I’ve been a fan of the DC animated films for quite some time now, so when I heard about their latest, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, I couldn’t wait for it to come out – which was yesterday! (Tuesday, Feb 23rd)
My new house has no BestBuy conveniently sitiated (pronounced sitch-ee-ated) nearby (I buy most of my DVD’s at BestBuy. We have a hate/hate relationship, but I still shop there because you love the one you hate or you hate the one you love or some such…). There IS a BestBuy nearish work, so I headed over at lunch and picked up the 2-disc, digital copy set. I’ve bought these before and it’s worked well – I get a DVD copy for the big tv and an iTunes digital copy for the computer.
This time around, it didn’t work so well. When I followed the instructions to dl my digital copy, I found myself at a Warner Brothers website informing me that the digital copy was Windows only.
BOOOOOO! BOOOOOOO WARNER BROTHERS! BAD WARNER BROTHERS!! BAD! *rolled up newspaper to the nose*
…anyway, about the movie.
Let me see if I can tell you about it without spoiling it.
ENGAGE COMIC BOOK NERD BRAIN FOR BACKSTORY!
The DC Universe has a lot of characters in it. Way back when, they started rebooting popular characters from the Golden Age – like Flash, Green Lantern, etc. Eventually, this caught up to them and they needed a house cleaning because they had so many different versions of what was essentially the same hero spanning 50 years of publishing. Enter Crisis on Infinite Earths. Drilling down that story – they used 12 issues of what they called a ‘maxi-series’, to clean up their universe. They explained that there were multiple earths, each with its own history, its own stories and superheroes (The Multiverse). They introduced the concept of an ‘Earth Prime’ from which all other earths sprang, so to speak.
Crisis on Two Earths plays on this by introducing an earth where the Justice League is lead by none other than Lex Luther, and where that Justice League has been beaten by a super powered criminal empire known as the Crime Syndicate. the Syndicate is made up of mirror universe versions of the heroes we know; Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter – Johnny Quick, Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman, Power Ring and they don’t really name him so I guess he’s just the Martian Manhunter on both sides which is kinda lame cuz, I mean, heck – you came up with all these new names for the mirror universe versions of the other people so you couldn’t spend maybe a half an hour coming up with the ‘Saturn Kid’ or some such nonsense? Really?
Like any good movie featuring any sort of faithful version of Batman, he’s an asshole. So is Owlman. Also, just like any sort of Justice League movie, Green Lantern is a throw away character and hardly has anything to do, which is sad. I suppose they justify this (PUN!) by saying they did that whole ‘First Flight’ movie. Whatever – I say, GIVE HAL JORDAN MORE SCREEN TIME, DAMMIT!
Main plot is simple: Luthor crosses over, asks for help, Justice League sans Batman (cuz he’s an ASSHOLE PEOPLE) goes to help. Mischief ensues, bad guys cross back over forcing Batman to get involved (which just pisses him off because he really wanted to just hang out in his new satellite, turn the lights off and brood. Quietly. Maybe torture himself with some photos of his parents or some Yanni.) and leads to MY FAVORITE PART OF THE MOVIE:
…wait, I’m getting my movies mixed up. What was I thinking about? Oh! Yeah! I got it:
Yeah. That’s more like it. What’s that, Bats? Something more to say?
Sounds like ‘Bring it’ to me!
Anyway, more mischief, Batman has to crossover now, silly sub plot with Martian Manhunter, we get to see a red version of Green Arrow, etc and so on and I won’t spoil the ending for you.
Overall, I really enjoyed it. Gina Torres as Superwoman and James Woods as Owlman absolutely steal the show. I loved their voices. Not so fond of Mark Harmon & William Baldwin as Superman and Batman respectively. Previous actors have simply made their marks on these iconic characters and you really have to step up if you want to play in their sandboxes which, sadly, neither of these actors achieved.
Bonus Review: Showcase: The Spectre
Having said all of that, the absolute delight of the DVD has to be the special Showcase: The Spectre short film. Oh. My. God. Loved it. Absolutely friggin loved it. If they’re trying to get interest to make a show or a full length movie, baby I am on board and ready to go! Sign me up!
If you don’t know the character, The Spectre is the ghost of Jim Corrigan, a police detective who was murdered. When he died, his spirit was refused entry into the afterlife. As a spirit, he was assigned the duty to find justice for those in need of it and to eliminate evil. He does this as The Spectre.
Similar to the Ghost Rider except without the motorcycle and the fireball head and all the demon stuff.
For the short film, they went with a retro 70’s look and feel and it just fit the material so well. Corrigan is on the trail of the people who killed his galpal’s dad, and The Spectre is looking to dole out some justice. 70’s style.
*cue cheesy music*
Again, I don’t want to spoil it for you but I will say that it felt like a taste of something that could be, a quick little peak (sort of like a pilot episode) into this character and what he’s all about. Voiced by the fantastic Gary Cole (the Nighthawk!), I felt he really brought the character to life. What a wonderful addition this was to the disc!
So – check it out if you have the funds available, I bought the 2 disc, regular DVD (I don’t have BluRay) version for $20 at BestBuy. Well worth your time if you enjoy comics and, specifically, the Justice League. If you are a Marvel fan over all I will say this – the DC animated features have just been better. I’ve watched the Ultimate Avengers pieces and the Hulk Vs and I think the DC stuff has just told the stories better and done the animation better. Give it a shot – you may like it.