DIRECTOR: Sam Liu
WRITERS: Alan Burnett, Bruce W. Timm
CAST: Benjamin Bratt (Superman / Hernan Guerra), Michael C. Hall (Batman / Kirk Langstrom) Tamara Taylor (Wonder Woman / Bekka) Paget Brewster (Lois Lane)
Justice League: Gods and Monsters is one of the DC Animated movies that a fan of DC Comics has to go into with an open-mind, as it’s the idea that we’re familiar with when it comes to the Trinity, but turned on its head in an alternate universe. These aren’t the same characters, only by Superhero name and that’s the point of the film.
The film starts off right away setting the tone and world the it’ll take place in, that’s the story of what if the Superman that we know isn’t the one that was sent to earth as a baby. In this story General Zod gets to the ship Kal-El will be sent in and replaces him with his own son Hernan Guerra (Benjamin Bratt), who’s a new creation to the DC Universe.
This theme of changing each of the founding members of the Justice League, also known as the Trinity, carries on with Batman, who’s not Bruce Wayne but Kirk Langstrom (Michael C. Hall), who’s known in the DC Universe as Man-Bat, but in this story he’s Batman. Then we have Bekka, who’s Wonder Woman in this story, who’s also an already existing character from the DC Universe, though unlike Princess Diana, she isn’t a God from Earth, but from the planet New Genesis.
As soon as the introduction to these character in their first scene together appears on your screen, you quickly get the overall idea how these characters, outside from not being Kal-El, Bruce and Diana, aren’t like the Trinity we’re familiar with. These characters don’t care about taking someone’s life if they recognize them as being bad or taking action that can harm others if they see fit.
These new characterizes of these characters and the darker tone of the overall film in a way is breath of fresh air, as it is an unique take of the Trinity, that doesn’t make you upset that they’re behaving the way they are or are set in this darker world, because they aren’t Kal-El, Bruce and Diana.
Then with the overall theme of the story of them being framed, having the media and the government of the United States, ran by President Waller as in Amanda Waller (Penny Johnson Jerald) being against them, it helps realize why they behave the way they do.
The mystery the Justice League trying to figure out who’s framing them becomes a fun one, added with a mixture of flashbacks where we learn more on Superman’s back story, along with the full stories behind Batman and Wonder Woman. Out of the three main characters, Kirk Langstrom standout the most, with his almost cool passive personality, for whatever reason made him that more engaging to watch.
With these flashbacks we get to see some familiar faces from the DC Universe as well, who aren’t altered for the story and even during the current time frame of the story, we see other familiar characters who are somewhat altered but they’re still ones we recognize, which was a lot fun to have.
As the story carries on with the Trinity working together to figure out who’s framing them, it goes from being a fun mystery, with some interesting twist, to a third act where we find out who’s framing the team and as to why they’re being framed, which ends up being one of the most unoriginal, overused form of storytelling.
Which is what brought down the film, because we go from having this new idea for an altered Justice League, with DC characters we normally don’t often see in an animated films, which was really nice, to end with an overused idea as to why someone would act against someone else.
Even though the third act wasn’t what all was hoped for, the remaining aspects of the film had all the elements a fan could ask for from direction of Sam Liu and the writing team of Alan Burnett and Bruce Timm, also the nostalgic feelings were there!
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