JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS Review - Mania.com



Film Opinion

Mania Grade: B+

12 Comments | Add

 

Rate & Share:

 

Related Links:

 

Info:

  • Title: Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
  • Edition: Two-Disc Special Edition DVD
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Cast: James Woods, William Baldwin, Mark Harmon
  • Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
  • Director: Sam Liu
  • Distributor: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
  • Original Year of Release: 2010
  • Extras: See Below
  • Series: Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS Review

Crisis: Animated Style!

By Tim Janson     February 24, 2010
Source: Mania


JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS Review
© Mania

Justice League: Crisis on Two-Earths is the latest original DC animated film and takes on a legacy that is forty years in the making. The idea of parallel Earths has been a staple in DC continuity since the advent of the Silver Age of comics when it was decided that the Golden Age and Silver Age Superheroes came from different Earths. Longtime DC writer Gardner Fox penned the first “Crisis” story involving the parallel worlds way back Justice League of America #29-30, in 1964. Since then, Crisis has become a regular plotline in DC comics…some may say its even an obsession.

In this story, the Crime Syndicate is an evil version of the Justice League. They control their Earth in an organized crime manner with each of the core members controlling a territory with a “family” of under-villains to help enforce their rule. Here, Lex Luthor is one of the last superheroes alive and he uses a dimensional transporter to travel to the Earth of the JLA and enlist their aid to save his world.

While most of the League is in favor, Batman refuses, believing they have more important tasks on their own world. Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, and J’onn J’onzz travel with Luthor back to his world to confront the villains. Here they will not only fight their own evil counterparts, but also evil versions of heroes such as The Marvel Family, Green Arrow, The Elongated Man, and Vibe. But a more serious threat is soon uncovered…Owlman, the parallel to Batman is hatching a plot that could destroy the entire universe.

One of the strengths of DCs animated films over those of Marvel’s is their use of well-known actors to voice the characters. This works both for and against DC in this film, however. The familiar voices of Kevin Conroy and Rino Romano as Batman, and Tim Daly and George Newbern as Superman, have been replaced by William Baldwin (Batman) and Mark Harmon (Superman). Baldwin is passable as Batman but Harmon just doesn’t sound right. His voice doesn’t have the power and authoritative tone you expect from Superman. On the other hand, James Woods is brilliant as Owlman. He single-handedly raises the bar for the other actors with his voice that oozes sinister evil. Chris Noth is fine as Lex Luthor but you definitely miss Clancy Brown’s deep resonations. Another notable actors include Bruce Davison as the alternate Earth President and Kari Wuhrer as Black Canary.

Justice League: Crisis on Two-Earths is a solid story although not quite on a par with Green Lantern: First Flight or Superman/Batman Public Enemies. It plays like an extended episode of the Justice League TV show with nothing truly making it momentous.

 

The Spectre makes his animated debut as the title character in the inaugural entry within the DC Showcase series of animation shorts.

Extras

The DVD also comes with a short animated feature starring The Spectre and I’m tempted to say this is worth the price of the DVD alone. The Spectre is the most important DC character yet to appear in animation. The story is written by Steve Niles is largely influenced by the 1970s incarnation of the Specter in Adventure Comics, written by Michael Fleisher with art by Jim Aparo. This was a Spectre that dealt with criminal in the most gruesome fashion and Niles has brought that style to this short. It’s even set in the 1970s with Jim Corrigan as the Spectre, trying to track down the murderers of a top Hollywood film producer. The animation is done in a misty, grainy style with traces of Anime influence. Just a fantastic addition to the DVD!

Other extras on the two DVD set include:

  • Featurettes on DCs recent animated movies including:
    • Green Lantern: First Flight
    • Superman/Batman Public Enemies
    • Wonder Woman
    • The next animated feature -- Batman: Under the Red Hood.
  • DCU: The New World (26:00): This featurette looks at the various Crisis storylines from DC’s history, from the Golden Age to the present. It also examines how the DCU has changed in a post-9/11 world. Includes interviews with Geoff Johns, Rags Morales, Mike Carlin, Paul Levitz, Brad Meltzer, Dan Didio, and more.
  • Bruce Timm Presents: Justice League a Better World. This is the two-part episode from the Justice League Animated series.
  • Digital Copy of the Film

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 12
1 2 >  >>  
jfdavis 2/24/2010 11:03:08 AM

According to the Bruce Timm interview over on the C2F column, this was originally a Justice League episode! I commented over there about the voices and I agree with your statements...

AFWICK14 2/24/2010 11:19:15 AM

Watched it last night, not bad, but not great either.  I guess I read to much into the title of Crisis, but I liked all the DVD extra, plus the whole Red Hood story that will be coming looks good.  My only problem is the voices, can DC please stop getting new actors for all the movies.  I like Mark Harmon on NCIS, but his Superman was so so.  Personnel, I perferred Kevin Conrad and Tim Daly to do the voices.  Bruce Greenwood looks promising for the new Batman, but Baldwin, not so much 

CaptAmerica04 2/24/2010 11:20:30 AM

Yeah, the absence of Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, and Clancy Brown was SORELY noticed and obvious.  I don't know WHAT Andrea Romano or Bruce Timm were thinking.  I'm big on loyalty.  This just smacks of disloyalty to me, because those three actors (along with Mark Hamill as Joker) worked together to create the DC Animated universe and give it life and popularity and its fan base from the early 90s til now.  To change over to hacks, has-beens, and C-rate talent just because they've been in a movie or two that you might have seen is insulting to them and their fans.  Really pisses me off... moreso because the people they got as replacements sucked.  William Baldwin had NO force to his voice (I feel the same about Bruce Greenwood taking the Batman voice duties for "Under the Red Hood").

Other than that, the story just lacked "oomph."  There were some great fight scenes, but even in a 30-minute Justice League or JLU episode you got more character development for the heroes and the villains than you did in this feature-length movie.

I give it a "C."

TheSleeper 2/24/2010 11:45:22 AM

I actually liked this better than Supes/Bats or even Green Latern.  For one thing, the animation just seemed to be higher quality, especially compared to Superman/Batman.  Yeah, this would have been better with the familiar voices we love portraying Superman, Batman, and the rest, but overall I thought they did a good job.

Great battle scenes, and while there wasn't too much of an overarching plot, this movie delivered what I expect from these direct to DVD specials, which I can't say about all of the recent DC animated films.

gauleyboy420 2/24/2010 12:32:07 PM

I liked this Better than Public Enemies, but not as much as First Flight, or Wonder Woman

Mostly the thing I didn't like is the voices, like most people her.

Mark Harmon didn't do it for me at all ,and Niether did Baldwin.

I think they should stick with the voices that made those characters come to life.

 

I do agree James Woods was Brilliant, as well as most of the Crime Syndycate voices.

Just get Tim Daily, and Kevin Conroy back.

It would have been cool if The Jester was voiced by Mark Hamil too.

GLCorpsMember 2/24/2010 12:43:12 PM

Wonder Woman kicked some nice ass when fighting her alternate u counterpart!  Loved the wrestling style of fighting for her.  Very appropriate.  Really cool fight scenes in general.

I'm actually all for using different actors for these characters.  Of course Kevin, Tim Clancy are all the iconic voices but I love seeing different interpretations of these characters.  It keeps things interesting for us as well as the film makers.  While I do understand the addage "if it aint broke don't fix it" I think we fanboys have a bad tendancy to get too locked into things that we're comfortable with and don't allow ourselves to move on to different interpretations.  I do however agree in this particular case that Mark Harmon and William Baldwin were NOT good choices.  I'm not ready to clamor for the return of Kevin Conroy and Tim Daley/George Newbern. They just happened to miss the mark on this one. The only requirement I have for a voice actor on these characters is that you don't pull me out of the story with the voice.  Harmon and Baldwin pulled me out.

The rest of the film, I thought was great.  A little more drama and a little less action might have given it a little more weight but over all a pretty good entry.  I agree that The Spectre short was really something special.  I was kinda blah about Under The Red Hood but after getting a better feel about what all it's going to incorporate, I'm now really excited for this!

decepticons2 2/24/2010 2:43:51 PM

With the new voices it felt a little off. But if Warner/DC said "Hey guys these are our guys and they are our guys for the future." I would be ok with it. But new voice actors every film is very sad. The movie was passable. Animation seems to be getting better but the story telling isn't improving.

My hope is that down the road if these are big enough. The story telling also improves. A Kingdom Come trilogy wouldn't be out of the question.

WarCry 2/25/2010 8:53:06 PM

Since everyone else has covered the high and lowpoints, I'll just add this....

 

 

 

I LOVED the 'secret origin' of the Invisible Jet! Just a fantastic way to get a bit of a ridiculous set-piece to work in-universe, if you as me....

samson 2/26/2010 1:01:06 AM

I liked this much better than Public Enemies, Wonder Woman and Doomsday. IMHO, this was on par with First Flight.

However, the voices for Superman and Batman weren't quite right. But, other than that, it was was pretty cool. Especially for a straight to DVD release.

Samson

Muenster 2/26/2010 5:50:32 PM

James Woods' voice performance was astounding.

1 2 >  >>  

ADD A COMMENT

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Please click here to login.

POPULAR TOPICS