Posted by: Bill "Jett" Ramey (Follow @BATMANONFILM)
July 31, 2015

SYNOPSIS: Animation legend Bruce Timm returns to the popular DC Universe Original Movies with his unique new vision of a Justice League you’ve never seen before. "Justice League: Gods & Monsters" features a Superman born of General Zod’s blood, a Batman with a healthy dose of bat in the man, and a Wonder Woman rising from the ranks of the New Gods. This ain’t your daddy’s Justice League. They are as likely the world’s saviors as Earth’s despotic rulers. When a group of famed scientists experience untimely “accidents,” a government task force follows the trail of clues to the Justice League -- and into a high stakes game of intrigue, mystery and action that asks the question: How do you serve justice to those above the law? The star-laden voice cast includes Michael C. Hall as Batman, Benjamin Bratt as Superman, Tamara Taylor, as Wonder Woman; Paget Brewster as Lois Lane; C. Thomas Howell as Dr. Will Magnus; Jason Isaacs as Lex Luthor; Richard Chamberlain as Highfather; and Tahmoh Penikett as Steve Trevor.

After watching JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AND MONSTERS, um, 4 times (before writing this review), my conclusion was that this is how the JL would be if Bruce Wayne were totally in charge. Of course, Bruce Wayne (and his incarnation of Batman) doesn’t exist in this DCU, but that’s beside the point.

Here’s the “Cliff notes” version of this JL and the world it exists in…

Batman is Kirk Langstrom and he’s a vampire. Superman is the son of Zod, not Jor El, and was raised in Mexico by poor migrant workers. Wonder Woman is now Bekka, one of the New Gods. Amanda Waller is President of the U.S. and the “Justice League” is, almost like the Suicide Squad in that they are a strike team made up of super-powered beings that answer to Waller – but they don’t. This Justice League doesn’t answer to anyone. Hell, this Superman openly ponders if it would be a lot easier of they just ruled the world instead of constantly having to save it…from itself more times than not. But, fortunately, they are not conquerors. It’s hard to call them “heroes” as their way of “doing the right thing” isn’t anything close to “heroic.” Regardless, they get the job done. Now on to the plot…

World-renowned scientists such as Victor Fries, Silas Stone, and Ray Palmer are being murdered…and the Justice League is being framed for it. Of course, all three members of the JL are innocent and set out to prove it to the world. That’s basically it. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that the JL does have its name cleared. However, I’ll let you find out how that goes down – as well as who was behind the JL frame-up on your own.

From a Batman fan P.O.V, it’s really hard for me to accept a Batman that either isn’t Bruce Wayne, or isn’t one of his chosen successors. Really, this Kirk Langstrom vampire-Batman is probably the most radically different “alternative Batman” I’ve ever seen. However, once I accepted that this was simply something different and not “Batman Canon,” if you will, I found myself actually liking the guy under the cowl despite the fact it wasn’t Bruce Wayne. (If you want to check out my comic book review of this Batman’s origin story, CLICK HERE.) SO…

GODS AND MONSTERS should be thought of as an “Elseworlds” tale and viewed with that in mind. Existing in an alternate DC universe, the film is still steeped in DC lore – although familiar characters and mythology are altered dramatically. But that’s OK and, frankly, quite refreshing. With a clean slate and carte blanche, these changes/”re-imaginations” don’t come off out being blasphemous – as long you remember that this is simply an alternative version of the DCU.

"I'm Batman! And I want to suck your blood!

All in all, JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AND MONSTERS is an entertaining and quality addition to the DC’s animated film library. If you were a fan of the Elseworlds comic book stories and/or enjoy alternate universe stories involving your favorite DC characters, I definitely recommend that you pick up this movie. The animated is well done and on par with previous DC animated releases and the voice cast does a nice job as well – especially Benjamin Bratt as Superman. However, keep in mind this is NOT for kids! There’s lots of blood, violence and (some) sexual innuendo throughout. It certainly wet my appetite for more of the GODS AND MONSTERS universe. Here’s hoping for a sequel soon. - Bill "Jett" Ramey

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