Marvel may be getting the majority of Hollywood kudos in terms of wide theatrical release blockbusters, but DC and Warner Brothers are miles ahead in terms of straight to DVD movies and animated series. Recently there has been a new addition to the DC library with the release of Justice League: Doom.
The movie is based upon Mark Waid’s Tower of Babel story arc from the JLA series and it was expertly adapted by Dwayne McDuffie as his final project before his death. Batman decides that the JLA would become dangerous if they ever went evil or were mind-controlled so he developed counter-measures against them. Only he doesn’t tell them that he’s done this. And then the data gets stolen from the Bat-computer and hilarity ensues.
The use of secondary villains is impressively done and I was surprised at how well the story works by replacing Ra’s Al Ghul with Vandal Savage. You get a real feel that the characters are established components of the DC Universe and the film does not waste any time on unnecessary backstory for each character. Even if you were unfamiliar with the characters you would not be at a disadvantage and the script respects the viewer’s ability to fill in the blanks from visual and dialogue cues.
The voice acting is, of course, top-notch. It is hard to even imagine a time when Kevin Conroy didn’t voice Batman, but previous actors such as Tim Daly and Nathan Fillion reprise their respective roles. It is amazing how much these voice actors are the characters. Indelibly etched in our minds, hearing Superman and Batman argue will warm the hearts of any parents who grew up on the 1990’s series and now are sharing these tales with their own children. This continuity allows for a familiarity even thought he story is new and the animation style is not akin to the original DCU Animated Series.
The Blu-ray is packed with extra features including 2 episodes of the Justice League animated series (a great 2 parter with the Joker and the Royal Flush gang), a featurette on Cyborg, a featurette on Batman, a sneak peek at Superman Vs the Elite, and a documentary on Dwayne McDuffie.
This retrospective on McDuffie is heartfelt and instantly makes this disc a must have for any fan of his. Dwayne’s story is told by the people who knew him best and when you finishing watching you cannot help but feel the loss of such a great creative force in the industry. His genius and kindness touched so many and the documentary’s inclusion on this disc is a fitting tribute to the man who did so much for the DC animated universe.
Comic book, superhero, and action fans will enjoy this film and the extras make it a worth addition to your shelf. The PG 13 rating is solely due to superhero violence and grown up comic book fans will have a great time watching this with their children.