Seriously. How can any fanboy not LOVE these DC universe movies that Warner Bros. Animation and DC Comics keep throwing out at us? The latest to hit the straight to DVD shelves is Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, which takes us back to the classic Justice League premise of an Earth Prime and countless alternative universe Earths making up the known universe. This time around a heroic Lex Luthor escapes his ravaged Earth and journeys to our version of reality, enlisting the help of the current Justice League, consisting of Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, The Flash and Batman, to return with him and take up arms against the mafia-like Crime Syndicate (essentially consisting of alternative versions of the Justice League members we know) which currently has his world firmly in their criminal grip.
Unable to turn down a request of such a huge magnitude, the Justice League soon finds themselves in a midst of a raging crime versus law and order super-powered struggle on this alternative Earth – though in the meantime far more sinister cogs begin to turn slowly in the background…
Released now in February 2010, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is written by long-time DC scribe Dwayne McDuffie and is directed by the join team of Lauren Montgomery and Sam Liuunder, the watchful producer eye of DC Animated Universe veteran Bruce Timm. Following the trend now beginning to emerge in this current stable of Warner Bros. Animated features, a number of well known actors make appearances as voice actors, this time including the likes of Mark Harmon as Superman, James Woods as Owlman, Chris Noth as Lex Luthor, William Baldwin as Batman (of all people), Gina Torres as Superwoman and Bruce Davison as President Slade Wilson (i.e. Deathstroke back in our own universe!).
In terms of the story, the movie delivers exactly what you expect from a Justice League feature, namely a great ensemble of diverse character who all grab a piece of the screen time and interact constantly with one another (including the obligatory “super team” poses), sweetly lathered in loads of fantastic super-powered action sequences, some great little jibes and moments of humour and the obligatory drama that comes from loss, sacrifice and just saving the universe in general. There isn’t much in terms of character development to be had here, but if you walk into this experience as an already fan of the DC universe in general, there is simply no way that you’ll walk out disappointed. It’s just that impossible not to enjoy this epic Justice League adventure!
It is interesting to note though that this film does continue the trend of moving away from the ultra clean and goody-two-shoes Saturday animated television rules in that once again there is plenty of visual violence to be had as well as instances where the heroes take certain actions regardless of whether or not people may be injured/killed in the process. And while this may or may not be such a great thing if you’re keen on having your young kids watch these movies with you, there is no denying that it does elevate the quality of these superhero movies that much higher. Believe it or not, they somehow manage to become just that tad more believable in the process…
In terms of musical score, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths features some great compositions and these are ably helped along by a good set of sound effects and even more importantly some great voice acting. All the voice artists involved deliver great performances and I must admit to have thoroughly enjoyed William Baldwin’s Batman as well as Mark Harmon (from NCIS if you can’t place the name) as Superman.
But on to the more important aspect of this movie. The animation of course. It must be said that with each and every Warner Bros. Animation delivery the quality in terms of animation and production values just keep getting better and better. It would seem that they have now found the perfect balance of keeping the lines simple enough to aid animation but complex enough to remain pleasing to the eye and delight visually. Extremely well shaded and designed characters are a joy to watch on screen and combined with some sumptuous background designs and colouring, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths really does come out looking a treat.
(Something to keep an eye on for all you regular watchers is of course Martian Manhunter’s new design. In redesigning his character model the animators have managed to make him more alien but less jarringly so than ever!)
In summary, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is a great addition to the growing DC animated feature film stable. A strong, proper superhero yarn wrapped up in great action, tons of cameos, beautiful animation and a pleasing selection of voices to listen to, it really is a must see for all long time DC comic book fans the world over! :)
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_League:_Crisis_on_Two_Earths