Justice League: War (Blu-ray Review)

Justice-League-WarFor its 18th DC Universe Animated Original movie, they have adapted Justice League: Origins.  This feels kind of like a timely “plant the seeds for later” type release as we all know their ultimate goal is to make a live action Justice League movie.  Justice League: War is the name and bringing it to life with their voices are notables Michelle Monaghan (Wonder Woman), Alan Tudyk (Superman), Sean Astin (Shazam), Justin Kirk (Green Lantern), Shemar Moore (Cyborg) and Jason O’Mara (Batman).  Its one of those “non-stop thrill ride” type movies that starts with a boom and keeps on exploding throughout its runtime.  It also features some cool newer takes on the heroes outfits as well.

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In Gotham City, strange abductions are taking place.  They’re being blamed on the strange, wanted masked vigilante called Batman.  Green Lantern goes to Gotham to investigate the occurrence only to find it’s a Parademon, not Batman.  Batman winds up saving Green Lantern, the Parademon is destroying and they both discover what the Parademon has left behind; a mother box.  The two realize its alien so they head to Metropolis to question the only alien they know, Superman, about it.  Little do they know, this isn’t the only mother box or Parademon around.  They are all over the colorful cities of the DC Universe, as Darkseid is setting up for a major invasion of the planet Earth.

Justice League: War is an adaptation of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s Justice League: Origin.  It tells the beginnings of all the heroes in the Justice League coming together to ward off an invasion from the abominable Darkseid.  According to the special features, there are some difference to the comic, as this uses Shazam instead of Aquaman and introduces Green Lantern’s POV at the beginning instead of Batman, but most of what is here is relatively close to the comic.

When I was watching War, and knowing the plans the studio has currently, I couldn’t help but feel like this felt like a sketch for the Justice League movie that Warner Bros is ultimately trying to hurry up off the ground.  All the heroes are relatively strangers to each other and have to come together to ward off invasion.  If this was their attempt, its sadly way too close to The Avengers to use.  The thing I liked about this story is that it we didn’t have to sit through the origins of all the characters, only one of them.  And that character was Cyborg, a relatively unknown to general audiences.

At an hour and twenty minutes, the film moves really fast and at times feels like its going too fast, but I understand the circumstances so it really didn’t bother me too much.  The film is almost like one giant action sequence.  It starts out exploding and just never stops.  To its strength, the battle is all really similar, yet never feels monotonous.  There are hints of some depth to this story, but much of it isn’t full explored.  It prefers to send you off on the love of the chase and focus on the superhero interactions more than anything else.  And, as it excels in doing so, its not really a problem.

There is a lot of comedy in this film, which most of it actually worked quite well and had me laughing aloud.  They really did get a good feel for these characters and the comradery they were developing.  Stealing the show in this one is Weeds actor Justin Kirk as Green Lantern.  The director really allowed Kirk to take control of his character and bring his strengths to it.  If there was anything resembling a lead role in this film, his was definitely it.

Justice League: War is a nice peer into what we could ultimately get in the Justice League movie.  I really enjoyed the butting of heads and watching a bunch of alpha males/female butt heads and ultimately learn how to listen and work together with one another.  That was one core strength of this film as it realized that all these characters were coming from areas where they were the king of the crop and leader of the pack.  Putting them all together isn’t going to result in instant chemistry.  This is one area where the film did take its time and really earned its stripes.  Justice League: War is a fun, nonstop action/comedy fun that ultimately gives us a peak at what we could be expecting in a few years on the big screen.

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Darkseid doesn’t even near have the power to destroy this wonderful 1080p MPEG-4 AVC video encoding.  The coloring looks gorgeous and the image is perfect and sharp.  The movement of the characters is smooth and relatively flawless.  War has a very clean image as you’d come to expect from a 2 dimensionally animated feature.  If this thing wasn’t getting a 5 or near it, then there’d be some serious problems.  So yes, this is a really good looking picture.

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The 5.1 DTS-HD MA is loud, proud and keeps pace with all you see going on onscreen.  This movie is purely action based and things are constantly exploding, crashing and being pounded and this track manages to capture all that impact.  The dialogue is nice, loud and clear, especially during all the carnage.  One wish I would have like to have had is if the film felt a little more consuming in terms of background noise.  Aside from that, its pretty great.  Crank this one up, it’ll rock you pretty good.

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If you have the time, this release has got the extras.  It comes with a DVD copy and Ultraviolet copy of the film.  Its also got some good looks into making this movie as well as some bonus DC Universe animated series episodes.  Its lengthy, but everything here is quality.

Deconstructing War With Jay Olivia And Jim Lee (HD, 21:26) – The director and the artist of the comic from which this movie was based sit and discuss many segments in the film and how they compared and contrasted from the source material.

Creating Heroes: The Life And Art Of Jim Lee (HD, 37:19) – A nice piece chronicling the life and career of famed comic book artist, Jim Lee.

Justice League War Act D – From Animatic To Pencil Test (HD, 23:45) – Jay Olivia voices over a series of storyboarding and sketch to animatic artwork and how they come about perfecting every frame.

A Sneak Peak At Son Of Batman (HD, 9:29) – A behind the scenes look at the next film in the DC animated movies lexicon.

From The DC Comics Vault – Episodes of past DC animated television shows.

  • Justice League Unlimited Season 3: The Destroyer (HD, 23:03)
  • Batman: The Brave And The Bold Season 2: The Malicious Mr. Mind! (HD, 22:52)
  • Young Justice: Invasion – Destiny Calling: Season 2, Part 1: Happy New Year (HD, 21:49)
  • Young Justice: Invasion – Destiny Calling: Season 2, Part 1: Earthlings (HD, 21:48)

Trailers – Beware The Batman (HD, :34), Scooby-Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery (HD, 1:03), Infinite Crisis Game Trailer (HD, :34), Teen Titans Go! (HD, :34), LEGO Legends Of Chima: Laval’s Journey Game Trailer (HD, 1:09)

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While this is my first review of one for Why So Blu?, I’ve typically been a fan of these DC Animated Universe movies, and Justice League: War is another exercise in my enjoyment of them.  I haven’t been well versed in DC since the 90s, but it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the adaptations.  This one has the extra enjoyment of feeling like you’re looking in to some of what they may be conjuring up for the eventual Justice League film.  It’s got a fantastic presentation and a gob of hours and hours of extras.  This is a great pick up if you are into these films or want to see what a potential Justice League film might look like.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

2 Responses to “Justice League: War (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Sounds like this is one worth checking out.

  2. Brian White

    Yeah! Awesome review Goldie! I wouldn’t mind checking this one out. Sounds like quite a value too with all those extras!