“As we anxiously await the debut of Justice League, DKN celebrates the release of the live-action film with reviews of the DC Universe Animated Movies starring “The World’s Greatest Super-Heroes.” Our second review is Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.”
Review: Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
Directors: Lauren Montgomery, Sam Liu
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Actors: William Baldwin (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Mark Harmon (Superman/Clark Kent), Chris Noth (Lex Luthor), Gina Torres (Superwoman), James Woods (Owlman), Brian Bloom (Ultraman), Jonathan Adams (Martian Manhunter/J’onn J’onnz), Josh Keaton (Wally West/The Flash), and Vanessa Marshall (Wonder Woman/Princess Diana)
Based on the scrapped film Justice League: Worlds Collide by Bruce Timm, which was meant to connect to the animated series Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, the script was rewritten by Dwayne McDuffie to become the 7th direct-to-video DC Universe Animated Original Movie.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths sees the Justice League learning about another version of Earth where the hero and villain roles are flipped. The film opens with a heroic Lex Luthor and Joker (known as Jester) stealing a device known as the Quantum Trigger from the Crime Syndicate (the evil Justice League). The Jester sacrifices himself so that Lex can escape to our Earth and seek out the help of the Justice League.
Luthor convinces the Justice League to trust him, tells them of the Crime Syndicate plot, and they agree to help him in a thrilling adventure that pits the league against their evil doppelgängers.
No Powers Is In
While this film does feature all the usual members of the Justice League (and their evil twins), make no mistake that Batman is the hero of this film to Owlman’s villain. Crisis on Two Earths takes a deep dive into the philosophy of the multiverse and how each and every decision creates an alternate Earth where a different choice was made, creating an infinite number of Earths. As Owlman puts it, some Earths are so similar you would need a lifetime to find any differences at all, while some are dramatically different. Again, it all depends on what choices were made on that Earth.
Becoming obsessed with the idea that nothing he does matters in the grand scheme of the infinite multiverse, Owlman decides to find the original Earth, Earth-Prime, and destroy it, thus destroying the chaos that is the multiverse.
The film does a brilliant job showcasing not only Batman’s wit by tricking Johnny Quick (evil Flash) to sacrifice himself using his speed to defeat Owlman, thus saving the Flash’s life, but it also highlights his fighting ability in a one-on-one duel with Owlman to save the multiverse. The fight also ends in one of my personal favorite Batman lines. I will never think of blinking the same way again.
Different, Yet Veteran Voice Cast
In terms of the voice acting, you won’t find any of the usual suspects bringing our favorite heroes to life, but it’s not without its veterans. Although William Baldwin certainly won’t show up in anyone’s list of favorite Batman voice actors, he does an admirable job of giving us a mix of Keaton’s whisper and Bale’s growl and completely nails his final, aforementioned, speech.
While the rest of the cast are admirable in their respective roles, they are all overshadowed by James Woods’ Owlman. Woods gave us a character so detached from the rest of the characters due to his obsession with the multiverse and his sole purpose of destroying it. He delivers a cold, calculating performance to his character that truly believes nothing he does matters. The back and forth between Woods’ Owlman and Baldwin’s Batman is certainly the highlight of this film.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths certainly isn’t a perfect film, with a minor complaint being how little we really learn about the rest of the Crime Syndicate and their rise to power, but the flaws are few and far between. In its limited 75 minutes, the film is well paced with plenty of humor and action, and in my opinion is still one of the stronger DC Animated Original Movies to date.
In our anticipation for the first live-action Justice League film this November, Dark Knight News’ own Kevin Gunn reviewed Justice League: The New Frontier last week. Next week, you can check out Eric Lee’s review of Justice League: Doom!