Simon’s Movie Review – Justice League: DOOM

Justice League: Doom is the latest release in the DC Animated Universe, and the final curtain for its writer, the late Dwayne McDuffie with a story very loosely based on Mark Waid’s fantastic JLA Tower of Babel storyline. Due to either paranoia or a desire for preparedness (depending on your point of view) Batman has covertly developed contingency plans for incapacitating earths mightiest heroes (not THOSE earths mightiest heroes) should they ever be compromised. As is fully expected, it is only a matter of time before these plans fall in to the hands of the dastardly villains of the piece, in the form of Vandal Savage and his LEGION OF DOOM (oooooouuuugh what a rush!)

The first thing I have to say about this piece is that it was a real joy to get such a stellar voice acting cast for this move, The DCAU titles have been incredibly hit and miss with their casting in the past, and so it was a pleasure to hear all the major players of the Timmverse return including the legendary Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly as Batman and Superman respectively. Filling out the heroes voice cast is everyone’s favourite maverick space cowboy Harrison Fo… No seriously, it’s Nathan Fillion, reprising the role of Hal Jordan that he was born to play, and Bumper Robinson as Cyborg, which unfortunately leads me to my first negative, as I felt Cyborg was horribly miscast here, and couldn’t mesh with the voice. Still, to make up for that, we got Alexis Denisof as Mirror Master!! YAY!

As a big fan of anime since my early childhood, I’ve always been attracted to animation that has a real sense of fluidity and energy coursing through it, and so it is more often than not how I tend to judge Western style animation as well, many animations have fallen at this hurdle, but I am happy to say that Justice League Doom passed with flying colours. The animation is smooth and crisp, the colours are bright and poppy without being distracting, and the action scenes have a real sense of energy and power to them, with one particular standout being an all-out brawl between the Martian Manhunter and his LoD counterpart (because we all need evil counterparts right?) in which they seamlessly mutate in to a variety of weird and wonderful creatures.

So what did I think of the story? This was something that I found very difficult to think about, as there are vast changes to a source material that is one of my favourite JLA stories. Overall I felt that once it entered the crux of the story it was a pretty strong adaptation, the change of the motivation behind the villains was; as expected, a ridiculously elaborate bad guy plan, but it worked within its context. The first of two big disappointments for me here was the opening scene, in which the Justice League do battle with The Royal Flush Gang (a villainous team I have always hated) which seems to serve as nothing more than to introduce a deus ex machina of sorts, as well as a rather trite explanation for why Cyborg deserved to be on the team. The second was that there is no real resolution to Batman’s actions, it could have paved the way for a rather intelligent discussion to cap off the movie, thus giving us older fans a secondary layer to enjoy the movie, but instead it was dispatched with rather quickly.

Overall this movie was a fun and entertaining slice of time, the animation was as good as it was ever going to be, as was the voice acting, but I felt some of the more interesting questions that could have been addressed were not. I was also rather unhappy with the inclusion of Cyborg in the story, he had little purpose, and was more than likely in there for no other reason than for DC to try and convince us that HE IS A JUSTICE LEAGUER DAMMIT, especially when other members of the DCU (I’m looking at you and your giant seahorse Aquaman) have been getting the short straw when it comes to animated adaptations for years.

If you’ve been a fan of DC’s other AU output, I’d recommend checking this out, whether this will win over any fans who have been disappointed with the past quality is another question, but what have you got to lose?

To sign off I must point to the funniest (unintentionally) moment of the movie – The Flash is floating in the sea unconscious when the Batplane flies overhead, and Cyborgs robotic hand on a cable swoops down, plucking The Flash out of the water… It was at this moment I shouted “GO GO GADGET ARM!”

8 out of 10 THWIPS!

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