Is It A Super Disappointment?
The mid-late 90s / early 2000s was a golden time for cartoons, all of the classic shows were still around and new and exciting ones were popping up everywhere. One such cartoon was The Justice League (later followed up by Justice League Unlimited).
Justice League built upon Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series. Bringing in familiar characters like Wonder Woman and The Flash, the show was targeted at young kids, but also had its fair share of references and subtle nods that older fans could enjoy.
The second series also served for many as an introduction to lesser-known DC characters, with many of the episodes centering around a more popular character leading a team consisting of characters such as Vigilante, Fire, Booster Gold, etc.
Justice League VS The Fatal Five brings us back into this world albeit a few years later. But, does it rely too much on our nostalgia?
Minor spoilers below
As the title suggests, the movie has members of the Justice League face off against The Fatal Five; a group of criminals from the year 3000. Aiding them (and replacing several members of the Justice League who don’t appear in the film) is the futuristic gravity-controlling superhero, Star Boy. Along with Miss Martian, the niece of Martian Manhunter and Jessica Cruz, the latest Green Lantern to appear in the comics.
One thing that I picked up on almost immediately was the Justice League’s complete lack of knowledge regarding The Legion and The Fatal Five. This is strange considering that the Legion and The Fatal Five both made appearances in Justice League Unlimited.
It could be that the movie chose only to use the original Justice League cartoon for inspiration when creating the movie. This was most likely a cost-saving measure, as most shots in Justice League Unlimited featured a large number of background characters. It does, however, make for interesting plot holes and considering that the film is targeted at fans of the original cartoons, it may irk those of us with fresher memories of the series.
The one holdover from the 2nd series is Mr. Terrific, dubbed the third smartest man of earth and serving as the league’s advisor on technology, he was a central figure in Justice League Unlimited and replaced Martian Manhunter as the groups rallying force.
The plot itself is relatively simple and easy to follow, The Fatal Five have arrived in the past to free two of their number who were captured and sent to our time (why they wouldn’t have the capability to hold supervillains in the year 3000 is anyone’s guess). The film is unfortunately largely predictable, but does make some attempt to complicate the story by giving two of the heroes, Jessica Cruz and Star Boy mental disabilities. Namely, Jessica Cruz has PTSD and anxiety following a violent crime she witnessed before gaining her powers and Star Boy has an unspecified disorder that is treated with medicine from the 31st century. These themes reoccur throughout the movie and do add emotional weight to the film.
Overall the movie is a fun, nostalgia trip for longtime DC fans and leaves enough room for someone not familiar with the older cartoons to be able to pick the movie up without being too lost. It does suffer from a team of lackluster villains, but this is more a result of the lack of Legion of Superheroes material to work with. With the last attempt at rebooting the comic series being canceled in 2015. The movie is entertaining, but perhaps didn’t need almost two hours of runtime. Pricing is also a factor as the movie comes in at $4 more than other recent DC animated titles such as Reign Of The Supermen.
Have you picked up this latest installment in the DC animated universe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to come back Friday for our thoughts on SHAZAM!.