Review: Justice League: Gods and Monsters

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Producer: WB Animations, DC Comics
Director: Sam Liu
Writer: Bruce W. Timm, Alan Burnett
Starring: Benjamin Bratt, Michael C. Hall, Tamara Taylor
Genre: Super Hero, Animated
Rating: PG-13
Alternate timelines are fun. It forces the writer to ask the “what if” question. I would die and go to Heaven if someone asked me to re-imagine Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. With new storylines, attitudes, and completely overhauled personalities, the trinity of justice has a new outlook on life. This movie asks the question, “What if the caped crusader, the blue boy scout, and the Amazonian Princess were anti-heroes with dark pasts?”

Storyline

Our saga starts on Krypton, where Jor El is about to send his child safely away from the dying planet. Before he can hit the ignition on the rocket, General Zod crashes the party and changes the child’s DNA to resemble his own. The rocket crash lands in Mexico, where an immigrant couple take Baby Zod in and name him Hernan Guerra (Benjamin Bratt).
Cut to Metropolis University where a young Kirk Langstrom (Michael C. Hall) is doing DNA experiments on bats to help find a cure for his disease. With the help of his best friend Will Magnus (Thomas C. Howell), he injects himself with an antidote. The result: he becomes a vampire with speed and flight powers.
On the planet Apokolips, Bekka (Tamara Taylor) is about to be wed to Darkseid’s son, Orion. She falls in love with him, despite this being an arranged marriage to help two families unite in peace. When it comes time to tie the knot, Bekka’s family reveals that this was a coup to destroy the Darkseid family. Bekka’s new love is killed before her eyes, leaving only his sword to remember him by.
Present day, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman are the new Justice League. They work as a task force for the government. As stone cold killers, they crush terrorists, behead their foes, and suck the blood out of their victims. This leads the world to fear and despise them as monsters. Reporter and journalist, Lois Lane (Paget Brewster) wants to expose them as terrorists of the state. To make matters worse, three killer androids are picking off scientists and framing the Justice League.
The Justice League must clear their name before the government decides to eliminate them with extreme prejudice. Who could be framing them?

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Content Guide

Violence/Scary Images: Each member of the Justice league is not afraid to shed blood. Basically, it gets bloody whenever there is a fight.  You will see foes crushed under heavy doors, heads lopped off, people impaled with swords, people set on fire, or thrown violently into walls. I believe it can only be PG-13 because it is a cartoon.
Language/Crude Humor: The Justice League has quite the mouth on them as well. A** and Bit** are dropped a few times. The Lord’s name is dropped as a swear word a couple times. Superman says the word “orgasmic” in a sentence (which is very strange).
Sexual Content/Nudity: Bekka is practically wearing two pieces of metal that don’t cover her top that well. The artists don’t define her chest, but she is one strong gust of wind from being topless.
Positive Elements: The premise behind Gods and Monsters is about redemption. Can three super heroes steeped in tragedy, learn to find good in themselves? We know that only God can turn a monster into a functioning citizen of His kingdom, which is why we secretly root for the antiheroes to make the move to good.

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Presentation

One of the reasons a DC fan would run after this movie is because it has the Justice League, but after thirty minutes of viewing, you will notice that this movie actually has nothing to do with the Justice League–in the traditional sense anyway. There is no Superman, Wonder Woman, or Batman. What you get is Hernan Guerra, Bekka, and Kirk Langstrom. They are completely different from the characters they are trying to portray. I can see a lot of people feeling put off by this.
On the positive side, Hernan, Bekka, and Kirk are actually interesting people. This Superman is aggressive and head strong, making the blue boy scout seem a little tame. Bekka has an interesting love story and a past smeared with genocide. Kirk’s story is the most different from the source material. He is not a millionaire playboy using gadgets to avenge his dead parents, but a genetic vampire with an insatiable desire for blood. These three heroes represent monsters to those who despise them and gods to those who fear them.
The movie sets up a mystery. Androids are killing scientists and putting the blame on the Justice League. This sends the three heroes into a conspiracy and hints them to the fact that someone is pulling the strings to get the government to turn on them. Unfortunately, when the ultimate conclusion arrives and the master villain reveals himself, the clues don’t connect that well. It is almost as if the story leads you on a bunny trail and then switches to another it at the last second. I actually had to read the Wiki page to see if I missed anything.
The artistic style hasn’t changed since the original Justice League cartoon. The character models are square jawed, beady-eyed, and blocky. It isn’t a bad choice for animation and the fight scenes are very decent. The voice actors all look and sound like how you would expect Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman to sound. Give it to DC to use their excellent source of voices.
Finally, the profanity and coarseness of the characters separates the DC universe from Marvel’s kid-friendly fanfare. The company is used to showing how dire and gritty the world is. Now, I don’t encourage any movie to swear like a sailor and use the Lord’s name in vain, but at least DC knows how to cater to adults.

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Conclusion

If you don’t mind this not actually being a traditional Justice League movie and the ending being a bit shoddy, then this is a solid offering. I wouldn’t mind the new Zod Superman replacing the one we have now. This would make a good series in its own right.

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Positives

+ The antihero stories are compelling + Decent fight scenes + Caters to the older DC fans

Negatives

- The villain's reveal at the end doesn't really connect with the rest of the story - The word Justice League might be misleading - Same cartoon style as the late nineties cartoons

The Bottom Line

I can see DC fans liking this as a separate series. Anyone looking for the next great adventure of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman will be a bit disappointed.

 

7.4

Michael P M

I am a minister for Campus Ambassadors, a gymnastics customer service rep, a social media enthusiast and a writer. I try to collect obscure video games, I love comics and somewhere on Amazon I have a self published book. I am married to a beautiful and grounded woman. But most importantly, I have been seized by a great affection in the Lord.

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