Sunday, June 10, 2012

Justice League: Doom

Starring the voice talents of Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Susan Eisenberg, Nathan Fillion, Michael Rosenbaum, and Carl Lumbry

Based on "JLA: Tower of Babel" by Mark Waid and Howard Porter

Screenplay by Dwayne McDuffie

Directed by Lauren Montgommery

Release Date: February 28th, 2012 (Straight to DVD/Blu-ray)

Martian Manhunter coated in Magnesium. Wonder Woman fighting copies of Cheetah. Green Lantern paralyzed with fear. Superman shot with a kryptonite bullet. Who's to blame for these deadly traps? Batman, their ally in the Justice League.

Adapted from "JLA: Tower of Babel", JL: Doom takes the heavy hitters of the DC universe and tasks them with their deadliest enemies using their physical and psychological weaknesses. Who is the one leading the assault? The immortal Vandal Savage, who wants the Justice League out of the way so he can take over the world (yes, it sounds incredibly generic, but you'll see how it unfolds).

Sadly, this is the last DC film written by Dwayne McDuffie, who passed away February 21st, 2011. McDuffie was the creator of Static Shock (the original comic and its 2000-2004 cartoon), a writer for Teen Titans, Justice League Unlimited, and the screenwriter for All-Star Superman and Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. He was a celebrated writer for both television and comics and I am sadden by his passing.  McDuffie's talents will never be matched again.

Now, onto the review of the film.

Doom is yet another 75-minute animated film produced by DC comics. For the most part, I've enjoyed these films (the only ones I didn't enjoy were Batman: Gotham Knights and Green Lantern: First Flight). To get this out of the way, it does deviate from the original comic:

A) Aquaman and Plastic Man aren't in the story
B) Green Lantern Kyle Rayner is replaced by Hal Jordan
C) The Mastermind behind the scheme is Vandal Savage in the film and Ra's al Ghul in the comic
D) Wally West in the comic is replaced by Barry Allen
E) Cyborg is not in the original comic
F) The League of Doom is not involved in the original comic
G) some of the traps against the Justice League differ from the comic

Pros: The film has a lot of great action beats and the overall plot is in tact and works very well. I liked that they recast most of the original actors from the Justice League cartoon, such as Kevin Conroy as Batman, Tim Daly as Superman, Carl Lumbly as Martian Manhunter, Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman and Michael Rosenberg as The Flash (he played Wally West in Justice League whereas he plays Barry Allen in JL: Doom). Also, they cast the BEST POSSIBLE voice actor as Hal Jordan: Nathan Fillion a.k.a. Captain Hammer, Capt. Malcolm Reynolds, and Richard Castle. Fillion does a great job with the part and I hope to see him cast as GL in more DC films and TV shows.

Cons: Some of the traps are dumb. Superman is shot. Really? That's how you stop the Man of Steel? In the comic, he was given a new type of red kryptonite that overloaded his powers and nearly killed him. The Flash has a bomb strapped to his wrist that makes him keep moving. Perhaps someone could have retooled these into more creative approach to these situations.

Final Thoughts: JL: Doom is an energetic and exciting adventure with a few flaws, but does have a lot of talent and creativity thanks to the great Dwayne McDuffie.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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