Justice League: Doom (2012)

justice_leaue_-_doom

Director: Lauren Montgomery

Cast: Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Nathan Fillion

Review Author: Shaun

Doom is the direct sequel to the Justice League: Crisis on two Earths. The film is loosely based upon the comic story “Tower of Babel” so any reader of the comic will know the twists and turns ahead. This was a difficult feature to review, as many of the movies more annoying flaws happen within its truncated final act. I would recommend watching the previous entry beforehand as it uses the same team of characters.

The film follows Vandal Savage and a motley crew of minor villains who form the Legion of Doom. One by one, they disable the many members of the Justice League, often using their strengths against them. The film, is an action-packed adventure, loaded with countless set pieces that highlight the various members of the Justice League. This is a full-blown DC action smack-down, and the film never fails to disappoint on this level. Animation and character models are both well done. Voice work is absolutely top-notch, Several key voice actors from the original Justice League series return here, including Kevin Conroy, Michael Rosenbaum, Susan Eisenberg and Nathan Fillion.

The two big problems with Justice League: Doom are firstly the third act twist which I cannot go into because of spoilers but it involves the reaction of the league to Batman’s contingency plans. The second being a little moral conundrum which is rather interesting, and should have been explored to help better flesh out the characters and their own motivations. For example, Hal Jordan says he’s kind of OK with what Batman’s contingency plans, but we never dive into why he feels that way, or the ramifications of him siding with Batman. Instead, the debate is discussed in the film for only about two or three minutes. I don’t mind the League dealt with Batman contingency plans however, I do mind that the film trims away character development, and any socio/political parallels in order to craft a slam-bang action picture. This was one film that could have easily handled both.

Why are all DC animated films trimmed down to a mere 80 minutes or less? Why can’t any of them run 100 minutes, or hell – even 90 minutes would be nice. There’s rarely ever room in these films to flesh out the characters, or explore any deeper value in the plot. I understand that many of the writers working for these films are all familiar with the characters and their motivations.

Doom is not a bad movie. It’s a spectacular action feast, punctuated by some great voice work and solid animation. What’s on-screen is fascinating, inventive and alluring. But it’s what’s missing that’s frustrating. Had this story been expanded to 100 minutes or more, it would be an even better experience. There would be more room for the characters to grow, and more room for discussion regarding the film’s twists and turns. Instead, the film plays more like a two-part episode of the Justice League. That’s fine, but there was potential for something far more epic, more theatrical. Alas, Justice League: Doom, like a few other DC efforts, never quite reaches its potential.

Justice League: Doom is superbly animated, action-packed, and a lot of fun, but like many DC animated efforts, it’s also a bit too thin on character and frustratingly short, barely running more than an hour minus credits. As such, the film doesn’t necessarily have a lot of replay value, and might not appeal to all newcomers. With that in mind, this title might be one to rent before you buy.

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