLION) faces off against former flame Star Sapphire (OLIVIA D’ABO); The Flash (MICHAEL ROSENBAUM) gets a bomb attached to his wrist by Mirror Master; and Martian Manhunter (CARL LUMBLY) is poisoned by fellow Martian, Ma’alefa’ak (also voiced by Lumbly).
Each JLA member thoroughly gets their asses handed to them, save for Superman who merely gets shot, but how would these simple villains able to do it when in the past it was always a losing effort? Ah, well in a roundabout way, it was Batman who showed them the superheroes greatest weaknesses; with regards to Superman, however, I’m not sure how great of a kept secret that Kryptonite could kill him, however… In any case, Batman had compiled profiles on each member without their knowledge in case the day ever came the heroes went rogue. The profiles were only meant to stop rather than kill but Savage tweaks it with little success given each member manages to survive (thanks to Batman who also had the antidote/cure).
Mostly healed, it’s up to the JLA to stop Savages plans to annihilate half the population so he may rule those who are left over. And how does he propose to do this? Well, it involves launching a powerful rocket into the sun which will cause catastrophic solar flares which will burn half the world. Yeah, it’s weak but he wouldn’t be a supervillain if he didn’t at least want to rule the world after all.
First, the voice talents Andrea Romano put together is fantastic combing many fan favorites into one movie. While Justice League: Doom is a standalone addition (though I read somewhere it could be considered a follow-up to Crisis on Two Worlds), they put together the talents from various animated television series (Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly and Michael Rosenbaum, Susan Eisenberg) and one who is a fan himself and voiced the character in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (Nathan Fillion). Each of them fit their characters to a “T” and really help move past any leaps in logic.
Story-wise, I don’t think this is nearly the best that has come out of the DCU Animated line but it’s not bad. With only 70-minutes (the running time is on par with previous entries), you’re not going to get much introspection by these characters so one has to rely on knowing them and just going with the flow. With the action, there’s plenty of it between when the JLA are one by one being taken down to the third act climax, the action junkie should be satisfied.
Justice League: Doom was directed by longtime DCU Animated collaborator Lauren Montgomery (Wonder Woman, Green Lantern: First Flight, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, Batman: Year One to name a few) but the highlight is probably from the late and great writer, Dwayne McDuffie who passed away a year earlier (Feb. 2011). If you want to know the man, be sure to check out the amazing featurette on his life in the features section. While I can’t say I was a fan of his work on All-Star Superman, many who I have spoken with have said it’s pretty faithful, even with the limitations, to the comic book and having not read the source material, the stand alone film didn’t quite resonate with me (still, it’s not bad.). However, I think his work on Doom was well done being able to fit in so much in so little time once again. To me, this is probably the best Justice League animated movie.
All in all, despite some of the film’s shortcomings, this is an entertaining movie with some great action sequences and a good story at its core. If you’ve enjoyed the previous Justice League animated movies then I’d give this one a shot.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.75/5
This release comes with an embossed glossy slip cover.
Commentary includes Geoff Johns (comic book writer and Chief Creative Officer of DC Comics) and Mike Carlin (creative director of animation). The two keep the track lively talking about the animation and the story for Justice League: Doom. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
A League of One: The Dwayne McDuffie Story (36:35; HD) – This poignant, and lengthy, featurette goes through the life of writer Dwayne McDuffie who passed away in February of 2011. It features friends and co-workers of the man and the contribution he had on the comic book writing world, including “Justice League”. It’s a great feature as you really get to learn about a man who was not only a super-genius but an incredible writer.
Guarding the Balance: Batman and the JLA (18:54; HD) – This featurette focuses on the “Justice League” and the topic of using contingency plans in case one of them ever went bad. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
A Sneak Peek at Superman vs. The Elite (6:32; HD) – A staple on each new DC Animated Movie releases, we get a glimpse at the next addition to the line. Unfortunately, we don’t get a look at who the voice talents are so that is disappointing.
Cyborg: His Time Has Come (6:08; HD) – This short featurette gives background on the character, his inclusion into the JLA and what differentiates him from other superheroes. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Bruce Timm’s Top Picks are two episodes, ‘Wild Cards’ Parts 1 and 2 of the “Justice League Unlimited” television series.
DC Digital Comic Book – “Justice League of America: Tower of Babel” is just your basic digital comic where you use your remote to flip pages. Give me the old school paper comic book…
Preview – Batman: Year One
Also included in the case is a standard def DVD Copy and the online streaming UltraViolet Digital Copy.
VIDEO – 4.25/5
Like previous DCU Animated releases, this one looks about on par with the others. The movie is presented in 1080p high-definition and a 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio. When it comes to animation, I tend to first look for banding which is most often obvious with the medium and thankfully I didn’t notice anything major on that front. The colors are well balanced without looking blown out or oversaturated while the picture itself is, as you can imagine, pristine. The only reason I’m not giving it a higher rating is because it’s not something that will wow you compared to live action or even some of Pixar’s stuff, but still it’s a step up from the DVD release.
AUDIO – 4.25/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track offers a lot to judge with plenty of action to the quieter, dialogue-driven moments. On both fronts, the soundtrack succeeds albeit the action scenes could’ve used a bit more punch. Dialogue levels however are crisp and clear while Christopher Drake’s heroic score provides some depth for the rear channels.
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, Justice League: Doom has some of the same flaws of other DCU Animated releases, one being a short running time, that it limits any kind of character development or arc. Even so, the action and adventure elements are both fantastic and compared with the other Justice League movies, this is probably the best.
In terms of the Blu-ray, both the video and audio transfers are very good and the special features, while disappointing there’s nothing about the actual movie, is informative, especially the tribute to the late Dwayne McDuffie.