Get on the Hype Train, Because Justice League: War is on the Horizon

Posted November 13, 2013 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Comic Books

Boy, it has been a week loaded with trailers for new comic book movies. We got our first looks at both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Spoilers: They look awesome. However, with all the hype surrounding those two movies, the fact that the trailer for Justice League: War also was released was largely overlooked, buried under the mainstream appeal of the live action movies. Yet, of the three, it’s the one I’m most excited for. War is positioned perfectly to kick off a string of future DC animated movies, as the source material (Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s Justice League : Origin) provided the basis for The New 52

Part of this is because I believe that the movie will vastly improve on the source material. This seems to be a trend with DC Animated Movies – taking decent stories, such as Flashpoint and Under the Red Hood, and turning them into stellar films. I can already see this trend continuing with War. Unlike most, I don’t have any major issues with Justice League: Origin, though I recognize that it is certainly one of Johns’ weaker works. That being said, there is some strong character work in the source material, and there is a lot of fun to be had reading it. However, the trailer does a great job of showing us that this is going to be so much more than that. We see Darkseid’s agents swooping down to abduct a civilian, and then an all out attack on a large group of civilians. This alone makes them feel like a much larger threat than they ever did in the comics, and will almost certainly raise the stakes for the movie as a whole.

For those who haven’t read the source material, Justice League: Origin tells the story of Darkseid and the armies of Apokolips invading the Earth, and the Earth’s mightiest heroes (See, that’s funny because I made an Avengers reference and I’m talking about the Justice League. No? Ok) must band together to fight this cosmic threat. From what I can tell from the trailer, the movie isn’t going to stray too far from that established plot, and the few exceptions it does make to this rule seem to be for the better.

The most notable change is that there is a slightly different cast of characters here, and that means some story details will have to be changed or replaced. Instead of Aquaman being on the team, War sees Captain Marvel (I guess I probably have to call him Shazam now…) join the team. This decision actually excites for me, and I get the feeling that this going to be partially a Shazam movie disguised as a Justice League movie. Since I loved his character arc in the back ups to Justice League, I can’t wait to see what they do with the character in this movie, as he will have to deal not only with his newfound powers, but with Darkseid’s invasion as well.

At the same time, this movie does seem to be shining the spotlight on Wonder Woman. Of course, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Cyborg also appear in the trailer – but none were featured as prominently as Wonder Woman and Shazam. Being a Wonder Woman fan, this is exciting. In the source material, her character didn’t get the time she deserved, especially after her stellar introduction. We get to see a moment that seems similar to that one, and she even delivers my favorite line of the trailer (“This world belongs to everyone!”). If this movie takes the time to focus in on her, and do some character work with the character, it will make me very happy.

Despite being immensely excited about the focus on Wonder Woman and Shazam, my personal favorite part of the trailer was, hands down, hearing the new voice cast. Gone are the likes of Kevin Conroy and Nathan Fillion, replaced by a younger voice cast. Initially, this didn’t make me happy, but after hearing them, I realize my worry was entirely unfounded. Michelle Monaghan, Alan Tudyk, Jason O’Mara, and Justin Kirk all sound great as Wonder Woman, Superman, Green Lantern, and Batman, respectively. The voice actors are excellent, even though they have some rather large costumes to step into.

Another pleasant surprise is the animation. DC’s past few animated movies (Namely, Superman Unbound and Flashpoint Paradox) have lacked the magnificent animation I have become accustomed to from DC animated content. After watching the trailer numerous times, I’ve decided that, on the whole, the animation is stellar. It borrows quite a bit from anime, though not quite enough to turn me off from the movie (I’m really just not a fan of anime, it just doesn’t appeal to me). In addition, the costumes are stellar. Wonder Woman and Green Lantern’s costumes are quite different, but they look excellent.  Of course, it doesn’t match the artwork of the source material, but I’m not sure there are any artists out there who could match Jim Lee.

Based on the trailer alone, I have enough reason to be super stoked for this movie, and I really hope everyone else is too. DC consistently does a great job with these movies, providing top-notch stories, animation, and voice acting. It’s time for everyone to get on the hype train because Justice League: War is shaping up to be one awesome movie.

About the Author

Jean-Luc Botbyl

Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn't been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.