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Justice League: War Review

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Inspired by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's JUSTICE LEAGUE story, DC's latest animated movie explores the iconic team's origin as they face off against Darkseid.

Justice League: War is easily the most action-packed movie DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation have yet to make. Seriously, once all of the characters are established, it's pretty much one big fight scene after another. If you love seeing these characters smack each other around and battle evil, then prepare for some fun. However, if you thought the action in Man of Steel was too much, then this one just isn't for you.

The movie's inspired by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's first JUSTICE LEAGUE story in the New 52. If you've read it, then you basically know what to expect when it comes to the basic plot. For everyone else, the premise is simple: Darkseid invades Earth with a swarm of Parademons and the heroes must work together to stop him. And boom (tube), the Justice League is born as they unite and attempt to defeat this massively powerful villain.

Writer Heath Corson and Director Jay Oliva stay relatively true to the source material while also adding in more than a few changes. Sometimes animated movies keep the core idea of the plot but drastically alter everything else. Such isn't the case here. A lot of Johns' hilarious lines remain and more than a few jokes are thrown in to keep the comedy coming. Cyborg's origin story is also changed and it gives him a closer connection to what's going on. It technically changes who he is yet the basic concept of the character remains the same. And, as everyone knows by now, Shazam has replaced Aquaman. Yes, it sucks we don't get to see the very awesome shark moment, but trust me, it's because they have bigger plans for Arthur. Patience is a virtue, yes?

The film does a good job handling the team's chemistry, too. The Flash (Christopher Gorham) and Green Lantern (Justin Kirk) is without question the most entertaining pair and have the best lines. Not only that but their voice actors also deliver the strongest performances. If you're one of the people who constantly rant about the new SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN series, then odds are you'll hate the fact this film alludes to the attraction between the two. For everyone else, it'll deliver some solid laughs. A bond is created between Shazam and Cyborg as well and it's certainly an amusing one. For all his power, Billy Batson's still just a kid who idolizes this football star and it definitely shows. Meanwhile, Batman simply has amusing interactions with everyone.

As stated above, this movie is overflowing with action. They basically take the fight scenes from the source material and then multiply the duration by a thousand (that's a rough estimate). Some of the close-up shots feel too abrupt instead of intense (most notably when Cyborg debuts), but overall it's all of the action you could crave and then some. I didn't keep track of how long the fight with Darkseid is, but damn, it goes on and on. Plus, who doesn't want to see Wonder Woman flipping around and slicing Parademons apart?

The character designs are by Phil Bourassa, the lead character designer for Young Justice. The new costumes are perfectly fine and overall it's a very appreciated improvement over the incredibly bulky bodies we saw in DC's last animated movie (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox).

The movie's PG-13 and they take full advantage of that. The violence isn't nearly as graphic as Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (essentially limited to Parademons getting obliterated), but the rating is absolutely earned with the language. So, consider this a warning if you have a young one and don't want them hearing some colorful vocabulary.

As for gripes, the drama with Victor and his father doesn't translate that well and drags a bit. There's also a couple of times where shots linger a tad too long, making for somewhat awkward moments. Just like in the source material, Darkseid's essentially reduced to a boss battle type of character. He's there to brawl and Steven Blum spends more time screaming and grunting than actually talking. His physicals also fluctuate a decent amount and, as someone who's really into characters' stats and abilities, that stood out to me. Jason O'Mara's the new voice of Batman (he reprises the role in Son of Batman) and I'm left down the middle on it. Some remarks feel a tad uninspired while others are just fine. Speaking of Batman, the filmmakers find a way to toss in a second Dark Knight vs. Superman scene. As a Batman fan, it's downright amazing. But as a Superman fan, it comes off as an unnecessary departure from the source material (there's already so many places to see a darker Superman). Lastly, I don't mind it, but fans may want to know a certain infamous moment between Batman and Green Lantern remains.

Justice League: War is all about hitting you with big action and big laughs. The story isn't all that compelling and some may find the fights exhausting, but if you just want to enjoy seeing these characters brawl and banter for a little over an hour, then odds are you're going to have a good time with this one.

And yes, there is a mid-credits scene!

119 CommentsRefresh

Avatar image for mistrx75
Posted By mistrx75

Is the infamous Batman/Green Lantern scene the moment where Batman manages to slip off GL's ring?

Avatar image for larryashlynn
Posted By LarryAshlynn

So many people complained about this movie, but I like it. Damn, but it attracts my love of battles and violence and explosions.

Avatar image for gor724
Edited By gor724
@firethunder said:

And breaking desaad's neck. That was unnecessary and inappropriate for children.

Children shouldn't watch this movie anyway. Someone called Wonder Woman a whore and Green Lantern called Bats a douche-bag. This movie was not for children, and the PG-13 rating showed that.

Avatar image for jimmy11
Posted By jimmy11

I am little confused. Billy is transformed to Captain Marvel, and vice versa, by saying SHAZAM. How come Captain didn't transform back to Billy when he introduced himself to the group?

Avatar image for cascadeking09
Posted By cascadeking09

I have to say I'm really disappointed about how all of the characters were portrayed, save for Batman, GL (and even him to an extent), Flash, and Cyborg. Wonder Woman and Superman were the worst.

Avatar image for aquamanisthebest
Edited By AquamanIsTheBest

Aquaman's absence was inexcusable. Let's be honest Throne of Atlantis was happening anyways. It would have happened if Arthur was here or not.

Shazam had his own movie. Aquaman needs the screen time MUCH more and his role here is HUGELY missed. Shazam was freaking useless for a good majority of the flick. Sure, his scenes with Cyborg were ok but they are all a shot to the heart.

Aquaman is getting his "own" movie(That he has to share with the League). Fantastic. But he is one of the best of the best and deserves to be in that spot with the founders! Not Shazam. It's an indignity that can't be seen here...where he belongs.

Avatar image for shika1dude
Posted By Shika1Dude

What an awesome movie, had loads of fun watching it, only problem I had was to do with the story,

which ironically is heavily inspired from the books, so thats saying something,

Yes! Another good job and thumbs up to the DC-WB Animation team! Hope they dont drop the ball on us...

Avatar image for soldierofel
Edited By soldierofel

I loved the film. Thought it was absolutely epic In parts. The visuals were amazing as well. I enjoyed all the voice acting. Hal's one liners and the back and forth between batman was pretty good as well. I enjoyed superman beating down the parademons as well with a truck no less. I think my only gripe was the last battle between superman and batman.

Spoilers ahead.

At the start of the film we have superman holding back and easily schooling both batman and the green lantern. After superman is captured he's basically put under mind control making him kill dessad. Yet not once was he able to lay a hand on batman. It was kinda silly. But that's about it. An epic movie all around.

Avatar image for avenging_x_bolt
Edited By Avenging-X-Bolt

I enjoyed it for the most part

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Avatar image for firethunder
Posted By FireThunder

The changes in the movie didn't bother me but I hated superman. Superman was supposed to inspire hope to other leaguers not push them around and act like a jerk. And breaking desaad's neck. That was unnecessary and inappropriate for children. Flash was the best part of the movie. He put his own against darkseid and blinded him with a simple crowbar. I think flash managed to harm darkseid with the crowbar by stabbing it really fast. Possibly justice league war displayed the best use of flash's power maybe better than flashpoint paradox. Besides that, it was a good, action-packed movie.

Avatar image for eagle_vision11454
Posted By Eagle_Vision11454

@dr_harlequin: Umm i think it was two boom tubes suddenly appeared thanks to Cyborg and sucked desaad and Steppenwolf away at the critial moment while batman just watched them from behind a cave opening, :|

Avatar image for FeedOnATreeFrog
Posted By feedonatreefrog

Whatt? I loved Shazam in this. He was hilarious. And I really dug the Cyborg/Shazam dynamic.

I guess they could have had Aquaman as well though for fans. I don't think it's really a matter of screen time considering he barely does anything in the story besides call the sharks and stab Darkseid's eye. Even if they just had that, I think people would have been happy.

Avatar image for dr_harlequin
Posted By Dr_Harlequin

Especially the the final battle took place on the coast...which was just stupid to keep that setting and kick out Aquaman. Like he really wouldn't be there? -.-

This. I didn't even read the source material, but I didn't really care for Shazam in this movie. I would have liked to see Aquaman especially since they fought over a dang ocean.

And yeah, I liked Flashpoint more than this by milestones.

Avatar image for fallschirmjager
Edited By Fallschirmjager

Aquaman didn't need to be replaced. The only thing Shazam did was power up the box at the end when Cyrborg needed a juice - which didn't even happen in the comic.

Aquaman would have been way better, especially after Batman and Superman are in Apokolips and there is a distinct lack of leadership (Hal simply fails at it and WW is still too young and charge happy) that Arthur would have flourished in perfectly.

Especially the the final battle took place on the coast...which was just stupid to keep that setting and kick out Aquaman. Like he really wouldn't be there? -.-

Anyway. Action was good, story was weak (the comic was too so yeah). Like Flashpoint a lot more.

Whatever. Hopefully Throne of Atlantis is worth it.

Avatar image for w0nd
Posted By w0nd

Not a fan of Shazam. Not because of him replacing aquaman, but because how he was introduced in the movie. He is just...."there"

Avatar image for FeedOnATreeFrog
Posted By feedonatreefrog

This is one of the first animated DC movies to actually 'wow' me.

Flashpoint Paradox had its moments, as did TDKReturns, but this one was non-stop eye-popping visuals and action. Great to see these characters actually shine as action heroes for once.

Avatar image for superman1986
Posted By Superman1986

I'm a critic and just watched the mailed Blue ray copy and I've gotta say this is the best piece of Justice League animation since Justice League Doom! I was surprised at how well the script itself aligned almost exactly with the comics. I do have to say, that made it somewhat cheesy when it comes to one liners but other than that I believe the actors embodied the concept of how these New 52 heroes should be and that is: (relate-able) I have faith in Andrea Romano and her pick of actors/actresses and only believe that their acting will get much better. Also the animation could've been drawn with a little more detail but other than that this movie is well worth the wait! So hang in there guys, you're wait will soon be over and you'll be just as satisfied as I am with the New 52 DC Original Animated Movie: Justice League: WAR

Avatar image for nefilim927
Posted By Nefilim927

Ugh, that was rough. Not a fan of sacrificing the violence for the language, it was pretty uncalled for in most cases. I don't mind cursing, believe me but a lot of it seemed a bit too much.

Avatar image for airmanv
Posted By AirmanV

Was not a fan of this movie at all. Superman was a meathead with no personality. Wonder Woman was a meathead and when she did have a personality it reminded me of Starfire more then anything. Nothing in the movie was more cringe-worthy then when Superman is carrying Air Force One and Wonder Woman says "Oh, he's strong" Ugh...Green Lantern was annoying constantly saying "I got this" only to get pounded into the ground 5 seconds later. Cyborg's relationship with his dad seemed to drag on and wasn't that interesting. Wasn't much a fan of the voice acting. All that being sad it had great action sequences and the first Batman vs Superman fight was cool. There were some funny interactions between GL and Flash and GL and Batman. I almost want to give it a 2 but I'll settle with giving it a 3. Its great if you go into it with the mindset of a mindless action film but that's not really my style.

Avatar image for GrimoireMyst
Posted By GrimoireMyst

I believe you can buy this movie on PSN but since I did not like Flashpoint I will wait to rent it. lol

Avatar image for johnqestion
Posted By johnqestion

Love this movie. Humor, action, a dash of romance, cool animation, the interactions between the character felt fresh and modern.. all in a short running time of a rebooted animated verse. Was tons better than the first foundation episodes of Timm's JL.

I love it too because

1. It's a finger at the whiners at the new 52

2. The first movie where everyone shines and it's not Batman and his bitches.

3. Chances are I can give this to anyone who is not a comic geek of any age (well not a little kid) and they'll enjoy it.

Avatar image for deranged_midget
Posted By Deranged Midget

I thought they did a pretty great job adapting the source material. As for the source material itself, it's not exactly the best written arc in the New 52 nor does it really properly portray the characters, so I don't blame the film for following suite. I just feel like viewers will be confused when each character begins to receive solo films and acts like a completely different person for those who jumped into the universe through this film.

Also, I laughed at how bad the cgi was. >.>

Correction my friend. JL: War, and most animated films in similar fashion, utilize animation. Shows and/or films like Beware the Batman, Green Lantern: The Animated Series or basically any Pixar film, utilize CGI.

Avatar image for dr_harlequin
Edited By Dr_Harlequin

@eagle_vision11454 said:

@hushofthewind: Did they ever show how Superman managed to break free of the process or why he and Batman were wearing that parademon armor near the end?

I was wondering this, too. Was it shown in the source material?

Also, I laughed at how bad the cgi was. >.>

Avatar image for eagle_vision11454
Edited By Eagle_Vision11454

@hushofthewind: Did they ever show how Superman managed to break free of the process or why he and Batman were wearing that parademon armor near the end?

Avatar image for comicstooge
Posted By ComicStooge

I liked it a lot.

Wonder Woman was awesome.

Avatar image for batmannflash
Posted By batmannflash

Not perfect and definitely not the best, but an enjoyable movie nonetheless.

I'm excited for what I saw in the mid credits scene!

Avatar image for mrmazz
Edited By MrMazz

@k4tzm4n: you're right, I contemplated my use of Jab but ultimately couldn't come up with another adjaetive, was in a bit of a hurry.

Avatar image for entropy_aegis
Posted By entropy_aegis

No one is upset about Batman's, basically, being invulnerable? I mean, he survived hits he really shouldn't be able to.

No one's upset other than maybe you,cause it's happens all the time in comics and animation.Also cause there were other things to get upset about,such as lame ass Darkseid with his lameass voice and lameass personality,same goes for Superman(I'm so badass and tough) and Wonder Woman.Easily the 3 worst characters of the entire flick.

Story sucked but that was expected,the action sequences also lacked any substance,just punch,punch,energy blast here and there blah blah.

Worst animated movie yet.

Avatar image for lily_lebeau
Edited By Lily_LeBeau

@eagle_vision11454: Now that I've seen the whole thing....I would say maybe a little, but not for generic reasons, really just my own stuff lol. It threw me having Tudyk as Superman because (despite my adoration of Firefly) when he speaks all low like that...all I can hear is Alpha from Firefly and that's really not a character that should ever be associated with Superman ;p

Jason Mara as Batman grew on me, and the choices for Flash, GL and Cyborg were spot on. Michelle Monaghan felt a little off as Wonder Woman to me, and I can't really place why.

Also thrown by George Newbern (who, to my ear is the definitive Superman) as Steve Trevor, in a movie that has Superman in it.

Avatar image for eagle_vision11454
Posted By Eagle_Vision11454
Avatar image for momo111191
Posted By momo111191

loved it as usual and wonder woman is sooooooooo adorable they should give her another movie.

Avatar image for the_stegman
Edited By The Stegman

This movie was...okay. Not one of DC's strongest at all.

Things I liked:

1. Green Lantern's attitude, he kept things fun

2. Darkseid's power levels. Him easily fighting off the League made him feel like a big threat

3. Wonder Woman, everything about her was fantastic, her dialogue, her attitude, her fighting skills, just great

4. The fight scenes. Definitely an action heavy film, visually stunning

5. The End credits scene= WIN

Things I didn't like:

1. Green Lantern jobbing against pretty much everyone

2. The lack of depth behind Darkseid, he was pretty much just a generic bad guy

3. Shazam...he didn't need to be there, but he wasn't as bad as I thought he'd be

4. Superman's behavior kinda annoyed me.

5. GL saying "I got this." about 4 times too much

overall, I'd give it a 3.5 outta 5

Avatar image for FeedOnATreeFrog
Posted By feedonatreefrog

My review:

Positives:

+Absolutely fantastic action and camera work overall. It feels very Man of Steel inspired. They really do the heroes justice visually.

+It was very well paced for a movie that was 90% action. Very fun and a lot of great lighthearted moments throughout.

+All the Cyborg scenes. Animation and sound really bring Cyborg to life.

+All the Shazam stuff, especially the Cyborg/Shazam dynamic.

+Green Lantern constructs were 1000x better than the GL movie.

+Green Lantern/Batman dynamic.

+Barry 's dorky fanboy moment

+Superman kicking Batman's ass.

+Batman in disguise, riding a Parademon

+Darkseid was one badass mofo. His voice was very unsettling.

+Wonder Woman's fighting style and attitude is really fun. (though I'd like to see a more mature Diana in the next movie. I wonder if they'll do the 5 year jump like in the comics).

+The mid-credits set-up, even if the scene wasn't executed that well.

Negatives:

-Voice acting is not always perfect. It sometimes makes GL and Superman a tad obnoxious.

-Superman's personality sometimes comes across as unlikable and douchey, yet the movie doesn't seem to acknowledge it as a character flaw (like it does for Green Lantern).

-I think they could have thrown in a couple quick lines that explain people's powers. Those unfamiliar with the characters might be a little lost.

-Scenes that showcase the WW/Supes attraction felt quite forced. I get that some people think that they didn't set up enough chemistry in the comics before they get together later, but I actually prefer it that way, where it seems like a relationship that's born out of a friendship first, not an initial physical attraction. The fact that Superman's a little douchey also makes Diana a little unlikable for liking him.

-Story/themes/character-arcs are extremely basic and unsatisfying ("teamwork=good"). It lacks heart. Perhaps it might have been a little more satisfying had they had a more triumphant score during the climax (ala the circle shot moment in The Avengers). Still fun though. This is pure popcorn.

Overall I'd give it a 4/5.

Avatar image for lily_lebeau
Edited By Lily_LeBeau

The voice acting choices in this threw me a bit.

Avatar image for k4tzm4n
Edited By k4tzm4n

@mrmazz said:

Your jab at the people who find the action in MoS to be souless and excessive, misses the point. Man of Steel's third act overload of action sequences, didn't hit because there was 0 characters we cared about (ok the guy from Law and Order not withstanding). Which compunded the issue when the sequence is overdone and souless.

Action sequences aren't bad, it's when they mean nothing are they bad. This film like The Raid do continous action right, by using to to either A) further characterize of B) because we understand the stakes. War gets those points.

Seems rather odd that you'd hire Steve Blum to say maybe 10 lines, he isn't Michael Ironside or Andre Braugher (aka the greatest) but if you wanted some bassy voice to reverb he's the guy. He just sounds like Steve Blum.

Jab? What jab?

"However, if you thought the action in Man of Steel was too much, then this one just isn't for you."

That comment isn't an insult. It applies to people who think the action scenes in Man of Steel went on for too long -- which applies to many people I've chatted with -- not about the film's handling of characters, whether they cared about them in battle, etc. I never called it soulless, either. It was simply informing that crowd -- the people who've stated they suffered action fatigue in the film simply because it went on longer than they desired -- that this too has very long action pieces. Nothing more, nothing less.

Moderator
Avatar image for lifeofvibe
Posted By lifeofvibe

@sandman_: no but these days its completly invulverable

Avatar image for mrmazz
Edited By MrMazz

Your jab at the people who find the action in MoS to be souless and excessive, misses the point. Man of Steel's third act overload of action sequences, didn't hit because there was 0 characters we cared about (ok the guy from Law and Order not withstanding). Which compunded the issue when the sequence is overdone and souless.

Action sequences aren't bad, it's when they mean nothing are they bad. This film like The Raid do continous action right, by using to to either A) further characterize of B) because we understand the stakes. War gets those points.

Seems rather odd that you'd hire Steve Blum to say maybe 10 lines, he isn't Michael Ironside or Andre Braugher (aka the greatest) but if you wanted some bassy voice to reverb he's the guy. He just sounds like Steve Blum.

Avatar image for sandman_
Posted By SandMan_

Was Batman's armor made of Adamantium or something?

Avatar image for sandman_
Posted By SandMan_

I was expecting Aquaman to show up any minute..

Avatar image for perfect_10
Posted By Perfect 10

this was a five star film all the way. the only problem i had was with the voice acting for most (billy, barry and vic were fine and though i like the voice actor's voice it just didnt fit hal, he sounded like an 18 year old) and the goofinest they threw diana's way was uncalled for. cause they actress was hamming it up and i know so many haters would be laughing AT her instead of with her i can do without that scene, other that no complaints. it was fun, funny and action packed. best dc film (live action or otherwise) since justice league doom. loved how hal dissed the bat, been waiting for someone to know that arrogant so and so down a peg for ages and did not disappoint, HILARIOUS! love the bond between billy and victor, my new super buddy duo, so long forge and dr. nemesis. wonder woman just looks beautiful when she moves and her intro scene? man was i into it!!! definitely going to watch this again tonight. i really hope with this they can start doing an animated cinematic universe instead of different team members and costumes with each film. and have the films acknowledge each other. with that end credits scene they BETTER be working on it cause i want to see that play out. speaking of connectativity i loved how the pacing flowed and each character was connected to each other in someway: bats and hal to wally, wally to vic, etc. now if only all or the majority of their books could be this good....

Avatar image for philkelly96
Edited By philkelly96

@martianmanhunterisbetterthancy: I think when batman says that him and GL were the only normal ones, it could be that if you take away all of the heroes gear, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Shazam still have powers (cyborg would be dead) and GL and Batman would be normal humans.

Avatar image for eagle_vision11454
Posted By Eagle_Vision11454

@superguy1591: Don't you know Batman wears the plot armored Batsuit wherever he goes?

Avatar image for djyoda
Edited By Djyoda

saw on the web (couldnt wait for the bluray) and i gotte say Dc animation did it again another great movie, i love how it (not completely) stayed true to the comic, there were parts where i could really compare the scenes to the comic like "batman and the ring" :p so really a fun movie to watch! and i even like cyborg and i'm not the biggest fan of him.

my score = 4/5,

cant wait for son of batman!!! if only dc would make their liveaction movies as good as their animated ones

Avatar image for impossibilly
Edited By impossibilly

I'm running a contest where you can win Justice League: War on Blu Ray Combo Pack signed by Christopher Gorham, the voice of The Flash.

Details in the contest forum: http://www.comicvine.com/forums/contests-6/contest-win-justice-league-war-on-blu-ray-1530696/#0