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Justice League: Doom (2012): Movie Review

Updated on October 30, 2012

Justice League: Doom

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Although Marvel has been killing DC at the box office since the early 2000s, DC has been able to produce several more high-quality direct-to-DVD animated features, often bringing stories from the ongoing comics or miniseries to the small screen. In Justice League: Doom (written by Dwayne McDuffie), Mark Waid’s “Tower of Babel” storyline from the 1990s JLA series gets its animated treatment. In this version, the Justice League members include Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Martian Manhunter, with assistance from Cyborg. With a runtime of 77 minutes, there was just no time to create an elaborate justification for Aquaman to join the team this time around.

The film kicks off with the Justice League interrupting the Royal Flush Gang during a diamond heist. This robbery is just a diversion, though. A shadowy figure is simply interested in getting the Mirror Master to hide in the batmobile’s rearview mirror while Batman is busy fighting. Once in the batcave, Mirror Master downloads files off the batcomputer that are even more important than Batman’s secret identity.

The files contain Batman’s secret contingency plans for taking down each member of the Justice League if any of them ever go rogue or fall under the influence of mind control. Vandal Savage, the mastermind behind the Legion of Doom, has tweaked Batman’s original plans, making them lethal instead of merely incapacitating. Savage enlists some of the Justice League’s nemeses (Metallo, Bane, Cheetah, Star Sapphire, Mirror Master, and Ma’alefa’ak) to enact these adapted death traps. Once the Justice League is out of the way, he will be free to create a solar flare that will destroy half of the earth’s population and disable most of the world’s technology, allowing him to restart humanity in his own image.

Since the story has to end in a single viewing, the resolution leaves something to be desired. Creating Batman's contingency files required detailed information on each hero's physical, psychological, and emotional make-up, much of which could only be gathered through trust between the League members. The comics could spend multiple issues dealing with the fallout of Batman’s betrayal and how everyone in the League feels about such a violation, even showing each member’s vote on whether Batman should be allowed to stay in the Justice League. The movie has to tie up all those loose ends in just a few minutes, so the ending feels rushed. In the same way that the story leaves you wanting more, the single-disc DVD’s special features fail to impress. Other DC offerings have included such bonuses as additional short films, behind-the-scenes documentaries, and the unaired Aquaman pilot. Justice League: Doom only provides a sneak peek of an upcoming DC animated feature and several trailers for cartoons. You have to buy the Blu-ray combo pack or the two-disc DVD edition for additional features.

While the story is serviceable adaptation, the voice acting is superb. Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly reprise their roles of Batman and Superman, the characters they played in the ‘90s cartoons. Nathan Fillion, a veteran of the Justice League cartoon and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, lends a heroic voice to Green Lantern. And Michael Rosenbaum, a fan favorite as Lex Luthor on Smallville and as the Flash on Justice League, returns to breathe life into the Scarlet Speedster.

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