“Justice League: Warworld”
Written by: Jeremy Adams, Ernie Altbacker & Josie Campbell
Directed by: Jeff Wamester
Starring: Jensen Ackles as Batman/Officer Wayne, Darren Criss as Superman/Agent Kent, Stana Katic as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince, Frank Grillo as Agent Faraday, Robin Atkin Downes as Mongul
Review by Max Byrne
Justice League: Warworld continues the high-quality output from DC/WB’s line of DC Universe Animated Movies. As another chapter in their Tomorrowverse era, this hits just the right spot, in terms of consistency of tone and animation style. All of the movies in this bracket have the same look and feel, which rightfully helps to bind them into one cohesive package and create an authentic shared universe. Whilst the threads appear a bit disparate, the release next year of Crisis on Infinite Earths should pull everything together in a great crescendo.
First things first, though, and the release of this movie. Overall, it’s a highly satisfying and engrossing watch. One minor quibble is that anybody not familiar with the source material or the end of the previous film may struggle to grasp exactly what’s happening throughout the first half of the story. Personally, it wasn’t an issue for me, but audience members watching it cold may not have an inkling in regard to the multiple settings of the plot and the overhanging sense of everything not being as it seems. No spoilers from me of course, but I do recommend doing some reading/watching in advance.
Our trinity of heroes finds themselves in separate, artificial realities. Wonder Woman in the Wild West, Batman in a Conan-esque harsh land, and Superman as a mild-mannered G-Man investigating an alien sighting in rural America. All three settings feel very different yet share the aforementioned consistency of tone. Each world has a sense of danger to it that’s heightened by the level of violence on show, one that befits the 15 certificate that the film’s been awarded.
The violence allows the animation team to excel under the direction of Jeff Wamester, as the action sequences really pop off the screen. Every super-powered blow connects with a tangible force that really resonates. Skulls break, and bullets shred skin and bone in a dark comic book come to life. The creative team must have had a lot of fun choreographing the brutal ballet, and it really shows.
The consistency of the universe also extends to the voice cast. The Trinity is once again voiced by Jensen Ackles, Darren Criss, and Stana Katic respectively, who all fit their characters like a glove. Each of the actors audibly sounds spot on in my opinion. If you were to close your eyes and just listen, they all do sound exactly how I hear the characters in my own mind.
We get a heady combination of stoic heroism and bewilderment at their newfound situation, and they work extremely well as the audience’s entry point into the proceedings. Additional kudos must go to voice acting veteran Robin Atkin Downes as the villainous Mongul. One of the best voice actors in the business, Downes imbues this monstrous character with a sheer menace that works extremely well.
When the curtain’s finally pulled back and the true nature of the situation is revealed, the pace noticeably quickens. Iconic costumes are donned, heroes are reborn and a slugfest is in store. The film does end extremely abruptly but this fits with the chaotic nature of the finale. Rather than resolving events with a pretty finish, several threads are left hanging. Where we get taken next remains to be seen, but I am certainly on board with it.
Justice League: Warworld is a worthy entry into the DC Animated franchise. Whilst not quite elite-tier stuff, it’s very watchable and great fun. Whilst hardcore devotees will certainly get more out of it than the more casual fan, I do urge everybody to watch it.
Images Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment. Review Copy Courtesy of Warner UK