Editor’s Notes: Justice League: Doom is out on DVD and Blu Ray February 28th and is being distributed by Warner Home Video.
While it may not be as groundbreaking, as dark as it could have been, nor as faithful to its source material as other comic book animated films, Justice League: Doom is an enjoyable and fitting adaption of the “JLA: Tower of Babel” story and is a good film for the esteemed Dwayne McDuffie to have ended off on before his untimely death.
The film deals with Vandal Savage, an immortal who has lived throughout human history, breaking into Batman’s cave and stealing The Dark Knight’s secret plans to incapacitate the Justice League should any one of them, or all of them, go rogue. Savage then creates the Legion of Doom, comprised of an individual who personally hates, or is equal to, a member of the Justice League and gives each of them the plan to take out their respective enemy, with a deadly twist since Batman did not factor in killing the Justice League in his plans.
With each of the Justice League falling to his plans perfectly, only Batman is capable of coming up with a way to save his friends from his own preparations against them. While the Justice League is busy, Savage begins the second stage of his plan, which is to destroy half of the world and rule the other half so as to bring stability to the human race.
Once the Justice League recovers from the contingency plans, the question becomes whether they are able to stop Savage and the Legion of Doom in time, and whether they will ever trust Batman after his betrayal.
McDuffie did an admiral job of adapting “Tower of Babel” into a film script, while also making it different enough so as to show his own ingenuity.
McDuffie did an admiral job of adapting “Tower of Babel” into a film script, while also making it different enough so as to show his own ingenuity. Justice League: Doom is more of a film that is heavily based on the story of “Tower of Babel” than one that is trying to be a complete adaption, as was the case with the recent release of Batman: Year One. McDuffie, and director Lauren Montgomery, created an enjoyable film that allows for an interesting look at each of the typical DC superheroes and shows just how vulnerable, arrogant, afraid and flawed each of them really is. Unfortunately, the film being neither exceptionally good nor very bad makes it less memorable than the rest of the DC Animated Movie lineup. The Legion of Doom was an interesting mix of villains, but the film just assumes that the viewers knows the reason of the animosity between the hero and their particular villain with barely any explanations.
The strongest attraction of the film also happened to be the main backbone of the story: the battle of wits between Batman and Savage. While most Batman movies have shown him to be quite the detective and a dark moral figure for good, they rarely show how dangerous he can be. Justice League: Doom is unique from other comic book movies because it shows just how intelligent and prepared Batman really is, due mainly to the fact that an ordinary man like him can come up with ways that could neutralize the most powerful heroes in the world. Vandal Savage works well as the main antagonist with his cunning, wealth and impressive base of operations. He is a good antithesis to Batman’s protagonist, and is the only villain who is thoroughly explored. Giving his back story and explaining his plan, which would make sense for someone who has seen humanity grow, provided a proper reason for why he is so dedicated to removing the Justice League and destroying the world. However, Savage’s plan did seem more like a typical Saturday morning cartoon villain’s plan than a brilliant genocidal immortal dictator.
While most Batman movies have shown him to be quite the detective and a dark moral figure for good, they rarely show how dangerous he can be.
The voice acting is perfect for each of the characters and that is a rare occasion for an animated movie. This success is a result of the movie makers bringing back all the voice actors from the animated series, and since each of them have spent years making their voices compatible with how their character has been viewed thus far, with particular credit to Kevin Conroy who has always been hailed as the true Batman by comic book and animated film fans. The cast brings a nostalgic feel to the characters, as a kind of reunion of sorts, which the viewers could enjoy. For the people who have not seen the previous animated shows, they would also enjoy the voice acting as each cast member was comfortable enough with the character so as to not make their performance sound forced, cheesy or lacking in appropriate emotions.
The only real drawback of the film would have to be the climax and resolution of the film, but nothing that actually took away from the film in any significant way. The most negative thing you could say is that it was a ‘clichéd techno babble solution’ instead of a brilliant and unorthodox climax. The only real let down of the film was the ending, but again not in a way that made the film bad. The ending in “Tower of Bable” was far richer and had a great deal more character development than what occurred in the film. At the end of Justice League: Doom, it seemed that there were no real consequences to what Batman did to the League or what the League collateral damage to the civilians while they were being attacked by the Legion. In the comic, each member was traumatized over what Batman had planned to do to them should they turn against him, and it was an intense moral argument about whether he should be kicked out of the Justice League or be allowed to stay. In the film, it was more of a quick resolution. It is understandable that the ending could not be a long drawn out ethical discussion of betrayal and the morality of protection, but it was less rewarding than the comic book version.
The main attractions to the DVD, or Blu-ray, extras with the DC Animated Releases are the Sneak Peek to the next animated film. When you purchase Justice League: Doom, you will also be able to see the in-depth preview at the upcoming Superman vs. The Elite. Another main attraction to these special features is the documentary on the life and work of the recently passed Dwayne McDuffie, along with a featurettes on Batman and why he would be the only way to make effective plans to take out the Justice League, and a look at the most recent addition to the comic book superhero line up: Cyborg. Another staple of the DC Animated Releases is providing the producers handpicked episodes from the animated series’ that would best fit with the theme or relate best with the story.
[notification type=”star”]64/100 ~ OKAY. McDuffie, and director Lauren Montgomery have created an enjoyable film that allows for an interesting look at each of the typical DC superheroes and shows just how vulnerable, arrogant, afraid and flawed each of them really is.[/notification]