“Justice League: Crisis On Infinite Earths” – Part One
Directed by: Jeff Wamester
Written by: James Krieg, Marv Wolfman & George Perez
Starring: Matt Bomer as The Flash, Darren Criss as Superman, Jensen Ackles as Batman & Meg Donnelly as Supergirl/Harbinger
Review by Max Byrne
The release of Justice League: Crisis On Infinite Earths – Part One sees the curtain begin to fall on DC’s animated Tomorrowverse shared universe.
Over the past four years, the different animated films have served to build up an effective and engrossing DC continuity, utilizing some classic source material with interesting results. With this film, the first of a three-part adaptation, one of the most significant and classic arcs in comic history is being brought to dramatic life on the small screen.
This opening installment is no mere slavish adaptation of the hallowed tome, instead, Jeff Wamester and his creative team manage to pay homage to the existing material whilst also making it fit within their aforementioned self-contained continuity.
Threads from the preceding six movies are picked up and expanded on. and what were seemingly throwaway scenes have been reframed and given significance. A prime case in point is the post-credit scene from The Long Halloween. Remember Messrs Queen and Allen turning up at Wayne Manor? That was something that seemed little more than a nice Easter egg, yet now it’s a key plot point, with others from previous movies also getting the same treatment.
Hats off to writer Jim Krieg for this. To bring disparate points together whilst maintaining the main thrust of the plot is no mean feat and it’s a testament to his undoubted talents. Standing on the shoulders of giants whilst taking the tale somewhere new is great to see.
Matt Bomer’s Flash is our main protagonist here, as most of the narrative is framed through his eyes. If you remember the conclusion of the Apokolips War movie, then you’ll know that altering the course of history will always have repercussions. As such, this is his story, hopping through time, through different universes, and more besides.
Bomer’s performance is a good one, as he gets to play Barry Allen at different stages of his life, which reflects well in his vocal delivery and style. He captures the earnestness and decency of the character well and is a charismatic vocal presence.
Other casting choices are consistent with the previous movies in this universe. Fan favorite Jensen Ackles brings the required gravitas and steel to Batman, juxtaposed with Darren Criss’ warmth as Superman. Over the years, DC’s casting choices have been spot-on within their animated output generally speaking, and they do get their choices right here too. A prime example is Jonathan Adams as The Monitor. The actor summons up the kind of performance I envisage in my mind when I read the character on the page, full of deep tones, delivering lines as if on the stage with the RSC.
The stakes are also communicated really well, as characters are literally wiped from existence before our very eyes. Whole worlds are devoured by the unrelenting anti-matter wave, which is served well by some excellent animation. Ominous and inevitable, the wave simply will not stop. Seeing the futile efforts of Earth 3’s Crime Syndicate to stop it is a sequence that will live long in the memory, as these Gods Amongst Us are swept away.
A huge part of this film comes from the score by Kevin Riepl. From the epic bombast of the opening credits to quieter moments of introspection, he delivers in every scene. In fact, this is work that would not be out of place in most Hollywood blockbusters. With a back catalog full of DC animated movie scores, Riepl knows when to step on the gas and when to ease back a little too, and I certainly do look forward to seeing what he brings to the table in the next installments of this trilogy.
This is DC Animation at its very best. The start of a fitting farewell to the Tomorrowverse, it delivers on every level. Huge action sequences, intimate character beats, and a gripping story. Roll on parts 2 &3.
Justice League: Crisis On Infinite Earths – Part One is available now on digital platforms. It will be released on a 4K UHD and Blu-Ray Steelbook on January 29th.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment. Review copy Courtesy of Warner Bros.