My first encounter with DC’s “Multiverse” took place back in the mid-1970s when I was a kid. I remember buying a comic book that had members of Earth 1’s Justice League and Earth 2’s Justice Society participating in a “member swap” of some sorts. “What the heck is ‘Earth 2?’” I thought to myself.
Since then, we’ve been subjected to various “Crisis’s,” “Zero Hours.” and countless alternate versions of our favorite DC characters.
Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of the Muliverse. As a Batman fan, I’d prefer it if there was only one Dark Knight, not infinite versions. But it’s here and apparently is here to stay. Anyway…
The Multiverse has now made its way into the wonderful world of animated films via the newest Warner Bros. Premiere/DC Comics release,
JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS.
The Crime Syndicate
On an alternate Earth, a group of super-powered villains known as The Crime Syndicate essentially rules the world. Governments and law enforcement agencies have, ahem, ignored the doings of these scoundrels so that everyone else can live somewhat normal lives. However, they do have two things in their favor. One, The Crime Syndicate is somewhat kept in check by the threat of nuclear weapons being let loose upon them. And two, this world’s Justice League -- led by none other than Lex Luthor -- tirelessly battle these rogues in hopes of ultimately taking them down.
But unfortunately, they are losing the war.
In hopes of turning things around and defeating the CS once and for all, Lex (yes, he prefers “Lex” over “Luthor”) finds a way to another Earth in hopes of enlisting the help of the mighty Justice League -- the JLA we all know and love.
So do they agree to help the likes of Lex Luthor -- albeit the good one? Of course they do -- there wouldn’t be a movie if they didn’t!
Yes, Lex Luthor is a hero in this film.
(And The Joker, rather "The Jester," is a good guy!)
And speaking of the movie, fans of the DC Universe -- The Justice League in particular -- are going to love this film. The core members of the JLA -- Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, The Martian Manhunter, and of course The Batman -- are all present and the focus of the story. However, other DCU characters/JLA members -- Aquaman, Black Canary, Red Tornado, Firestorm, and a few others -- show up in brief cameos. Like I said, DCU fans will have an nerdgasm (gosh, I really hate that term, but it fits) over this movie and will enjoy it the most.
The only downer for me -- and it’s probably nothing more than a nitpick -- was Mark Harmon’s voicework as Superman. It wasn’t horrible and he certainly didn’t mail in his performance, but something was just, I don’t know, missing here with The Man of Steel.
On the other hand, James Woods shined as Owlman, the alternate, evil version of Batman and the movie’s main villain. This Owlman’s a total A-hole -- thanks to Wood’s topnotch performance. I don’t know if I’ve hated an animated bad guy this much in quite a while.
Owlman (James Woods) - The Batman's evil alternate
Now, on the Batman front…
Well, the depiction of The Caped Crusader in JL:COTE certainly doesn’t violate what Batman “IS” at all. In fact, the characterization is spot on. Hell, The Batman is pretty much the hero of the movie. Plus, William Baldwin’s voice portrayal was quite good. He gives this Batman just enough rasp and coldness to make him definitely come off as “Batman.”
You know Billy Baldwin was almost a live-action Batman, right?
JL:COTE's Batman (William Baldwin)
Look, I’ve just got issues with Batman in the JLA because “My Batman” isn’t in the JLA -- or at least in my head he isn’t. The thought of “Batman…IN SPACE!” makes me cringe -- and he’s definitely in space here. With that said, I enjoyed the movie so much, that my selfishness is petty and insignificant.
Just don’t give me a live-action JUSTICE LEAGUE film with “Batman…IN SPACE!” -- much less Batman in it at all. But that’s an argument and op-ed for another day.
JL:COTE's Justice League
As far as special features, you get 4 bonus episodes from the animated JUSTICE LEAGUE TV series as well as an early look at the next DCU animated film -- BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD -- which the filmmakers claim is the darkest animated Batman ever.
Now THAT’S right up my alley! (As long as there’s no “Batman…IN SPACE!” involved.)
If you didn’t know already, this is the first of these DVD’s/Blu-ray’s that includes a “DC Showcase Presentation” animated short. The inaugural one -- titled THE SPECTRE -- is so good, that I REVIEWED IT SEPARATELY.
JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS is yet another first-rate addition to this series of animated flicks. Trust me, you’ll want to buy it and add it to your collection.
Even if you hate “Batman…IN SPACE!”