The latest DC Universe animated film brings us the Justice League yet again (I believe this is actually the 3rd JL film in the series) in the aptly titled JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM
The film -- authored by the late Dwayne McDuffie -- is actually based on the “Tower of Babel” storyline that was originally found in JLA #43-46 back in 2000. Having never read that particular story, I did so before seeing the film so I could compare it to the source material. Of all these animated film adaptations, this might be the loosest, if you will, of them all. And quite frankly, that’s a good thing. While I loved seeing BATMAN: YEAR ONE turned into an animated film, it’s main problem -- perhaps it’s only problem -- was that it was too loyal to the source material.
At any rate, the only thing carried over from “Tower of Babel” is The Batman’s (yet again voiced by Kevin Conroy) contingency plan to incapacitate the members of the Justice League if any of ’em ever went bad. With that premise, Mr. McDuffie borrowed it and created something pretty much original.
In short, the film’s plot consists of Vandal Savage hiring Bane (No, Bane is not in this film due to his upcoming appearence in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES!), Ma'alefa'ak, The Cheetah, Metallo, The Mirror Master, and Star Sapphire (Batman, The Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, Superman, The Flash, and Green Lantern villains, respectively) to bring down the Justice League. Why? Well Savage wants to eliminate the only real threat to him taking over the world, of course!
If this sounds familiar, it’s basically the same plan that Ra’s Al Ghul had in the original comic book story. Personally, I would have preferred if Ra’s had remained the main villain, but that’s simply a petty complaint by a Batman fan. Anyway…
The Legion of Doom!
Of course, the “Legion of Doom” takes Savage up on his offer mainly because they really have no choice. Seeing each of the aforementioned members of taken down in rather dramatic fashion was the best part of the film. I was particularly fond of the segment in which Bane takes out Batman. Let’s just say that not only does Bane get rid of The Dark Knight (briefly -- hey it’s BATMAN we’re talking about), but he also manages to humiliate Bruce Wayne at the same time.
And piss him off. And oh! Does Bane piss him off!
I don’t do spoilers, but I don’t think anyone watching actually expects the Legion of Doom to really take out the JL for good, right? Therefore, I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by telling you that the JL and the LOD -- including Vandal Savage -- square off in the finale. BUT…
Batman vs. Bane
Do the good guys win? You’ll have to check it out for yourself to find out. But come on, what do you think?! *wink*
As far as the production design and animation, if you've seen any of the previous films in the series, you know what to expect. I'd say the look is very similar to what was found in the last JL-based film, JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISES ON TWO EARTHS (which I liked better honestly) with just a tad of anime thrown in.
All in all, JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM provided me with 70ish minutes of solid entertainment. While I wouldn’t say it’s a “Wow that was AWESOME!” endeavor, it’s definitely another solid effort from the folks behind these DCU animated films. You might want to give this thing a rental first to see if you want to add it to your collection. Honestly, fans of the overall DC Universe and the Justice League will probably dig it more than “mostly-Batman” fans like yours truly. In addition, I know many fans will dig seeing -- or rather hearing -- Kevin Conroy, Nathan Fillion, Susan Eisenberg, and Tim Daly as Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Superman respectively.
Yes Batman, leave space and NEVER return!
A quick word of caution to that latter group of fans: This film features some “Batman…IN SPACE!” If you cringe over seeing Batman in that setting, consider this your heads up. But don’t worry, he doesn’t get there via a rocket ship, OK? No, he is able to travel to the JL headquarters orbiting the Earth by being “beemed up,” STAR TREK style - Bill "Jett" Ramey
(AUTHOR'S NOTE: At the time I wrote this review, I was still going through the "Extras." I'll have a separate rundown of them before the February 28, 2012 day of release.)