I don’t usually review DC’s animated movies, but this one had Wonder Woman in it and it’s not like my blog has rules or anything, so let’s give it a go. Also, I’m a bit late since it came out about three weeks ago now, but still… I have things to say!!
Justice League: Doom was written by the late Dwayne McDuffie and directed by Lauren Montgomery, and is a loose adaptation of Mark Waid and Howard Porter’s JLA: Tower of Babel. The basic story is that Batman’s developed contingency plans to take down the Justice League should they ever go rogue or get mind-controlled. The Legion of Doom, led by Vandal Savage, steals these plans and uses them against the League. Ultimately (and this is a huge spoiler but if you’re at all familiar with how superhero stories tend to go then you know how it’s going to end anyway) the League is momentarily incapacitated but gets it together in the end to defeat all the bad guys and save the world.
It’s a decent movie, and generally enjoyable. The DC animated line has been hit and miss for me, but I’d say that Justice League: Doom was one of the better ones. This was quite a pleasant surprise actually… I just watched it on a lark. It’s always fun to have the Justice League TV show voice team back together, and I just can’t say no to some Kevin Conroy Batman. Plus villain team-ups are always fun. It was a good, standard superhero movie that could have easily been a solid Justice League TV show two or three-parter if that show still existed. Man, I wish that show still existed.
There were some weird bits, though. First off, it was the Justice League TV show voice team, but Michael Rosenbaum’s Flash was Barry Allen instead of Wally West. I mean, a) it was Wally in the comic, b) they don’t even change the characterization at all so it still feels like Wally, and c) if you’re going to make it a different guy, get a different voice.
Similarly, Phil Lamarr’s John Stewart Green Lantern was swapped out for Nathan Fillion’s Hal Jordan. It was actually Kyle Rayner in the comic, so I don’t see why it had to be Hal. Other then everyone loves Nathan Fillion, of course. And yes, I know he played Hal in the Green Lantern animated movie, but Keri Russell was Diana in Wonder Woman and she’s not here. So that was weird.
Also, the animation was bizarre. It was sort of anime but sort of not, and seemed to flip back and forth between an anime style and something resembling Young Justice. The inconsistency was odd, and the anime influence made everything disproportionate. Faces were out of whack (eyes go in the middle of the head, dammit!!) and people tended to look vaguely Asian sporadically. It was a weird stylistic choice, especially when the voice actors are so associated with a certain art style for the characters.
So all of that was distracting and a little weird, but on to the main point: Wonder Woman was pretty awesome!! She was played by Susan Eisenberg, who did a great Wonder Woman for years on the Justice League TV show, and throughout the entire movie Wonder Woman always looked strong and capable while all of the other heroes floundered. With the anime influence, she looked like this sometimes:
But still, she was pretty kick ass.
When the Legion of Doom took down the Justice League, almost everyone was rendered powerless or entirely ineffective. Let’s go through them:
- Bane beat up Bruce Wayne and buried him alive in his parents’ grave, trapping him.
- Metallo shot Superman through the heart with a kryptonite bullet, and he fell to the ground unconscious.
- Ma’alefa’ak lit the Martian Manhunter on fire and he flailed about wildly for quite some time.
- Star Sapphire (with a little Scarecrow gas) made Green Lantern feel bad, take off his ring, and basically lay down in a cave to die.
- Mirror Master attached a bomb to the Flash and he had to keep running and not slow down or else he’d blow up.
Everybody was trapped. They were useless and ineffective, and couldn’t fight back. Wonder Woman, however, had a different sort of problem. The Cheetah injected Wonder Woman with nanites so she thought that EVERYONE was the Cheetah. She set about beating up everyone she saw, and ended up mowing through a SWAT team. The plan was to make Wonder Woman fight so hard and so long that she exhausted herself beyond recovery. Literally, it made her TOO kick ass. Now, she was as ineffective as everyone else, but she was active and fighting at least. It’s a slight difference, but an interesting one when you look at the end of the movie too.
In the big climactic battle, all of the heroes faced their villains again. Because it’s a superhero movie, they all had an “Oh no, the villain is going to win!!” moment during their fights:
- Bane flung Batman around by his cape, and then started to choke the life out of him.
- Metallo blasted Superman with kryptonite and beat the hell out of the weakened Man of Steel.
- Ma’alefa’ak and the Martian Manhunter had a shapeshifting battle and Martian Manhunter was choked and losing as well.
- Star Sapphire had Green Lantern wrapped up tight in some sort of binding ring construct.
- The Flash was surrounded by hundreds of armed Mirror Masters.
- Cyborg had tagged along, and he got stabbed in the back by Vandal Savage.
Of course, everyone got their acts together and beat the bad guys in the end, but it was looking pretty bad for a while. All of these moments ran back to back, painting a pretty dire picture.
And what was Wonder Woman’s “Oh no!!” cliffhanger? The Cheetah, running away into another room. Wonder Woman had the drop on her the ENTIRE time. There was no dramatic scene where the Cheetah had the upper hand. The worst was when Wonder Woman threw the Cheetah across a room into a gun cabinet and Cheetah blasted a laser at her, but Wonder Woman just blocked it with her bracelet with one arm and then lassoed Cheetah with the other arm. Easy peasy. At most, the Cheetah landed three or four punches. Wonder Woman OWNED her, while everyone else was very nearly defeated.
So yeah, Wonder Woman was kind of great in Justice League: Doom. She almost died kicking too much ass, and then she easily kicked ass when the world was on the line. Everyone else was all flailing or trapped, and then almost lost again later, but not Wonder Woman. She was the only lady superhero in the movie and obviously was the best one!!
Too bad they didn’t work in Hawkgirl (which they should have!!). That whole Legion of Doom crisis would have been handled in half the time.
Tags: Bane, Batman, Cyborg, Flash, Green Lantern, JLA: Tower of Babel, Justice League: Doom, Ma'alefa'ak, Martian Manhunter, Metallo, Mirror Master, Nathan Fillion, Star Sapphire, Superman, Susan Eisenberg, Vandal Savage, Wonder Woman