Justice League: Doom arrives February 28, 2012

‘Justice League: Doom’ finds Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Cyborg and Batman on their heels when a team of super villains discover and implement the Dark Knight’s “contingency plans” for stopping any rogue Justice League member. This story is inspired by Mark Waid’s much-heralded ‘JLA: Tower of Babel.’

The film features the voices of Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern, Tim Daly as Superman, and a reunion of the actors who provided the voices of the Justice League for the cartoon of the same name and its follow-up, ‘Justice League Unlimited’, including Kevin Conroy as Batman, Michael Rosenbaum as Flash, Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman and Carl Lumbly as J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter. Bumper Robinson joins the cast as Cyborg. The cast features three villainous alumni of the Justice League animated series: Phil Morris as Vandal Savage, Olivia d’Abo as Star Sapphire, and Alexis Denisof  as Mirror Master. Also opposing our heroes are Carlos Alazraqui as Bane, Paul Blackthorne as Metallo, and Claudia Black as Cheetah. On a quick side note, you can read about the red carpet premiere event for ‘Justice League: Doom’ we attended with some of the celebrities like Tim Daly.

‘Justice League: Doom’ opens with the League battling the Royal Flush gang as they are in the process of robbing a bank. It doesn’t take long for the Justice League to show up and start and put down the Cards. Unfortunately it took Cyborg to make the final grab and stop the King from making off with loot. It seems a little strange to have the entire League thwarted, only to have a Teen Titan make the stop.

‘Justice League: Doom’, is not ‘Under the Red Hood’. It’s not even ‘Crisis on Two Earths’. I think where Doom struggles is to live up to the ‘Tower of Babel’ source material. Mark Waid’s story is one of the greatest Justice League stories ever told, I remember how frustrating it was to wait month after month to get the next part of the story. In this movie I found myself hoping for more of an emotional connection to the characters, especially since the film was written by the late great Dawyne McDuffie.

Separating the “inspiration” of the story and looking at this as a stand alone Justice League story makes it a little better, but it does not stop ‘Justice League: Doom’ from coming across as a shallow superficial tale. At what point do we feel the paranoia that caused Batman to create these plans to immobilize the Justice League? One of the silliest parts of the whole movie was watching Batman embrace his inner Bride and work his way out of a six foot deep situation. Of course the story is not the only part of Doom that I found lacking.

I would be remise if I didn’t at least talk about the animation and the strange rounded style of some of the characters, particularly Superman (and his very rounded ‘S’ symbol), Wonder Woman (who never looks quite right or finished at any point) and Cyborg (he seems small and not built for combat, just a lot of rounded edges). There were a few very cool bits of animation, mostly involving the vehicles of our heroes. The Batmobile, Batwing and Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet are all stand out bits of design. The updated Watchtower gives a real sense of just how massive and powerful it really is, it is a shame we were not able to see more of the Leagues HQ.

So ‘Justice League: Doom’ is what it is. It is not a stand out in the normally stellar DC Entertainment films, but nor is it a stinker on the level of ‘Superman: Doomsday’ or ‘Green Lantern: Emerald Knights’. It is what it is, a story about the League that never reaches it’s full potential, but it is a Justice League story that will have the non-comic book superhero fans excited to see what could happen if the League ever went rogue.

The real reason to purchase this disc is for the special features. The first look at ‘Superman vs. the Elite’, the next DCU animated feature and it looks pretty cool. The mini-featurette ‘Their Time Has Come: Cyborg and the DC Universe’s New Diversity’ which explains why DC Comics is working so hard to put Cyborg “over”. The most important special feature on this disc is ‘A Legion of One: The Dwayne McDuffie Story’, while I might not watch ‘Justice League: Doom’ over and over, I will throw in the Blu-ray when I’m feeling like I need some inspiration.

So there you have it, ‘Justice League: Doom’ is an OK feature surrounded by some great extras. Is it worth watching? Yes. Is it worth buying? Probably not, but if you are a McDuffie fan, DC Comics’ farewell to the late great creator is well worth the MSRP.

Produced by Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, the all-new ‘Justice League: Doom’ arrives February 28, 2012 from Warner Home Video as a Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD, On Demand and for Download. Both the Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD will include an UltraViolet™ Digital Copy.