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My thoughts on ‘Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths’ part 2: The Movie Itself

Now we have the second Justice League movie. Though it is the second under the Justice League header, it’s really no sequel to New Frontier. This one is based on some classic Justice League stories known to me under their contemporary heading of Crisis on Multiple Earths.  These comics–as I understand my comics history–were largely regular team-ups between the Justice League and the Justice Society…then situated on different Earths in DC‘s multiverse.

Though the multiverse has long since perished and recently been reborn, those stories still hold quite a bit of weight.

And so we have this movie, in which a Luthor crosses from his Earth to that of “our Earth”–that is, the Earth in which we find the DC super-heroes–and reveals this multiverse. He convinces the Justice League to help him on his world, to “free” it from the evil that terrorizes it. Whereas on our Earth, the most powrful beings are heroes, on Luthor’s Earth, they’re villains.

There’s a LOT to like about this movie.  The animation is nice and clean–plenty of detail for what it is, without being overly detailed or trying to be some sort of “animated live-action.” The visual style doesn’t seem to imitate silver age comics that I’m aware of, nor does it exactly imitate contemporary comics. There’s something to it that reminds me very much of the Batman, Superman, and Justice League animated series–probably in part that Bruce Timm is heavily involved in this movie as he was with those series.

I was initially disappointed that we had more new voices for familiar characters…but as the movie kicked into gear, I didn’t really even think about it, other than to note that the characters all sounded perfectly fine and no one seemed out of place…I heard the characters, and not the actors…which for me is an important thing for any animated project.

To me, The Flash had several of the greatest moments–a comment about Luthor’s state when they meet him; a Star Wars reference, and a nice play on things when rushing out of the Crime Syndicate’s place after his teammates. Owlman had a great Harrison Ford moment, which I’m not sure was intentional, though it almost seems it had to have been. And toward the end, Wonder Woman’s “spoils of war” is just about my favorite silver age reference ever–legitimizing a concept I always saw as ludicrous.

The “meat” of the movie was solid stuff, as well. Granted, with a team movie, there’s not a lot of room for character development, especially in the relatively limited timespan for these animated movies. The only thing that really felt forced to me involved a romantic interest for the Martian Manhunter (even if there was a bit of payoff in his final comment on the matter).

This isn’t a character study on any single character…it’s an action/adventure pitting many familiar characters against many similar/opposite characters. There seems to be plenty drawn from the original 1960s comics…and yet, a strong dose of contemporary story-telling.

These DC Universe dvd movies just keep getting better and better, and though I haven’t yet digested this one long enough to decide if it surpasses the previous ones…it certainly keeps up with the best of ’em.

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My thoughts on Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
part 1: What Came Before
part 3: The Extras

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